Kitchen management system enables scalability of recipes

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 7
December 2018

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

www.culinarynxt.com

 

Come On, Already!

“Our chef isn’t going to enter recipes into a data base.” WHAT!? was the look on my face. The owners are building a new kitchen and are looking at software for the operation. They stopped by the booth at the NY Hotel Show I was working, looked at kitchen management software, liked the system, and as they were leaving said their chef would never add recipes. And these owners seemed ok with their situation.

Come on, already. Who’s driving the boat? To all chefs, culinarians, cooks, food preparers, and anyone in the food business – if you aren’t engaging technology, you’re being left behind. The technology available today is easy to use and will help your operation.

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Tool of the Trade – Recipe

The first topic of my newsletter in June was recipes. In that article I wrote, “Recipes drive ingredient selection, equipment selection, china selection, production schedules, and labor schedules, to name a few operational topics.” The purpose of writing about recipes was to reinforce their value to good operational processes. In a foodservice operation a recipe is a valuable tool, especially when the recipe is dynamic. A dynamic recipe is cool. When a recipe is part of a functional kitchen management system it is scalable, cost aware, ingredient driven, menu accessible, nutritionally defined, photographically represented, and a handful of other useable topics. All important tools to effectively run a successful operation.

Take scalable for example. Chefs know, mostly from trial and error, that all ingredients cannot be calculated equally when scaling a recipe. Scaling meats, vegetables, and liquids generally work using a recipe conversion factor – desired yield /original yield=recipe conversion factor. What doesn’t scale this way are the spices, salt, dried herbs. To accurately scale spices (and, actually, all ingredients) each ingredient must be calculated as a percent of the whole.

A dynamic kitchen management system has this function built in. This is a complex computation done in the background and is easy for the operator to use. Scaling ingredients using percentages provides chefs with accurate ingredient quantities, which results in consistently delicious food.

 

Culinary & more…

LA Feast & Fundraiser benefitting Rett Syndrome

“Rett syndrome is a neurological disorder which causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.”

A fundraiser was held November 3rd at the Petersen Automobile Museum in LA in November to support the efforts of www.rettsyndrome.org It was a privilege to be a part of the group of chefs that served up food to the attendees. A group of local culinary students teamed up with the chefs in attendance to get hands-on experience in a live culinary event.

The most memorable part of the evening was learning about and meeting the afflicted girls and also meeting their amazing family members.

 

US Air Force Go4Green

In September I joined the CIA Consulting team of chefs in Dayton, OH for the training and implementation of the US Air Force Go4Green food initiative. This program refocuses the dining experience on air force bases globally. One of the main focuses is to offer flavor-forward plant-based recipes for airmen and airwomen. The CIA Consulting team worked with Air Force chefs and operations managers from several air bases in the country.

The CIA Consulting team worked with the group to not only maximize the taste of food, but also presentation of food on a hot and cold service line. We also dove into the importance of planning and organization in food production. This was the first of several global implementation locations.

Here’s a link to an article about Go4Green: Go for green helps airmen stay fit to fight

 

Shoreline Chamber of Commerce, CT Staff Member of Year

The following is personal story.

I share with great pleasure that my wife, Sylvia, has been recognized as the 2018 Staff Member of the Year by the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce, CT.

First awards celebration

Sylvia works for the Shoreline Village CT and has been with the Shoreline Village CT for over 5 years and is currently the Director of Services. Shoreline Village CT is a “community of seniors on the Connecticut Shoreline committed to helping each other live independently at home.”

Sylvia works with the many volunteers who are crucial to the organization. Here’s a link to their website:

Shoreline Village CT

I’m overjoyed that Sylvia is recognized for the wonderful and valuable contribution she makes to over 100 seniors living in our community. Congratulations, Sylvia!

 

Stuff

Fried Chicken

This topic never gets old for me. While reading through some older links I found this one in Flavor & The Menu – “For the Love of Fried Chicken” Enjoy www.getflavor.com

 

Lebkuchen

My niece arrived from Germany 2 weeks ago and had a very special treat – lebkuchen. Not any old lebkuchen, Nürnberger lebkuchen!

Lebkuchen dates back to the 13th century and is made from nuts, spices and honey. It is reportedly from the Franconian region of Germany (northern Bavaria). These cookies are baked on a wafer and are soft to the bite. Most are glazed….dark chocolate, please! I look forward to lebkuchen this time of year, and once again, I wasn’t disappointed.

 

Gratitude

I end this newsletter and 2018 with my sincerest gratitude to so many people. It has been my good fortune to work with dozens of creative, professional, inspiring, and caring people.

To everyone reading this, please accept my best wishes for a Happy Holiday and healthy wishes for a wonderful New Year.

Ron

 

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.

Kitchen management system supports sustainability and provides answers to consumer needs

 

At present, efficiency in the foodservice industry is a major problem. Estimates show food waste totaling 63-million tons per year across the supply chain, amounting to roughly 218-billion-dollars in waste.

 

Sustainability is a hot topic in the foodservice business, as well

– The food service industry is one of the largest employers in the United States as a whole. Everything we do has an impact on so much that takes place, states Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis. Food waste starts way down at the beginning of the food string. How we order things, what we order, are we using enough technology to help us see what the menu mix is, and order the right ingredients for the amount of food we need to prepare.

– Sustainability has to do with reducing and preserving or recycling resources. If we are able to protect the resources anywhere through the production and distribution and service of the food to the consumers, we’re impacting overall the environment and the economy in a significant way, explains Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President, Yale Hospitality.

 

Consumers want information and transparency

The industry is also faced with evolving consumer demands. With concerns about diet and nutrition, food allergies or sensitivities, and sourcing of ingredients, consumers want want transparency in the food they consume.

– Consumers are aware of food through social media and other outlets, so they can see what’s going on in food and people want wholesome ingredients. We can track the boat that a fish came from, we can track vegetables back to their origin to the farmers. No matter what it is there are people behind all of this, making these foods for us on a daily basis. So that kind of transparency is very important. And I think it’s great for the industry across the board, reflects Ron DeSantis the current trends.

 

Technology provides benefits to restaurant operations comprehensively

– The food industry for many years relooked at the technology for better communication, better planning and better process efficiencies. We are using technology not only to gather information but to also create predictability of future performance. So technology has become a key aspect of operational needs, states Rafi Taherian.

Thanks to advances in technology, kitchen management systems now enable managers to have more control over food production, providing data for restaurants and their customers.

JAMIX is Finnish software company which has been developing and making software for professional kitchens for almost 30 years now.

– We have created a complete, versatile and dynamic software which can be used by any kind of restaurant or restaurant chain, tells Mikko Jaatinen, CEO JAMIX Inc, and continues:

– We have a totally web based system which is supported by apps which we can give to mobile phone users in the kitchen and take everyone on board to using the system, which is so easy to use with this modern technology. It is not just a tool for the managers, it is everyone’s tool in the kitchen every day.

– If you go to any supermarket today, you see more and more people looking at the labels – they are interested in what is in their food. You have to have that information in normal food you buy in the supermarkets. We provide that same data through our system to anyone who visits a restaurant. The ingredient list of a recipe, allergen information and dietary requirements. In addition, the program calculates automatically calories and other nutrients based on the recipes, explains Jaatinen the benefits of the software system.

Jamix software also calculates the carbon footprint, that is the CO2 value of recipes.

 

Managing items is easy with a restaurant management system

The restaurant inventory and management procurement software helps businesses manage all items easily in the system. It can automatically create purchase orders based on a menu and can then calculate quantities to be ordered, according to what is needed.

JAMIX software is also used in Kay’s Kitchen restaurant chain in Ireland. Bart Glover, Director of Kay’s Kitchen appreciates the benefits for their business:

– JAMIX software gave us the ability to price a plate of food and then be able to link that with back of house. To be able to control the quantities that we are buying.

Allowing recipes and menus to be managed by site, by chain, or by concept, provides the headquarters with control over costs and quality of food served throughout the chain.

– The JAMIX MOBILE allows senior staff members, like chefs and managers to make decisions on the spot, immediately. You can order inventory from our suppliers without having to go to fax machines or sending emails or making telephone calls, it is instant control, explains Bart Glover.

– JAMIX for me is the right type of kitchen system. By having the information there – recipes, ingredients, building menus, inventory control, tracking cost, having the real-time cost from purveyors come in – those are all tools that I can do to manage waste, to manage production and control energy usage. Everything comes from that ability, the right kind of technology. Having it centralized, for me is a very important tool and very important part of what the future of the food service industry is going to be about, summarizes Ron DeSantis.

With 30 years of experience within the foodservice industry, JAMIX continues its mission to make work in the restaurant kitchen easier.

 

JAMIX was featured in an episode of Innovations with Ed Begley Jr., broadcasted on October 27, 2018 on Fox Business channel. Innovations is an award-winning television series hosted by actor, director and environmentalist, Ed Begley Jr., and is dedicated to bringing viewers the most up-to-date, cutting edge information across a vast array of industries. From health and wellness to global business, renewable energy, and more, Innovations features practical solutions and important issues facing consumers and professionals alike. More information: innovationstelevision.com

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 6
November 2018

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

www.culinarynxt.com

 

Come On, Already!

October was jam packed. I started the month with on a CIA Consulting Team project of chefs implementing a fantastic food program for the US Air Force. During that project, my colleague Victor Gielisse, CMC shared this with me:

Four Kinds of People.

  1. Those who make things happen.
  2. Those who watch things happen.
  3. Those who wonder what happened.
  4. Those who don’t know that anything happened.

This statement is attributed to Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay is known to have said that she wanted to be first on that list. Mary Kay certainly knew what it takes to make things happen!

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Customer Feedback

Dr. Tim Ryan, CMC, President, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) would say, “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” He believes the journey toward excellence is supported by accepting specific feedback and then taking action to improve. The culture of excellence at the CIA was enhanced by leadership role modeling and through training programs for faculty, staff, and management.

Listening to feedback isn’t always easy. Our first inclination is defensive. Criticism is hard to hear. Feedback isn’t always clear and specific, and it can be interpreted as personal. The key is to listen attentively or read thoroughly and find the reason for the feedback. Once you know the cause, you can do something about it.

Technology is a great tool to allow customers to provide instant feedback. Yale Dining has an app for student dining that allows students to provide feedback instantly. That app, called Fast Track, captures the feedback so that managers can take corrective action or improvement steps in real time. Harvard Dining Services provides students with a number to text feedback, once again providing instant feedback. Uber Eats sends a request for feedback as soon as food is delivered, airlines send a survey after each flight, and there are countless other examples of requests for feedback. The best organizations accept the feedback and develop processes and training to improve. Additionally, kitchen management software (see Jamix below) allows customers to use integrated technology to give immediate feedback.

 

Culinary & more…

Scratch Cooking

Chefs are hardworking people. One of the things I witness in the culinary field is the insistence to make everything from scratch. I’ve been there and in many fine dining eateries chefs cook from scratch daily. There are thousands of other operations that would benefit from sourcing ingredients ready to use.

Ready-to-Use ingredients come from manufacturing kitchens that prepare foods under the watchful eyes of highly skilled chefs. In the past I had the opportunity to work with the innovation team at Hormel Foods during the development of Fire-braised meats. The quality and flavor of fire-braised meats will meet the exacting standards of chefs. The benefits of RTU ingredients are consistent quality and flavor, labor saving, cost control, and just-in-time inventory. The variety of prepared foods is not limited to meats. Sauces, salsas, vegetables, soups, pastas, beans (think cans) are available in RTU format.

Other companies with professionally prepared foods for foodservice use are, Bonewerks Culinarte, and Cuisine Solutions. I’m familiar with quality and flavor of foods from these companies and believe they would be of benefit to many operations.

www.hormelfoodservice.com

www.bonewerksculinarte.com

www.cuisinesolutions.com

 

Vegan Meats

Plant-based meats are delicious. The quality of plant-based meats is at the highest level ever. The flavor and texture are satisfying, and they are easy to prepare. Practically everyday another article is written about plant-based meat options. Full disclosure is that I work with a plant-based meat company called Hungry Planet. The taste of Hungry Planet plant-based meats and the range of their portfolio convinced me that Hungry Planet is truly committed to high quality food.

They are not just for vegans or vegetarians. Plant-based meats are a delicious option, and they deliver taste and texture. Now for the biggest culinary tip regarding cooking plantbased meats – don’t overcook! Just like traditional meats, plant-based meats are not good when overcooked. This is the most important aspect when working with plant-based (and traditional) meats.

Here’s a link worth looking at: www.menusofchange.org

The CIA’s Menus of Change (3rd CIA reference in this newsletter….!) has colleges & universities engaged in the “Protein Flip”. This initiative is a menu develop process that replaces an animal protein with plant-based ingredients.

Here are some delicious foods prepared with plant-based meats:

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

Hungry Planet Italian Sausage™ patty topped with vegan egg, melted vegan gouda, red-eye coffee sauce and scallions on English muffin

Philly Beef & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Hungry Planet Beef™ with caramelized onions, scrambled vegan egg, vegan cheddar on English muffin

Pesto Chicken Panino

Hungry Planet Chicken™ patty with vegan lemon-mayo, roasted peppers, basil-pecan pesto on ciabatta

Pork Banh Mi

Spicy Hungry Planet Pork™ with pickled vegetables, cilantro, and sweet garlic drizzle on soft baguette

Chipotle Chicken and Portobello “Bacon” Panino

Hungry Planet Chicken™ patty with chipotle mayo, portobello “bacon”, cheddar, tomato, and arugula on sourdough

Hungry Planet Chicken™ ALT (avocado, lettuce, tomato)

Hungry Planet Chicken™ patty with vegan lemon-mayo, fresh avocado, lettuce, tomato, on toasted Italian bread

Spanish Chorizo & Potato Torta

Layered potato and Hungry Planet Chorizo™ with caramelized onions and smoked paprika slowly baked, topped with gazpacho vinaigrette

Colombian Bocadillo with Hungry Planet Chorizo™ & Egg

Scrambled Hungry Planet Chorizo™ and vegan egg with cheddar on toasted baguette

Shawarma & Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower in Pita

Hungry Planet Chicken™ shawarma with za’atar cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, and tahini in pita

Chicken Tikka Masala Bowl with Basmati Rice and Pickled Vegetables

Hungry Planet Chicken™ tikka masala over fluffy basmati rice in a bowl with house-made pickles and cilantro

 

Books & Links

Jamix on Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr.

Jamix Kitchen Management Systems is a state-of-the-art comprehensive management software from Finland. Jamix has been providing solutions to thousands of foodservice operations world-wide and is now offered in the US. On Saturday, October 27th Jamix was a featured segment on Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr on Fox Business channel.

It was an opportunity to demonstrate the impact that Jamix has on foodservice operations. Hit the link below to see the October 27, 2018.

Innovations is an award-winning television series hosted by actor, director and environmentalist, Ed Begley Jr., and is dedicated to bringing viewers the most up-to-date, cutting edge information across a vast array of industries. From health and wellness to global business, renewable energy, and more, Innovations features practical solutions and important issues facing consumers and professionals alike.

innovationstelevision.com

www.jamix.com

 

The Truth About Food

“The Truth About Food” is the title of a new book by David Katz, MD. The title alone says, “read me”. The fact that I know David and have had the privilege of hearing him talk about food (publicly and privately) makes me recommend reading his new book. I just got the Kindle app, downloaded a “sample” copy, started reading as far as the sample permitted, but can’t figure out how to buy the eversion. In any regard, the writing is classic David and it is immediately engaging, witty, and factual.

Here are a handful of testimonials:

“You’ve got a terrific book in front of you, written by a doctor who is woke, devoted, caring, and deeply concerned not only about what and how we eat but the impact it has on ourselves, our environment, other living beings, and the planet in general.

– Mark Bittman

Dr. David L. Katz helps insulate us from the next food fad by making sure we are armed with the truth, and nothing but the truth. Facts do matter, and The Truth About Food is full of them. The Truth about Food should have a home in everyone’s kitchen.”

– Sanjay Gupta MD

“Sometimes, even I have nutrition questions; and when I do, I take them to Dr. David L. Katz. Read this book- and you will see why!”

– Joy Bauer, MS, RDN

 

And if that’s not enough, take a look at this recommended recipe:

Chocolate Lava Cake Cuisinicity.com

 

podcast – REPOST

In case you missed this last month……..

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 www.hormelfoods.com

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.

Innovations featuring JAMIX on Fox Business Oct 27, 2018

Jupiter, FL—Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr. will broadcast on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 5:00p ET via Fox Business. Check your local listings for more information.

Learn how Spruce Capital Partners is helping producers make the food system more sustainable and responsible to consumer demands as Innovations explores recent developments in crop technologies. Viewers will learn how products like Amfora, and others within Spruce Capital’s portfolio of companies, is enhancing nutritional value of food and feed crops.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT is a cutting-edge restaurant software for managing any size and type of restaurant, catering business, or other establishment within the foodservice industry. This segment will feature how JAMIX’s comprehensive software manages several sides of restaurant operations, including recipe management and costing, menu planning and nutritional analysis, inventory management, procurement, and more.

Watch to explore Easy Energy Systems, Inc. (EES), a company dedicated to producing new solutions that will reduce dependency on fossil fuels, reduce pollution, and improve the lives of people throughout the world. The show will look at how EES designs, manufactures, operates and sells its patented 1M, 2M, and 5M gallon-per-year, small-scale, modular biorefineries called Modular Energy Production Systems (MEPS®) for the production of alternative liquid biofuels and biogas from organic waste streams.

In response to the lack of truly natural skincare options, Innovations will explore Enso Beauty Company and will educate viewers on its 100-percent USDA certified organic beauty products, which are known for its high-performance and for having zero trace of toxins and irritants.

“From food service to beauty care and beyond, developments in science technology truly are truly transforming our world and enabling us to do more with less,” said Will Spilecki, senior producer for the Innovations television series. “We are excited to feature these innovative ideas on our show.”

###

About Innovations & DMG Productions:
Innovations, hosted by award winning actor Ed Begley, Jr., is an information-based series geared toward educating the public on the latest breakthroughs in all areas of society. Featuring practical solutions and important issues facing consumers and professionals alike, Innovations focuses on cutting-edge advancements in everything from health and wellness to global business, renewable energy, and more.

Backed by experts in various fields, and a team dedicated to education and advancement, DMG Productions consistently produces commercial-free, educational programming on which both viewers and networks depend.

For more information visit: www.InnovationsTelevision.com or contact (866) 496-4065.

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.