The Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission is making instructional workshops for chefs a major focus of its foodservice program.

“We’ve done sessions on ‘Turning Leftover Idaho Potatoes into Loot,’ ‘Re-Purposing Idaho Potatoes for Profitability in the Kitchen’ and on potato trends such as ‘Loaded Potatoes and Tots,’” said Don Odiorne, the commission’s vice president of foodservice.

The commission worked with Cynthia Kallile, chef/owner of the Meatloaf Bakery in Chicago to present mashed potato pops to guests at the Food Arts BBQ on Navy Pier in May.

“We sold out of 600 orders,” Odiorne said.

The event targeted corporate and high volume independent chefs. 

For the 23rd consecutive year, the commission exhibited at the National Restaurant Association show in May.

“We are one of the few produce organizations that still participate,” he said.

The commission’s exhibit included 8-foot tall potatoes with human faces for photo opportunities and also had a karaoke set-up from Dance Heads with three distinctive Idaho potato themed sing-along songs.

Through its Cafe Gold Medal Classroom, the commission planned to present a demonstration at the annual conference of Culinary School Education Teachers on healthful frying of Idaho potatoes with its partner Bunge Oil and that company’s corporate chef Newman Miller.

For the third time, the commission co-sponsored Camp Blogaway with 100 food bloggers in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California, where bloggers tasted purple potato scones, potato chip peanut butter and chocolate cookies and Idaho potato scalloped potatoes with eggs and cheese.

In Miami in June, corporate chefs from the top 200 chains in the U.S. were scheduled to have a chance to taste several ethnic dishes featuring Idaho potatoes at a conference hosted by the International Corporate Chefs Association.