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Food Deeds

Cakes for Mid-South Food Bank; dietary certificate at L'Ecole Culinaire.



So maybe you can't have your cake and eat it too. But as it turns out, you can have your cake and the Food Bank can have it too.

That's because Tender Loving Cake donates a pound cake to the Mid-South Food Bank for every one of their gourmet coffee cakes purchased.

Founder Bill Oates came up with the idea when his daughter first told him about Tom's — the brand of shoes that donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair sold.

"We just borrowed that concept," Oates says, "because it's the right thing to do."

Last December, Oates launched Tender Loving Cake with the help of wholesale baker Ed Crenshaw. Crenshaw makes cakes and other baked goods for local grocery stores and restaurants. So Oates, a graphic designer by trade and an inventor and idea-man for fun, found the perfect fit for his business model. The 501(c)3 sells 48-ounce upscale coffee cakes for about $32 each, which then subsidize the donation of a less expensive 35-ounce pound cake to the Mid-South Food Bank.

The Tender Loving Cakes are baked from scratch and come in two flavors: cinnamon pecan and sour-cream blueberry. They can be shipped anywhere for about $11. Currently, Oates is only donating cakes to the Mid-South Food Bank, but he's in negotiations with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee, the Arkansas Food Bank in Little Rock, and the Mississippi Food Network in Jackson. And eventually, he'd like to sell other kinds of cakes.

The bakery, where you can pick up a Tender Loving Cake and avoid paying the shipping fee, is on Summer Avenue near White Station.

Tender Loving Cake, 5041 Summer


L'Ecole Culinaire is expanding its course offerings to include a 10-week certification program for Nutrition and Dietary Management. The certification allows chefs at hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted-living organizations to communicate better with dietitians.

Chef Emmett Bell, a certified dietary manager himself and formerly a chef at Le Bonheur, is heading the program. He says the certification does not mean chefs will be considered registered dietitians.

"That's a two-year degree," he says. "Certified dietitians work directly with the doctor, and then they come to the chef or the manager and convey a patient's dietary needs to us. [The certification] makes it easier for us to communicate with the dietitians and understand what they need."

The program covers food safety, management of food service, human resource management, and nutrition and practical application. For the nutrition portion of the coursework, L'Ecole is bringing in a registered dietitian to teach the science behind the disease-oriented diets that certified dietary managers implement.

"We already have a Healthy Lifestyles class as part of our associate's degree," Bell says. "But with the guidance of a registered dietitian, we'll learn about renal diets, how to cook low-fat, high-fiber meals, how to make healthier substitutions in recipes, and things like that."

The program begins in late July and will run every 10 weeks. The course prepares students for the Certified Dietary Manager test. L'Ecole Culinaire does not currently proctor the test but hopes to in the future.

Bell says this won't necessarily mean that your hospital food will taste better.

"Probably not," he says with a laugh. "But we will learn how to cook with exactly what patients can have. We'll know when we can use substitutions instead of leaving an ingredient out. So yeah, maybe it would make their food taste better."

L'Ecole Culinaire, 1245 N. Germantown Pkwy. (754-7115),

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