Since 1983 chefs, winemakers and other foodservice professionals have gathered in Lyon, France for Sirha, the biennial international hospitality and foodservice conference that also encompasses two of the world’s most prestigious cooking competitions: the Bocuse d’Or and the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, or World Pastry Cup. While these events — often referred to as the culinary Olympic Games — have been drawing chefs to Sirha for decades, this year will mark the debut of an event at the conference. On Jan. 28, Sirha will host the inaugural World Cuisine Summit, which will bring together culinary professionals from all levels of the foodservice industry, from fine dining to quickservice.

The World Cuisine Summit will focus on international culinary trends, sustainability and the growing diversity of global menus, and will include notable keynote speakers such as chefs Magnus Nilsson, Alain Ducasse and founder of the Bocuse d’Or, Paul Bocuse. (read more…)

Loyalty programs have been around for quite some time. It all started with the paper or plastic loyalty cards a merchant would punch or stamp every time a customer came in to make a purchase, which the customer could then redeem for a free or discounted item, or some other special offer. One problem with that method was that the cards got lost very easily, and every time customers replaced their card, they would have to start the process all over again. Also, the merchant wouldn’t be able to easily collect data on their customers.

So how can merchants solve these issues? I caught up with Marc Kremer, founder of PunchMe, a new loyalty program that helps consumers earn rewards at their favorite places and helps merchants easily offer fun and exciting rewards to customers. Check out what he had to say.

Andre Kay is CEO and chief marketing officer of Sociallybuzz, which provides social media management, marketing, fan-page application development and social media consultation. (read more…)

Holiday hiring started in earnest this month at restaurants and retailers, with experts predicting seasonal job creation not seen since the Great Recession.

Retailers and restaurants told employment experts at Challenger, Gray & Christmas that they plan to add 413,700 temporary jobs, Fortune reported. Other estimates, including one from the National Retail Federation, put the number as high as 625,000, CBS Miami reported. Nearly half of hires are expected to be full time, according to Snagajob. While retailers aimed to fill most positions before Black Friday, many stores and eateries will continue hiring in the coming days and weeks.

Domino’s Pizza put out a seasonal-hiring call, saying the chain plans to hire between 5,000 and 25,000 workers to make, sell and deliver pizza this holiday season. The company also reminded people that Cyber Monday 2011 kicked off its first week of 1 million online and mobile orders.

There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of temporary restaurant jobs, and there also appears to be plenty of advice for would-be employees and operators seeking the best help, especially when there’s a chance some gigs will become permanent next year. (read more…)

Some of us make do with store-bought pies of pumpkin, apple and maybe cherry to top off Thanksgiving dinner and kick off the holiday season. Others aim to outdo themselves each year with homemade confections for the annual dessert table, although few likely go as far as author and humorist Charles Phoenix did three Thanksgivings ago.

His creation, the Cherpumple, combines three cakes and three pies, giving family members an easier way to sample all the holiday desserts, Phoenix told The Wall Street Journal in 2010. Few if any desserts can beat the Cherpumple when it comes to sheer mass, but that doesn’t mean dessert enthusiasts aren’t continuing to innovate. From Betty Crocker to Baskin-Robbins to high-end bakeries, Thanksgiving ushers in an annual push to put new sweet treats on the front burner.

For the third year, Betty Crocker has released its take on the hot trends, starting with the growing penchant for dessert bakers to use more secret ingredients, layers and spirits in their creations this year, according to this news release, which also includes a slew of recipes by way of illustrating each trend. (read more…)

This series is sponsored by the Can Manufacturers Institute, where gray is the new green. Want to know the reason? Download our sustainability paper to learn more about how cans stand alone as the sustainable solution for 21st-century packaging. Pass it on. CanCentral.com/sustainability.

When you walk past those canned-food collection bins that are suddenly ubiquitous this time of year, have you ever wondered either how the foods got in the can or what you could do to turn those canned goods into an exciting meal?

First, some history. Up until the late 18th century, food preservation was largely limited to a few methods including sun drying, salting, smoking, freezing and pickling, none of which kept the food safe and edible long enough to reach Napoleon Bonaparte’s far-flung armies, according to Canned Food UK and other sources. Napoleon offered a prize to the person who could come up with a better way to preserve food, and eventually awarded it to Nicolas Appert, a confectioner who discovered that sealing food inside glass jars and exposing it to high heat kept it from spoiling. (read more…)