Concept development in foodservice operations

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 5
October 2018

CulinaryNXT
200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405
203-415-9190

www.culinarynxt.com

 

Come On, Already!

One of the most frustrating experiences when eating out is being held for check ransom. We’ve all been there. We’re done eating and want to pay the check, but……there is no one around to give you the check. OR, once you hand over your credit card or cash……no one returns with the card or the change, for a long time. It’s like being held ransom. All you want to do is pay for your food, drink, and service and leave. Instead you’re stuck waiting.

Thankfully it doesn’t happen often.

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Concept Development

Concept Development is a critical task for managers and executive chefs. This part of foodservice operations is the foundation for recipe development, equipment needs, service needs, and the operation’s labor model.

To begin concept development, the operation’s team must develop a concept statement. The concept statement guides the planning and keeps the development team on course. Without a concept statement it’s easy to get sidetracked and end up with a menu that is a combination of “stuff” instead of a menu that has complimentary foods.

Concept Development has 3 Stages: Conceptualization/ Crystallization/ Realization. The conceptualization stage is generally the most demanding. This is where the team develops the concept statement, and it is where the passions fly. This is critical to the process so that everyone is heard, and the outcome is embraced by the entire team. During crystallization the team determines the concept value and how to market the concept. The final stage of realization is where the team is ready to launch.

Operators that engage a structured development process end up with an interesting, exciting, and viable concept. Give me a call for detailed information.

 

Culinary & more…

Menu & Recipe Creation

Photo – Tracey Scheer

Working with a great group of chefs is always fun and rewarding. The results are great food, lots of laughs, happy guests, and strong friendships. This group of chefs – Dan Flynn, Cyon Jones, Dave Kuzma, and Chase Sobelman– worked with me on a project that produced the following delicious dishes.

Green Goddess and Grilled Chicken Salad – little gem romaine with late season corn, grilled chicken breast with smoked salt, and Black Label Bacon.

Crispy Sicilian Stuffed Turkey Paillard with Mediterranean Salad – Sicilian sausage on a turkey scaloppini, breaded and pan-fried with a Mediterranean-style chickpea, cucumber salad.

Vegan Crab & Noodle Kung Pao – Hungry Planet vegan crab, lo mein noodles and kung pao sauce with a vegan crab spring roll.

‘nduja Seared Halibut in Summer Cioppino – spicy New England Charcuterie ‘nduja seared on halibut filet in cioppino-style broth with summer squash.

Red Velvet Panna Cotta – vanilla- buttermilk laced panna cotta with red velvet crumbles.

 

Hormel Foods Spam Haute Cuisine

The first impression at Noreetuh in NYC is hospitality. Immediately. The next impression is an immaculately clean and organized kitchen run by Chef Chung Chow.

Chef Chow’s resume includes, Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, CA, Per Se in NYC, and Lincoln Restaurant with Jonathan Beno also in NYC. On the day of my visit, Chef Chow used his experience growing up with Hormel Foods’ Spam and created exquisite dishes complete with hand-made pasta, truffles, and musubi. It was great meeting Chung and we had time to become acquainted (a link to our podcast is below).

 

 

Menu items that Chef Chow created included:

  • Spam and truffle musubi
  • Chicory salad, papaya, crispy Spam, onion vinaigrette
  • Grilled Hawaiian opah with Spam hollandaise
  • Spam agnolotti, truffle cream, pickled celery, and shaved summer truffles

The lunch was a great experience.

Noreetuh is a modern Hawaiian restaurant located at 128 First Avenue in the East Village of New York City by Chef/Co-Owner Chung Chow and General Manager/Co-Owner Jin Ahn. For more information:

http://www.noreetuh.com/

 

podcast

I’ve been waiting weeks to be able to share this information. Over the past several months I’ve been interviewing people that love everything about food for a new podcast series from Hormel Foods. Here is a link for Hormel Foods Our Food Journey™ Podcast https://www.hormelfoods.com/podcast/

I’m honored to launch the series with a great colleague, Ethan Watters, conducting my conversation. The range of interviews includes, Evan Inada from Columbus Craft Meats talking about everything salumi; Chef Christina Machamer winner Hell’s Kitchen; CIA Certified Master Chef Adam Busby; Chopped finalist Chef Kenneth Temple; and a compelling discussion with Nom Wah Tea Parlor owner Wilson Tang. Please join the journey.

 

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.

70 years of free school meals in Finland

By Anna Skyttä, Marketing Director

First in the world to introduce free school meals

In 1943, Finland was the first country in the world to introduce a legislation on free school meals. The legislation aimed at offering a free meal on each school day for all elementary school students in 5 years’ time. The legislation also ruled that the students had to grow and harvest food on their spare time in order to have ingredients in the school canteen. One example of contributing to school meals was that each student had to bring 2 litres / 70 oz of lingonberries to school. The berries were then used for a porridge made of rye and lingonberries, which was a common dish at that time.

 

School dining is not only about nutrition

After the 5 year transition time, starting in 1948, students in elementary schools started to get free meals. Typical dishes at that time included different types of porridges and soups. The legislation has naturally been modified during the decades. Still the core purpose of free school meals stays the same, and that is to provide nutrition to students. In addition, nowadays also the educational and social aspects of school dining are in focus. When dining together, the children learn both social and interactive skills as well as to take others into consideration. School dining provides also education on food culture, good manners and appreciation of food. And these days the students no longer have to grow or harvest food for school. Instead, they now have the right to contribute by providing feedback on the food that is served.

 

Kitchen management system makes work in the school canteen easier

Today nearly 1 million children and adolescents in Finland enjoy a free meal served each and every school day. Free meals are financed with taxes and the communities are in charge of providing the meals to students. In order to ensure the nutritional content of meals and to be able to cook food according to a given cost structure, most of the school canteens in Finland utilize a kitchen management system. In addition to nutritional and financial aspects, a software system keeps all the recipes in store and makes it easy to plan menus. From the system you can even publish weekly menus online for the students and their parents.

Most of the school meals are cooked either partly or entirely in commissary kitchens and then delivered to individual schools. A kitchen management system enables the schools to create production requisitions to the commissary kitchen. The commissary kitchen will then be able to see all requisitions in the system for production. The system also calculates the need for ingredients based on menus or production requisitions which makes ordering quick and easy. Over half of the communities in Finland use JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software for managing their food service operations comprehensively, including school dining.

 

From soups and porridges to a diversity of dishes

In seven decades the school menus have become more versatile compared to the early years. When I was in school, my favorite dishes included spinach soup, spinach pancakes and fish fingers. Chicken fricassee was one of the undesirable meals on my list. My school years are already far behind but both my favorites and least favorites can be found on the top 10 school meals of all time in Finland (Source: Fazer Foodservice poll 2018):

  1. Meatballs and mashed potatoes
  2. Macaroni casserole
  3. Spinach pancakes
  4. Fish fingers
  5. Chicken curry with rice
  6. Vegetable patties
  7. Chicken fricassee
  8. Porridges
  9. Soups
  10. Pasta dishes

 

Reducing Food Waste will save you money and make your environmental footprint smaller

by Tuulia Heiskanen, Trainer

Food is thrown away every day in households, restaurants and the industry as well as already at the producers. You probably throw away large quantities of food yearly yourself, without even noticing it. Most of this food waste is a result of both unmade plans, but also of not following the plans that have been made. When you cook food in advance for more than one day, as you often do, you might end up eating something else the next day just out of an impulse. After a while, the ready made meals or untouched out-of-date packs are on their way from the fridge into the garbage bin. So there is a place for improvement.

I looked at some statistics on food waste and on the impact it has. Here are some figures:

  • One third of all food produced is lost or wasted (Source: FAO)
  • 150.000 tons of food is wasted each day in the United States (Source: The Guardian)
  • Households are responsible for almost half of the food wasted, but restaurants and other food service operations build up a notable 25 % share, as well (Source: Statista). Food waste could be avoided by better forecasting, or by preparing and storing food in another way.
  • Food that is produced for nothing puts a load both on the economy and the environment. Environmental effects are huge: the carbon footprint related to food waste is almost as big as the road transport emissions globally (Source: FAO).

Food waste is something that we most probably cannot get rid of completely, but it is clear that there is a need to reduce it.

 

New goals and legislation planned for reducing food waste

Fortunately the excessive amounts of food waste have been noticed in the past couple of years. The UN Sustainable Development Goals include cutting down food waste in half on the retail and consumer levels by the year 2030, as well as significantly reducing food waste within the whole production-distribution chain. Reaching the goals requires functional tools for continuous monitoring and reducing of food waste. Reaching the goal set by the UN, that is cutting down the food waste in half in a decade’s time, requires involvement from each food producer, business, retail store, restaurant and consumer.

Legislation needs to support the reduction of food waste. In France there is a legislation that forbids tossing food in retail stores and restaurants. Legislation really should be revised: The other day I heard from the radio that a part of food goes to waste already at the producers. This is caused almost solely by too strict quality standards for products: If the appearance of an item is not according to the standard, it doesn’t qualify to be sold in a store and it gets thrown away.

In addition to legislation, you need to educate people both at home and at work places, and provide tips and tools for reducing food waste. In Finland the Consumer’s Union has taken a grip on this and the national Food Waste Week is being arranged already the sixth time this year. The campaign aims at encouraging everybody in reducing food waste and at the same time increasing the appreciation of food by providing information and practical tips. The campaign welcomes businesses and organizations as partners, and JAMIX has also been participating the Food Waste Week for several years now.

 

Restaurant management system helps in reducing food waste

As mentioned before, the lack of planning or the lack of systematic practises cause a major part of food waste. This applies both to households and to restaurants or other food service operations. Just implementing a kitchen management system with basic functionalities often already results in reduced food waste. But you can also maximize the benefits of the system with regards food waste by exploring it more extensively, and utilizing all the functionalities provided.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT system provides a great menu planning tool along with procurement management, which together aim at the best possible match between the amount of prepared food and the sales or consumption. The amount of diners and the portion sizes are easy to plan on the menu, and the program will automatically calculate the right amounts for recipes to be produced. The program creates a shopping list based on the menu, so you will have the exact need for ingredients for producing the meals on the menu. When you compare the list to the existing inventory, you will avoid ordering excessive amounts of ingredients which could end up in wastage.

In JAMIX software, you can also register the sales and wastage on the menu. This enables you to check the figures next time you are producing the same recipe, how much was produced for a certain amount of diners, how much was consumed and how much was left over. This makes updating of portion sizes on the menu easier. You can even let the program update the portion sizes automatically based on the sales and wastage registered in the system.

In addition to well executed menu planning, the inventory management functionalities in restaurant management systems and separate HACCP systems support food waste management. Inventory balance monitoring and inventory-take are useful tools in preventing out-of-date items from ending up in wastage, and by setting par levels for items you can prevent excessive ordering.

Customer feedback is another good tool for preventing food waste. Through collecting feedback either with a restaurant management system or otherwise, by listening to it and taking it into consideration in menu planning you can both increase your sales and prevent food waste.

By not producing food for nothing, or by not having out-of-date items to be tossed away, has an impact on the environment as well as on the costs for a kitchen. Ingredients are the biggest individual cost for a kitchen in addition to labour costs, and by forecasting the amount of food to be produced as precisely as possible and by monitoring the wastage you will quickly gain savings. The reduction of food waste might be pushed by legislation in the years to come, so it is worth while to start giving it a thought already now.

Recipe and ingredient databases establish the foundation for effective kitchen management

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 4
September 2018

CulinaryNXT
200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405
203-415-9190

www.culinarynxt.com

 

Come On, Already!

Here’s a culinary challenge to everyone cooking food – cook the vegetables! Somewhere in the last 15 years diners seem to have accepted partially raw vegetables on a plate, and cooks are delivering partially raw vegetables. The art of vegetable cookery has all but disappeared. That nuance between perfectly cooked and slightly raw has been overtaken by mostly raw vegetables served hot. Describing perfectly cooked vegetables is hard, but you know them when you eat them. An expertly cooked vegetable – cooked to the point JUST past raw – is a memorable dining experience.

So, come on, already chefs, take up my challenge and rediscover cooked vegetables. Give diners that element of their dining experience.

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Recipe Compliance

A food operation’s recipe database along with the ingredient database establish the foundation for effective kitchen management. Recipes are built using the ingredients in the database. Ingredients provide data for costing, nutritional analysis, allergen information, and ingredient availability.Well written and accurate recipes help cooks, and cooks appreciate recipes that can help them in a production setting. Recipes help chef and cooks with production planning. Through clearly written, accurate recipes chefs can make production assignments for the entire culinary team according to skill and ability. Written recipes also become a training tool. When recipes are accurate and clearly written, managers and chefs have a strong tool which leads to recipe compliance.

When used properly, recipe compliance is not a top-down management tool. As used here, recipe compliance is cooks performing to an established set of standards. Part of those standards will include a mechanism to modify, and/or improve the parts that don’t work.

Recipe compliance impacts the operation in these ways.

  1. Consistency. Food prepared according to a recipe is consistent in taste, doneness, quantity, cost, and appearance among other things.
  2. Costs. Compliance to the recipe ensures that the operator knows the cost of each menu item.
  3. Nutritional accuracy. Recipe compliance ensures the accuracy of the nutritional value of each menu item.
  4. Allergen transparency. Recipe compliance confirms the trust bond between

All types of food operations benefit from developing and documenting recipes. The benefits reinforce the need for a kitchen management system. The cost benefits help operators to be successful, and the benefits from consistent taste and trustworthy information create brand loyalty.

 

Culinary & more…

Eat it NOW!

Not all food gets better with age. Cheese does, wine can, salumi definitely, braised meats the next day – sure. But this is about food that should be eaten NOW. Think fries. Fries never get better with age, never. That first batch of fries from clean fat, crispy on the outside, tender and steamy on the inside, just a light coat of fat and seasoned with the perfect amount of salt, and almost too hot to eat …is one of the perfect foods.

How come, then, did we get to the point where it’s ok to let food get “old”? Pizza is perfect immediately out of the oven. I know, we all ate refrigerator pizza for breakfast and said we love it. But it still wasn’t as good as when it was fresh out of the oven. Pizza is an Eat it NOW food, so are fried eggs/ spring rolls/ crabcakes/ grilled cheese/ ramen/ angel hair pasta/ risotto/ waffles. And then there’s toast. Something as simple as toast can be one of the best parts of breakfast if it’s toasted properly, then eaten while warm, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. There are so many other foods that are best when eaten as soon as they are done, because that is when they are perfect.

Somewhere, somehow, we started to lose sight that some food is best eaten immediately. We wanted food delivered or we want take-out. That’s fine, but not all food is suited for take-out.

 

SoCal Visit

Visiting southern California allowed for some delicious restaurant visits and the enjoyment of an ice cube.

Who gets impressed with an ice cube? Me. At the Sunset Tower Hotel patio bar I ordered a Campari on ice. The ice was a perfectly clear square which fit exactly in a rocks glass. The ice was so clear, one could read through it. The slow melt ensured that the drink wasn’t quickly diluted with water…..simple pleasures.

The surprise dinner experience was at Craig’s in West Hollywood. My daughter was interested in eating there and Craig’s serves Hungry Planet premium-plant based meats (disclosure – one of CulinaryNXT’s clients) so we made reservations. Craig’s is an exciting restaurant to walk into. Great hospitality and busy! The waitstaff is professional, knowledgeable, and know how to deliver hospitality. Chef Krizer’s kitchen delivered expertly prepared, delicious food. For more information craigs.la

Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads always delivers. Food, service, atmosphere, hospitality are all hallmarks of Crossroads. The food is innovative, expertly prepared, and delicious. Incidentally, it’s also vegan. I’ve eaten at Crossroads a half dozen times and it’s a great experience each time. For more information crossroadskitchen.com

In San Diego we met up with a fun chef friend, Jim Phillips and his wife at Trust Restaurant. Brad Wise is the Chef/Owner and clearly loves what he’s doing. The food was big flavor, fresh and satisfying. The kitchen is in the dining room and we sat at the chef’s table with a clear view into the hot zone. One of the surprises that night was a chicken liver toast with mostarda, grilled levain, radish, evoo! That was at the start of the meal and things continued to get tastier. For more information trustrestaurantsd.com

 

Dim Sum

Nom Wah

On a recent visit to NYC Chinatown I was introduced to Wilson Tang. Wilson is the owner of NYC’s oldest dim sum restaurant, Nom Wah Team Parlor. Not only did I get to experience Wilson’s dim sum, but I got to go on a walking tour of Chinatown with him including a stop at Aqua Best, Inc. In addition to the original Nom Wah Team Parlor, I visited Nom Wah Nolita which serves a new take on Chinese food.

For more information nomwah.com

And aquabestnyc.com

 

Ingredient of the Month

Parsley

Parsley doesn’t get the respect it deserves (neither does celery). This herb is undervalued in regard to flavor. In today’s kitchens parsley is thought of as a color. The full flavor impact of parsley jumps to life when it is freshly picked and included as a flavor ingredient in many foods.

The classic herb condiment, gremolata, puts parsley in the spotlight. Gremolata can be a flavor powerhouse for grilled or sautéed foods. Freshly picked and chopped parsley will ensure that your gremolata has the bright flavor expected of this condiment.

Take a fresh look at parsley and if you can use it freshly picked, you’ll rediscover a delicious ingredient.

 

Web Links of the Month

Cancer Nutrition Consortium

cancernutrition.org

Ongoing research to help patients undergoing cancer treatment has been published by the following authors:

Dr. Kisha Coa

Dr. Joel Epstein

Dr. Bruce Moskowitz

Kathy McManus, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.

I am privileged to serve on the Cancer Nutrition Consortium board with this distinguished group of medical professionals. Please join me in congratulating this team. Here is a link to their work:

foodandnutritionjournal.org

 

Veterans and Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods recently invited me to cook and share one of my go-to foods with other Hormel veterans.

hormelfoods.com

 

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT keeps your recipes in order and makes pricing easier

HH Ravintolat is a restaurant chain including different types of restaurants, such as restaurant Iso Paja in Helsinki offering lunch and catering services, and Panorama Bistro located in Europe’s busiest port in Helsinki West Harbour where the menu includes sandwiches and warm dishes prepared on the spot.

 

Consistency and efficiency for recipe management

– For me the best thing about JAMIX is that we can keep our recipes stored and in good order, tells Henri Häkkinen, the entrepreneur of HH Ravintolat.

– Selection of the active items on the menu varies but when we store the recipes in the system, we can bring passive items back on the menu because we will remember that we have good items in store.

– We want to offer a good and genuine experience to our customers, whether you’re visiting our restaurant Iso Paja or one of our cafés or bistros at the ports. We use JAMIX software for efficiency and maintaining regular practices. In this way, we can create recipes and make sure that the food is always made the same way, when we come up with a good idea.

 

Help for pricing and planning

– I like JAMIX because it makes pricing easier. I can see the ingredient costs in the system and when I calculate some labour costs there on top, I am able to price better, explains Teija Majanen, the restaurant manager of Iso paja.

– It is great that you can predict and make long-term planning. And then, if needed, you can still make changes. And it speeds up ordering.

 

Better customer experience

– With JAMIX we are able to control what we are selling and we have all the necessary information on the items and ingredients, and it’s available for the customer, as well, summarizes Henri Häkkinen the benefits of the system and Teija continues: We serve vegan food and have a relatively new set of recipes for that. We can store the recipes and keep track of all the allergens, and get an overview of the food with the help of JAMIX.

– Through all these we can offer better customer service, and have menus with regular variation. And as a result it is nice to have lunch at our restaurants, states Henri.

 

– And then this program is user-friendly, as well. I can use and manage the program well, even though I haven’t had any specific IT training, praises Teija the system.

Kitchen manager – when is the last time you updated your menu?

by Salla Arffman, Trainer

”Well planned is half done” is a valid statement concerning menus, as well, and I dare to say that this is something everyone has noticed also in your kitchen at home. How nice it is to come home after a hard day at work, and know beforehand the answer to the following question: What are we going to have today?

In the professional kitchen the menu is one of the most critical elements of the operations. The menu defines the items and services offered to the customers, it provides the framework for the following weeks, days and shifts to come, and partly even specifies the tasks for the kitchen staff. For this reason, the menus need to be planned carefully and the impact of the menu evaluated in a broad perspective.

The basis for menu planning should come from the business idea of the organization, as well as from customer needs and expectations, and available resources. The objectives for different types of professional kitchens are different from each other and the quantities of food prepared vary from batches as much as thousands of pounds, down to single dishes, and this has to be taken into consideration also when planning the menu.

We know that when you have planned your menus successfully you can save time and money, and it has a huge impact on customer satisfaction, but it also has effect on the company image and on the employees’ well-being. The menu is one of the management tools, it leads the organization into the right direction and defines the need for staff. Menu plans are not successful if the equipment capacity and the human resources are continuously overloaded.

So you need to plan your menu carefully, but it also needs to be dynamic in this ever changing world. The availability of ingredients varies, new items keep popping up all the time and the food trends change. This is why you can actually never stop planning, and a good menu is flexible, as well.

 

The basis for menu planning in restaurants and institutional kitchens

The menus of restaurants and institutional kitchens differ from each other, so the focus needs to be different in different types of professional kitchens.

In a restaurant the business idea pretty much determines the content of the menu, and you can communicate the company values with the menu. The amount of customers might vary substantially and in addition to lunch you often serve dinner and à la carte dishes, for which the ingredient costs and cooking methods might be completely different. When the food is prepared in the same space, and often even by the same people, you need to aim at building your menu so that the ingredients, the equipment capacity and the human resources can be utilized efficiently. When choosing a restaurant, the customer makes his/her decision specifically based on the menu, and this is why the menu should be appealing and interesting to the customer.

In an institutional kitchen the basis for menu planning comes from the nutritional guidelines, the amount of diners and the ingredient costs. Menus are often rotating, and it will be easier to predict both the need for ingredients and the work schedule for the coming weeks, and to make sure that the same dishes are not recurring on the menu too often. If the customer base for the institutional kitchen is wide (ranging from toddlers to seniors), you need to plan the menu so that it can be utilized broadly to different customer groups. Equipment capacity and human resources have a big impact especially when planning the menu for an institutional kitchen, and new production methods enable utilizing the resources more efficiently. Gone are the days, when in an institutional kitchen you prepared lunch in the morning and the kitchen was empty for the rest of the day.

Whether we are talking about a restaurant or an institutional kitchen, when planning the menu, you should pay attention to the availability of ingredients, seasonal items, sustainability, food safety and of course the customer expectations and the company policies.

You can never be sure which dish will be a success, and even if a dish was popular in the summer time, it might stay untouched in the winter time. Furthermore, the customers appreciate variation as much as they appreciate stability, so the menu planning remains to be constant balancing between these two.

 

Restaurant management systems as a part of menu planning

Planning your menus with software systems is what you do today. Customers demand for more information on the nutritional aspects of food, allergens and ingredients, and the software systems enable providing this information quickly and effortlessly. Already building a week’s menu without a software system is exhausting, if you want to provide the customer with any other information than the name of the dish.

A restaurant management system enables you to:

  • monitor the nutritional values on your menu and compare them to the nutritional guidelines
  • do costing
  • estimate portion sizes and the amounts of diners, and print for instance your shopping list or instructions based on them
  • follow sales and wastage of food

Time will tell, how software systems evolve and what kind of impact it will have on menu planning in the future. You will be able to provide more information related to the meals and maybe artificial intelligence will revolutionize the whole functionality, and the software will suggest changes to the menu based on customer feedback, wastage, availability of ingredients and nutritional guidelines. While waiting for this to happen, deciding on the dishes to be served is still the task of the menu planner.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT ensures the quality of food and saves time

Aleksia is a public utility providing foodservices for over 40.000 people in the Finnish community of Nurmijärvi. Aleksia’s services include daily meals for children in pre-schools and elementary schools, for employees of the community and for senior citizens at care facilities. In addition, Aleksia provides catering services for meetings and events.

– JAMIX streamlines restaurant operations by assisting us in preparing right amounts of food and odering right things at the right time, tells Teija Määttä who is the Food Production Advisor at Aleksia Food and Cleaning Services.

 

” Good and tasty food of high quality”

– We have 12 commissary kitchens, and in total there are 50 sites where food is served and consumed. We prepare 14.000 meals per day. Each kitchen used to have their own recipes and own ingredients, so the quality of food probably varied. Now we are able to produce food of uniform quality and everyone is aware of the ingredients a certain meal contains, explains Teija Määttä.

 

The program provides time savings while taking care of critical calculations

– It would be impossible to manage this number of kitchens and sites without a kitchen management software. The program saves time as it calculates order quantities for us. You don’t need to gather any paper sheets or notes and calculate what and how much needs to be ordered, summarizes Teija Määttä the benefits of the system.

 

Menu in a mobile application

– Thanks to the free JAMIX MENU mobile application our customers can browse the menus of schools and kindergartens on their smart phones. In addition to the menu content, ingredients and nutritional values are available in the application. Our kitchens that serve meals utilize the mobile application, as well – it works as a tool for them as it contains the latest and correct information about the food, says Määttä.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT provides far-stretched visibility towards customers, as well.

Xamk catering services of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences includes seven restaurants in total, located in four different cities. All restaurants provide lunch and coffeehouse services, as well as catering services for Xamk students and personnel and for other customers, as well. JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software is utilized in Xamk both as an everyday tool as well as for customer communication

Xamk Restaurant Services Manager Minna-Mari Mentula says she is happy with the co-operation with JAMIX:
– JAMIX has been used in Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences already since 2013. We used to have another management system but we wanted to change to a more agile one.

”JAMIX is an everyday tool for restaurant managers and for those who make purchase orders”

Restaurant Manager for restaurant Kasarmina, Margit Neuvonen states that JAMIX is an unbeatable tool and you just couldn’t work without it. Not a day without JAMIX goes by, you’ve got to have it!

Easy to share your menu with customers

– JAMIX system is visible to customers, as well. In each of our restaurants, we have a JAMIX MENU display terminal located at the entrance, from which the customer can see the menu of the day. In addition, at restaurant Kasarmina we have a smart lunch line which is just another example of JAMIX’s compatibility with digitalization and practicality. In the smart lunch line customers can see the nutrient content of the food they have taken on their plate, tells Restaurant Manager Margit Neuvonen and summarizes:
Extremely far-stretched visibility towards customers.

Kitchen management systems provide the tools to get critical allergen and nutrition information to customers

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 3
August 2018

CulinaryNXT
200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405
203-415-9190

www.culinarynxt.com

 

Come On Already!

During my first hand writing a newsletter a couple of years ago, I called the newsletter, “Come On Already!” This is something you’d hear me say for a variety of occasions – something amazing, something ridiculous, something unbelievable (to me anyway), and….you get the idea. I hadn’t realized I used this phrase until a trip to Spain some years ago and my host wondered why I said that, well because, it doesn’t make sense when translated. But, everyone gets the gist.

Here’s this month’s Come On Already!…give me feedback.

 

Are Small Plates Too Small?

Small plates are a fun way to eat. A group of friends get together and order a variety of small plates to share and experience flavor & textures. However, at some point the small plates are just too small. How do 4 people share 3 shrimp? The answer is, you have to order a second small plate of shrimp. Now I have 2 more shrimp, but that’s not too bad because I can cut them in half and each gets ½ shrimp. But, wait, who gets the tail and who gets the fat juicy end? But, you say, why not split the last 2 shrimp lengthwise?….why not indeed. When did dining become so complicated????

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Allergen & Nutrition Information

Providing customers with information allows them to make decisions when eating in our establishments. The obvious customer information is menu prices, but many customers want nutrition and allergen information that is easily available. My recent years in College & University foodservice underscored the importance of nutrition and allergen information. The customer population with food allergies must know what is in food.

Kitchen management systems provide managers with the tools to get critical allergen information to customers. Menu cards can be printed or digitally displayed at the point of access to provide diners with allergen information. This information is displayed as a list of ingredient and, in many cases, as icons. The icons are a great visual graphic that allows the diner to quickly scan the known allergens that might be in the food.

Nutritional information is the other piece of information diners use to make meal choices. Kitchen management systems can upload this information to mobile device apps so that the customer can see the information at any time.

Jamix Kitchen Management Systems is a comprehensive technology solution that provides allergen & nutritional information for customers. For more information visit www.jamix.com

 

Culinary & more

Lentils

I finally realized that I’m a geek…..a food geek. My recent collaboration with CIA Consulting and lentils.org made me realize I’m a geek, otherwise why get excited over lentils!? And I was/am excited over lentils. Together with certified master chef Tony Seta, we lead a group of top chefs through a series of talks, tastes, and team hacks to come up with delicious lentil-forward menu items.

The project yielded some interesting outcomes. The biggest surprise for me was that lentils blend well with ground beef. I went in thinking the lentil flavor would be dominant but in a 66:33 ratio the beef was the star and the lentil helped to make the burgers delicious. Green lentils (which look brown) also blended well with turkey, and pork, and red lentils were delicious with salmon.

Our process was to cook the green lentils, then puree them and use the puree to mix with ground meat. Red lentils were only soaked, then pureed and mixed with salmon.

The participants were set up into teams and given a market basket of ingredients to use. Teams created signature burgers, inspirational bowls, and craveable street food. For more information visit www.lentils.org

 

Brava

Cooking with light is at the core of the Brava cooking system. The light comes from powerful light bulbs inside the Brava. The power of the light can professionally caramelize meats and vegetables in a short time. The result is seared food cooked to a perfect predetermined doneness. And the food is delicious.

I was able to experience the Brava in action recently in Manhattan. The CEO, CTO, and Chef were in NY to demonstrate the technology. I got there as a 4 portion beef strip was being served with roasted potatoes and seared mushrooms. Here’s the coolest part – all 3 ingredients were cooked AT THE SAME TIME, and each was perfectly done. As if that wasn’t enough, the chef then cooked 2 portions of salmon filet with roasted tomatoes and asparagus. The salmon skin was cracker-crisp and the center of the fish was medium (as requested).

The process includes 3 cooking zones inside the Brava and technology that knows how much light intensity and time is needed for each ingredient. And the Brava has a video feed of the food cooking. I’m going to keep an eye on Brava. For more information www.brava.com

Thanks Darcy!

 

Chris Cheung

Chef Owner of East Wind Snack Shop NYC & Tansuo in Nashville.

Chris Cheung – cool guy, excellent chef, and mafioso! He’s all that and more. I first saw Chris on Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations in a Chinese restaurant in NYC’s China Town. THAT’S how cool Chris is. I got to spend time with Chris while taping cooking videos for Hormel Foods. Then I interviewed Chris for a Cooking Journey podcast also for Hormel Foods. Talking with Chris is like talking with a good friend. The conversation flows, the talk of food is always in the center and you find out quickly that Chris knows food.

Chris has SERIOUS culinary chops – Jean George Vongerichten, Morimoto, Wylie Dufresne – are notable chefs he as cooked with. He has traveled China to learn about Chinese cuisine, and he worked alongside a Master Chinese dim sum chef to fully understand the craft of creating dim sum.

If you really want to know about Chris’ food, visit him at East Wind Snack Shop eastwindsnackshop.com

 

Web Link of the Month

Food from India – 2018

The flavor forecast from Flavor and The Menu magazine has great insight into what’s going on right now.

Here’s more information from experts: getflavor.com

Another use for beer from the Czechs…. npr.org

 

Special Feature

Chef Humberto Espinal

Yale 3rd Cook, Chef Humberto Espinal took top honors at the 2018 NACUFS National Culinary Championship. This is especially meaningful to me for several reasons. Foremost is because Humberto is one of those joyful success stories. 6 years ago while I was Director of Culinary Excellence at Yale Hospitality, I had to inform Humberto that I couldn’t hire him without a high school diploma or GED. It was one of the most difficult messages I had to deliver. It was difficult because Humberto was, and is, a craftsman and I knew he would give everything to our craft. I told him to call me when he has his diploma.

2 ½ years after that meeting, Humberto called me to say he got his GED! His timing was right because we had a cook’s position open and Humberto was now on the Yale culinary team. Over the next couple of years, Humberto continued to hone his craft and this year he wanted to compete to represent Yale Hospitality at NACUFS.

The rest, they say, is history! Congratulations Humberto to your Championship!

 

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.

 

Technology can provide leadership teams with analytic tools to fine tune production forecasting

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 2
July 2018

CulinaryNXT
200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405
203-415-9190

www.culinarynxt.com

 

CulinaryNXT Food Forecast

“The culinary horizon is coming into focus as chefs step up foraging, fermentation and fire. Foraging is bringing sloe berries, yarrow, olive capers and gooseberries to the modern table. Much of the ongoing flavor explosion is rooted in fermentation, pickling, curing and brining. And the fascination with live-fire cooking will burn brightly as fire delivers intensely flavored food.”

As quoted by Ron DeSantis to Flavor & The Menu in January 2018.

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Production Forecasting

The culinary team thrives on forecasts. “How many orders?” is the language of a la carte restaurant chefs. These culinarians are asking “what’s on the books?”, or how many reservations for the evening. They will then know, from experience how many portions of each dish to prepare. This process continues in countless foodservice operations worldwide. Knowing how much to prepare determines purchasing quantities, station MEP, and staffing, to name a few.

Technology can provide leadership teams with analytic tools to fine tune production forecasting. Kitchen management systems use historical data to provide management with accurate production forecasts. This information is distributed to culinary teams to allow them to prepare the proper number of portions.

Accurate production forecasts require operational teams to capture raw data. Basic data needed by management systems are – quantities prepared by the kitchen staff, number of transactions, and shortages/outages. This information will be used by the software to forecast future production quantities needed by the operation. The benefits to an operation are numerous: purchases can be accurate which controls purchasing costs; production of food is more accurate which assists staffing (labor costs), and results in fewer leftovers; less discarded food means less trash waste; energy consumption is reduced when overproduction is managed; and there are many other benefits.

Establishing a production forecasting system has numerous benefits to operational success.

 

Culinary & more…

Oyster Farmer

Early in June I had the opportunity to visit Copps Island Oyster farm. I had met the owner, Norm Bloom last December and he invited me to go out on one of his boats. It was December, seriously cold, and I had “office shoes” on, so I declined and took a rain check. So early in June on a beautiful day I visited Norm’s farm and went out with his son Jimmy to harvest oysters. What a great experience.

6am I was heading out into the Long Island Sound on an oyster boat built in 1932. After about 20 minutes into the Sound, Jimmy dropped cages off each side of the boat. When he hauled them in, they were full to the top with shells. Then 2 deck hands maneuver the cages over top of one of 11 bushels that will eventually hold 550 bushels, and by pulling a lever, opened the cage bottom. Everything in the cage dropped into the bushel, and the process was repeated for about 75 minutes. When the bushels were full, we headed in.

During that trip, (and Jimmy makes 3 trips a day, 6 days a week, all year) I learned that during this time of year the bushel on the deck yields 8 bushels of half-shells, 20 bushels of throwback, and the rest the material, all shells, is recovered and used to prepare fresh oyster beds in other parts of the sound. Norm’s family has been farming the waters for over 100 years. They are committed stewards of the seas.

Once back in dock, the bushels are unloaded and moved into refrigerated sorting rooms. Oysters that are selected for market are picked and put into bins. These bins are eventually emptied onto a conveyor, rinsed, sorted one last time and then bagged for distribution.

 

Find the Cause

Find the Cause is an organization in Boston that raises money to….find the cause. Of breast cancer. Their mission is “to fund scientific research on the environmental causes of breast cancer and educate the public on prevention”. My wife, Sylvia, and I were guests recently at their gala. Part of the reason I was going is because I was an auction item. I offered to cook dinner for up to 20 guests at the home of the auction winner. The auction started and ended up netting $13,000 for me to cook dinner. The proceeds go to Find the Cause.

 

Ingredient of the Month

Smoked Paprika

It is just a coincidence that this month’s ingredient is another smoked ingredient. Smoked paprika is one of those tastes that gets your attention. I remember developing a recipe at Yale which included smoked paprika, so it was now part of the inventory. I was visiting a kitchen and noticed smoked paprika being used in a recipe and said to the cook, this isn’t in the recipe. He smiled, and with joy said, “I know, but I LIKE it!”

Smoked paprika is one of those satisfying ingredients. One of my favorite dishes is made by a dear friend. She sautés peeled shrimp in olive oil, slivered garlic, and smoked paprika. It is a combination meant to be.

 

Web Link of the Month

Mediterranean Meats

The flavor forecast from Flavor and The Menu magazine has great insight into what’s going on right now.

Here’s more information from experts:

Eastern Mediterranean Meats

 

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.