On March 7th, the University of Guelph’s Sustainable Restaurant Project hosted our 7th annual sustainability symposium. This year’s theme was “Plant Based Menus, ‘Fad’ or Trend?”. We gathered wonderful industry and non-industry minds to reflect and provide valuable insight on the topic, and concluded that Plant-based menus are absolutely a trend.
Our symposium kicked off with an intro from Paul Uys, Senior Director, External of the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, who introduced the audience to the food institute and their current programs. Followed by Mike von Massow, associate professor for the Department of Food, Agricultural & Resource Economics updated the audience on UGSRP’s current research initiatives. Mike’s presentation included work on restaurant food waste and the correlation between menu labelling and consumer decision-making. Our keynote speaker for the symposium was Steven Salm, President of Chase Hospitality Group. With the recent openings and success of Planta and Planta Burger, Steven was the ideal candidate to speak to this year’s symposium theme. Steven shared with the audience his experiences and perspectives, and gave us a better understanding of the primary drivers that lead to Chase’s entirely plant-based restaurants.
Following the speakers, a panel discussion moderated by Professor Bruce McAdams was held. Panel speakers included Steven Salm; Chef Daniel Hadida, from the Restaurant at Pearl Morissette; Mark Hladik, VP Operations for Earls Restaurants; Sal Howell, Founder and Proprietor of River Café and Deane House; and Jason Jurchuk, Owner of Henry’s Tempeh Inc. Each panel member was asked a series of questions that allowed audience members to receive a variety of unique perspectives from each industry professional. It was evident that their passion towards the topic, and tremendous respect for the environment contributed to their own success, and the goal of ensuring that plant-based menu’s become so much more than ‘just a fad’.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our special guests for their time and contributions to this year’s symposium. We would also like to give tremendous thanks to Profile Hospitality Group for sponsoring this year’s event and allowing it to be such a success.Thank you to the student volunteers and guests, whose interest and support allows us to continue hosting our symposium.Thanks to everyone involved, we are able to continue to learn and improve sustainability in the restaurant industry and work together to solve the problems that will lead us to a more sustainable future.
In case you missed the symposium, check back later this week as we will have a full recording posted on the website.
(Our Panel from left to right: Mark Hladik, Daniel Hadida, Sal Howell, Jason Jurchuk, Steven Salm)