Dynamic ensures that all data within the system is working in harmony

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 6
June 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

This “Come On, Already!” changed in the course of 24 hours. On May 29th I visited the Los Angeles Unified School District with Hormel Foods. The staff, faculty and administrators were inspiring. The incredible work they do everyday to positively impact the students of the school district is heroic. This is the kind of news I wish everyone knew about. More about LAUSD next month.

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

NRA

The 2019 National Restaurant Association show is over. This was a very different show for me because I participated as an exhibitor with the Jamix Team. Being an exhibitor required showing up at McCormick Place 90 minutes before the show opened so that I could walk the floor to see what was happening. Being an exhibitor also allowed me to talk with hundreds of interested attendees about Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems. Incidentally, Jamix was a 2019 Kitchen Innovations Award recipient at the show. More about Jamix later.

On the food side of things, the FABI Awards showcased 32 food products. What struck me was that 26 of the 32 items were plant-based. Black Truffle Pâté was easy to fall in love with. This is a ready to use black truffle spread! Amazing! Another food, a result of molecular gastronomy, are Caviaroli Drops by Albert Adria (the brother of legendary  chef Ferran Adria) were popularized at the former #1 restaurant in the world, el Bulli. Each drop is the essence of 5 olives encapsulated in a light gelatin coating that measures 20mm. Here is haute cuisine available for everyone.

Two foods that are equally remarkable are FabaButter and Skhug Sauce. First skhug sauce.

Pronouncing skhug (shoog) will probably be one of the biggest challenges as it moves into mainstream. Also, there are numerous ways to spell it. Go ahead and google it, you’ll end up without anything definitive. What you will learn is that skhug is HOT. Fiery hot and addictive. The bright heat adds intensity to the food it’s mixed with. Chilies, cilantro, and spices are all that’s needed to blend skhug. Now it’s available ready to use. Go ahead and try it.

FabaButter is dairy-free “butter”. This spread uses coconut oil but, and this is the game-changer, uses aquafaba as well. For the uninitiated, aquafaba is the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas. It is flavor neutral and whips up to a meringue-like foam. FabaButter reportedly performs like butter in baked goods, and it also has a clean label.

These are a handful of interesting foods to watch.

Culinary & more…

Dynamic System

In the article above I said I’d get back to Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems, so here it is. Jamix was a recipient of a 2019 Kitchen Innovations Award because it is intuitive, easy to use, and dynamic. The dynamic term most interests me.

In the world of Jamix, dynamic ensures that all data within the system is working in harmony. Furthermore, the data can be used to drive e-menus outside Jamix, interface with other external systems, view Jamix information on tablets and smartphones, and upload Jamix recipes to kitchen equipment such as high-tech ovens.

The dynamic system permits the end-user to customize the look of recipes, menus, and other details. Jamix enables the user to effortlessly upload photos to the recipes, including step-by-step photos displayed at each step of the recipe methods. The user is also able to immediately access nutritional information, allergen information, ingredient/recipe/menu cost, and print labels. All of this is a function of a truly dynamic system.

In the past, I’ve written about recipes and here it’s worth writing about them again. My conversations with dozens of people at NRA revealed the need to reinforce the value of the recipe. The recipe is the foundation of a successful operation. Fundamentally it provides a real-time view of ingredient, recipe, plate, menu costs. It is the basis of production schedules and ensures a consistent product when it is followed.

Recipes in a dynamic system become sub recipes. The sub recipe becomes part of the ingredient list and, best part, the system scales the sub recipe accurately. The dynamic system allows the user to tag a unlimited number of preparation functions – thawing, marinating, chopping, etc. And each function can be assigned to be done the day of preparation or day(s) earlier.

This won’t be the last word on recipes or the value of a dynamic system.

Small Change Big Impact Food Summit

Last month I provided a link to the Hormel-Harvard Small Change Big Impact Future of Food Summit that was conducted with Harvard University Dining Services. Here’s that link again:

Inaugural Small Change Big Impact Food Summit to Bring Together Industry Leaders at Harvard University April 3-4 2019

The keynote at the Summit was Hormel Foods’ CEO Jim Snee. Jim delivered an opening talk that set the tone for the Summit – Be Bold! Jim told the conference that the recipe for success is to think differently, act boldly, do not do business as usual, embrace leadership, and change the world. These are some of the things which lead to “Inspired People. Inspired FoodTM” at Hormel. Jim also reminded everyone that “there is no finish line in our food journey”. It was a great talk to start the Summit and reminded me that big food can be good food.

The rest of the day was consisted of panels with experts from various part of the foodservice industry. More on them in upcoming newsletters.

Ingredient of the Month

Colatura di Alici

Anchovy essence. Yup, you read right. Or, anchovy drippings. I digress, it doesn’t sound appetizing, BUT this stuff is a recipe dated back to the Romans. Whether you like anchovies or not, this clear amber liquid is a flavor BOMB! A small amount provides a satisfying, delicious umami impact to food.

One of the oldest uses is garlic fried in olive oil, toss with spaghetti and lightly drizzled with colatura di alici. Once you taste it, you’ll understand why this is still around after a couple thousand years.

Cooking Tip

Crispy Skin Fish

How do you get the skin on fish crispy? I’ve been asked that A LOT. It’s easy but the most important thing is – be patient.

The fish must be scaled. Then, heat a skillet (cast iron works great, but so do other pans). Heating the skillet is also one of the critical steps. Don’t rush the process. Put the skillet on a heat source, turn it on medium low and let it heat for a few minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and allow skillet to get hot.

Add a small amount of oil to the skillet or spray it with oil. If the oil is smoking, that’s good and time to add the fish – skin down. Use a spatula to gently press the fish against the pan bottom. It will have a tendency to buckle, so hold it or use a bacon press….if you have one.

At this point, don’t move the fish or turn it. Allow the pan to do its magic. After 2-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, lift slightly and look at the color. If it’s not dark and crisp, leave the fish alone for another 1-2 minutes. Then turn over, lower the heat and finish cooking for 2-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. It is also possible that the fish will not have to be turned over. The least amount of time the fish is in the pan, the moister the fish.

Serve immediately and enjoy crispy skin fish.

Bon Appétit!

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.

NACUFS 2019 National Conference in Denver, Colorado July 10-13

JAMIX will be exhibiting at the NACUFS 2019 National Conference in Denver, Colorado July 10-13. Come and visit us at Showcase at booth 115 to learn more about comprehensive JAMIX software managing several sides of restaurant operations.

Cloud Based, Intuitive Kitchen Intelligence System

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT is a cutting edge restaurant software for managing any size and type of restaurant, catering business or other establishment within the food service industry. Comprehensive JAMIX software manages several sides of restaurant operations including recipe management and costing, menu planning and nutritional analysis, inventory management and procurement. All this in one system and with all information seamlessly linked together.

 

Yale Hospitality will be the first college or university (C&U) in the United States to implement Jamix

Beginning in summer 2019, Yale Hospitality will lead the college and university foodservice sector in the US with the most cutting-edge kitchen intelligence system available. The partnership with Jamix is consistent with Yale Hospitality’s commitment to provide exceptional food and beverage solutions. Both have a mutual desire to actively develop the C&U environment: incorporating AI, machine learning and meaningful predictive analytics. Read more

Jamix’s innovative approach was recently recognized with 2019 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award – recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to hospitality today and showcase the future of the industry. Read more

 

Read more on JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT features:

Recipe Management and Costing

Menu Planning, Management and Costing

Restaurant Inventory Management and Procurement

Restaurant Chain Management

Food Production and Production Requisitions

 

Contact us for more information on JAMIX software

Trending Today featuring JAMIX on Fox Business June 15th, 2019

Trending Today is a television series that features front line industry advancements, innovative technologies, product solutions and trends from all over the globe and provides an in-depth look at how they affect our daily lives. The host, Karen LeBlanc, leads this fast paced journey showcasing organizations from Main Street to Wall Street.

The next episode of Trending Today is airing Saturday, June 15th at 12 pm (EST) on Fox Business featuring Research Chefs Association, Global Shirts and Bravo Shoes, Jamix Kitchen Management, Smokin’ Mary.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT is a cutting edge restaurant software for managing any size and type of restaurant, catering business or other establishment within the food service industry. Comprehensive JAMIX software manages several sides of restaurant operations including recipe management and costing, menu planning and nutritional analysis, inventory management and procurement. All this in one system and with all information seamlessly linked together.

JAMIX was recently exhibiting at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, where the company also accepted the 2019 Kitchen Innovation Award. Some scenes for the next episode of Trending Today were filmed at the show. Check out some of the behind the scenes footage in Trending Today’s Facebook profile:

2019 Kitchen Innovations Award presented to JAMIX

The National Restaurant Association Show announced the 2019 Kitchen Innovations Award Recipients  earlier this year, JAMIX being one of the recipients.

The official awards presentation took place on Saturday, May 18th in the Kitchen Innovations Showroom at the National Restaurant Association Show 2019.

Mikko Jaatinen, the founder and CEO of JAMIX accepted the award while the rest of the JAMIX Team at the show – Ron DeSantis, Seth Schrage and Timo Lehto – celebrated along.

JAMIX Team at the National Restaurant Association Show 2019 celebrating the Kitchen Innovations Award

National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago May 18-21, 2019

JAMIX will be exhibiting at National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago May 18-21, 2019. Come and visit us at the Kitchen Innovation Showroom or our booth 7075 to learn more about comprehensive JAMIX software managing several sides of restaurant operations.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT is a cutting edge restaurant software for managing any size and type of restaurant, catering business or other establishment within foodservice industry. Comprehensive JAMIX software manages several sides of restaurant operations including recipe management and costing, menu planning and nutritional analysis, inventory management and procurement. All this in one system and with all information seamlessly linked together.

//youtu.be/TutHOwWDh5w

JAMIX is one of the 2019 Kitchen Innovations Award recipients

Jamix Kitchen Management System
Choosing KMS software can be challenging, but Jamix sets itself apart on several points. Whereas many offer recipe and menu management and costing, Jamix also ties in inventory management and procurement. Plus, it’s true cloud-based, and can be accessed with any browser, any operating system, any mobile device. Perhaps best of all, it’s extremely intuitive.

Read more on JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software

Read more on JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT features:

Recipe Management and Costing

Menu Planning, Management and Costing

Restaurant Inventory Management and Procurement

Restaurant Chain Management

Food Production and Production Requisitions

Contact us for more information on JAMIX software

Yale selects Jamix Kitchen Intelligence System to change the game in Foodservice Operations

Boston, Massachusetts, US — May 6, 2019

Mikko Jaatinen, CEO – Jamix and Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President – Yale Hospitality

Beginning in summer 2019, Yale Hospitality will be the first college or university (C&U) in the United States to implement Jamix, a cloud-based Kitchen Intelligence System from Finland.

For 30 years, Jamix has been the leader in innovation in this space and has built a fully featured system for food operators to use across multiple sectors including restaurants, universities, hospitals, military and various global organizations. The comprehensive software manages all aspects of a food service operation, including recipe management, costing, menu planning and nutritional analysis, allergen information, inventory management and procurement system. Jamix’s innovative approach was recently recognized with 2019 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award – recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to hospitality today and showcase the future of the industry.

Yale Hospitality will lead the college and university foodservice sector in the US with the most cutting-edge kitchen intelligence system available. Yale’s hospitality operational aspirations align with Jamix’s leadership in kitchen intelligence systems. “We are truly excited and honored to begin a relationship with Yale Hospitality. The values of their food service operations align with Jamix’s leadership in kitchen intelligence systems.”, says Mikko Jaatinen, founder and CEO of Jamix.

The partnership with Jamix is consistent with Yale Hospitality’s commitment to provide exceptional food and beverage solutions. Both have a mutual desire to actively develop the C&U environment: incorporating AI, machine learning and meaningful predictive analytics.

“Once we began discussions with Mikko’s team, we had agreement and alignment in many ways with solutions provided by Jamix” added Rafi Taherian, Associate Vice President – Yale Hospitality. “As our technology needs in the dining room evolve, we firmly believe future innovation requires active pursuit of intelligent, intuitive systems to collect robust data, validate assumptions and provide analytical data for decision making.  We look forward to learning and growing together.”

About Jamix

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 suburb of Jamaica Plains. “Thousands of customers use Jamix to produce hundreds of thousands of meals, every day!”

www.jamix.com

About Yale Hospitality

Yale Hospitality is a multi-division organization comprised of Yale Dining, Yale Catering, Yale Auxiliary & Retail as well as a full-service Bakery and Culinary Support Center. Yale Hospitality serves an average of 14,000 meals a day in student dining, restaurants, cafes, convenience stores and at catered events. The organization is comprised of 880 Professional, Culinary and Service team members. Yale Hospitality has received numerous prestigious awards recognizing its commitment to community, including the Silver and Gold plate award by International Food Manufacturer Association in 2016. Yale Hospitality is a leader in providing food service solutions that incorporate principles of health and wellness with sustainability and hospitality excellence.

hospitality.yale.edu


JAMIX will be exhibiting at the National Restaurant Association Show May 18-21 in Chicago

Visit us at the Kitchen Innovations Showroom or our booth 7075 to learn more about JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT software covering several sides of restaurant operations.

More information on the Show and registration at: show.restaurant.org

Nutritional information creates a menu balance

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 5
May 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

When is it too cold? I’m talking about planes, restaurants, offices…public spaces. On a recent trip every where seemed to have a/c on at really low temps, and it’s not summer yet! Maybe it’s the years I spent in hot kitchens, but I’d rather be warm than cold. All I’m asking is, turn up the heat a little!

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Podium Opportunities

April was an incredible month for attending and participating in conferences. April started with Small Change Big Impact Food Summit at Harvard sponsored by Hormel Foods, followed by my keynote address to the Sunrise Produce Company annual expo, then to Yale Law to hear Chef Dan Giusti of Brigaid talk about the challenges of serving delicious meals in the K-12 sector, and finally at the Produce for Better Healthy conference in Scottsdale, AZ with Amy Myrdal Miller to present a talk/demo about flavor bridges.

The Small Change Big Impact Food Summit is a Hormel Foods initiative to recognize the challenges for the future of the food industry and to find ways to shape things for a better future. The focus of the summit was to create a transparent, secure, sustainable food system through collaboration. Assembled at the summit were leaders from manufacturing, farming, production, culinary, business, procurement, and nonprofits that fight food insecurity.

Hormel Foods, Harvard University Dining Services, Attention Span Media, and CulinaryNXT worked collaboratively to plan, organize and execute the summit.

This was a great team that delivered a meaningful summit. Over the next few newsletters I’ll share more specific information from the summit. Until then, here are a couple links to get you started:

Hormel Foods: Inaugural Small Change Big Impact Food Summit To Bring Together Industry Leaders At Harvard University April 3-4, 2019

Forbes: Hormel, Harvard Team Up To Change Minds About ‘Big Food’

www.attentionspan.com

The Sunrise Produce Company in Fullerton, CA invited me to provide a keynote talk to the 100+ attendees of their annual Expo. The audience was K-12, healthcare, and others. The title of my talk/demo was “Produce – Taking Center Stage”. The first part of my presentation focused on the innovation process for incorporating more produce in menus:

  • Farming for Flavor
  • Foraging
  • 85% Plantcentric menus
  • Center of Plate Transformation
  • Plant Product Recovery

The second part was a couple of plant-based demos to reinforce plant’s co-starring role in recipes.

sunriseproduce.com

My next conference was at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT. Chef Dan Giusti of Brigaid has, since ending his position as head chef of Noma in Copenhagen, been transforming the way kids in K-12 eat. Dan has been transforming schools in New London, CT since 2016 and is now taking his knowledge to the country’s largest public-school system – NYC. Dan shared his experiences in working with the school systems and the successes of which foods kids like to eat. What worked? BBQ bone-in chicken with cornbread and potato salad.

It was clear that Dan is not only a passionate chef, but truly cares about the future of our kid’s food health.

www.chefsbrigaid.com

Produce For Better Health is a conference focused on…produce! No surprise there. This conference’s purpose is to create demand, and drive consumption of produce. To that end, a talented friend and colleague Amy Myrdal Miller MS, RDN, FAND asked me to collaborate on a presentation to the conference. The result was “Powerful Produce Pairings: Using Flavor Synergy to Create Deliciousness”. Amy and I created 5 recipes to share with the attendees. She started our 75 minutes with flavor insights then helped me prepare 5 recipes to a packed room. We prepared:

  • Steak pizzaiola – flash-seared beef scallopini topped with pizzaiola sauce and fried capers
  • Peanut Butter Mousse and Crispy Apples – creamy peanut butter mousse with crispy lemon-scented apple wedges for dipping
  • Avocado Hash with Sunnyside Egg – avocado & sweet potato hash with fried egg, crispy radish, and micro greens
  • Lobster Potato Casserole with Vermont Cheddar – tender, creamy potato and cheddar casserole with New England Lobster
  • Flatbread with Pear-Blue Cheese Crema, Seared Pear & Walnuts – blended pear and blue cheese crema on flatbread topped with seared pears and toasted walnuts. Finished with watercress and pear mostarda.

At the end of the demo, these items were served for lunch. The conference’s culinary team successfully recreated these recipes.

www.pbhfoundation.org

Produce for Better Health Foundation Demonstrates a Way to Boost Sales and Excitement Around the Power of Produce Pairings During Consumer Connection Conference

What an amazing month for keeping up with the industry!

 

Culinary & more…

Nutritional Data

The value and importance of nutritional data cannot be overstated. The information is critical to dieticians in all foodservice settings. Having easy access to nutritional data allows dieticians to properly guide diners through the many menu options. In clinical settings this information can impact patient’s care. In all foodservice settings this information creates a menu balance, meaning choices for the dining public.

Chefs also have a responsibility to offer menu choices that allow people to select items based on taste, indulgence, allergens, nutritional make-up, seasonality, etc. Technology is available today to make the development of recipes fit within an organization’s established dietary guidelines. Chefs should be the starting point for recipes designed within these guidelines. The dietician can then guide the chef to fine tune the recipes.

The best nutritional systems allow dieticians and chefs to make changes to a recipe and instantly see the nutritional impact. The Jamix Kitchen Intelligence System provides real-time nutritional information to dieticians and chefs. This feature can assist in speeding up the reformulation of recipes while also providing cost per portion of the recipe, all valuable tools in today’s foodservice operations.

 

Ingredient of the Month

Asparagus

It’s that time of year! Asparagus is one of those foods that says Spring is here. From pencil thin to jumbo there are sizes that appeal to everyone. I just had a great asparagus dish at FnB restaurant in Scottsdale. The chef served grilled asparagus on crispy polenta with fried egg and pea shoots. My favorite asparagus is either roasted or grilled. Don’t do too much to the asparagus, I want its flavor to stand out.

www.fnbrestaurant.com

 

Cooking Tip

Knife Skills

The ability to uniformly cut food is a skill worth learning. This doesn’t mean a ruler is needed to make sure the brunoise are all 1/8” squared, but just that things are cut as uniformly as possible. The value is that food cooks evenly. The secondary value is that the food looks great. There are countless videos on line that can help with knife skills. After watching them, the most important thing to do is grab a sharp knife and PRACTICE!

Wikipedia: List of culinary knife cuts

Cheers!

 

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.

Incremental innovation is continuous improvement which results in best-in-class products

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 4
April 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

“For the love of ‘roni cups” was a post from Fortina Restaurant. Then I was on a call with WSJ about an article titled, “The Great Pepperoni Debate…” which was about cupping pepperoni or flat. What is there to debate? Way back when, pepperoni cupped. That’s all I knew growing up in an Italian neighborhood. I’m glad ‘roni cups are BACK.

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

Innovation

Innovation is, and has been, THE word for several years now. Innovation is applied to almost every business situation today and it’s demanded from consumers and organization leaders. But what is innovation? I won’t quote the dictionary or Wikipedia, you can easily do that. We’ve all been in strategic planning meetings that try to lay out a road map to innovation. Sometimes we come away with innovation and other times really good/great ideas. What I usually get from these exercises is that leadership (and workers, and consumers) want the next Mac, or iPhone, or Google, or Facebook, or ___________. All of us want to create the next big/best thing! Fame, fortune, success come with creating the next big thing.

History is full of those incredible moments of innovation and it’s worth striving for them. What gets overlooked is incremental innovation. Incremental innovation is continuous improvement which results in best-in-class products. Consider handheld technology. The handhelds we use today are fundamentally the same as when they launched to great fanfare in 2007, but they have improved through continuous innovation. I’m proud to be associated with a great company, Jamix. Their innovation process produced system improvements every month. In 2018 they provided clients with over 70 system innovations!

Francisco Migoya - Innovator

Francisco Migoya – Innovator

Back in the ancient culinary days novelle cuisine was innovation. Since then chefs have innovated on the concept of freshness and plating techniques. Then along the way an El Bulli blasts on the culinary scene and shows us the next “iPhone”. From there chefs continue to innovate on El Bulli-style breakthroughs. Today, plating has become Avant Garde, led by Osteria Francescana and sauce “splashed” on the plate (it really looks great when done properly).

The point is, innovation is all around us. When it is incremental it’s harder to recognize unless we have our antennae tuned. Setting yearly goals that include innovation are crucial to our businesses, however, be sure to include a yearly review to capture and recognize your team’s innovations.

 

Culinary & more…

Small Change Big Impact Food Summit

thefoodimpactsummit.com

Creating a Transparent, Secure, Sustainable Food System for the Future Through Collaboration.

We all have a role to play in creating a better food system. The SMALL CHANGE BIG IMPACT FOOD SUMMIT is a springboard for enacting changes that will have a positive impact for everyone. This invitation-only summit brings together a unique mix of thought-leaders and change agents from academia, food service, food brands and non-profits to foster constructive dialog, explore case study insights, and forge new collaborations toward an improved food future.

The text above is from the food impact summit website. On Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center at Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA Hormel Foods along with Harvard University Dining Services will host over 100 foodservice leaders to create an action plan for the future. I am hosting a panel of chefs to talk about the evolution of culinary arts in a changing environment. I’ll report on the summit next month. Very exciting!

 

Sandwich Thoughts


Here are some thoughts on sandwiches. I happen to really like sandwiches. Not every sandwich, and not necessarily the newest, craziest, sandwich either. When I want to know if a sandwich operation can make a great sandwich, I order a BLT. If they can build and deliver a very good to excellent BLT, they generally do a great job with their other sandwich choices. The BLT is simple, but it’s not easy to do well. Consider consommé. It’s simple, but definitely not easy to do…if the flame isn’t just right, or the clarification ratio is wrong, it won’t be clear. That’s how it is with the BLT. The toast has to be right, the bacon can’t be overcooked or undercooked, the lettuce has to be cold and crisp, the tomato sliced the appropriate thickness, and don’t skimp on the mayo, also don’t spread the mayo when the toast is hot because it melts into the toast. And you thought a BLT was easy.

A few years ago, I introduced open-faced sandwiches for Yale Reunions. Let’s face it, open-faced sandwiches present well. You can see exactly what is on the bread, and you don’t have too much bread. I recently had a Yale tour and lunch with a client, and we were served sandwiches from a board….open-faced sandwiches! They were attractive and very tasty. I’m not advocating for only open-faced sandwiches. They work in the right setting and can be presented as an upscale lunch option.

I’ll dive into sandwiches in a future newsletter. For now, find the best BLT and you’ve found a great sandwich shop.

 

Ingredient of the Month

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy cabbage is one of the most delicious and versatile cabbages grown. It is very tender and cooks quickly. The flavor is milder and sweeter than green cabbage. Savoy can be sliced thinly then sautéed in 5-8 minutes for a bright green, tender and naturally sweet vegetable. A splash of white balsamic or lemon juice perks up the flavor. It’s also excellent with applewood smoked bacon…but you already knew that.

 

Cooking Tip

Pasta Broth

Pasta and red sauce is how I was raised. For most of my life I believed that was all there was. Of course, there was pesto or al fredo and “a la vodka” (never understood that one), but red sauce is king. At some point I was introduced to the simplest sauce made from pasta broth.

Pasta broth is made every time you cook pasta. Bring salted water to a boil (yes, you have to taste the water to know if there is enough salt), add pasta and before draining save a cup or more of the pasta broth.

Use the pasta broth to moisten pasta with butter or extra virgin olive oil, or quickly fry minced garlic and chopped parsley in the pasta pot, return the pasta to the pot, add copious amount of freshly grated parmigiana Reggiano and splash in enough pasta broth to create an amazing, juicy coating for the pasta. Furthermore, pasta broth is necessary to add juiciness to cacio e pepe.

Always remember, juicy pasta is best.

 

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.

Do you know, if your customers are satisfied?

By Salla Arffman, Trainer

How many times have you skipped a restaurant after hearing that the food they serve is not that excellent, the portions are too small, or the customer service poor? There you have it. They say that all publicity is good publicity, but in foodservice business it can be difficult to get rid of bad reputation and it can have a significant effect on your customer count.

As you know, If you’ve had a good experience you mention it to a few others, but bad experiences are spread much further as you talk about them at workplace and with friends. But how to get this information to the service provider?

How often do you give negative feedback directly to the service provider? Surely there are exceptions, but I personally belong to that group who actually lie straightforwardly to the waiter when asked ”How is your meal?”, even if half of the plate would be left untouched. And I don’t believe I’m the only one doing this.

 

Why should you collect customer feedback?

If the customers are coming in in a steady pace and you receive negative feedback a couple of times per month, then do you need to collect customer feedback separately? Yes, you do!

By collecting customer feedback systematically you will know about individual failures but also about successes. When giving feedback is made easy for the customer, they will be more likely to give positive feedback, as well. If the feedback process is complicated you are prone to getting feedback only from the customers who have had an especially bad experience.

A customer feedback survey enables you to emphasize the issues that are important to your business. If the aim is to develop the menu, you can ask in your survey what types of food the customers would like to see on the menu. If again you are aiming to improve customer satisfaction, you can ask questions on that issue particularly.

Collecting customer feedback and especially reacting on it is an excellent marketing tool which is worth to be utilized. The customers appreciate if their opinions are taken into consideration and these stories are told forward at the coffee breaks, as well.

5 rules for collecting customer feedback

  1. Make giving customer feedback as easy as possible for your customers. For many of us it is difficult to give negative feedback face-to-face, so you should be able to give feedback in writing and anonymously. The time has passed by the carton feedback boxes and many businesses are moving on to electronic customer feedback applications. You can give feedback through applications designed for this purpose for example with your smartphone, and the service provider will easily get reports on the feedback for analysis.
  2. Keep the survey simple, design the questions carefully and ask the right questions. How many of us has left a customer feedback survey unfinished because there have been too many questions? How many of us has been annoyed because the survey has not been consistent and it has included several questions meaning the same thing? You need to design the questions so, that the customers will find it easy to give answers and that they won’t enable ambiguous answers. Always ask one thing at a time. A good rule of thumb is not to ask about things on which you are not going to do anything or on which you cannot do anything.
  3. Engage your customers into answering the survey. The survey is not of much use, if only 2 % of your customers answer to it. The more you get feedback and the more versatile your survey is, the more useful it is. In many feedback surveys the customers are lured into answering with the help of a small prize, for example a sweepstake. On the other hand, if the customer feedback survey is marketed in the right way (for example: ”Suggest a new plate for the menu, 5 of the most popular ones will be added to the menu”) you shouldn’t be lacking answers.
  4. Make the survey visually good looking. Do not forget that customer feedback surveys are one of the most visual parts of customer communication and for this reason the survey should be in line with the visual appearance of the organization. If the questionnaire is dull and old-fashioned, this is what you will be communicating of your business, as well.
  5. React on the feedback as promptly as possible. What could be more annoying than getting a lame answer saying ”we’re sorry” to a feedback given over a month ago. You need to analyze the feedback and answer promptly to those who have left their contact information, and use the information for developing your operation. Always aim at turning a customer’s negative experience into a positive one by using a refund, for example. Promote the actions you have taken based on the feedback, for example bring it up on the menu if some plate has been included after a customer request.

 

JAMIX MENU Customer Feedback Service

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT program includes an additional feature for collecting customer feedback. The feedback is linked to the menus in JAMIX MENU service so the customer’s feedback is targeted at a specific menu in in the program. The customer can give feedback on a whole meal (for example ”Really friendly customer service at lunch time!”) or a part of meal (”Macaroni and cheese was especially good today!”). The customers can give feedback with their own smartphones, for example.

You can design and create as many questions as you need to have. Question type options include stars, smileys and text. The customers can add pictures on the feedback, as well. Reports on feedback can be found in JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT program.

Contact us for more information on JAMIX MENU Customer Feedback Service: info@jamix.com

“Jamix is the most innovative total kitchen system I’ve ever worked with”

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 3
March 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

Burnt ends. Many of you reading know just what that means. And if you know what that means, you’re having happy burnt ends memories.

I was in Queens last week for a quick project. Luckily, I have a very good friend in Queens that did the driving. On the way he said we’re going to pass a BBQ joint with great burnt ends. And while I was executing my project, he was going to get some burnt ends. Oh baby! They were magnificent.

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

2019 NRA Kitchen Innovations Award

Jamix Kitchen Management Systems is the recipient of a 2019 NRA Kitchen Innovations Award. Full disclosure – I’ve been working closely with Jamix CEO Mikko Jaatinen since mid 2017. Jamix has set up business in the US. Boston to be precise and is establishing itself as the industry leader in kitchen management systems.

Jamix is the most innovative total kitchen system I’ve ever worked with. Not only is the functionality completely intuitive, it is also totally cloud-based. I use it for CulinaryNXT and I only need a computer, tablet or handheld to access all my culinary-centered data.

I’m personally very excited to see Jamix as a part of the Kitchen Innovations’ award group.

NAFEM 2019

After a hiatus I attended the 2019 NAFEM show in Orlando. Once there, I remembered why I enjoy NAFEM – I’m an equipment junkie. The show is like being a kid in a toy shop…just with BIG (and expensive) toys.

My key take-aways were: delivery/ bringing outdoors indoors/ robotics.

Delivery

The food delivery boom is on. Several manufacturers offered delivery solutions for food operators. Whether food needs to be kept hot or cold, there are multiple solutions. What delivery solutions don’t do is guide operators to offer delivery menus that eat well off-site. However, the ability to stabilize the service containers and keep food at appropriate service temperature is excellent.

Robotics

Robots will continue to find a place in foodservice. At NAFEM robot arms mixed and served drinks. Although these set ups seemed more inclined to create a wow effect rather than a solution (like the burger flipper at NRA many years ago), they will find their way into daily operations. I was in Boston recently and visited Spyce restaurant. The food is prepared by robots and is VERY good. From the  placing a food order on the kiosk you will have your hot food in 3 minutes. Daniel Boulud and a team of MIT grads  developed the concept. This is a restaurant where robots are in full production mode and the food is very good. NAFEM showed robots in additional settings and that they are going to be a part of our landscape. Incidentally, one of supermarkets in my town has a robot named Marty. It cruises the aisles and if it finds something on the floor at least a large as a quarter it generates a page to clean up in that aisle.

Outdoors Indoors

Very interesting to me was the effort of manufacturers to bring the outdoors indoors. The natural open-flame grills, wood-burning hearth ovens, charcoal-fired ovens, and  plant growing cabinets are now main-stream. Last year one of my predictions for foodservice was – Fire. That meant that the use of natural open-flame cooking will continue to grow. At NAFEM these types of equipment were front row.

The other piece of outdoors indoors looked like a glass-door refrigerator that was designed to grow microgreens or any other plants that could be used for food production. The implication of fresh wholesome food is clearly on display with this piece of equipment.

One other bonus. NAFEM is in Orlando in the dead of winter in New England and is a welcome day to get some warm weather!

Culinary & more…

Blending Meat with Other Ingredients

By now the industry has heard of the blended burger. The inception blended a specific amount of meat (beef) with mushroom duxelles. The result was beef that tasted better! The umami effect of the duxelles boosted the natural flavor of the beef and provided additional moisture. I was leading the culinary efforts at Yale and launched the blended burger as a regular menu item a couple of years ago.

Here’s a fresh blend that has really resonated. I call it a Philly Cheesesteak Burger. In this case it is made with Hungry Planet plant-based beef. In other words, it’s all vegan. I caramelized small diced onions and blended that with the plant-based meat. It was served with a toasted sesame seed bun, secret sauce, thinly sliced spicy dill pickle, vegan cheddar cheese, and fresh tomato. I loved it.

But don’t take my word for it. This was presented to a panel of tasters in NYC recently. Not only was it regarded as delicious, but most were doubtful that it was vegan…it was.

This isn’t about vegan food, directly. It’s about using daily ingredients to build and deliver delicious, and satisfying food. In this case it happens to be vegan, and I’m sure adding the caramelized onions to traditional beef will result in equally delicious results.

Ingredient of the Month

Potatoes

Yes, potatoes. Why? Because potatoes are not created equally. The obvious potatoes are baking potatoes and red skin potatoes. The first for, well, baking and the red for potato salad. The list of potatoes available to the professional chef is getting better. These potatoes are:

Mozart/Norland/Yukon Gold/Colomba/Ivory Russet/Burbank Russet/Sifra to name a few.

Potatoes have flavor characteristics such as: aroma/bitterness/sweetness/dry/solid matter/wateriness/waxy and of course flavor. Each potato’s special characteristics allow chefs to use potatoes that are best suited for the preparation application, and for the best taste to compliment the other ingredients in a recipe or menu.

Finally, fries are, arguably, king when talking about potatoes. Face it, we LOVE fries, but potatoes are extremely versatile and are naturally compatible with so many foods. From parsley buttered potatoes to pommes souffle, potatoes have a place at the table.

Cooking Tip

Using a Home Food Grinder

Freshly ground beef for a burger is almost a thing of the past. I still remember working in the local supermarket and watching the store’s butcher grind beef in a gigantic meat grinder. The look of that freshly ground meat stayed with me.

Fortunately, meat grinders are smaller and suitable for home use. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that a lot of people have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. If that’s true, then get a grinder attachment if you don’t already have one.

To get great ground meat, chicken, fish there are a couple of tips to ensure the meat is ground and not pureed through the grinding plate. Also, part nomenclature is probably worthwhile.

Parts:

  • Grinder housing – this is the part that attaches to the stand mixer.
  • Auger – this is the large “screw”-like part that slides horizontally into the grinder housing.
  • Knife – attaches to the end of the auger and actually cuts the meat before pushing through the grinder plate.
  • Grinder plate – a round heavy metal disk with holes. The plates come with different sized holes.
  • Collar or Retaining Ring – a heavy gauge metal or plastic that screws onto the end of the grinder housing to hold all parts in the housing.
  • Plunger – used to push meat, fish, poultry into the auger.

Tips to a great grind:

  • Have all ingredients and grinder parts chilled.
  • Cut all meat, fish or poultry into 1 ½” cubes.
  • Add cubed meat a few pieces at a time, press gently with plunger.

These tips will ensure the meat grinds evenly and doesn’t smash against the grinder plate. If your grind looks like a puree coming out, turn off, clean it all out and start again but this time only add a few pieces of cubed meat into the auger ensuring it grinds before adding more.

Now enjoy the best ground meat.

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.