SPE Program Redefines Dining-Out

SPE launches restaurant certification program
Jane Bruce

“Letting diners have power over their meal” is one of the goals of SPE certification, a program established to get restaurants of all types to start offering nutrition dense dishes on their menus, without affecting the taste. SPE, an acronym for Sourcing, Preparing, and Enhancing, is a labor of love for founder Emmanuel Verstraeten and his team of business developers, culinary nutritionists, health scientists, and chefs.

“It is like magic,” describes Eric Rimm, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. SPE allows the scientific and culinary world to merge and create a better dining experience. The program works with chefs at various restaurants to revamp their menus with SPE guidelines, which are based on nutritional science.

“SPE wants for diners to have balanced and nutritious meals outside of the home,” shared Nil Sönmez SPE chief operating officer. SPE can make any dish more nutritious by refining everything from hamburgers and pork fried rice to sweet corn panna cotta.

Since the program launched in May, SPE has certified six restaurants, with seven more underway, but SPE’s larger goal is to redefine menus at restaurant chains, hotels, cruise lines, and even universities. SPE is working to build healthy dining-out options one menu item at a time.