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Experiential Learning


Amplify your learning experience by participating in the Experiential Learning Sessions. These programs will enable attendees to engage in a new space or participate in an activity while learning. With a variety of experiences offered, you can select the session that fits your interests! Registration for these sessions will take place on the conference app - keep an eye out for updates! 


AI Essentials: Foundations and Hands-On Applications

Jason Beaudreau, founder and managing partner, All Star Strategy

Unlock the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in collegiate dining with “AI Essentials.” This workshop is designed for those new to AI, starting with an introduction to basic AI concepts, helping participants understand what AI is and how it works. Important topics such as the ethics of using AI, recognizing and addressing biases within the technology, and understanding the risks and legal considerations that come with AI will be discussed.


A Taste of Kentucky: Microbrewing Soy Sauce and Artisan Flavors

Bourbon Barrel Foods started as a soy sauce microbrewery in 2006, and has since grown to produce over 100 distinct artisan products. The flagship product, Bluegrass Soy Sauce, is the original naturally brewed and barrel-aged soy sauce created in the United States. This traditional soy sauce is used in three artisan variations, IMPERIAL Double Fermented Soy Sauce, Bourbon Smoked Bluegrass Soy Sauce, and Small Batch Bourbon Ponzu, resulting in a full line of artisan soy sauce flavors. In addition, Bourbon Barrel Foods offers a comprehensive selection of Bourbon Smoked Spices, smoked low-and-slow with bourbon barrel staves.Join us for a tour through the smokehouse and brewery, led by one of the knowledgeable Bourbon Barrel Foods ambassadors where you will learn about craft brewing of soy sauce and see the process from start to finish. Listen as Matt Jamie, founder and owner of Bourbon Barrel Foods, shares insights into his journey as a microbrewer of soy sauce, the brewing methods, the production process, and the BBF brand. The experience is capped off with an immersive umami tasting of the complete line of Bluegrass Soy Sauces and core Bourbon Smoked Spices. Factory tour included.

Please wear closed toe shoes.                                    
Please note: Session is not recommended for individuals that are Celiac or have a gluten/wheat allergy.


Collaborative Culinary Innovation for Craveable Menus and LTO’s

James Bickmore-Hutt , corporate chef, Lentils.org
Andrew Hunter, consulting chef, The Mushroom Council
Amber Johnson, director of marketing & communications, Lentils.org    
Pam Smith, foodservice strategist, The Mushroom Council

Through this extended experiential culinary immersion, attendees will learn how to employ the power of trend and flavor-forward culinary innovation from collaborative commodity boards. Mushrooms and lentils are nutritious, delicious and sustainable—discover how to utilize them to build menus that appeal to students seeking functional foods for their body as well as the health of the planet. Explore technical culinary skill-building from two talented chefs, deep diving into each ingredient, and tastings to experience the cravability. You will be inspired to put these powerful ingredients to work on your volume foodservice menus to satisfy and engage students and staff, cross-utilize your pantry, improve your bottom line, and stimulate taste buds, leveraging global and regional cuisines and flavors. You will also walk away with new resources knowing how you can tap into your commodity boards for *free* education, culinary, marketing, and consumer insight and trend support.


From Plate to Pixel: A Beginner’s Hands-On Workshop to Food Photography and Videography

Sommer Dunlevy, assistant director of university housing and culinary services, Kent State University
Julia Keahey, video & digital marketing coordinator, Kent State University

In the era of social media where visual storytelling reigns supreme, the art of capturing delectable culinary moments has become a coveted skill. “From Plate to Pixel” is an immersive workshop designed for amateur content creators seeking to master the fundamentals of food photography and videography using the tools at their fingertips. This hands-on experience begins with establishing a solid foundation, defining technical terminology, optimizing phone settings, and understanding how to maximize the potential of the device in your hands.


Guest Experience and Engagement @ University of Louisville

Come get an in-depth look at the University of Louisville’s Dining Services! We will have extensive conversations about sustainable operations, residential dining, local purchasing, and student programming. We will tour the Ville Grill, UofL’s residential dining facility, to discuss our local purchasing program. Then, we will walk to the Campus Garden, operated by UofL’s Sustainability Team, to discuss university sustainability programming and goals. Our last stop will be at the Student Activity Center, where student programming and engagement becomes reality, where you can experience first-hand what an event feels like for our students.

Walking tour of campus. Please dress appropriately for the summer weather.


Spicing Up Campus Dining: Elevating Mexican Cuisine for Student Palates

Leo Acosta, associate director of dining services, University of California-San Diego
Matt Obergfell, national sales manager of non-commercial, Hormel Foods    
Amelia Ruiz, assistant executive chef, The University at Buffalo
Vaughn Vargus, executive chef, University of California-San Diego

In today’s culinary landscape, the demand for authentic and diverse food experiences is ever-growing, especially within college campuses where students seek nourishment that reflects cultural richness and innovation. This presentation promises to be an enlightening exploration of how institutions can elevate Mexican cuisine within their dining facilities, drawing on insights from culinary trends, practical implementation techniques, and a commitment to delivering authentic flavors.