Meatless Monday enjoyed a whirlwind tour of NYC’s culinary scene last week, cropping up at events all over the city.
On March 2-4, New York City hosted International Restaurant and Foodservice Show, an annual convention that draws over 16,000 industry professionals. In the category of “Hot Trends,” Meatless Monday took center stage for a panel discussion called “Why Meatless Monday is Good for the Health of Your Business.” Moderated by Peggy Neu, President of The Monday Campaigns, the panel offered tips and insights on how restaurants could leverage the popularity of Meatless Monday to pump up their Monday business, traditionally the slowest night of the week. Joining Peggy on the panel was Marisa May, Co-Owner of SD26, Geoffrey Kornberg, Chef de Cuisine at Almond NYC, and Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., Owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants. “Meatless Monday taps into a larger trend of consumers moving plant foods to the center of the plate,” notes Taub-Dix, author of the award-winning Read It Before You Eat It. “It’s not about what you’re giving up, it’s what you’re getting: produce, legumes, even carbs are coming back into style in the form of ancient grains. Restaurants can capitalize on this trend and demonstrate that they are moving in a direction that combines good health and good taste by offering Meatless Monday.” All of which means Meatless Monday is healthy not just for consumers, but also for the bottom line.
The following day, Meatless Monday was featured during a series of cooking demonstrations designed to keep restaurant and foodservice professionals abreast of the latest food trends in the Culinary Demonstration Theater. Diana Rice, Meatless Monday’s Registered Dietitian, presented “Cooking Meatless Monday Dishes with Intact Grains,” a 45-minute presentation and cooking demo on intact grains, why they are gaining popularity, and how they make a great addition to Meatless Monday dishes. Diana, an accomplished home cook, recipe developer and curator of over 1000 meatless recipes from across the globe, then prepared and served the audience a Meatless Monday dish of Farro Pudding.
Also last week was a TEDxManhattan event, “Changing the Way We Eat.” Peggy Neu kicked off the day-long event with a 12-minute talk titled “A Simple Idea Goes Global,” covering the history of Meatless Monday (“it started by accident”), the reason Meatless Monday works (“Every Monday is an opportunity for a fresh start”), and the key to turning an idea into a global movement (“Give it away!”). The TEDxManhattan event featured an impressive roster of nutritional, environmental and sustainability experts including Chef Tom Colicchio, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and farmer and founder of Earthbound Farm, Myra Goodman.
Finally, on Tuesday, March 4, Meatless Monday made an appearance at the Annual Gala Benefit for Careers through the Culinary Arts (C-CAP), a nonprofit that provides scholarships, education and career opportunities in the culinary arts to disadvantaged youth. World-renowned Chef Michael White was the honoree, and attendees sampled a walk-around culinary tour-de-force from 40 of NYC’s most renowned restaurants and most famous chefs, including Marcus Samuelsson, Daniel Boulud, Michael Lomonaco and Marc Murphy. It was one of those ‘only in New York’ events, an opportunity to eat at SD26, Nobu 57 and Blue Hill at the same time. Michael’s, a storied NYC haunt helmed by Chef Kyung Up Lim, served up a delicious Meatless Monday dish, Sweet Potato Noodles with Assorted Vegetables in Sesame-Soy Vinaigrette. The recipe can be found here.