"Another First…Trade Show" by Chef Nina Faustmann

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The Research Chef’s Association trade show was held in Phoenix, AZ in March of this year. It was my first time traveling out of state with my CBI team members and also, my very first time experiencing a trade show. While the beautiful weather caught most of our attention, Chef Lance and I had a lot of planning to do for our client’s booth that we represented on the trade show floor. The client’s main focus is growing and distributing pistachios and almonds and they wanted us to center our recipes on pistachios. Back in our CBI test kitchen, our team developed pistachio dark chocolate bars for those sweet lovers and a vegetarian pistachio chili. On site in Phoenix, we had plans to make a nice couscous pistachio salad with a combo of vegetables; cooked in a variety of ways, dried fruit, blue cheese, and a light citrus vinaigrette. We prepared this dish the morning of the trade show and throughout the day I noticed that the salad became better and better. As the hours passed, the flavors developed and the ingredients all came together tastefully. The pistachios gave a vibrant green hint to the salad and also provided a slight crunch and meatiness. This healthy meal can easily be prepared with other grain substitutions, for example, using quinoa or bulgur wheat will increase the amount of fiber and protein in the salad. Many spectators at the show really enjoyed this salad as well as the rich, dark chocolate pistachio bars and the vegetarian pistachio chili. I wish we would have entered this recipe into the contest taking place during the trade show. We may have even beaten our own CBI teammates, who won best in show for their macaroni and cheese topped with crumbled bacon. Having this been my first trade show, I never expected to eat more and meet so many cool chefs, food scientists and the interested trade show viewers who walked the floor.

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