A Visit to Franklin Southie (Whole Grains Challenge Winner!)

Just last week, Oldways and the Whole Grains Council announced the winners of the 2010 Whole Grains Challenge. For the last four years, we have used the Challenge as a way to give a high-five to the chefs, schools, and offices across the country helping to make whole grains the norm.

Restaurants, universities and food service operators could enter the Challenge if they served at least one whole grain option on every menu during October, and it was really great to see so many institutions adding a creative or educational element to their menus. The Whole Grains Council poured through many wonderful and inspiring entries, but in the end, only a few made the final cut.

Our office is located in our beloved city of Boston, so we were all really proud to announce Franklin Southie as the winner of the “Fine Dining” category.  One of three "sisters" in the Franklin Café family, all located in and around Boston, Chef Asia Mei is in charge of the Southie location. She creates menus that combine fresh, seasonal ingredients and healthy whole grains into dishes that both satisfy and surprise the palate. Farro Brussels sprout ragout? Yep, you can order that right in Southie!

Whole Grains Council Program Manager Kara and I got the chance to try out Chef Asia’s creations for ourselves during the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in early November, and let me tell you: Franklin Southie is a winner for a reason! Pictured above is the Heirloom Quinoa Salad with cherries, almonds, spinach and feta. Delicious.

Chef Asia was also kind enough to come out to our table to say hello! Not only is she a wonderful chef, but she’s also a pretty cool lady. She also told us that the quinoa salad has become one of the most popular items on the menu. Soon, barely anyone will make the mistake of pronouncing quinoa as QUINN-OH-AH. :)

Thanks to everyone who entered the Whole Grains Challenge this year, and thank you Chef Asia for your creativity and confidence in whole grains. We’ll be back for another visit soon!

- Alison

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