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USA Onions, IPC part of all-Idaho foodservice promotion set in Chicago

An all-Idaho foodservice promotion featuring USA Onions and the Idaho Potato Commission, along with other agricultural producers and commodity commissions, is set for Feb. 20-21 in Chicago.

According to Sherise Jones, marketing director for the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee/USA Onions, the promo will include a customer appreciation reception at Chef’s Burger Bistro in downtown Chicago as well as a Young Chefs Competition and foodservice reception at the prestigious Kendall College.

chef-edward-leonardMaster Chef Edward Leonard will host a Young Chefs Competition during the all-Idaho foodservice promotion set for Feb. 20-21 in Chicago. (Photo courtesy of“Celia Gould [director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture] will be in attendance to kick off the events in Chicago,” Jones said, adding that the promotion will feature Idaho food items that have caught the attention of the foodservice industry.

“We are doing this because we have collectively had great success in bringing editors and foodservice operators to Idaho and Oregon for tours,” Jones said. “It would be a nice time to take the same concept on the road.”

One of Chicago’s most celebrated chefs and one of only 72 certified master chefs in the nation, Chef’s Burger Bistro owner-operator Edward Leonard has provided the ideal setting for the Feb. 20 Customer Appreciation Reception. The event will give participating Idaho organizations the opportunity to host up to 10 major customers by invitation only, and multiple chef stations will highlight each organization’s products, Jones said.

In addition to operating the acclaimed downtown bistro, a 7,000-square-foot establishment that serves modern small plates and a signature burger, Chef Leonard serves as vice president and corporate chef for the Le Cordon Bleu Schools in North America and is a past president of the American Culinary Federation.

Young chefs utilizing Idaho food products will test their skills in the Feb. 21 competition hosted by Chef Leonard, with the top three finalists receiving scholarships.

Jones said the participating Idaho organizations must submit a complete list of ingredients to the competing chefs, all of who represent Chicago-area culinary colleges.

Friday evening will feature the Media & Foodservice Educators Reception at Kendall College, with the event held in conjunction with CAFÉ (Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education) Group’s annual foodservice educators conference at Kendall. Approximately 75 foodservice educators, including deans and directors of culinary colleges, as well as consumer press and foodservice editors, are expected to attend.

Once again, chef stations highlighting Idaho food items will be featured at the reception.