Humane Society of the United States holds plant-based culinary training for MBJ Cafeteria Corp at John Jay College

October 21st, 2019


MBJ staff with HSUS Forward Food chefs

MBJ staff with HSUS Forward Food chefs

With the growing popularity of plant-based foods, colleges and universities are adding more vegan and vegetarian dishes to their culinary repertoire. Plant-based menus are especially popular with younger Americans. It’s estimated that 63% of millennials and 65% of Gen Z Americans are trying to incorporate more plant-forward foods into their diets. Concerns for their personal health and the health of planet Earth are key drivers.

To meet this demand, foodservice companies are adding a tempting variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes to their menus, and chefs and staff are learning about new ingredients and techniques to create palate-pleasing, plant-based dishes.

HSUS Forward Food Jenn with MBJ kitchen staff member

HSUS Forward Food Jenn with MBJ kitchen staff member

This is where the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) plant-based training initiative comes in. Since 2015, the HSUS has provided plant-based training to more than 10,000 dining directors and chefs at major food service institutions across the country. The HSUS’s team of professional chefs and registered dietitians design menus, train chefs, lead plant-based leadership summits and partner with hundreds of individual institutions on creating plant-based food initiatives. In turn, those trained provide more plant-based menu items to millions of patrons.

The team at MBJ Cafeteria Corp in New York City is ramping up its plant-based menu. The MBJ staff participated in a free plant-based culinary training event at John Jay College to become educated on plant-based techniques and meals in order to increase their offerings at John Jay College and their other City University of New York (CUNY) contracts. Some of the delicious dishes they learned how to prepare for students included buffalo cauliflower wings, fire roasted corn chowder, chickpea and walnut pesto with penne pasta, and garbanzo bean sliders.

MBJ kitchen staff consult HSUS Forward Food Chef Amy

MBJ kitchen staff consult HSUS Forward Food Chef Amy (second from right)

“MBJ is taking a deep dive into plant-based fare and HSUS is excited to help train their staff on plant-based meals and techniques,” says Stefanie Heath, manager of food and nutrition for the HSUS.

After the two-day HSUS training, Aldana Vasques Williams, Vice President, MBJ Cafeteria Corp, said, “The hands-on training event motivated our team to imagine new ways to create delicious plant-based meals that are cost-effective and sustainable. We’re excited to apply our learnings in developing a plant-based menu that we’ll launch in January in conjunction with Meatless Monday.”

Display of plant-based dishes MBJ staff created with HSUS Forward Food chefs

Display of plant-based dishes MBJ staff created with HSUS Forward Food chefs