Fresh Ideas will be the first Foodservice Management company in the US to implement cloud-based Jamix Kitchen Intelligence System for managing their food service operations. Fresh Ideas is a food service management company serving academic institutions, corporations, and senior living communities in the Midwest, South, and Southeast. The agreement with Jamix will cover 35 locations.
Foodservice Management magazine recently named Fresh Ideas one of the Top 50 foodservice companies in the US, and selected Fresh Ideas as one of the “6 Companies to Watch”.
Technology is one of the corner stones of innovation in Fresh Ideas and the company has been internationally featured for technology and forward-thinking. Innovation and future-forward thinking have been a priority in Jamix, as well, since the start of the company 30 years ago. True to Jamix’s heritage, it’s development engineers continue to publish almost 100 system enhancements and updates every year. Each enhancement or update simplifies and improves the user experience.
Fresh Ideas’ Chief Technology Officer, Bob Love has this to say about Jamix:
“From the first time we reviewed at the Jamix solution I thought to myself “Finally someone has created a solution for real culinarians vs. some tech that culinarians can try to use if they can figure out how to use it!”. Not only that but, the solution is built with enterprise proven technologies that can be configured for modern kitchens, techniques and methodologies. We were developing our own solution in frustration not being able to find a solution for our culinary teams. But, as soon as we reviewed the Jamix solution; we knew that we had to find a way to create a partnership so that we could get the solution in the hands of our culinary teams. Again, another magic moment; the team at Jamix (including the CEO) has been with us every step of the way answering every question and providing resources to help us with our decision process. There is no other solution that I am aware of that has a Master Chef as part of their team! “
In addition to satisfied customers, Jamix’s innovative approach was recently recognized with 2019 National Restaurant Association’s Kitchen Innovations Award. KI Award recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to hospitality today and showcase the future of the industry.
Jamix is the leading supplier of kitchen intelligence systems for professional kitchens with 30 years of experience. Building on Jamix’s long history, the company is now operating in the United States for a couple of years now.
”We are excited to start co-operation with a forward thinking food company like Fresh Ideas”, says Mikko Jaatinen, founder and CEO of Jamix.
About Fresh Ideas
Fresh Ideas is a dynamic food service management company serving academic institutions, corporations, and senior living communities in the Midwest, South, and Southeast. Fresh Ideas is committed to promoting sustainable practices through culinary craft and professional accountability by creating and advancing programs which strive to balance social equity, environmental health and economic prosperity.
Jamix is a Finnish company specializing in cutting-edge restaurant software for professional hospitality and food service operations to plan and organize recipe, menu, inventory and ordering management, and internal logistics. Founded in 1990 by a young Finnish student, in 30 years Jamix has grown from a small local business into a software company with 2500 + clients all over the world. Headquartered in Jyväskylä, Finland, the Jamix US office is based in the Boston. “Thousands of customers use Jamix to produce hundreds of thousands of meals, every day!”
WFP – World Food Programme, is an organization under UN – United Nations.
It is present in any major human crisis you can read on global media at any given time, such as Syria right now, feeding people in despair – providing emergency food assistance.
Another main focus for WFP is National School Feeding programs.
WFP is working in 80 countries and feeds 80 million school children. These countries are poor or for other reasons not capable of doing it themselves.
Challenges in producing food in big scale
The challenges in the operations are familiar to anyone trying to provide food on daily basis to hundreds or thousands of people.
How to plan a versatile menu that is nutritious but simultaneously cost-efficient and sustainable. That is challenging and a hard task. Ingredient costs fluctuate and calculating recipe and menu costs is time consuming if not even practically impossible without a digital system. But it gets even more complex with allergens and different diets just to name few.
Food waste happens in many phases of the food production process, all creating huge environmental effects and obviously losing money every time food is thrown away or lost unnecessarily. Is the number of meals correct? Can I scale the recipe according to the right portion size? Do I know how much of each ingredient should be ordered from the suppliers? Do I know the inventory at the moment? Do we have standardized recipes so the cooks can follow planned menu and recipes?
Finland has been offering free school lunch for over 70 years
In Finland every schoolchild has been offered a free and nutritious school meal for over 70 years. When the school lunch system started, Finland was a poor country. The offering was more porridges and soups, but still, every child got a meal at school.
School lunch has huge benefits from many aspects. Obviously a hungry child gets fed and is healthier and happier. Better learning results is a major return of this investment. It is quite obvious that Finland’s rise to the very top of the world in many different categories such as education and quality of life, is based on free nutritious school lunches for everyone. Finland is now a rich country.
Working for digitalization for 30 years
For already 30 years I have been tackling those challenges, in big scale food production, by digitalization.
Significant results can be achieved quickly and the opportunities to improve these processes are endless with the help of IT.
Kitchen Intelligence System can answer “Yes” to all of the above questions, and do even much more.
CFS side event in Rome
Finland was presenting its school lunch achievements in Rome Italy at the side event of CFS – Committee on World Food Security on October 17th, 2019.
I was privileged to be invited by Finnish government to Rome and be a member of the panel in the event.
I was simultaneously proud to present my experience and knowledge in a field where I have worked for such a long time – Solving problems and thinking of ever better solutions for feeding people.
I had great separate talks with stakeholders such as Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, Carmen Burbano de Lara as well as Sandra Westlake and Maria Jose Rojas of WFP, and Marjaana Manninen of Finnish Government.
Small change, big impact
I am sure that digitalization will help the world feed better even the poorest ones.
Even small steps in digitalization will have big impacts. Just having recipes in a digital system allows them to be scaled, to have accurate amounts for production, to follow nutrition and costs. Great digital systems do much more. But there are obviously huge opportunities to take digitalization even further, building eco-systems, presenting AI and giving ever more vital and useful information for daily processes and decision making.
Partnerships and co-operations with different stakeholders – governments, UN, WFP, businesses and individuals – are vital.
Digital solutions make the the daily work easier in professional kitchens
Jamix is one of the panelists in a side event at the CFS 46 – Global meeting of the Committee on World Food Security – held in Rome October 17th. The theme for the side event is: Reaching the SDGs through School Feeding – going beyond the plate. The side event is arranged by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the World Food Programme, the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia, and the Global Affairs of Canada.
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. CFS develops and endorses policy recommendations and guidance on a wide range of food security and nutrition topics. The Committee includes the member states of the UN, the UN organizations, research and financial institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations and cooperative organizations for corporations. The global meeting of the Committee is held yearly in October in Rome.
Finland has a long history in developing school feeding. Earlier this year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland together with the Finnish National Agency for Education have published a report called School Meals for All, presenting the Finnish School Feeding system. Experiences and innovations related to school feeding from Finland, from crisis situations and from the developing countries will be shared in the side event of the CFS 46.
Mikko Jaatinen has 30 years of experience for digital solutions in professional kitchens
Jamix’s presentation will introduce the opportunities of digital technology in producing sustainable and nutritious food cost efficiently. ”There are several stages related to arranging school feeding – menu planning, daily production, reporting and communication about the food to the students. Jamix provides digital solutions for managing all of this and for making the daily work easier. I am excited to be able to share Finnish know-how in this type of event.”, tells Mikko Jaatinen, the founder and CEO of Jamix.
For more information please contact:
Mikko Jaatinen, CEO Jamix
Telephone: Until October 18th in Europe: +358 400 478784 From October 21st in the US: +1 (617) 992-6842 Email: [email protected]
Jamix is a Finnish company specializing in cutting-edge restaurant software for professional hospitality and food service operations to plan and organize recipe, menu, inventory and ordering management, and internal logistics. Founded in 1990 by a young Finnish student, in 30 years Jamix has grown from a small local business into a software company with 2500 + clients all over the world. Headquartered in Jyväskylä, Finland, the Jamix US office is based in Boston. “Thousands of customers use Jamix to produce hundreds of thousands of meals, every day!”
“Left Coast Cookery”. That was on the menu of a restaurant I visited in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. What that meant to me after reading the menu and trying the excellent food is – creative and playful use of ingredients.
It was obvious that this team of chefs were having fun. The food was creative, expertly prepared, and the setting was vibrant. More on them later.
Great concept – have a good time with food in a comfortable restaurant atmosphere!
Master Chef Insights
Chef competencies are not the same as culinary competencies. The latter is focused on technical ability. Chef competencies include culinary competencies but go further. There are 3 core competency groups in which a chef needs proficiency. These are:
Decision Making Skills
I was reminded of Chef Competencies during a visit to a restaurant on the west coast run and owned by a CIA alum. I remember this chef owner as a motivated student at CIA, and he hasn’t lost that drive. Beside the great food at the restaurant I was really impressed by the “mood” in the restaurant. I choose the word mood, but I could have used “feeling” or “atmosphere”. The mood in the restaurant was energetic and professional. The culinary team was focused on preparing delicious food, but it was more than that. The sense of camaraderie was visible. The mood included music, laughter, tasting food, fair and open critique, willingness to help others on the team. This environment doesn’t happen organically. It happens when the leadership embraces a growth model.
The restaurant and its management team practice exceptional leadership, technical, and decision-making skills that result in a place that is desirable to work in. So, lets dig in.
Technical Skills. For the chef owner, these were honed over several years after graduation. Having sound culinary fundamentals allows the chef to prepare delicious food, and guide/coach/train others to do the same. All beginning cooks must focus on the repetition of all cooking methods. Along the way cooks must learn from their successes and failures in the kitchen. This is how technical competencies are developed. Here is what the technical competencies look like:
o Culinary Fundamentals
Food safety and sanitation
Consistency in product preparation
Ability to produce necessary products within established timeframe
Equipment knowledge – including care of equipment
Weighing and measuring ingredients
Hot food preparation
Cold food preparation
Baking & Pastry
Leadership Skills. This is a well-studied subject. Much has been written about leadership. Two exemplary authors on the subject are General Stanley McChrystal and General Tom Kolditz. What I’ve learned from their books is that leadership is evolving. Leaders coach and get out of the way. Let the teams do their jobs! What I use to sum up leadership are the following characteristics of this competency:
Training the team
Inspiring the team
Independent decision making
Flexible leadership, being open-minded
To round out Chef Competencies I include Decision Making Skills. Too often chefs reach sous chef and executive chef levels and stall. I believe this happens because the chef industry is too focused on technical and leadership skills.
Here’s the way it plays out all too often: a good dishwasher does some prep. That dishwasher suddenly works in the pantry one night when someone calls out sick. Now the dishwasher is a pantry cook. Now this person is motivated and is trained to be a line cook, then saucier, then banquet chef, and suddenly sous chef. Along the way, technical skills grew. Some leadership skills grew, but these skills were only bits and pieces of observed behavior. And decision-making skills (including planning & organization) were missing. At this point the person stalls. There is nothing good about a person feeling they’re at a dead end in the career.
Decision-making Skills provides that third stool leg of Chef Competencies. They look like this:
o Decision Making
Understand the big picture
Assessing the project/problem
Planning the work
Let’s return to where this article started – a west coast CIA alum owns and operates a restaurant. This young guy created a great mood in this operation. I had 3 days there to observe and I was reminded the value of competencies. Here is, in a nutshell, what Greg did – create a restaurant he would like to work at.
Chef Core Competencies
Culinary & more…
Kitchen Tech – Search Capabilities
Jamix just made my kitchen management life a little easier. Instead of having to enter an ingredient in a specific format – Tomato, beefsteak; or Tomato, cherry, red – I can, with Jamix, simply write the name of the ingredient in the same way I would search for the ingredient: Beefsteak tomato, or Red cherry tomato, or Yellow grape tomato.
When it comes time to search for the ingredient, I simply enter the name of the ingredient as I call it. No more “Beef, grass fed, ground, 80/20”, simply “Grass fed beef 80/20”, and all beef, including the one I’m looking for will be on the screen.
The same applies to recipes. No more “Soup broth chicken noodle”, simply Chicken Noodle Soup. The system will find all soups including the one I’m looking for. Technology has to be easy to use so that, in the kitchen, we can focus on great tasting food. No one wants to spend time looking for ingredients or recipes on a computer.
GET IT RIGHT, RON.
That’s not what was said, nor was that implied. I’m having some fun with my friend, Meathead Goldwyn.
Meathead, if you don’t know, is the author of a book titled – “MEATHEAD”. Come on, you had to know that! Meathead is an expert on the science of great barbecue and grilling (that’s on the cover of the book!). He also has a great heart and warm humor. AND he knows meat. One of my favorite features of his book is “Myth Busters”. Here’s an example – “You can tell the doneness of meat by poking it and comparing the bounciness of the meat to the flesh between your thumb and forefinger.” Now you have to get the book to know the busted myth.
Here’s the Meathead story. Last month I wrote about beer-can chicken. That’s all that Meathead could take. I got an email with this link: amazingribs.com/ beer can chicken
And the message: “Thought you might find this interesting.” BUSTED by the authority. Please read the science in the link. So why did I write about beer can chicken? It’s a fun way to put good chicken on a grill, get a crispy skin, tasty meat, and drink 2/3 of each can of beer.
Left Coast Cookery
Juniper and Ivy Restaurant
There haven’t been too many restaurant reviews in these newsletters. Here I’m adding one. It won’t be too long.
Let me get this out of the way – I don’t know anyone working there (at least not when I walked in), the food was great, the service very good, the atmosphere was vibrant, it was worth every penny.
What I want to share are the descriptions of the menu items.
Uni linguine/ smoked pork belly/62° egg/gouda
Kimchi crème fraiche/cilantro/bonito flakes
Black garlic ponzu/green onion relish/cashew crunch
Chanterelle succotash/corn/nectarine mustard
MEXICAN STREET SQUASH
Chipotle sour cream/spiced pepitas/ cotija/lime
Spicy marinara/goat gouda/lemon gremolata/oregano
Cheddar & Jalapeno sausage/honey mustard
Fun descriptions, and these are only a few examples. I didn’t go into the meats such as DRY-AGED NEW YORK STRIP with Crispy Alaskan potatoes/bone marrow ranch/confit mushrooms/steak sauce. Nor did I list any cocktails.
If your mouth isn’t watering by now, nothing can help you. Where I’m going with this is this – it’s refreshing to read a menu written by the culinary team at the end of the evening’s service for the next day…and have fun writing, cooking and serving the food.
Eggplants are in peak season right now. They come in different shades and sizes, are easy to prepare and deliver great taste. Choose eggplants that are firm.
Eggplant’s versatility reveals itself when looking at the thousands of recipes devoted to this fruit of the nightshade family.
Growing up, eggplant parmigiana was ALWAYS a favorite. I still have a weakness for this preparation. I recently had an updated version of slices of roasted eggplant, stacked with a light layer of marinara and mozzarella between the roasted slices, topped with crispy crumbs, and surrounded by a ring of pomodoro then a ring of pesto sauce. This was very enjoyable.
Baba ganoush is an amazing preparation. Leave the eggplants whole, poke the skin with a fork, and roast over high heat on the grill until charred and very soft (yes, it is important to poke the eggplant, I was lazy once and found an exploded eggplant under the grill cover). Scoop out the smoky flavored eggplant, blend with tahini, olive oil, garlic, cayenne, and parlsey….so very good.
Or, split the eggplant lengthwise, then score the inside flesh. Drizzle with EVOO, season with salt and za’atar. Put cut-side down on the grill and allow to char. Flip over and cook until completely soft. Top with hand-dipped ricotta cheese or grilled fish, add a little charred tomato sugo and you’re good for dinner.
When making a non-red pasta sauce here is an easy tip to create a great simple sauce. Save a little pasta cooking water. Just think, the pasta water is already seasoned, it’s already hot, it’s slightly thickened, it’s ready to go.
Just before draining pasta, scoop some pasta water from the pot. This will be “bouillon” to make a sauce or finish the pasta (keep the pasta juicy). Here’s an example. While the pasta is in the colander, add some butter and EVOO to the pot that boiled the pasta. Then add thinly sliced garlic. Fry the garlic for a minute or two. Add peeled, deveined white Gulf shrimp. Saute for 3 minutes, season with red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and salt. Splash some reserved pasta water into the pan. Let the shrimp steam for 30 seconds.
Add pasta to pot with shrimp, toss lightly and add just enough pasta water to make a light sauce that will coat the pasta. Sprinkle with rough chopped parsley. Simple enough.
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 70 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.