Idaho Potato Commission Honors Innovation in Teaching via Social Media at 13th Annual CAFÉ Leadership Conference

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Two foodservice training programs are rewarded for harnessing the power of popular digital communication platforms to help students excel in hospitality careers

ANNAPOLIS, MD, July 10, 2017 – The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) recognized new methods and breakthroughs in professional foodservice training programs with the 2017 Idaho Potato Commission Leadership Innovation Awards for Excellence in Foodservice Education at the 13th annual Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) Leadership Conference. The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach—part of South Carolina’s Horry Georgetown Technical College—hosted the award ceremony on June 22, 2017.

Criteria for this year’s IPC Innovation Awards centered on inspiring and teaching students using of social media platforms for class assignments, research, ideation and inspiration, as well as general communication. The awards are open to foodservice instructors in high schools and post-secondary schools nationwide.

“Beginning with the first Leadership Conference, the Idaho Potato Commission has supported innovative teaching techniques at culinary schools. We created IPC sponsorships and scholarships to expand educational and culinary creativity and to generate long term benefits for both the Idaho® Potato and the foodservice industries. ” says Don Odiorne, IPC vice president-foodservice. ”Maximizing social media is an important step along the way.”

Hervé Guillard, a baking and pastry instructor at College of the Canyons’ Institute for Culinary Education in Santa Morita, Calif., earned the 2017 IPC award, submitting his food safety and sanitation teaching plan via communication platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. His students asked social media users if they had ever experienced illness due to consuming prepared foods or ingredients that were improperly stored, handled and/or cooked. Respondents were asked additional questions concerning symptoms, illness duration and whether or not the incident was reported to the source. Finally, Guillard tasked students to construct an epidemiology and make educated guesses as to how food safety principles were violated in each case.

Guillard’s students reacted positively to the project, becoming more engaged with the teaching material by relating it to real-life situations, discovering that food-borne illnesses are not restricted to the restaurant environment, and gaining a better understanding the power of social media.

Jill Hurt, a culinary instructor in Family and Consumer Sciences at Bourbon County High School in Paris, Ky was runner-up for this year’s Innovation Award. For Hurt and her students, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram became platforms to promote and sell items from the school’s Culinary Pathway’s catering business and culinary classrooms. Leading up to NFL Super Bowl 51, Hurt used Facebook to promote sales of student-prepared containers of Buffalo chicken dip, mini Hot Browns and cookies. Not only did shared information increase sales, but interested customers swelled the distribution list for the program’s business catering. Resulting profits supplement funding for ingredients and other culinary classroom and kitchen lab needs.

The good news for interested culinary educators, applications for 2018 Idaho Potato Commission Leadership Innovation Awards for Excellence in Foodservice Education will be posted at in August 2017.

About the Idaho Potato Commission
Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho®” seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil, give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance. These ideal growing conditions are what differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states. For more information, visit

About the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ)
Founded in 2002, CAFÉ links the foodservice classroom to the foodservice industry to provide needed resources to educators so that they may more successfully train students for vibrant, fulfilling careers in the ever-evolving foodservice industry. Through its Web portal, online magazine “The Gold Medal Classroom” and annual Leadership Conference, as well as its series of regional skills workshops nationwide, CAFÉ is dedicated to addressing the unique needs of highly specialized professionals who wear two hats as culinarians and teachers. For more information, visit


(l. to r.) Odiorne, Hurt, Guillard and Mary Petersen, founder and executive director, CAFÉ.

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