Blueberry Council challenges chefsA recent event sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council highlighted the increased importance of blueberries at foodservice.

The Folsom, Calif.-based council hosted 16 chefs at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, Calif., April 12-14, said Emily Valentine, a council spokeswoman.

At the event, chefs used fresh and other forms of blueberries to create new dishes, Valentine said. It’s the third year the council has hosted the event.

“These events are meant to inform and inspire some of the most influential chefs across the country,” Valentine said. “The council knows that these are really the driving forces for influencing and introducing new fare to the consumer, so we want to be sure we’re building and nurturing these alliances on an ongoing basis.”

Since 2007, blueberry menu mentions at foodservice have increased by 97%, according to the council.

Among the dishes created in the Culinary Institute kitchen were smoked blueberry soup, oyster mignonette with blueberry vinegar, pickled blueberry succotash, a blueberry beet salad served with a blueberry vinaigrette, a skillet-baked polenta topped with chorizo and blueberry salsa, blueberry-maple glazed bacon and flank steak with blueberry chimichurri.