Benefits of Membership: Mentoring Program

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There are many amazing benefits of membership in FCS Professionals.  Today we are highlighting our mentorship program.

FCS Professionals members have a wealth of talent waiting to be shared! Through occasional, or regular contact, a trusted mentor can guide you for both professional growth and development as you review career issues or challenges. As a person outside of your workplace, a mentor can give confidential feedback regarding a work situation.

Perhaps you want information regarding a particular job or job skill? Or to learn how to seek challenging assignments and new responsibilities? Starting a consulting business and want information regarding the process? Want to develop a 10-second elevator speech? Maybe you want to take your computer or smart phone skills to the next level?

If the answer is “yes” to these or other questions you have regarding a job or life skill, sign up for the mentor program. It doesn’t have to be formal, you’re just asking or giving advice over coffee or lunch.

You can choose to have a mentor, be a mentor, or both – it is FREE for the asking for all members! To get started, fill out the form in the members-only section on our website

Contact Mentor Committee Chair Cindy Jurgensen at or 612-207-7337 with any questions.

In the News: Innovative Mayo Health Program, What’s Lurking in your Towels, and More!

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Here is what new in the world of Food and Consumer Science!

  • This article describes the new Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program that includes nutrition, physical fitness, and stress management education and counseling. 
  • Culinary Tides (Founder Suzy Badaracco was our speaker at the 2016 annual meeting) is offering a free pdf of 5 food trends when signing up for their mailing list.  Click here if interested
  • What is lurking in your kitchen towels? How often should they be washed? Click here for an article from CBS News
  • Zero calorie gin?  An interesting read on a new gin “mist”. Click here 
  • Debunking 7 Myths of Gen Z’s Food Habits
  • And finally….got a great recipe using Oreo cookies?  Professional chefs or food service owners/operators are eligible to enter this recipe contest.  Winner earns $3,000 and a one year supply of Oreo cookies.  Contest details available here.  Hurry! Deadline is July 31!

In the News: Hospital Food Trucks, Summer Food Trends and Nutrition News!

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Here are a few snippets from the world of Food and Consumer Science!


FCS Professionals Award Winners for 2017-18

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We are proud to announce the award winners announced at our annual meeting on May 14, 2018 at Urban Eatery in Minneapolis.

FCS Professional of the Year: This award recognizes or honors a member for her/his leadership in their profession and outstanding service to this organization. This is the highest organizational award a member can receive.  This year’s winner was Colleen Zenk.

Colleen has been a champion for the success of FCS Professionals for many years.   She is an active member who attends many of the meetings and willingly pitches in where help is needed.  Colleen served as Treasurer for two terms and was appointed by the board to a third term in order to complete the legal transition from TC HEIB to FCS Professionals.  This transition required a dogged push-through-it effort to get all the paper work done that was required to change the organization name with the state as well as financial accounts and banking accounts.  At the same time she streamlined the accounting workbook to make it more efficient.  She was also instrumental in the analysis to move away from having a merchant status to using a third party (PayPal and Event Brite) to collect and process credit card purchases). This freed up funds spent on web site security maintenance and shifted that responsibility to the third party partners.
Most recently Colleen spear headed our sponsored conference Beyond the Basics – Trending Topics in Food Safety held in February.  Colleen not only coordinated the fantastic roster of speakers but she also used her many industry connections to invite many of those who attended.  With her involvement the conference was a significant success and will serve as a template for future similar events.   FCS Professionals is fortunate to have someone like Colleen who so willingly shares her wisdom and experience in supporting our organization.  Colleen has gone above and beyond in her support of FCS Professionals!
Emerging Leader Award (formerly Making a Difference Award) This award recognizes professionals who are new to their industry, have been members of FCS Professionals for 5 years or less, and have made a notable contribution to the organization.  This year’s winner was Liz Sellet. 
Liz was well-deserving of this recognition for her enthusiasm for FCS Professionals and for taking on the big role of Treasurer after her first year of membership. She took on this role without having much of a finance background or experience.  Her open-mind, determination, confidence, and a can-do attitude helped her have a successful first year as treasurer.  She has done an excellent job learning the ropes and all of the important responsibilities to keep our numbers on track and provide budget updates at reasonable times. She has become very self-sufficient in her position, works independently as much as possible, and responds to all inquiries in a very timely manner. Along with all of that, she is a real pleasure to work with and always has a beautiful and bright smile on her face.
Spirit Award: This award recognizes a member that has shown particular championing behavior for FCS Professionals.  This year’s winner is Gerry Luepke. 
No one expresses as much enthusiasm, energy, and passion as Gerry does! She is always thinking of brilliant and innovative ideas for FCS Professionals to try out for programs and membership. Her mind is always thinking about ways we can better our organization and each other. Wherever she goes she tells anyone and everyone about FCS Professionals and how amazing it is and why they should join.  She is our biggest advocate and cheerleader! Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and she inspires others to be more like her and share our passions and connection to FCS Professionals with others. She always goes above and beyond to express her gratitude for everyone’s dedication to the organization and always makes everyone feel welcomed and special at every program and event. She is very generous with offering her time and talents to the organization and even offered up her building to serve as the most beautiful and picturesque venue for our Holiday Tea event. She is always willing to help out wherever needed and follows through with everything she offers to help with. It is without a doubt impossible for FCS Professionals to be such an outstanding organization that provides such wonderful programs and networking opportunities without her. 

Meeting Recap: 2017-2018 Annual Meeting and Celebration

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On May 14th FCS Professionals members and guests gathered at Urban Eatery in Minneapolis for the annual meeting and celebration.  Heavy downpours of rain caused some traffic and parking headaches but everyone’s perseverance paid off!  It was a wonderful evening of great food, laughter, and celebrating the accomplishments of our organization.

The evening began with dessert shooters made by FCS Professionals board member Chef Amy Lawson.  Our scheduled speaker, Kinza Christenson, suffered an injury and was unable to attend.  In her place was the delightful Brenda Elsagher a cancer survivor and comedian.  Brenda’s career began in the beauty industry where she was a hair stylist and salon owner. A colon cancer diagnosis at the age of 39 spurred a career change to comedy.  Laughter is such a powerful way of coping with difficult situations.  She was a mom to young kids at the time of her diagnosis, surgeries, and treatments. Finding the humor in trials of life has become her calling in life.  She has become a sought after speaker to healthcare workers, cancer survivors, womens groups and more. You may have even seen her in commercials on TV promoting colon cancer screening.   She has written five books delving into topics like cancer survival, aging, living with ostomies, caregiving, and funny and inspiring medical stories.  Brenda shared many stories with our group and we all shared many laughs.  She even took us through some laughing exercises and explained the health benefits of laughter.


After Brenda’s presentation, dinner was served.  Attendees dined on a choice of vegetarian curry, chicken curry, salmon salad or steak salad.  All enjoyed macaroons from Carousel Macaroons for our second dessert.

Awards were presented to our 2017-2018 winners.

Emerging Leader Award: Liz Sellet

Spirit Award Winner: Gerry Luepke

FCS Professional of the Year: Colleen Zenk


Complete information on the award winners will be in a separate blog posting in the near future!

The annual meeting was held after the award winners were announced.  President Gerry Luepke presided. A video highlighting the accomplishments of FCS Professionals was played.  In new business, the organization bylaws were reworked this spring to be easier to read and took out redundancies.  The bylaws were approved by membership.  The final act was the ceremonial passing of the gavel to the new President Jean Knaak.


Brooklyn Food Tour Musings

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Thank you Gerry Luepke for this trip report! 


Do you remember the 2008 Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook and a recipe submitted by Bonita Buttke for Egg Cream?

As Bonita mentioned there are no eggs in this refreshing chocolate drink.  It’s a soda produced almost exclusively in New York (particularly Brooklyn). The basic ingredients are milk, seltzer, and chocolate syrup. It’s traditionally made in a small Coke-style glass.

Bonita’s recipe says to add 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup into a 10-ounce glass.  Pour ¼ cup of milk over the syrup; stir until blended.  Lastly fill the glass with seltzer or sparkling water.  Stir vigorously.  Serve immediately.

I just experienced my first Egg Cream while participating in a small Urban Oyster group walking tour of Brooklyn.   The Egg Cream was delicious and since arriving back home I’ve made and enjoyed several!

The tour included ambling through Brooklyn’s premiere culinary neighborhoods. I visited and sampled foods at Italian and Middle Eastern shops, cafes  & restaurants that have long been the neighborhood’s staple. Many specializing in artisanal foods.

We also learned about some of the homes and gardens in the area.  The day was beautiful and time well spent.  If you’re planning a trip  to the Big Apple, you might want to book a tour and visit Brooklyn.



Job Opportunity

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There is a full time Family and Consumer Science teaching position open in Hudson, Wisconsin with a culinary arts focus. Details on the position and online application is available here:


April Meeting Recap: The Lynhall

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FCS Professionals gathered at The Lynhall in Minneapolis on Monday, April 16 for the April meeting.  FCS Professionals and their guests were treated to an amazing evening of great food, conversation, learning, and service!

As part of the event, members and guests brought birthday items (cake mixes, frosting, candles, gift bags, and more) to be donated to St. Davids Center for Child and Family Development.  Maureen from St. David’s was on hand to collect the items and tell our group more about their organization.   St. David’s was the first preschool to serve children of all ability levels in Minnesota.  St. David’s also provides mental health services, therapies (occupational, physical, feeding, speech-language, and more!), and even home visits.  The birthday items our organization collected will be made into birthday packs to be distributed to families served by St. David’s.  Many of the families are low income and birthday celebrations are an “extra” that often is not affordable.  For more information on St. David’s they are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube


Anne Spaeth, owner of The Lynhall, was our featured speaker for the evening.  Anne is not your typical restauranteur–she claims she is not a good cook and her educational background is in law.  Ms. Spaeth was a lawyer working with child protective service cases and that is how she got connected with St. David’s!  The inspiration for The Lynhall came from her years living in London and experiencing European style cafes.  The restaurant is counter service and there are long community tables for seating.  Do not fret–if you are the stereotypical Minnesotan who likes to keep to themselves there are smaller tables too!  Anne mentioned that the long tables are very prevalent in London and as a young mom in a new city she loved the conversations she had with strangers.  Minnesotans have been a little slow to the long table concept but she thinks it will catch on.

The Lynhall is not merely a place to get a great meal–it also has an Incubator Kitchen for aspiring small food businesses and The Linney Studio, a state-of-the art kitchen studio space that is camera ready for recording videos, commercials, and more.  There is also rentable private dining space for events–like ours!  Anne said what is most “Instagramable” about The Lynhall is usually their bathrooms!  They are decorated in different bird wallpapers and selfies in their bathrooms are the most popular pictures taken at The Lynhall.


Members and guests attending The Lynhall event were treated to a delicious charcuterie platter including variety of meats and cheeses, delicious freshly made bread from their bakery, short rib sliders, and an amazing pea soup.  The coffee and cookies were worth saving some room for!  When everyone had their fill of food we were treated to a tour of the facility.  We were all wowed at the incredible kitchen studio space! 


At the conclusion of our event, we presented Anne with a donation to the recently established The Long Table Fund.  The Long Table Fund “works in partnership with the community to connect and empower those in the restaurant industry affected by trauma, mental health issues, and chemical dependency. Proceeds of The Long Table Fund will provide mission-specific educational opportunities and increased access to crisis mental health care for members of the restaurant industry.”  In May they are starting a Nourish series that will feature speakers related to the mission of The Long Table Fund.  The first event is May 4th “Nutrition, Nourishment and Optimal Mental Health”.  


News Roundup: Food & Wine Dish of the Year, Trend Reports, and MAFCS Geo 5 Networking Meeting

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Here are a few things from the food and consumer science world!

  • Minneapolis Grand Café honored with Food and Wine’s Dish of the Year, The Paris-Brest!  Read all about it here
  • Suzy Badaracco of Culinary Tides was our featured speaker at our annual meeting in 2016.  Her company has a trend report now available and at a discounted price until April 21.  Click here for more info
  • FCS Professionals are invited to attend the MAFCS Geo 5 Networking meeting on Wednesday, May 23 at 3:30 p.m.  For more information and registration, click here