Food Basics 1: Today's Food Concerns

Food Basics 1: Today's Food Concerns offers a basic overview of some facets of modern culinary trends that every Two Roads Event Designer should know. These include information about diet, nutrition, allergies, sustainable food and common cuisines. 


Welcome to Food Basics 1: Today's Food Concerns

Thank you for participating in the Food Basics 1: Today's Food Concerns training module. 

This course is designed to present Two Roads Event Designers with information they should know about some common food trends in 2018. It offers an overview on several topics that clients have become increasingly concerned with in recent years, such as food allergies, nutrition, sustainability and International cuisine. 


This training module has 4 sections. Each section covers information about a specific area of concern involving food today, and is then followed by 2 short quizzes on the knowledge that was presented. Completing these quizzes completes the training module. At this point, you will be ready to move on to Food Basics 2. 

Today's Diet & Nutritional Needs

Consumers & Food Today

Consumers are paying more attention today to the quality of the food they eat, and where it comes from.

"We're beginning to get to where Eastern culture has been for thousands of years," says Mark Erickson, provost at the Culinary Institute of America and a certified master chef, "which is the idea that food is medicine, and we cannot disassociate our health with what we eat."

All event designers must be conscious of the level of focus your clients will place on the food. Dietary restrictions, allergies, religious preferences and an overall focus on healthfulness must all be considered when designing a menu. It is important to understand exactly what your client is asking for and how we can meet their needs. 

Changing Tastes

A comparison of the prepared foods section at markets is highly illustrative of today's eating habits.


In 1998, most markets contained a hot bar that often featured fried foods. 




Today, consumers desire fresh, healthy options and they care about presentation.


Leading With Healthy Food

The healthiness of the food we eat decreases by 1.7% for every hour that passes in the day, meaning that people generally eat healthiest at breakfast and will most likely eat unhealthier food later in the day. How can we build meals & events throughout the day that support today's lifestyles and set us apart? Consider a client's entire schedule as you help prepare a menu for them. For instance, if they are going to be active in meetings all day, make sure that breakfast will not drag their energy down. 

"When you can have something that tastes delicious and it feels good in your body and you feel like you did something good for yourself, why wouldn't it sell?"

What Are People Eating? You May Be Surprised

Consider the graphic below:

How can we leverage this data? Consider the cuisine that defines the geography of your property. Your clients may want you to highlight these local flavors. On the flip side, consider where your clients are traveling from. What comfort food items may they want available? 

What meal is typically the healthiest of the day?

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • A midnight snack

Which of the following considerations do today's food consumers care about?

  • The healthfulness of their food
  • Allergies and dietary restrictions
  • The presentation of their food
  • All of the above

Allergies, Food Sensitivities & Other Dietary Restrictions

Importance of Considering Allergies

When planning meals, designing menus and coordinating functions it is important to enquire if the guests have any special food restrictions or allergies to consider. The reasons why people choose special diets range from religious practices, ideological beliefs to allergies, special diets and food sensitivities.

Allergies vs. Intolerance


True food allergies come in various forms. It can be a slight case such as a headaches or a rash to a certain product to some causing severe reactions, including death. The most common individual food allergies include those to peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans etc), fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, soy, corn and wheat. If you are given information a guest has a food allergies to a product make sure you consider all the ingredients used in the meal being served. Read the ingredients on the packet of any products used in the guest’s meal. Do not ever think that "little bit should not matter". Allergies can kill!


Food intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. It occurs when something in a food irritates a person's digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest or breakdown the food. Intolerance to lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products, is the most common food intolerance.

Milk Allergies & Lactose Intolerant (Dairy Free)

Milk protein allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins commonly found in cows milk. It is caused by your immune system reacting because it believes the protein in the milk is a threat to your body. Your immune system will do it's best to get rid of the invader, just as it would a foreign virus or poison. During the allergic reaction your body releases histamine, a chemical which causes blood vessels to dilate and leak, mucous membranes to start producing skin rashes, vomiting and other effects.

Lactose intolerance is the inability to properly digest milk sugar, also known as lactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal bloating, gaseousness, flatulence, cramping, and diarrhea following the consumption of food containing dairy products or by-products.

Remember that butter is a dairy product. Substitute a cooking oil instead. Soy, rice, almond and cashew milks are all alternatives to cow-based milk. 

Gluten/Celiac Disease

Gluten is a protein found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, and spelt), rye, oats, barley. When people with celiac disease consume gluten, the absorptive villi in the small intestine are damaged, preventing the absorption of many important nutrients. The long-term effect of untreated celiac disease can be life threatening. However, with a completely gluten-free diet, the intestinal lining will heal completely allowing most patients to live a normal, healthy life as long as they remain free of gluten in their diet. Even a small amount of gluten can cause symptoms to reoccur.

Gluten is hidden in many unsuspecting foods such as licorice, soy sauce, vinegar, some flavorings, most processed foods, self-basting turkeys, some cold cuts, and many prepared stocks and soups. It's also used as a binder in some pharmaceutical products and can be the starch in unidentified food starch, modified food starch, caramel coloring, and vegetable protein.

You must take celiac disease extremely seriously. Review every ingredient of a dish to make sure no gluten is 'sneaking in.' Avoid products where the ingredients are of questionable origin or are listed as simply "natural flavorings, flavor extracts, or spice extracts." If you are unsure, consult the internet or contact the manufacturer directly. Always err on the side of caution. 

Shellfish Allergies

Shellfish can cause severe allergic reactions (such as anaphylaxis). Therefore it is advised that people with shellfish allergy have quick access to an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen) at all times. This allergy usually is lifelong. Approximately 60 percent of people with shellfish allergy experienced their first allergic reaction as adults. Shrimp, crab and lobster cause most shellfish allergies. Finned fish and shellfish do not come from related families of foods, so being allergic to one does not necessarily mean that you must avoid both. To prevent a reaction, strict avoidance of shellfish and shellfish products is essential. Always read ingredient labels to identify shellfish ingredients.

There are two kinds of shellfish: crustacea (such as shrimp, crab and lobster) and mollusks (such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops). Reactions to crustacean shellfish tend to be particularly severe. If you are allergic to one group of shellfish, you might be able to eat some varieties from the other group. However, since most people who are allergic to one kind of shellfish usually are allergic to other types, allergists usually advise their patients to avoid all varieties.

Tree Nut & Peanut Allergies


Tree nut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children and adults. Tree nuts can cause a severe, potentially fatal, allergic reaction. Just like those suffering from shellfish allergies, people with a tree nut allergy should have quick access to an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen) at all times. To prevent a reaction, strict avoidance of tree nuts and tree nut products is essential.  

Tree nuts include, but are not limited to, walnut, almond, hazelnut, cashew, pistachio, and Brazil nuts. These are not to be confused or grouped together with peanut, which is a legume, or seeds, such as sunflower or sesame.


Peanut allergies tend to be lifelong, although studies indicate that approximately 20 percent of children with peanut allergy do eventually outgrow their allergy

Peanuts are not the same as tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.), which grow on trees. Peanuts grow underground and are part of a different plant family, the legumes. Other examples of legumes include beans, peas, lentils and soybeans. If someone is allergic to peanuts, they are not necessarily allergic to other legumes, although it may be helpful to ask.


There are several types of diabetes. The most common are type 1 and type 2. In type 1, the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Individuals with type 1 need insulin shots in order to stay alive. Type 1 can occur at any age, but is usually seen in children and young adults.

With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces some insulin. Type 2 diabetes need insulin to regulate their blood glucose, while others respond well to diet therapy and exercise alone, or a combination of diet, exercise and oral medication.

Starches (pastas, rice, bread, cake, potatoes, corn, etc.), fruit and milk are high in carbohydrates. Once in your body, they break down into your cells' preferred form of energy-glucose. Insulin is needed to help your cells take in the glucose. With diabetes, your insulin cannot do this task properly. A diabetic diet helps you schedule your carbohydrate intake so that your cells can get the glucose that they need.

Consuming too many carbohydrate-containing foods can raise your blood glucose way above normal; eating too few, can hurt your body by denying it the high quality energy that it needs. The timing of your meals is also important. The more that you eat at one meal, the more insulin you will need to utilize the energy from the breakdown of those foods. If you eat smaller portions throughout your day, you will not need as much insulin to bring down your blood sugar.

There are many types of diabetic diets. Some require a lot of measuring, some don't require any measuring at all. All are planned to provide you with the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, along with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients needed to keep you healthy. It would pay to have the guest give you some guide lines to what would be a suitable meal.


Generally speaking, vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry or fish. However, there are several different types of vegetarianism that differ based upon how strict their diets are. These differing diets are described below, beginning with the strictest. You will notice that the main difference between classic vegetarians is their attitude towards dairy and eggs. 

Vegans eat only plant foods and products. They do not eat any animal foods, eggs or dairy products. Strict vegans will not consume honey. 

Lacto-vegetarians eat only plant foods and dairy foods. They do not eat eggs, meat, poultry or fish. 

Ovo-vegetarians eat only plant foods and eggs. They do not eat dairy foods, meat, poultry or fish.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat plant foods, dairy foods and eggs. They do not eat meat, poultry or fish.

Pescatarians are technically not vegetarians, but sometimes identify themselves as such. They eat plant foods, dairy foods, eggs and fish or other seafood. They do not eat meat or poultry. 


Religious Dietary Restrictions Part 1


Jewish dietary laws are known as Kashrut, and are among the most complex of all religious food practices. The term Kosher means fit and describes all foods that are permitted for consumption.

A Kosher kitchen is divided into separate sections: one each for dairy, meat and pareve (containing neither dairy nor meat). Different sets of utensils, pots, pans, plates, knives, chopping boards are used in each section of a Kosher kitchen. If your kitchen is not normally used for kosher food, it would be well advised to source a local Kosher caterer to provide a certified kosher meal for the guest. They would provide Kosher utensils, cups, plates for the occasion. The meal can easily be reheated in an oven or microwave but must be keep covered so the guest can see the rabbinic certifications seal is intact.

Many Jewish people practice some or all of the below restrictions in various degrees. It would be best to inquire as to what (if any) restrictions they have.

• No pork, and shellfish.

• Fish is acceptable as long as it has fins and scales.

• Only animals with split hooves and which chew the cud are ritually clean (including sheep and cows)

• Refrain from eating meat and dairy products at the same meal

• No wine, unless its kosher wine

• All meat has to be prepared by a qualified kosher butcher (SHOCHET)

• If meat was eaten in the same day, one must wait six hours before consuming any dairy products


For most Christians, eating habits are not affected- though some will be vegetarians, usually for moral reason, and some will refrain from eating meat on Fridays. Some sects, such as Mormons, have many rules and restrictions regarding eating and drinking. For example, they may practice a complete abstinence from tea, coffee and alcohol and an emphasis on wholesome eating.

Religious Dietary Restrictions Part 2


This religion has various food restrictions according to their own dietary laws, which are Halaal. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to eat from dawn to sunset. However, young children, pregnant women and the sick are often exempted. As similar to other religions, it would be advisable to enquire as to what restrictions the guest has.

• Carnivorous animals are not permitted.

• All pork and pork products are totally forbidden.

• Sea animals which do not have fins or scales are considered undesirable by some Muslims.

• Alcohol in any form is not permitted.

• Permissible meat other than pork can be eaten only if it is prepared in the correct way (Halaal).

• These products should be avoided by all Muslims: Lard, gelatine, Rennet, Whey, Vanilla extract.

• Utensils should be separate for Muslims. There should be no contamination of Halaal and non Halaal.


Most Hindus do not eat meat (strict Hindus are vegetarians) and none eat beef since the cow is sacred to them.


Strict Buddhists are vegetarians and their dishes vary since many live in India and China, where available foods will be different.

True or False (Part 1)

  • A food allergy is an immune reaction, while a food intolerance involves difficulty digesting food
  • Someone who has a mollusk allergy cannot eat crab
  • All Vegans can eat honey
  • Kosher meals from an outside caterer must be served sealed and will include plates and silverware
  • Someone with a peanut allergy cannot eat walnuts

True or False (Part 2)

  • Someone who has celiac disease could not eat a soup thickened with flour
  • Someone who has a dairy allergy cannot have butter brushed on their steak
  • All diabetic diets require careful measuring of food
  • A practicing Muslim can have bacon
  • Food allergies can be fatal

Local & Sustainable Food

The Local Food Movement

"Local food“ or the "local food movement" aim is to connect food producers and food consumers in the same geographic region; in order to develop more self-reliant and resilient food networks, improve local economies, or for health, environmental, community, or social impact in a particular place. 

The advent of farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants have brought food sourcing to the forefront of Americans' consciousness. Not only are strawberries grown an hour away fresher and better tasting than the ones that spent days or even weeks being shipped across the country, buying that produce supports the local economy and a more sustainable way of eating.

Studies show that 75% of shoppers at farmers’ markets arrived in groups while only 16% of shoppers at supermarkets arrive in groups. Only 9% of customers in chain supermarkets had a social interaction with another customer and 14% had an interaction with an employee, but at farmers’ markets, 63% had an interaction with a fellow shopper and 42% had an interaction with an employee or farmer report.[29] Local food builds community vibrancy and retains local traditions while establishing a local identity through a unique sense of community.

Staying Local

Local Food Means....

  • Heritage breeds of meat
  • Fresher foods
  • Free-range eggs and poultry
  • A better variety of organic foods
  • Handmade farmstead cheeses
  • Healthier foods
  • Seasonal foods
  • Pasture-raised meats
  • Heirloom produce

Using local food helps your property create a regional identity. Understand that your clients will be interested in how you engage in the local food scene, and be prepared to answer any questions about the sourcing of your products.

Sustainable Food

Sustainable food takes into account environmental, health, social & economic concerns and consists of the following eight inter-related principles:

1. Local & seasonal.

Food now travels further than ever before with money leaking from local economies. Local & seasonal food offers a way to: minimize energy use in transportation & storage; increase freshness & quality; strengthen local distinctiveness & build more resilient communities, whilst supporting local food outlets and farmers alike.

2. Organic & sustainable farming.

Organic, low-carbon food production, which avoids artificial fertilizers & genetically modified organisms, is more beneficial to bio-diversity & the environment, and offers a long-term investment in soil fertility for future food production. It also has a crucial role to play in countering climate change - potentially offsetting 23% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture through soil carbon sequestration alone.

3. Reduce foods of animal origin & maximize welfare standards.

Meat and dairy products are among the most energy & greenhouse-gas intensive food products of all. The meat industry contributes 40% more than all forms of transport combined On top of this livestock uses 70% of agricultural land world wide (30% of the Earth’s land surface) yet creates a fraction of the calories (per unit of land) compared to cereals or vegetables, contributing to malnutrition & food in-security.

4. Excludes fish species identified as at risk.

Overfishing is the greatest single threat to marine wildlife and habitats, with nearly 80% of world fish stocks fully or overexploited.  Many once common North Sea species are now overfished – with cod stocks on the verge of commercial collapse & common skate virtually extinct.

5. Fair-trade-certified products.

Fair-trade ensures producers are paid fairly for their work, offering a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.  It creates social & economic opportunities for producers and workers who have been exploited, disadvantaged or marginalized by the conventional trading system.

6. Promote health and well being.

Only 18% of adult Mancunians eat the recommended minimum of five portions of fruit & vegetables a day, and childhood obesity & other food related illnesses are on the increase. At the same time 15% globally go hungry while in the UK we waste approximately one third of all food. Sustainable food system is about health & wellbeing for all – individually, locally and globally.

7. Food democracy.

The mainstream food system and supply chain is unfair & unsustainable.  Decisions & profits are taken by a handful of large companies driving down prices & maximizing profits at the expense of farmers, local communities & the environment.  Our current unsustainable food system has turned us into a nation of passive consumers in a top down system from which we expect unlimited 'choice' but over which we have little control.  Food democracy is about reconnecting people to food & taking responsibility for it, ensuring control by and fairness among local producers, suppliers and consumers, and working to reduce inequality in the food supply chain.

8. Reduction of waste and packaging.

Approximately 70% of primary packaging is used for food and drink which is often discarded contaminated by residues of the original contents, making it difficult to recycle.  Buying local and seasonal food reduces the need for unnecessary packaging, minimizing the negative impact on the environment from the current large scale disposal of inorganic waste.  Generally, food should come with the minimum of packaging and wherever possible the use of reusable packaging should be used/promoted.

Why is the local food movement so popular?

  • Local food is fresher and better tasting than food that is frozen and shipped
  • Consumers seek out local food to support their local economies
  • Studies have shown that the local food movement helps to foster a sense of community
  • All of the above

Which of the following does the sustainable food movement taken into concern?

  • Environmental impacts
  • Supporting health
  • The social & economic factors of producing food
  • All of the above

Around the World: Global Cuisines


Italian cuisine has a great variety of different ingredients which are commonly used, ranging from fruits, vegetables, sauces, meats, etc. In the North of Italy, fish, potatoes, rice, corn (maize), sausages, pork, and different types of cheeses are the most common ingredients. Pasta dishes with use of tomato are spread in all Italy.

In Northern Italy though there are many kinds of stuffed pasta, polenta and risotto are equally popular if not more so. Liguria ingredients include several types of fish and seafood dishes; basil, nuts and olive oil are very common. In Emilia-Romagna, common ingredients include ham, sausage, different sorts of salami, truffles, grana, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tomatoes. Traditional Central Italian cuisine uses ingredients such as tomatoes, all kinds of meat, fish, and pecorino cheese. In Tuscany pasta is traditionally served with meat sauce (including game meat). Finally, in Southern Italy, tomatoes – fresh or cooked into tomato sauce – peppers, olives and olive oil, garlic, artichokes, oranges, ricotta cheese, eggplants, zucchini, certain types of fish (anchovies, sardines and tuna), and capers are important components to the local cuisine.


Some French cooking is elegant, some is rustic – but it is always delicate and tasteful. Many find the French cuisine intimidating, maybe because of this exquisite reputation, or maybe because it is often said that mastering French cuisine involves mastering a few basic cooking methods, signature ingredients and executing these with style. Many see French cuisine as an art. 

Taking a closer look at French cuisine, you’ll soon notice that the components of cooking and the dishes themselves can vary quite a lot from region to region. Some regions however have been more influential than others – for example, many French people would likely tell you that the Basque cuisine has since long been seen as an important influence in the French kitchen.

Some examples of classic French cuisine include:

  • Coq au vin: Chicken braised (pot roasted) with wine, mushrooms, salt pork or bacon (lardons), mushrooms, onion, often garlic and sometimes brandy.
  • Cassoulet: A comfort dish of white beans stewed slowly with meats, typically pork or duck but also sausages, goose, mutton or whatever else the chef has around.
  • Beef bourguignon:  A stew made of beef braised in red wine, beef broth and seasoned with garlic, pearl onions, fresh herbs and mushrooms.
  • Chocolate souffle: The word souffle derives from the French word to 'breath' or 'puff', and it is an airy, baked egg dish with origins in early 18th-century France. Souffle is eaten savoury or sweet in France, and you've likely found chocolate souffle on desert menus worldwide.


Japanese cuisine has developed through centuries of social and economic changes, and encompasses the regional and traditional foods of Japan. The traditional cuisine of Japan is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Fish is common, often grilled, but also served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried in a light batter as tempura.

Apart from rice, staples include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food, in particular Chinese food in the form of noodles in soup called ramen and fried dumplings, gyoza, and western food such as curry and hamburger steaks are commonly found in Japan. Historically, the Japanese shunned meat, but with the modernization of Japan in the 1880s, meat-based dishes such as tonkatsu became common.

Japan has an indigenous form of sweets called wagashi which includes ingredients such as red bean paste as well as indigenous rice wine or sake.

Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi, has now become popular throughout the world. As of 2011, Japan overtook France in number of Michelin starred restaurants and has maintained the title since.


China has one of the most diverse mixes of cultures and cuisines in the world. The main eight styles of cooking are: Fujian, Cantonese, Anhui, Zhejiang, Szechuan, Shandong and Hunan. In Chinese traditional medicine and culture, the opposites of yin and yang must always be kept in balance. This same balance extends to food. When cooking, the Chinese try to balance different colors, tastes, textures and smells. This focus has paid off and made Chinese cuisine one of the world’s finest.

In a traditional Chinese meal, you can expect to have noodles or rice. Although many American-based Chinese restaurants use fried rice, most China-based Chinese restaurants serve basic steamed rice. With a strong Buddhist history, vegetarian dishes like tofu remain popular. Interestingly, garlic and chilies are considered non-vegetarian in Buddhism because they stimulate the chi. If you go to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, don’t expect a lot of spices. For non-vegetarian dishes, you can expect Peking duck, thousand year old eggs, squid and a range of meat dishes. Vegetables are always included with dinner, and they are far from your mother’s broccoli. Chinese vegetable dishes are often the most delicious part of the meal.


Mexican Cuisine is primarily a fusion of indigenous Mesoamerican cooking with European, especially Spanish elements added after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century. The staples are native foods, such as corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, and chili peppers, along with rice which was brought by the Spanish. Europeans introduced a large number of other foods, the most important of which were meats from domesticated animals (beef, pork, chicken, goat, and sheep), dairy products (especially cheese), and various herbs and spices. A couple examples of popular Mexican cuisine are listed below:

  • Ceviche: Raw fish or other seafood cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with chili peppers
  • Cochinita pibil: A traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from Yucatan. The meat is marinated with citrus and annatto seed, wrapped in a banana leaf and roasted.
  • Mole sauce: A sauce that differs widely by region and is used for many dishes. It typically contains a fruit, chili pepper and nuts, with added spices. 

Morocco & Carribean

Moroccan Food

Moroccan uses Mediterranean fruits and vegetables to make spicy, flavor-filled meals. Lamb is a popular meat dish, and has a subtler flavor that Western lamb dishes. Due to its location near the sea, fish and shellfish play a strong role in Moroccan cuisine. Beef and chicken are commonly eaten. A local favorite is known as a Tagine and contains chicken, fries and olives. Many of these dishes are flavored with dried fruit, lemon pick and olive oil. At lunch time, Moroccans eat a hot or cold salad and bread. Famously, this cuisine includes couscous. Bread is a major dish and is known as Khobz. It varies from town to town, but often looks like a type of baguette. Other specialties include salted meat and Moroccan pancakes

Caribbean Food

Caribbean food is a mixture of African cuisine and local delicacies. This food contains an impressive array of peppers and tropical fruits. From fried plantains to salt fish, Caribbean food is a welcome change from European and Mediterranean dishes. This cuisine puts a strong focus on using foods like leafy green veggies, goat meat, sweet potatoes, rice, peas and coconut.

Trending Cuisines

Greek Cuisine

Like Italian cuisine, Greek food dates back thousands of years. Many common Greek dishes have unknown origins because they have been around so long. This cuisine has a unique mix of different Mediterranean styles. Back in the day, the Greeks were well-positioned to become a major port for sea trading. Every time sailors returned from traveling, they brought back different dishes and dining styles. In Greece, visitors can expect fresh herbs, olive oil and feta. Due to its location near the sea, fish is a popular dining option. Pork and lamb are common meat choices because many of the islands are too small to host cattle.

Lebanese Cuisine

Due to its location, Lebanon has adopted Arabic and Mediterranean influences. Lebanese food uses a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. Other than fish, it does not contain a big focus on meat. When dining at a Lebanese restaurant, you can expect delicious pickles, unique salads, Arabic bread, vegetable dishes and vegetable dips

Thai Cuisine

Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge. It is known for its complex interplay of at least three and up to four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy.

Jewish Cuisine

Jewish cooking shows the influence of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Spanish, German and Eastern European styles of cooking, all influenced by the unique dietary constraints of kashrut and other Jewish laws.

Many of the foods that we think of as Jewish are not unique to Jewish culture. Stuffed cabbage, a traditional Jewish dish, is common in Eastern Europe. Blintzes and knishes are familiar to all Germans, not just Jewish ones. Falafel and hummus, increasingly thought of as Israeli-Jewish foods, can be found in any Greek restaurant. But the combination of these varied foods into one style of cooking, along with our own innovations, is uniquely Jewish.

Regional Cuisines


Tex-Mex Cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of shredded, cheese meat, beans, and spices, in addition to Mexican-style tortillas. Dishes such as Texas-style chili con carne and fajitas are all Tex-Mex inventions. Moreover, Tex-Mex has imported flavors from other spicy cuisines, such as the use of cumin, introduced by Spanish immigrants to Texas from the Canary Islands.

Cajun Food

Long ago, the French Acadian people had to flee Canada. Although some of the Acadians went back to France, others chose to move to Louisiana. Once there, they combined French cooking style with local ingredients. This type of cuisine is normally formatted within three dishes. The first pot will contain the main dish while another pot contains vegetables. A third pot will generally contain a mixture of steamed rice and seafood. Popular meat choices include pork sausage, shrimp and fish. Due to the area, Cajun cuisine focuses heavily on celery, bell peppers, garlic and onions. Other flavorings include cayenne pepper, bay leaf, black pepper and green onions.

Match each dish or ingredient with the type of cuisine it is most closely associated with.

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Coq au vin
  • Udon
  • Mole sauce
    Mexican (Traditional)
  • Couscous
  • Feta cheese
  • Fajitas