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Tropical Gastronomies Launches Culinary History Initiative

Tropical Gastronomies Launches Culinary History Initiative

By Sarah Block
Special to UM News

From left are Cristina Favretto, Norman Van Aken, Mandy Baca, and Gretchen Schmidt.

From left are Cristina Favretto, Norman Van Aken, Mandy Baca, and Gretchen Schmidt.

Local food experts reflected on South Florida’s abundant natural offerings, strong multicultural seasonings, and rich supply of untapped resources—all shaping the area’s evolving culinary landscape—during a panel discussion last week at UM Special Collections’ “Tropical Gastronomies,” featuring chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken, food blogger and Edible South Florida editor Gretchen Schmidt, and author and historian Mandy Baca. 

Moderated by Special Collections Head Cristina Favretto, the discussion touched on well-established fares and flavors such as stone crabs, citrus, and mangos, the formation of Van Aken’s New World Cuisine, and how recent developments like the farm-to-table movement are shedding light on lesser-known edible flora and fauna.

The event was held as part of a UM Libraries-wide exhibition exploring the rich culinary traditions of South Florida, Cuba, and the Caribbean. Vintage restaurant postcards and menus, local organizational cookbooks, dining brochures from Pan American World Airlines, Inc., and other materials are on display from Special Collections. During the event, Favretto announced that Special Collections aims to further its collection of food- and cooking-related materials through the establishment of the Culinary History Collection of Florida, and is seeking donations of historical materials such as restaurant menus, local and regional recipe books, oral histories with chefs, and images of restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers markets

Individuals interested in contributing to the archive are encouraged to contact Special Collections at 305-284-3247 or asc.library@miami.edu.

Posted in Features, News

UM Joins Partnership for a Healthier America

UM Joins Partnership for a Healthier America

Healthier.PartnershipCORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 17, 2014)—The University of Miami is joining the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in a three-year commitment to make its campus healthier by adopting guidelines around food and nutrition, physical activity, and programming.

PHA works with the private sector and honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier. In joining the partnership, this initiative will impact nearly 17,000 students and more than 14,000 faculty and staff on campus.

“The University of Miami is proud to be at the forefront of this national partnership,” said President Donna E. Shalala. “As one of 20 schools in the first cohort, the University has reaffirmed its commitment to creating a culture of wellness and fostering a healthy lifestyle for our students and campuses, in all aspects of daily life.”

Shalala served as secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, and is currently co-chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative under the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

The University’s new PHA initiative supports BPC’s 2012 report, “Lots to Lose: How America’s Health and Obesity Crisis Threatens our Economic Future,” which called on large institutions, including hospitals and universities, to procure and serve healthier foods using their market power to shift food supply chains and make healthier options more readily available.

The partnership was announced on Sunday, November 16 at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2014 Annual Meeting & Exposition. UM is one of the first schools to sign on to PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, which includes 19 other colleges and universities, collectively impacting more than 500,000 students and 126,000 faculty and staff. Ashley Falcon, assistant director for wellness, represented UM at the APHA meeting.

The University’s commitments to the Partnership for a Healthier America include a wide range of health and wellness initiatives focusing on three key areas: food and nutrition, physical activity, and wellness programming. The commitments range from offering healthier food options at on-campus dining locations and supporting locally grown, sustainable menu items to developing physical activity guidelines for campus audiences and bolstering its already comprehensive wellness programming.

“Colleges and universities are in a unique position to help shape tomorrow’s leaders, whether they are teachers, coaches, policymakers, CEOs, moms, or dads,” said PHA Chief Executive Officer Lawrence A. Soler. “We know that going to college is a time of change for many students—we also know that means it’s a time when new habits are formed. By creating healthier food and physical activity environments today, campuses and universities are encouraging healthier habits that will carry over into tomorrow.”

Across campuses, the Herbert Wellness Center and UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center provide educational opportunities to raise awareness and develop wellness skills, while UM Dining Services provides healthy menu options, nutritional information, and the assistance of a registered dietician. The availability of fresh produce from the weekly farmer’s market and organic food buying club, both initiatives established by student organizations, further supplement these efforts by increasing the availability of healthy choices on campus.

For more information on PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, visit www.ahealthieramerica.org/campuses.

Posted in News

From Food to Finances, Meditation to Men’s Health, UM’s Week of Well-Being Promotes Holistic Health

UM News
By Robert C. Jones Jr.

Fidelity's Kathy Murphy with UM President Donna E. Shalala during one of the Week of Well-Being's many offerings.

Fidelity’s Kathy Murphy with UM President Donna E. Shalala during one of the Week of Well-Being’s many offerings.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 07, 2014) — It was a “wakeup call” for Kathy Murphy’s mother that came at the wrong time. With three of six children in college, her husband died at 57, leaving her to raise a family alone and figure out how to budget and save.

“We focused a lot on saving, but not investing,” Murphy, president of Fidelity Personal Investing, told an audience of about 300 University of Miami employees. Continue Reading

Posted in Features, Freeze Frame, News

Business Plans Blow Judges Away, Earn Students and Alums $65,000 in Prizes

SnagTag-Team

The SnagTag’s Jake Elliot, left, and Nicholas Sando present their team project to the judges.

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (April 4, 2014) – New ventures including a mobile application for shopping, a data analytics solution for hospitals to reduce heart failure readmissions, and art deco chocolates that represent South Florida’s cultural mecca have taken top honors in the University of Miami’s 2014 Business Plan Competition, hosted by the  School of Business Administration. The competition winners, honored in an awards ceremony April 4, took home a combined total of $65,000 in prizes.

Jake Elliot, Andrew Rodriguez, and Nicholas Sando won the grand prize and $10,000 in the undergraduate student category for SnagTag, an application for your smartphone that enhances the retail shopping experience by connecting retailers and consumers in a way never seen before.

In the graduate student category, Matt Varghese, Cristina del Toro, Sabrina Taldone, Joshua Cameron took home the Grand Prize and $10,000 for their venture, Valens, which provides a next generation data analytic solutions that allows hospitals to maximize efficiency in reducing heart failure readmissions while improving patients’ lives through better health care delivery systems.

And in the UM alumni category, Lucy Calamari won the Grand Prize and $10,000 for Lucky Lucy’s Chocolates, inspired by the colorful flavors and cultures of South Florida.  Her chocolates reflect colorful retro designs of the city’s Art Deco movement.

“This year’s young entrepreneurs came to the competition with an extraordinary mix of great business ideas,” said Isaias Sudit, CEO and founder of TROVE and one of the Competition judges. “It is clear to this panel of judges how these winners are ready to go beyond the idea stage and truly execute.  They will be exciting to watch and we are happy to send them on their way with some funding.”

Second place in the undergraduate category and $5,000 went to Paola Campodonico and Austin Zaslow for The Nest, a recovery center that accommodates prenatal and postpartum women, and post-surgical patients and offers 24/7 nannies, breastfeeding support, and other services to make recovery faster and easier. Second place in the graduate category and $5,000 went to Joe Bucciero of AdMoney, a mobile phone application that places ads on the background of a smartphones or tablet lock screens  for a monthly fee.  Second place in the alumni category and $5,000 went to Alex Suma of Ibis Power, which offers customized solutions for local renewable energy generation that overcomes all downsides of current technologies. It is almost ready to enter the U.S. and European markets.

Third place in the undergraduate category with a $2,500 prize went to Sultan Saleh Alghamdi for Central Express Laundry, a full-service laundry business in Saudi Arabia. Third place and $2,500 in the graduate category went to Rodolfo Hernandez for The Quiet American, a sustainable men’s luxury-yet-affordable clothing brand made of Alpaca wool; third place and $2,500 in the alumni category went to Thien Van Tran for Leash, an electronic security company that provides both hardware and software solutions to remedy the rise of smartphone theft.

“The judges were blown away by the caliber of ideas presented by the University of Miami entrepreneurs,” said Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of entrepreneurship programs at the UM School of Business. “They have no doubt we will be hearing more about these companies as we have others that have grown out of our past competitions.”

In addition to the undergraduate, graduate and alumni category prizes, the Paul K. Sugrue Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $2,500 was presented to Sidonia Swarm of On Demand Dietician, which streamlines access to dieticians for corporate employees. Also, four Heffner Internship Awards of $2,500 each were awarded to Maxim Bjelos, Alex Cantwell, Joey Lopez, and Kenthia Farmer.

The Business Plan Competition started last fall when 42 concept papers were submitted to the judging committee. Ultimately 16 semifinalists were selected to present to the judges April 1-3, with the winners named the following day. The judges included roughly one dozen successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from South Florida and Latin America.

Now in its 12th year, the Business Plan Competition is open to all University of Miami students and alumni. Past winners  have gone on to build their ventures into businesses that have garnered national attention. They include such companies as College Hunks Hauling Junk and My Therapy Journal.com, both of which have been featured on ABC Television’s “Shark Tank,” a reality program in which entrepreneurs share their business ideas with a group of five self-made millionaires in hopes of getting venture capital to help them attain similar levels of success.

Posted in News

Food-Filled Day

Food-Filled Day

Students sample one of the products on sale by local vendors at the ’Well Canes Farmer’s Market on October 24. The market, typically held on Wednesday on the Foote University Green, was part of Food Day events organized by the University of Miami’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement. The day was part of a movement across the country to promote a healthy, affordable, and equitable food system. Food Day activities on the UM campus included a food fair, a food and agriculture panel discussion, and screenings of food justice movies.

 

Posted in Freeze Frame

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