Valrhona Selection’s Industry Talks series, set for May 26-28, will gather international experts in the food industry, including chefs, journalists, distributors and consultants, who have adapted as best they can during the unprecedented situation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

These expert panels will share their lessons learned, best practices to keep businesses open and vision for tomorrow, based on their perspectives as part of the food industry in various parts of the world, including the United States, the Middle East and Asia. In these three sessions, the panels will exchange ideas about how stakeholders can empower themselves to face evolving expectations in the industry, covering topics such as how to pivot business models and customer experience, how businesses can engage with more customers online and what changes to business and safety practices we may expect to see moving forward.

“Every player in the hospitality business has been strongly affected due to the COVID-19 ” says Emmanuelle Brun, chief operating officer of Valrhona North America. “We continuously ask ourselves how we can be the best partners to our consumers, and this has never been more important than it is now. It is imperative for us to have a positive impact on our value chain, and to be able to share our knowledge and experience with others.”

Viewers can tune in on Facebook at @ValrhonaUSA, Tuesday, May 26 through Thursday, May 28 every day at 12:00 p.m. EST for 60 minutes of live discussions, including Q&A from the audience on the following topics. Recordings will be shared on the Valrhona USA Facebook page for those who are unable to make the live sessions.

The live sessions and speakers include:

Tuesday, May 26: Change is the New Constant

  • Brady Williams, executive chef, Canlis, Seattle
  • Eve Turow-Paul, author, public speaker, consultant, Chicago
  • Steve Pyle, CEO, Chef Middle East LLC, United Arab Emirates

“As fear of COVID-19 spread around the world, it also introduced new challenges for the food service industry. We saw many establishments being flexible, changing their business models, and introducing new customer experiences to meet the current market needs and continue to function. Some establishments stand out for their incredible adaptability and creativity in finding new, engaging ways to serve their communities. This session will explore some of those new business models and experiences which exemplary businesses from around the world started in order to adjust to this new normal.”

Wednesday, May 27: The New Tomorrow

  • Toby Malbec, managing director at ConStrata Technology Consulting, Hollywood, Florida
  • Shahbaz Tiavar, vice president, procurement, AccorHotels, Middle East & Africa
  • Denis Vergneau, general manager – food service, Sinodis, China

“The global health and economic crisis has dramatically changed the food industry, and it’s possible some changes might be here for good. Now more than ever, food safety, employee safety and consumer safety is and will continue to be a top priority for food service establishments. In this session, we will recap the topics discussed throughout the week, talking about which changes are temporary, which ones could be here to stay, and how we can learn from other establishments around the world to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. In this session, we will hear from establishments in communities that have already begun their recovery, learning tips on how we can prepare. We will also hear from others who are preparing to reopen, as well as industry experts who will share their thoughts on what they envision for the future of hospitality and the food industry.”

Thursday, May 28: The Digital Uplift

  • Benjamin Mouflard, co-founder, ChatFood, United Arab Emirates
  • Antonio Bachour, chef and owner Bachour, Miami
  • Joey Gentry, vice president and CEO, Altamira Foods, Denver

“The current crisis has accelerated the new era of digital integration in the food industry, with establishments big and small quickly adjusting to digital models to continue to serve and engage with their customers. In some ways, we can trace what’s happening today to a huge digital transformation that’s already well underway. As restaurants and artisans transition to online ordering and delivery, our guest speakers will share ideas to help food businesses increase their digital presence, engage with their customers online and adapt to new consumer behaviors.”