Yale hosts top Chinese chefs for sustainability-focused culinary exchange

Chef Ren Jinsuo plates a plant-based Lunar New Year dish.
Chef Ren Jinsuo plates a plant-based Lunar New Year dish.

Top chefs and food industry leaders from China are coming to Yale and other Northeast universities to learn how to make their menus leaner and greener, in a two-week tour officially known as the Food Forward Forum. In order to win a spot in the forum, the Chinese chefs had to design 85% plant-based versions of traditional Lunar New Year dishes, which they will be serving at a special dinner on Monday, Feb. 4, during the Yale portion of the forum.

The forum is composed of seminars, conversations, operational experiences, meetings with stakeholders, and instructional demonstrations, through which Yale and the other participating universities will share their best-practices for making dining operations sustainable and health-conscious at scale. In return, the Chinese chefs will share Chinese culinary techniques and cuisine with chefs at Yale and the other universities.

Our goal is to foster conversation, engagement, and sharing of best practices supporting food sustainability, wellness, and plant-forward foods,” says Adam Millman, senior director of Yale Auxiliary, Catering, and the Culinary Support Center at Yale Hospitality. “Our team, along with our partnering institutions, are thrilled to be hosting this event and we are looking forward to the cultural and intellectual exchange. Our visitors from China are some of the most innovative culinarians in the world.”

The forum is only the latest in Yale Hospitality’s ongoing efforts to make its sustainability and wellness expertise available to the international food industry. Associate vice president for Yale Hospitality, Rafi Taherian, said that the operation is “the proof of concept that you can be a large-scale organization that does many thousands of meals a day and be sustainable, delicious, and fiscally responsible.” According to Millman, Yale Hospitality has “visitors every single day coming to see what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

The forum will be at Yale on Feb. 4 and 13. On both dates, the Chinese chefs and delegates will be available for interview, and on Feb. 4, press will be able to watch the chefs preparing the Lunar New Year dinner.

The other American host institutions include Harvard University, University of Massachusetts, University of Connecticut, Culinary Institute of America, and Google NY. Sponsors of the forum are the Good Food Fund, Brighter Green, and the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation.

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Media Contact

Alex Bottiglio: alex.bottiglio@yale.edu, 203-436-4959