Global and Regional Cuisine Trends; Making Plant based Menu Items Profit Centers

Room 3

12:00 – 12:40pm

Much has been said about growing consumer interest for plant-based menu items.  The influence of this trend has been growing on the global culinary scene—but it is also becoming a priority for successful Iowa restaurateurs. Hear from operators and advocates who are tapping the profit potential of plant-based menu items. From alternative proteins to vege-centric entrees, Iowa chefs are discovering ways to feature and enhance the proteins grown here in the heartland.


Linda Funk, The Soyfoods Council:

For more than 30 years, Linda Funk has chosen a career in food marketing.  Her professional experience has included extensive management experience with two large food and beverage manufacturers, Ambrosia Chocolate and Pepsi-Cola and one of the largest commodity associations, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB).


Garin Buttermore, Iowa Department of Public Health:

Garin Buttemore is a community health consultant with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Tobacco Control Network.  Among other things, he helps businesses comply with Iowa’s Smoke Free Air Act.


Hannah Elliot, Owner of Lola’s:

Chef Kerri Rush, Owner of Fresh Café & Market:

Kerri Rush, “the wheatgrass girl” is the owner, farmer and chef at Fresh Wheatgrass Girl Farm in Carlisle, Iowa. She started growing wheatgrass in 1996 when her Mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon, liver and lymph node cancer. After researching “alternative” healthy ways to give her immune system a boost she found it in wheatgrass and juicing (her mother is now cancer free!). Kerri became hooked on all of the benefits of wheatgrass and her business started growing! She opened up Fresh Cafe & Market and a Fresh Juice Stand at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market in 2006 (find her there every Saturday morning on the corner of 3rd & Court). She specializes in juices, smoothies, salads and anything that can be made with fresh produce. Kerri is an award winning Chef with a knack for making healthy taste great! 

Chef Lynn Pritchard, Owner of Table 128 Bistro + Bar: