Eating at a Meeting Podcast
The Eating at a Meeting podcast explores a variety of topics on food and beverage (F&B) and how they impact individual experience and inclusion, sustainability, culture, community, health and wellness, laws and more.
Each 30-45 minute Eating at a Meeting episode features an expert on food and beverage who will educate listeners on how to create safe and inclusive food and beverage experiences through their respective lens. The mission is to share authentic stories that illustrate the financial, social, emotional, and mental impact food and beverage have on individuals, organizations, and the earth.
The Host – Tracy Stuckrath
Tracy is an event planner and international speaker with food allergies based in New Bern, North Carolina. She launched thrive! meetings & events in 2010, changing the trajectory of her event planning career to educate organizations on how to feed attendees with dietary needs. She is a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and entrepreneur who drives a mini-cooper convertible, takes her nieces and nephews on experiences trips, and ALWAYS talks to strangers. She has co-authored two books — Humans@Work and You@Work, working on her third (Eating at a Meeting), and has been named Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry, Meetings Industry Change Maker and one of the Top 500 Event Professionals in North America for her work on the topic of inclusive food and beverage.
Guests on Eating at a Meeting are event and meeting planners, doctors, lawyers, farmers, eaters, chefs, human resource managers, and more, sharing their experiences, knowledge and expertise on how F&B impacts experiences and business. As experts in their fields, they can help listeners think differently about food and beverage. We hope to help listeners better navigate their dietary needs, palates, plates at meetings and events, in the workplace and their communities, and across the earth so they are healthier, safer and included.
Listen to the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform. New episodes weekly.
Cocktails & Spirits — Understanding Ingredients & Techniques for Safer Beverages: Episode 40
Did you know cocktails and spirits may contain ingredients that may be unsafe to consume for some people? Tracy speaks with cocktails and spirits writer, speaker, competition judge and consultant Camper English, who whose website, cocktailsafe.org is focused on both the safety and legality of ingredients used. Tracy and Camper talk about allergen labeling and safety in cocktails.
The New Normal in Catering Design: Episode 39
Buffets. Carving Stations. Passed Hors d’oeuvres. Plated meals. Boxed lunches. What do and will in-person catered events look like in the time of a global pandemic. From personal protection equipment to social distancing, event organizers and food service operators are challenged with creating mouthwatering dining experiences that are inviting yet address guest concerns.
In this episode, Tracy chats with Kristine Holtz, CEO of Cornerstone Foodservice Group about current and future catering design, food safety standards and how to address guests’ concerns as we open our doors to welcome attendees and guests back to the table.
Inclusion • Diversity • Globalization
How Food is Welcome: Episode 38
By definition, the word welcome means to be a cause of joy; admitted willingly to the house, entertainment, or company.” In the episode Tracy talks with author, speaker and coach Doreen Cumberford whose travels and living experiences across the world have influenced her dining table. We touch on preparing food and eating that food with intention, and how food is a mechanism to welcome others into our homes, our tables and our events. She said, “…if you feel welcome at a meeting. And you feel welcome at the table. Your experience of the food is in my opinion is a little different.”
Catering | Service | Dietary Needs
James Filtz is Director of Meetings and Special Events at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans and Vice President of National Association of Catering & Events (NACE), becoming President Elect January 1, 2021.
In this episode, Tracy and James chat about catering during COVID and what we will see in the future. His philosophy on how the pandemic has had a positive effect on catering service is refreshing. So is the value that The Ritz Carlton places on the purpose of the service the ladies and gentlemen who work at the property provide.
Disabilities | Inclusion | Visually-Impaired
Donna Mack is a speaker, trainer, consultant, and (in her words) “always the last one chosen for Pictionary.” She brings a lifetime of disability customer experience that has resulted in more than 35 years of training, presenting, and consulting on disability access and inclusion.
In this episode she and Tracy talk about the challenges blind and visually-impaired attendees have eating outside of the home and the opportunities meeting and food service professionals have in providing inclusive experiences for them.
Giving When the Going Gets Tough: Episode 35
Born from the crisis need to save the life of one food service worker, The Giving Kitchen is an organization that is built on community, compassion, generosity, empathy and gratitude that supports food service workers in crisis. TGK’s shift starts when the food service worker’s can’t. In this episode with Jen Hidinger-Kendrick, a co-founder of The Giving Kitchen, we learn more about the nonprofit and how it helps food service workers when they are affected by an illness and injury, the death of a family member or a housing disaster like a flood or fire. She explains how their clarity of mission and purpose has really helped them focus be optimistic about the future, especially with the strength to the hospitality community.
Gastrodiplomacy: Episode 34
Food has become a central utensil in diplomatic toolkits across the world. Culinary diplomacy is today in the academic world what we call soft power — a tool of persuasion. Countries are branding their cuisines or their unique foods as a way to track business and tourism.
Johanna Mendelson Forman is a leading voice in the field of gastrodiplomacy and a leader in the Social Gastronomy Movement. She brings to the table years of experience as a policy maker on global conflicts and as an expert on making the connection between food and wars.
December 17, 2020 • Kosher | Local | Culture
Ahuva Gottdiener enjoys the nurturing of things, creating things and watching things grow. That includes vegetables, humans, chicken and sour dough starter. What started out as an Instagram account to share pictures of what she grows in her garden and the bread she made for her family has turned Homegrown Kosher into a certified kosher bakery, garden consultancy and more.
Her goal is to bridge the food knowledge gap between ground and plate for her Orthodox Jewish community. She shares her fascination with the fundamentals through education, inspiration and connection. She also runs her sourdough micro-bakery to provide kosher certified artisan sourdough community to her local community.
I found her on Instagram because of a picture of the bread she makes – it was a work of art!
December 15, 2020 • Food Security | Food Waste | Farming
When Aidan Reilly and James Kaneff saw on the news that billions of pounds of produce were going to waste during the pandemic while millions of Americans were going hungry they decided to do something about it. Within days these two college students home from school because their campuses were closed in response to COVID-19, created the nonprofit organization FarmLink Project, connecting farmers to food banks and committed to alleviating the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date (December 15, 2020), the Farmlink Project has delivered 17,151,462 pounds of produce via truck, car and planes to those in need across the US. They have NO plans to stop. With more than 100 students from colleges and universities across the country on the team, they creating a long-term and sustainable organization in the fight against food insecurity and food waste.
December 10, 2020 • Kosher | Catering | Religious
To kick off Hanukkah, Tracy chats with Elli Kriel of Elli’s Kosher Kitchen in Dubai. While people do not associate eating Jewish cooking within multicultural fabric of the UAE, Ellie is quite busy right now helping food service providers in Dubai and across the UAE understand the importance and value of food through kosher cuisine. As a sociologist and self-professed foodie, born and proudly raised in South Africa by Greek parents, Elli’s Kosher Kitchen caters “culinary diplomacy” by blending her multicultural family recipes with local flavors to create unique, mouthwatering “Kosherati” dishes.
December 1, 2020 • Food Allergies | Labeling | Trust
As parents of a food allergic child, Dave Bloom as his wife wanted to ensure their daughter was safe in her classroom so they created a list of snacks that were safe for her and shared it with other parents and the school. That original list 14 years ago became the genesis for their website snacksafely.com and Snack Safely Guide which provides information on more than 2,500 products – snacks, entrees, cereals – produced by more than 130+ manufacturers to help disclose precisely how their product is manufactured with respect with 11 allergens.
December 1, 2020 • Wine | Culture | Workplace
A conversation with Brian Freedman, Wine, Spirits, Travel, & Food Writer and Restaurant Consultant who hosts beverage-focused dinners, workshops, and seminars, consults on wine lists for dinners, top restaurants, and private clients, and hosts “Day Drinking with Brian.”
In this episode, Brian shares his knowledge on how wine and spirits can help create inclusive experiences for clients and guests by meeting them at their place of greatest comfort.
December 1, 2020 • COVID | Dietary Needs | Workplace
Abby Borden, owner & principal of Table Set Go, is an event producer who SPECIALIZES in food! On this episode Tracy chats with Abby about how companies are being creative with their food and beverage events during COVID as well as how large companies in California successfully manage dietary needs.
November 26, 2020 • COVID | Food Allergies | Inclusion
During the Meetings Today webinar, “F&B 101: Managing Attendee Food Preferences and Dietary Requirements From A to Z,” Tracy presented, attendees asked questions that were not addressed. In this episode, she takes time to answer some of those questions.
November 24, 2020 • Etiquette | Virtual Meetings | Workplace
We’re all aware of basic dining etiquette when eating at meetings. What about when eating during a virtual meeting? With virtual meetings being much more global the time of your meeting is probably happening during someone’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. So is there a new set of etiquette standards for a virtual meeting? Should you eat at all? In this episode, Pamela Eyring president and owner of The Protocol School of Washington® shares her expertise and advice on the proper etiquette of eating at a meeting and a virtual meeting.
With more than three decades of public and private sector experience in operational protocol and educational development, Pamela has an extensive knowledge of US and international practices and is a global thought leader in the etiquette and protocol industry.
November 19, 2020 • Senses | Inclusion | Experiences
“We are becoming robots…we’re just touching screens all day long…We are not engaging our others senses… Part of being a human is being a sensory being. We are sensory. We need to touch, smell, listen and taste…”
Kim Arazi, founder & creative Director of innosensi talks about how ‘sensory innovation’ experiences around a dining table can help us reconnect to ourselves, each other and the environment by breaking down barriers, challenging assumptions, and innovating ‘inside-out.
November 17, 2020 • Ethics | Compliance | Workplace
November 1-7 was Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week. To help celebrate and educate, the very important topic, I talked with ethics and compliance expert Keith Darcy about how compliance, ethics, food, and beverage are connected. What behaviors and risks can food and beverage pose in the workplace? How can HR and compliance professionals mitigate potential risks?
Keith Darcy is a retired bank executive and corporate director; educator for 45 years, including associate dean at Georgetown, and 25 years on the faculty of The Wharton School; involved in shaping the ethics and compliance profess for over 40 years, and across six continents.
Mentioned in the show: AllergyStrong
November 13, 2020 • Sustainability | Food Waste
Reducing food waste isn’t just about keeping food out of landfill – it’s an essential part of creating a sustainable, resilient and inclusive food system, one that maximizes water and land resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow. Learn how using local sourcing, whole-product utilization, and lots of effort helped Jackie Suggitt and ReFed do it.
November 10, 2020 • Sustainability | COVID | Food Safety
COVID-19 has brought food safety to the limelight while pushing sustainability to the wayside. But, can they coexist? Eric Wallinger, Director of Sustainability of MeetGreen says YES! In the conversation, learn how providing safe and inclusive food and beverage events in the middle of a pandemic can also be sustainable. Eric offers his advice and resources to help event organizers maintain and increase their sustainability efforts.
Files Mentioned in the show:
November 5, 2020 • Duty of Care | Wellness | Dietary Needs
Amelia Ekus is nourishing inspiration in the corporate cafés she manages by creating a honest, sustainable and inclusive food and beverage experiences while also doing everything in her power to give her team members the skills they need to grow in their careers, not just to succeed in their current positions.
Eater Article mentioned in the podcast
November 3, 2020 • Accessibility | COVID | Dietary Needs
Providing inclusive food and beverage experiences is more than ensuring you have options for food allergic and vegan attendees. It also means making sure everyone has equal access to the event. Elisa Hays and I met at a convention luncheon where she did not have equal access. Learn how to ensure she does next time. We also talk how this impacts experiences during the COVID pandemic.
October 29, 2020 • Food Allergies | Kids | Food Equity
Thomas Silvera and his wife took a tragic incident to create the Elijah-Alavi Foundation to reduce the risk of life-threatening allergic reactions in children while they are in day-care and/or school. From food bullying to using epinephrine, labeling laws to legislation, training and more, Thomas talks with Tracy about the work the foundation does across the country to reducing risks.
October 27, 2020 • Catering | COVID | Food Allergies
April Cunningham, owner of April’s Table Catering company talks about how she manages food safety regulations during COVID as well as accommodating dietary needs of her catering clients. How do you staff an event? How do you share your food safety practices? How do COVID and dietary needs mix?
October 22, 2020 • Farming | Nutrition | Sustainability
Stepheni Norton’s journey from chief yeoman in the U.S. Coast Guard to Southern California community farmer of pre-WWII fruit, vegetables and herbs began with a dream … and an insect bite.
As farmers at W.D. Dickinson, Stepheni and her husband Mike, are working to preserve community, local foods, cultures and traditions, and to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean, and fair food. They also offer what they call a FARMacy CSA, which offers members fruits and vegetables that meet anti-inflammatory, Candida, and diabetic dietary needs.
October 20, 2020 • Food Waste | Nutrition | Sustainability
In 2012 Tinia Pina was volunteering for a SAT prep program in Harlem when she noticed that the food options available to the students — processed and fried — were not feeding them nutritiously to stay alert and the best chance to be productive.
She saw an opportunity use a waste stream as a way to catalyze a more sustainable growing near the urban areas to create Re-nuble, headquartered in New York City, and enable farms to transform Food Waste into Plant-Based Fertilizer for Soilless Cultivation.
October 15, 2020 • Food Allergies | Catering | Event Planning
Kyle Dine is an internationally trusted food allergy advocate, educator and performer. Having severe allergies himself and having “married into” celiac disease, he is very familiar with the struggles of communicating his dietary needs to people who are responsible for making and/or ordering food for him at restaurants and events.
After experiencing the worst food allergy reaction of his life in 2005, he decided to begin helping other food allergic individuals avoid anaphylactic reaction like his by spreading food allergy awareness and education through music.
October 13, 2020 • Food Allergies | Catering | Event Planning
Dianne Davis owns an event planning business in Tulsa, OK that plans and executes events all across North America and the islands for corporations and associations. One of their specialties is doing events in nontraditional spaces.
With a life-long allergy to tree nuts and medically-required avoidance to peanuts since the age of 4, she does not know what a peanut butter sandwich tastes like.
In this episode, Dianne and I chat about the seriousness of food allergies, lack of safety in events around allergies, cultural and religious preferences, attending events with an allergy and advocating for ourselves.
October 6, 2020 • Food Allergies | Catering | Chefs
Chef Joel Schaffer and his wife Mary are Your Allergy Chefs. They are dedicated to providing tips, guidance, and resources for those with and/or provide food for individuals with food allergies, intolerances and/or other dietary needs.
Using their own personal dietary needs and their culinary training they have create a thriving business educating hotels, chefs, cooks, food manufacturers on how to create delicious and safe food options for guests.
In this episode, Joel talks about how restaurants, catering and food service operators to revamp their menu items to easily accommodate guests with dietary needs. He also shares how best to eat out with dietary needs – great info coming from a chef and as someone with his own dietary needs.
When he started as the Culinary Development and Special Dietary Needs Manager for Walt Disney World Resort they had ~66,000 food allergy requests. Years later, after creating and implementing a process and training for all staff, they were successfully serving over 300,000 food allergy requests.
October 6, 2020 • Food Allergies | Workplace
In her 2019 research, “Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults” it was found that 1 in every 10 adults has food allergies. Dr. Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH wants to make sure that the general public is aware of food allergies, and food related conditions, how common they are and how significant they are.
These potentially life-threatening conditions should not be taken lightly. In this conversation we talk about the prevalence of food allergies, the need for workplace policies, public awareness, why there are so many food allergies, research and potential cures. Her passion and commitment to help us all is very inspiring.
Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, has more than 16 years experience as a board-certified pediatrician and health researcher and currently serves as the director of the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research (CFAAR), where she is actively involved in clinical, epidemiological, and community-based research. Dr. Gupta is the author of the Food Allergy Experience, has written and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed research manuscripts and has had her work featured on major TV networks and in print media.
October 1, 2020 • Food Allergies | Vegan | Food Transparency
Recently named America’s Top Hospital Chef, Nina Curtis is passionate about cooking for others, putting love into every meal she makes because she is honored that people trust her to cook for them. There is a lot of responsibility cooking for others. As a chef means to compassionately work to service food items, provide food menus and engage guests with the highest form of presentation that meets most all guests’ food needs; allergens, preferences, and more.
When attending events herself, she is amazed by the lack of creativity, thought and care that goes into making a vegan dish. In this episode, Chef Nina and I chatted about plant-based eating, food safety and the responsibility she holds in making food for others.
September 29, 2020 • Food Allergies | FDA | Food Transparency
In May 2020 during and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees U.S. food regulations, announced temporary flexibility policy regarding certain labeling requirements for foods for humans during COVID-19.
As a food manufacturer that makes superfood-based products, Colleen Kavanagh found of ZEGO Foods does testing and set quality standards for 400+ agricultural pesticides and toxins in the ingredients so that their products support the long-term health of our family and planet. The facility is also free from the top 13 allergens — peanut, tree nuts, milk (dairy), soy, egg, fish, shellfish, mollusks, sesame, lupin, sulfites, mustard, wheat — and no corn or corn derivatives are used on equipment, packaging or processing aids.
In this episode, Colleen and I chatted about the FDA regulation and what it means to food production and safety for individuals with dietary needs.
September 22, 2020 • Food Allergies | Childhood Hunger | Food Equality
Using hyper-locally food, butchering whole animals in-house, solar power, and preserving in-season fruits and vegetables to use throughout the year, Aimee Francaes and Jesse Hassinger owners of Belly of the Beast in Massachusetts feed their community without waste and with foods they can trust, eat and share.
Making everything from scratch, they – and their staff – know everything goes into the menu items, how it is prepared and that it is a necessity, they are teaching what it means to be hospitable with the food with they serve. Jesse said, “It is an adventure….I think people to look at like that rather than a burden.” And, Aimee, If you’re not taking things seriously, you are not doing it right.
Plus, with a mission to give back to the community, they are also producing and donating 100 meals a week to the local school system.
“You will never see a tomato on our menu outside of August thru October unless it is pickled.”
September 22, 2020 • Food Allergies | Childhood Hunger | Food Equality
Chef Cliff Lyles, Vice President of Culinary Excellence and Product Development at Revolution Foods has traveled all over the world as a chef. One of the things that he has always wanted to do and felt is important is for everyone, in any type of eating environment, to enjoy the food and just have high quality good food to eat.
When he found out about Revolution Foods and their mission, he just had to be a part of it. They didn’t come looking for him. He went looking for them. Now, he and the team at Revolution Foods, which is mission driven to support communities with culturally relevant, healthy meals, are feeding two to three million people a week based on our capacity and where we are throughout the country.
From feeding kids at school, the elderly in nursing homes and helping World Central Kitchen feed front line workers, Chef Lyles is taking his knowledge, skillset and love for feeding people to ensuring that those are who feeding others that “you can feed a person a great, healthy meal on a very tight budget, successfully. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to do it.”
September 18, 2020 • Food Allergies | Air Travel | Epinephrine
Lianne Mandelbaum founded No Nut Traveller in 2013 after a negative flight experience that she encountered with her son. She speaks at conferences nationwide and encourages individuals with food allergies to share their travel stories both positively and negatively, to reach out to legislators and help them create policies that help individuals with food allergies.
Lianne is passionate about educating the general public on what it’s like to live with a food allergy and is on a mission to make the skies more accommodating for those with food allergies.
Policies, labeling, transparency, personal responsibility, auto injectors, cleaning, training, emergency in the air, Lianne talks about the business opportunity airlines have to create a safe and inclusive travel experience.
Through her website, social media and advocacy efforts Lianne has helped change the lives of so many people with food allergies when they travel.
September 15, 2020 • Dietary Needs | Sustainability | Event Design
Almost 90 percent of event organizers say that food and beverage is a key part of the meeting design and event experience. Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC delves into the 2020 IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report sharing how organizers and venues have a greater appetite for using food and beverage to positively affecting the senses, engaging and contributing to local communities and looking after attendees dietary needs to create experiences that are unforgettable.
The IACC Meeting Room of the Future report combines research and insights into the top issues facing the global meetings and conference industry. The 2020 IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report brings together insights from meeting and conference venues, hotels and urban conference venues across 3 continents, as well as suppliers including global meeting space designers, architects, technology companies, furniture manufacturers and nutrition experts.
September 10, 2020 • Food Allergies | Equality
Food Equality Initiative has seen a 300% Increase in service requests as a result of COVID-19. There was need before the pandemic, but it has magnified the need. Eighteen percent of individuals who are visiting food pantries will be visiting them for the first time. The systems the US has in place for vulnerable families with food insecurity are failing the families with special dietary needs. The food is not there. They do not have adequate policies for distribution. From sharing the price differences in the cost of free-from food items to how she is advocating for families who are food insecure, Emily Brown, founder and CEO of Food Equality Initiative, explains how there is a gap in the safety net to assist food insecurity for those in need.
September 8, 2020 • Food Allergies | Sustainability | Seasonal
Chef Murray Hall of Dolce Hotels & Resorts talks about he incorporates local and seasonal ingredients into his menus to meet the demands of consumers wanting to know from where their food comes while balancing budgets for his clients. He also shares how he is creating menu items to make them vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free — ensuring the flavor remains — to make meals more plant-forward while also reducing the number of specialized plates, and offering something unique for the event and property.
September 3, 2020 • Food Allergies | Inclusion | Disabilities | ADA
What does equal access look like for those with disabilities, including those with medically-necessary dietary needs (food allergies, celiac disease, cancer) mean for meeting planners and food service providers? Mary Vargas talks about culture misconceptions about having a disability…a major life impairment. She wants everyone to know they have a right to equal access. How to create a safe, inclusive and “like” food and beverage experience? It does mean someone sits a room with nothing to eat while everyone else eats.
Mary Vargas is an attorney who does nationwide impact litigation on behalf of individuals with disabilities including those with food allergies, celiac disease and non-celiac gluten Sensitivity. She is a founding partner at Stein & Vargas, LLP.
September 1, 2020 • Food Safety | COVID-19
At the “onset” of COVID-19 shut-down, Tracy chatted with Ben Chapman, food safety specialist, extension specialist and professor at North Carolina State University on what and how meeting organizers should be concerned about as it relates to food safety in general and with the coronavirus.
From cleaning and sanitizing, seating, service methods (everyone touching the tongs), standard operating procedures, time and temperature control, food sourcing, health inspection scores and more, Ben spends almost 55 minutes sharing his insights on how to be and provide a safe food and beverage experience.
Episode 1: Food Allergy: A Real World Perspective on What they are and what its like to live with them
August 29, 2020 • Food Allergies | Inclusion
Food allergies don’t go on vacation. “This is life.” And so it makes living day to day very different having to manage the condition. Erin Malawer, Executive Director of AllergyStrong, CEO of Allergy Health, and founder of the blog Shmallergy talks about how she does it all the time, no matter where her family is, no matter where they go and how she is helping other individuals and families as well as the medical community, understand how their patients live with the diagnosis.
Welcome to Eating at a Meeting
August 29, 2020 • Nutrition | Inclusion
Tracy Stuckrath launches the Eating at a Meeting podcast, explaining how she got here and what she will focusing on with the interviews and information provided in each show.