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CULINARY CONFERENCE CENTER: Sustainable Food


Makes the Difference by Karen Adams


hether gathering for a wedding, meeting or team-building cooking event, visitors to the Culinary Conference Center, in Jersey City, appreciate the beautiful, comfortable facility, but what they remember most is the delicious food. Located at Hudson County Community College, the center is dedi- cated to fresh, healthful, gourmet cuisine that also hap- pens to come from sus- tainable, eco-friendly local sources.


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Because the center is located on a college campus, students that train with the chef get to learn more than how


to cook well. They also learn how to be environmentally aware, no matter where their culinary careers will take them. Eighty percent of the staff members are also culi- nary students.


“The center is definitely a gem for the college, and the culinary program here is really excellent,” says sales manager Tiffaney ]Sp?] Cappuccio. “The morals of the center mean that food is locally grown, nothing is frozen and the executive chef makes everything from scratch. Everything our guests eat was made the same day, even down to hors d’oeuvres for weddings.”


Executive Chef Rick Low is dedicated to local foods and sustainability, and has become known for remarkable cuisine that features sustainable seafood and hormone- free, pasture-raised meats in addition to local, seasonal


14 Hudson County NAHudson.com


produce from a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. He works with a variety of local sources, in- cluding Sustainable Jersey City, a collaborative network of green community groups in the area. The onsite Culi- nary Café, which is open on Tuesdays for lunch, features Low’s weekly fare for those that either are considering an event there or just want a fantastic $12 meal.


Low has been with the center since its inception in 2008, and with the management company, Flik Con- ference Centers, for 17 years. An


active member of the James Beard Foundation and the American Culinary Federation, he writes about his work and shares recipes on his blog, “The Chef’s Pantry.” In addition, Cappuccio says, Low will make any meal fit the needs of his guests. “He is really big on meeting any- body’s dietary needs, whether they are diabetic, vegan or vegetarian, or whether they want a specific ethnic food,” she explains. “He can do it, and he does it very well.” Flik Conference Centers, which are part of Compass USA, are dedicated to sustainability, as well as gourmet flavors and elegance. The high standards of quality estab- lished by founders Rüdiger and Julie Flik are evidenced by the center’s food, people and service, as well as its dedication to social and environmental responsibility. The Flik Local Flavors program supports local and sus-


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