Value Based Model Helps in Choosing a Kitchen Technology System

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 3 Issue 3
March 2020

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

This month starts out with a big THANK YOU to my friend and colleague, Amy Myrdal-Miller. Amy and I worked together back in our CIA days and today we find ourselves working together with mutual clients and on meaningful projects.

My recent talk at the NY Produce Show struck a chord and Amy notes the flavor burst sauces from that talk in her most current article. Please take a look on page 7.

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Food Waste and Fermentation

Concern about food waste has been a foodservice topic for several years. Much has been written about how to minimize food waste. The FDA notes that the United States wastes 30-40% of the food supply. In 2010 that equated to 133 billion pounds of food worth $161 billion. Staggering.

That’s not what this article is about. This is about fermentation as a flavoring ingredient and it’s about an emerging technique as a flavoring ingredient.

Fermentation has been a powerful flavor enhancer for centuries. Think of wine, soy sauce, vinegar, pickles, sauerkraut, cheese, and salami for example. All are examples of fermented foods. The powerhouse in fermented foods is umami. This is one of the 5 basic tastes we experience when eating fermented food. And it is a powerful culinary tool.

Fermentation, like many culinary applications, started as a way to preserve food. In this way food was stored until needed. Through fermentation fresh food was transformed into intensely flavored food.

Modern chefs use fermentation to create delicious dishes. I learned about a technique from a CIA graduate, AJ Schaller at last year’s NRA show. AJ had me sample liquids of intense flavor. These were a result of cryoconcentration. Here’s a link for more information www.cuisinesolutions.com

Awareness and understanding of advanced culinary techniques provides foodservice operations with additional tools to combat food waste. Fermentation isn’t the total solution, it’s one of several tools to reduce food waste AND provide exceptional flavor to food.

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – Value Based Systems

Choosing a kitchen technology system is not easy. It is critical to conduct thorough research of all systems because you will likely be joined to the system for many years. In my 40 years in the foodservice business I’ve been a part of system adoption four separate times. And I’ve learned to use 6 different systems. For those that have learned systems or launched new systems, you know the challenges associated with these projects and training requirements. That’s why thorough research is critical.

One approach to researching systems uses a value-based model. In a value-based model you assess what your critical needs are, then develop a matrix that overlays your needs to the capabilities of the new system. At this point, don’t evaluate base system costs. That will come later. The value-based model focuses on quality of systems.

A quality system will provide you and your team with a user-friendly interface, easy to use/learn configuration, a dashboard with key information, customizable features that you can do in-house, cloud-based accessibility, and continuous system innovation. These would be basic needs. Your operational needs may add to this starting list of requirements.

The goal of the system is to streamline the manager’s time working in the system. This can arguably be valuable to an operation because is frees up the manager(s) to be with the production and service teams, and not behind a computer screen. It is at this point that system cost is considered in the system assessment.

Knowing what an operation requires from a system and using this data to select a value-based system is part of the intricate matrix that supports an organization’s success.

Team Sport

Foodservice is a team sport. Success is achieved through the effort of the entire foodservice operation.

“Don’t pass to the rim.” A couple of years ago while I was Director of Culinary Excellence at Yale, the Yale Basketball coach James Jones spoke to the culinary employees. His basketball analogy resonated with me and I’ll never forget Coach Jones’ words.

Coach Jones was extolling us to include everyone in the game. If a team member is open, pass the ball. Ensure that everyone on the team touches the ball. In this way everyone feels a part of the team and all share in the team’s success.

As a leader, include all team members in the operational “game”. Ensure everyone is a part of the play and don’t pass to the rim.

Food Impact Summit

On Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday March 19 food industry leaders will gather at Harvard for two days of insights, action and culinary experiences related to this theme: Small Change Big Impact. The Summit is co-presented by Harvard University Dining Services and Hormel Foods.

The Food Impact Summit is a springboard for enacting changes that will have a positive impact for everyone. This summit brings together a unique mix of leaders and change agents from academia, food service, food producers and nonprofits to foster constructive dialog, explore case study insights, and forge new collaborations toward an improved food future. Last year’s summit received great press coverage from the Boston Globe and Forbes.

The summit features speakers and sessions covering food for health, regenerative agriculture, food insecurity, food waste and packaging, and the future of farming. The opening Keynote will be delivered by US Gold Medal Olympic champion, Jackie Joyner-Kersee! Other participants include Cambridge Public Schools, Greater Boston Food Bank, Applegate Farms, Boston College, University of Michigan, Marriott International, Pew Charitable Trust, Harvard Business School, Project Bread, Savory Institute, NRDC, Fidelity, MIT Media Lab, Reebok, and more! For additional information, please see the attached 1-sheet or visit the summit website.

The summit will take place at Lowell Lecture Hall, with lunches and a Wednesday evening reception at Annenberg. Please accept this invitation to join us, for any or all of the events, please email me or RSVP HERE.

Ingredient of the Month

Cinnamon Cookie Crumble Profiteroles. It’s not an ingredient, but it was incredible. On a recent trip to NYC and after long hours creating a Super Bowl 54 Topping Pizza for Hormel I grabbed dessert at Aureole. Chef Charlie Palmer’s flagship restaurant ALWAYS delivers. I really like profiteroles and this variation took the profiterole to a new experience. That’s all I’ve got.

Cooking Tip

Al dente. This is a term for pasta. It means fully cooked pasta that isn’t mushy. At least that’s how I learned the term and still use it. Al dente pasta is fully cooked, succulent and without a raw flour center.

Determining al dente can only be done by tasting. Period. Al dente pasta will have rehydrated and still have a resistant texture, but it will not be raw uncooked flour or pasta. This applies to fresh pasta and dried pasta. In other words, the pasta is fully cooked.

For an inexplicable reason, at several restaurants in the recent past I’ve been served undercooked (“al dente”) pasta. Once I sent the pasta back twice! And it still was undercooked. So I went to an authority on Italian Cuisine, Tony May. His 1990 book, Italian Cuisine, Basic Cooking Techniques is an incredible resource. In Tony’s book al dente is described as having “a somewhat chewy texture and should not break or become mushy when mixed…”, but no mention of undercooked unless it will be reheated later in sauce.

One last note. In my experience, high quality pasta is difficult to overcook. The quality of the flour results in complete rehydration and a “somewhat chewy texture”. At the end of the day, perfect al dente is what makes you happy.

Buon appetito.

KEEP READING BELOW!

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.

JAMIX CO₂ Calculator is one of the “Best of Gastro Helsinki 2020”

”The Best of Gastro Helsinki 2020” have been selected, including 5 new items in the restaurant business

The 5 most interesting new items of Gastro Helsinki 2020 – an event for food and restaurant business – have been selected. These items make the work in the kitchen easier, enable activities related to responsibility, and help in understanding environmental aspects related to ingredients and meals. Gastro Helsinki takes place in Helsinki Messukeskus event venue on March 11-13, 2020.

The Best of Gastro are products or services included in the product/service range of the exhibitors. From the suggestions entered the jury selected 5 new products or services bringing additional value to restaurants, bars, coffee shops and professional kitchens through, for example, the ease of use, collecting and presenting information, or promoting activities related to responsibility.

The products and services nominated as The Best of Gastro will be presented at the exhibitor booths throughout the event.

The Best of Gastro were selected by a jury including Editor in Chief Heli Koivuniemi (Aromi, Shaker, Evento magazine), Senior Manager Anne Lundqvist (Fazer Retail Finland), District Director of Restaurant Services Hanne-Riikka Piironen (Delicatessen Ravintolapalvelut), Top Chef winner Akseli Herlevi (owner of Naughty BRGR chain), Chairman of the Finnish Sommelier Association and  restaurateur Samuil Angelov (Muru, Pastis, Sue-Ellen, Ultima), and Chef Jarmo Vähä-Savo (BarLaurea). Event Producer of Gastro Helsinki Mari Katajamäki acted as the Chairman of the Jury without the right to vote.

JAMIX CO₂ Calculator is one of ”The Best of Gastro Helsinki 2020”

JAMIX CO₂ Calculator is an application related to JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System, and it calculates the carbon footprint of food. The application will automatically calculate the CO₂ values for recipes and meals. The operator can choose to publish the CO₂ values to the end-customers together with the menu.

JAMIX CO₂ Calculator is developed for professional kitchens for calculating and comparing the carbon footprint of food. In JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System it is easy to compare the CO₂ values of ingredients and experiment the effects of different ingredient choices on the carbon footprint of a meal. In addition to this, the operator can choose to publish the CO₂ values to its end-customers, which enables them to make comparison and choices based on the carbon footprint, as well.

The possibility to compare the carbon footprint of different items already when creating recipes and planning menus makes it easier to take environmental aspect into consideration in the professional kitchen. Announcing the carbon footprint for meals will bring additional value to the end-customers, as well as a possibility to effect on the carbon footprint.

Sustainability and responsibility play a key role in all areas of today’s society. The environmental effect of food is approximately as big as of traffic and habitation. Besides households, the professional kitchens have a major opportunity to support sustainability, and one way of doing this is taking the carbon footprint of food into consideration. JAMIX CO₂ Calculator enables exploring the carbon footprint of food, and it is easy to share information with the end-customers, as well.

JAMIX will be exhibiting at Gastro Helsinki March 11-13, 2020

– Come and meet us at booth 6g28!

Kitchen system is like a multi-tasking employee

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 3 Issue 2
February 2020

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

Flavor & The Menu publication is available…..get a copy!

Why you ask? Because the panel of experts assembled for the current issue is incredible. Yes, I’m on the panel, BUT that’s not the only reason to read it. The editorial team does great work to provide a deep dive into 2020’s Top 10 Trends. And, honestly, I’m humbled to be a part of a diverse panel that provides insights for the trends issue.

Cheers!

 

Master Chef Insights

School Lunch

“There ain’t no such thing as free lunch.” Oh, but there is! And it’s a great service to the children in Finland. Last month I noted that I visited Finland with my friend, and the CEO of Jamix, Mikko Jaatinen. Mikko arranged for a visit to an elementary school in his hometown of Jyväskylä.

Like all elementary schools, it was buzzing! We stepped inside to meet the principal and saw that kids only wore socks, and most teachers wore slippers. The floors had radiant heat, so it’s very comfortable on the feet, and the dirt stays outside. Another interesting fact is that kids play outside everyday of the year. What that means, is in addition to walking to school, kids get more fresh air during the day to help their brains stay engaged.

All this is leading up to the free lunch. Finland has been providing its children with free lunch for over 70 years. The benefit is that all kids receive a nourishing meal while in school. While I watched kids, of all elementary school ages, go through the lunch line it was great to see that they all took every option offered. The food was self-serve. They can take all they want but need to eat all they take. I saw no kid throw any food away, everything on the plate was eaten.

The menu that day consisted of mashed potatoes with shredded chicken (casserole), a variety of whole grain bread and näkkileipä (crispbread), shredded carrots, green peas, lettuce, and pasta salad. Kids had a choice of dressings and beverages. I naively asked what kind of lunch do kids bring from home? The answer was, ”why would they do that? Lunch is free.”

There is a central commissary in Jyväskylä where the meals are prepared. Food is delivered to schools and is handled by the foodservice staff at each school. Ovens are in the cafeteria should some food items need reheating.

This was a great visit and, as a chef, it was a pleasure to see kids enjoy the food in the cafeteria (yes, the potato-chicken casserole was tasty).

 

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – What Does Technology Do?

We believe we need technology, but have you ever asked – what does it do? Why do I need it? If you have, you are not alone. Understanding what technology does helps us to embrace its use and maximize its capabilities.

To understand what technology does, Jamix gives an example of technology as an employee. Here’s your AI employee:

Collects Information

Jamix will bring all information together in an organized manner and share it with all the users. All users are updated with possible changes in real-time.

Organizes

Jamix groups all information categorically and clearly. It maintains order in multisite operations, as well.

Connects Information

Information is linked in the system. This minimizes the risk for faulty or incomplete information. Work more efficient, quicker and easier.

Files

All essential information is saved for reviewing.

Guards

Information is kept safe behind passwords and firewalls. User rights limits information and functionalities available to authorized users.

Calculates

  • Sales/wastage
  • Shopping lists
  • Key figures related to inventory
  • Costs
  • Margins
  • Nutritive values
  • Recipe ingredient amounts

Routine Functions

Communicates information both within the organization and to external parties.

Updates product information from your suppliers.

Searches

Searches the information you are looking for in an instant with versatile search functions and groupings.

Guides

Ingredients needed;

Amounts needed;

Preparation instructions;

Schedule for preparation and production

Remembers

Standard orders and Traceability

Stays Up to Date

Continuing improve ensures Jamix is always up-to-date with your kitchen management demands – both internal and external.

Always Available

Thanks to cloud service always available regardless of place or time – all you need is an internet connection!

The above illustrations are courtesy of Jamix. It demonstrates the many jobs of technology in the workplace.

 

Fresh Ideas Food Management

Fresh Ideas Food Management invited me to participate in their annual company conference in early January. While there I judged their chef culinary competition, held a keynote talk about the US CulinaryScape, offered a tasting of Mankai, and interacted with almost everyone in the company.

Fresh Ideas is a company that is willing to break new ground, be the first, try something new, challenge their team to innovate, and many other great qualities. Matt Clervi and Dennis Owens lead the company with an entrepreneurial spirit, openness, and open arms. Throughout the conference I watched employees engage with Matt and Dennis to talk about ideas and how to continuously improve.

Keep an eye on this dynamic food-focused team.

 

The Big Game Pizza

For this year’s Big Game on Feb 2nd, the Hormel Team and I put our heads together to craft a 54 Topping Big Game Pizza. This gargantuan pizza topped out at 54 ingredients on a 9 foot pizza field. Each of the 5 flavor zones represented a region of the US and “20 yards”. The end zones were pure dessert indulgences.

 

 

The zones:

Northeast – Pork & Beans: Hormel Fire-braised pork shoulder on 3 bean salad with crispy fried onions.

South – Southern Fried Hormel Fire-braised Chicken with hot slaw, creamed corn, Hormel Black Label Bacon and pimento cheese.

Midwest – Hormel St. Louis Ribs served boneless on Hormel Mashed Potatoes, mozzarella and BBQ drizzle.

Southwest – Hormel Austin Blues Brisket, Wholly avocado, Herdez Salsa Verde, and pepper jack cheese.

Northwest – Hormel’s Happy Little Plants plant-based beef sliders with tomato sauce, grilled veggies, and romesco.

The pizza had its debut at Fox & Friends in NYC on Tuesday, Jan 21st. If you missed it, here’s a link.

 

Ingredient of the Month

Mejillones en Escabeche from Ramón Franco®

This can of mussels was delicious. Each one perfectly cooked, plump, and carefully packed. These mussels are great to eat on their own or as a warm garnish on a salad, fish, spread, etc.

Here’s where I found them: trovatoschrageselections.com

 

Cooking Tip

It’s definitely citrus season. My Mom recently sent a box of Indian River citrus. I have to be honest, I don’t like peeling each piece of grapefruit or orange, so I segmented the entire box. That leaves me

with a beautiful bowl of pure eating pleasure.

To segment – cut the two poles off the fruit. Then, using downward cuts, slice the skin away from the fruit. Only cut in enough to remove the outer peel and pith. Now cut between the internal membranes.

Bon Appetit.

 

 

World Food Programme

www.wfp.org

The following article was in CulinaryNXT’s November newsletter. My report about Finnish school lunches above is why Mikko’s letter is here again.

Jamix (www.jamix.com) founder and CEO, Mikko Jaatinen was invited to participate on a panel at the WFP meeting in Rome on October 17th. At the conclusion of the program, Mikko wrote this report.

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.

But especially important is will to do it.

I have that will!

Mikko Jaatinen

Founder, CEO of Jamix

 

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.

Kitchen System provides well-being to your customers and the environment

By Matleena Autio, System Specialist

Food is not all about taste. A diet following the dietary recommendations promotes health and reduces the risk of several non-communicable diseases. The most common issues with diets are related to the use of vegetables and red meat, as well as the amount of salt. When your everyday diet is based on healthy meals, you don’t need to worry about occasional treats.

Kitchen management system is an important tool in the professional kitchen. In multi-site operations the system makes it easy to use the same recipes and ingredients in all sites. The use of ingredients that are in accordance with contracts is extremely important both with regards costs and nutritional quality.

In addition to nutritive values, you can easily check the allergen information from the system, when the same recipes are used in all sites. Semifinished products or spice mixes might slightly differ with regards ingredients depending on the manufacturer. When you use exactly the same items that are in the kitchen system, including the detailed ingredients lists, you can be sure that the ingredients list communicated to your customers will match the prepared meal. The communication of allergens is especially important, and when you have the most common allergens linked to your ingredients and recipes accordingly in the system, it is easy to take these into consideration both in production and on the food labels.

The diet that is healthy for people is also the better choice with regards our environment. Environment-friendly foods include wholegrain cereals, beans, berries and fruit, and local fish – these are the same foods that are included in a healthy diet. The possibility to compare the carbon footprint of different ingredients when creating recipes and planning menus makes it easy to take sustainability into consideration in the professional kitchen. You can even use ingredients with a bigger carbon footprint without growing the environmental effect of the meal, when you include other ingredients with a lower carbon footprint in it. In the kitchen system it is easy to compare and try different ingredients and see how different choices effect on the carbon footprint of the meal. More and more customers are interested in the environmental effect of their meal choices. You can easily communicate the carbon footprint to your customers through JAMIX MENU application, for example. This is an easy way of communicating your business’s sustainability to your customers.

Small steps will take you far without you even noticing it

Taking care of your health and the environment doesn’t necessarily require huge efforts. Small everyday things and paying attention to the right things in your everyday routines often play a bigger role compared to some show off happening once a year. Small changes are usually also easier to accept and they are more likely to become a part of your everyday routine compared to big changes that require a lot of attention. You can effect the nutritive content and the carbon footprint of your meal for example by replacing some of the meat with a plant based protein or by switching your cooking cream into a lighter version. Even if the change is not that big, when you practice it for one year, it can have a significant effect on the well-being of yourself and the environment.

Predictions push us to innovate

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 3 Issue 1
January 2020

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

2020 is already here. We are 2 decades into the 21st century. I remember watching the original Star Trek TV show and thinking how far away, and futuristic the 21st century sounded. AND, how old I would be then! To digress – old is a state of mind. Yet, here we are living the 21st century. To me, this is an exciting time. The food industry continues to grow, innovate, and provide meaningful experiences for billions of people. In the words of Jackson Maine, “take it in”.

Wishing you a New Year of Health, Happiness and Peace!

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

This newsletter is a little different than last January. One article will be the last year in review, and another article talking about predictions. Next month, back to the regular features.

2019 Year in Review

The interesting thing about reviewing 2019 is how much was packed into a single year. Recipes, menus, travel, presentations, client meetings, conferences, you get the idea. Below the year is laid out monthly….somewhat. First, some overall stats:

  • 35 presentations on behalf of CulinaryNXT clients.
  • 13 conferences – presenter at 11 of these 13 conferences.
  • 139 new recipes developed for clients in 2019.
  • 26 distinct menus for events throughout the year (Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems made it easy to mine this data).
  • 12 unique newsletters sent out to select readers.

Vegan Lamb Satay

January 2019

Austin, MN, wind chill temperature -52°F. CulinaryNXT designed, planned, and executed Hormel’s annual shareholder’s dinner. What made this dinner interesting was an all vegan hors d’oeuvres menu. Several months later Hormel launched Happy Little Plants meat analog products.

February 2019

Attended North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers conference. Great opportunity to see what manufacturers are up to.

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Burger

March 2019

At the start of the month, I was at New York City School Systems providing at tasting of Hungry Planet Philly Cheesesteak vegan burger.

From there, up to Boston for the New England Food Show, then to Yale with Fresh Ideas Food Management for a tour of the Ivy League dining facilities.

The month ended at a private home near Boston to hold a cooking class for Find The Cause Breast Cancer Foundation findthecausebcf.org I was auctioned off for this cooking class. It’s a lot of fun and a worthy cause.

April 2019

Things heat up this month. The start of the month was the Small Change Big Impact Food Summit at Harvard University sponsored by Hormel Foods. CulinaryNXT worked with Hormel Foods and Attention Span Media, and Harvard University Dining

Services to plan and deliver this conference. What made this conference different were the topics and the conference’s intent. This was conference that not only provided information, it also provided solutions.

Here’s a link for your review thefoodimpactsummit.com

The following week was in Los Angeles to conduct a cooking demo for the Sunrise Produce conference attendees. This came about when the president of Sunrise Produce, David Sapia, won the cooking demo at an auction for Rett Syndrome in Los Angeles, I was the auction item. Instead of a private cooking demo, David asked that I conduct a cooking demo for Sunrise Produce customers. This demo/presentation was plant-forward and healthy eating.

On April 24th I was in Scottsdale, AZ at the Produce For Better Health Conference. Amy Myrdal-Miller and I conducted a joint presentation/demo for the attendees. We created recipes for the demo, and the accomplished culinary team at the resort recreated the recipes at lunch for the attendees. Win-win situation.

May 2019

Early May I teamed up with US Foods VP Brand Activation, Mark Eggerding, at Ohio State. This was a presentation/demo about trends with food demos to illustrate the trends.

Later in the week, it was off to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. This year’s show had significant impact for Jamix. Receiving the NRA KI Award provided Jamix with national recognition for innovative kitchen intelligence systems. The team in Finland was as excited as we in the US were.

May wrapped up at the Los Angeles Unified School District. At Hormel Foods invitation I joined their team to explore how to provide resources for LAUSD. This is a project in the works and will have significant impact on thousands of school children.

June 2019

Oh, what a month! June starts out with a culinary competition at UMass Amherst Dining program. The level of competition was exceptional, and it was a pleasure to interact with dozens of fantastic chefs attending the conference at UMass. Ken Toong and his team operate a conference that is truly focused on culinary.

Now for a crazy week. On Sunday June 16th I arrive in Nashville, TN to meet my Hungry Planet colleague, Freddie Holland. We represented Hungry Planet at a vegan/vegetarian product cutting for a Group Purchasing Organization. There I reconnected with a CIA grad and celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan. Chef Chauhan was kind enough to provide us with prep space before the cutting. Incidentally, Hungry Planet was awarded a contract.

2 days later, I’m at CIA in Hyde Park with Hinoman to introduce Mankai to the greater foodservice industry. I rolled out Breakfast Mankai Bings, Sweet Potato Hash with Mankai, and several other new food items with mankai as the star ingredient.

And on Friday the same week, I’m on a plane to Singapore to help launch Hungry Planet premium plant-based meats in Asia. Working with a local Singapore chef we held a tasting for over 100 guests (suppliers/chefs/media/and others) in the Asian market who are interested in plant-based meats. The food was a mix of western cuisine and Asian cuisine. The local chef, Addis Tan, is the chef/owner of HRVST in Singapore. Chef Addis and his team work with me to deliver delicious Asian influenced foods for our guests. Including a vegan Singapore Chili Crab!

My wife was able to join me on this trip to Asia and from Singapore we visited Tokyo and then Hong Kong. This was an incredible food journey!

July 2019

National Association of College and University Food Service (NACUFS) conference was in Denver, CO this year. I was there with the Jamix Team.

July was a month to introduce Mankai to MIT, Northwestern, and Yale. Through presentations and tastings we were able to introduce this incredible plant to these 3 institutions.

August 2019

Chef Christian Petroni

August was fun. The stars aligned and I reconnected with a long time friend, Chef Christian Petroni. I met Christian many years ago when he was the chef at a tapas restaurant in White Plains, NY. Since then, Christian has opened 5 restaurants – Fortina in the NY, CT area. He is on Food Network ALL THE TIME. And his love of food and the chef life is energizing. He wanted to know more about plant-based meats. So I visited his team at Fortina in Stamford, and we cooked. Great food, great chefs exploring a new food item and loving the experience. fortinapizza.com

September 2019

3 Certified Master Chefs joined up to innovate for Hormel Food’s management meeting early in September. Chef Tony Seta, CMC, Chef Tom Griffiths, CMC, and Chef Dan Coudreaut, CEC, joined me in Austin, MN to deliver global mash-ups to Hormel senior leaders.

Ron DeSantis 2nd from left with hat

During the management meeting at Hormel, I joined a chef panel to share industry insights with Hormel’s senior leaders. The panel consisted of – Chef Grace Ramierz @chefgraceramirez Chef Christina Machamer @chef.cmac Chef Kenneth Temple @kennethtemple Chef Tony Finnestad, and me @therealculinarynxt

From Austin, back to MIT in Boston to introduce MIT students to mankai.

October 2019

Energetic and fun visit to NYC Schools to conduct a student tasting of Hungry Planet plant-based burgers. Students were engaging, inquisitive, and not shy about their thoughts. Students gave a thumbs up 89% approval rating…..very cool.

November 2019

First day of November had me in Vernon, NY to help a dear friend, Garrett Law, host a community dinner in an old church he bought earlier in the year. With the help of Chef Larry Watkins, over 100 guests enjoyed a late Harvest Dinner at thisoldchurch.com

The next day I was on a plane to Helsinki, Finland. After a day tour of Helsinki, I gave a talk to Finnish foodservice managers about the US Culinaryscape. After that, it was a 3 hour drive north to Jamix Oy headquarters in Jyväskylä, Finland. Jamix founder & CEO Mikko Jaatinen offered me an opportunity to address the company employees. This is how I found out how excited and proud the Jamix team was to have received the NRA KI Award for the work they do. This group of professionals love what they do!

December 2019

My career at CIA rewards me often as I travel. This month I was visiting a food manufacturer in New Jersey and met the company’s Director of R&D. This chef explained that he worked on a project with me while he was a CIA student. Now, many years later, he’s leading R&D at a quality food manufacturer. A tour of the production facility, and tasting the food, confirms that this chef is making a difference.

December wraps up with me holding a demo at the NY Produce Show. The demo had 2 parts – okonomiyaki as a global food platform, and global sauces as flavor bursts for vegetable dishes. A recent CIA grad, Rebecca Moran @moransmunchies assisted me (thank goodness, because the cooking stage had a power shut down for about 10 minutes, and Rebecca came to the rescue!) at the demo.

There you have CulinaryNXT’s highlights for 2019. Thanks to everyone for their interest and support.

Culinary & more…

Predictions

Each year numerous organizations, the media, and people make predictions for the coming year. Why? Just think about it, if I predict that 2020 will be THE year for Havarti grilled cheese sandwich with pickled salsify, what happens? Maybe someone will ask me my prediction for 2021, Havarti producers will sell more Havarti, and salsify will be in demand. I know I’m oversimplifying, but food predictions are odd. At the end of this newsletter is my predictions which I wrote in 2010. So, what did I know back then? Here’s some of what I wrote back then – “flavorful, bolder, fresher, natural, organic, local and sustainably sourced fare is impacting menu design”, and “3 Themes will impact 2010: Global Impact, Ingredient Impact, and Emerging Impact”. Here’s the thing – so what?

When I think of predictions, I look for things that will have impact. Here are examples of what I mean:

  • Henry Ford predicting people will want cars if the car is affordable.
  • Steve Jobs predicting people will want a computer that fits in your pocket, takes pictures, and functions as a phone.
  • Ray Kroc predicting that people will want an affordable meal fast.
  • Walt Disney predicting that, deep down, we are all kids and want wholesome entertainment.

These predictions, and others like them, have had a resounding impact on the world.

Does that mean we shouldn’t predict? No. It’s fun to see what predictions happened and which don’t. Predictions can help planning and forecasting. And predictions help us to stay in tune with the industry and push us to innovate. Who knows, the innovation might have the impact of a Henry, Steve, Ray, or Walt.

Last year I flew 102,199 miles. My journeys took me across the US several times, to Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Helsinki, Bavaria, and other places. Food was always a significant part of all traveling. In light of my global travel, here’s my trend prediction for the future – good food will be the differentiator. Why? My experiences taught me that only good food will have staying power, good food doesn’t need to be the newest “foam” or “cryoconcentration” (although this is VERY cool), good food has to taste so good that you are satisfied. Perhaps it is an experience. Who knows? Suffice it to be so good that you remember it and talk about it.

Reflecting back, I couldn’t tell you the “best” meal experience of last year. Perhaps it was with my wife at a Michelin started restaurant in NYC, or it might have been at a friend’s home in Jyväskylä eating Karelian pie, then again it could have been tempura in Tokyo with my life-long Japanese friend, being served personally by the chef who has been preparing tempura in his restaurant for 40 years, or it might have been paella at our neighborhood beach with the entire neighborhood. The common thread? Good food.

Bon Appetit.

Keep Scrolling!

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.

Reprint from 2010

2010 Food Industry Outlook

2010 will continue to create challenges for food service operators. High unemployment, weak consumer confidence, the on-going war on terror, fierce competition, and other economic uncertainties will slow recovery in the food service industry. The good news is that there are a number of interesting and innovative broad themes emerging as the food industry enters the 2nd decade of the 21st century. The last decade provided a wealth of new ingredients for the chefs and food operators. We ate superfruits, macro and micro-nutrients, pre and pro-biotics, organic and sustainable meats, poultry, and vegetables, and indulged in some of the finest single-source chocolate on the planet.

Social networked foodies found a new voice and operators delivered food to the Millennials from trucks, wherever they wanted fresh fast food. The Wall Street Journal called these trucks, “aggressively gourmet, tech-savvy, and politically correct”. Restaurateurs like Danny Meyer served upscale Indian food from a cart outside Tabla in NYC, and the former Le Cirque pastry chef operates Dessert Truck in Manhattan.

Restaurants “reinvented” pizza as flatbreads. Flatbreads are broadly defined as simple breads, lightly leavened and topped with savory ingredients. Diners made out with the likes of – Caprese Flatbread, Truffle Flatbread, Grilled Potato Flatbread, Tapenade Flatbread, and Sea Salt & Parmesan Flatbread. This category is well received and served at bar menus, as appetizers for sharing, and as main dishes. The ease of preparation and the ability to change quickly will keep these on menus for a while longer.

Mini-indulgences resonated with guests. Sliders quickly became the “must have” menu item, and customers indulged in decadent samplers like – mini chocolate pot pies, or mini cupcakes. Small foods on a stick allowed diners to experiment with various skewers – anticuchos, satay, and yakitori. One size doesn’t always fit all. Small is now smaller. Restaurants respond in numerous ways

  • Entrees available in full or half sizes
  • Miniature menu items
  • Pre-appetizer small bites meant for sharing

As the new decade launches the food industry is beholden to the less than inspiring global economic situation. What is good for the restaurant goer is that tough times bring out another side of culinary innovation. Value will continue to be important to diners, and restaurateurs will return to the basics with good food and drink. Familiar foods will resonate with customers, albeit with a twist. “Post-recession, we don’t expect manufacturers to reinvent the wheel”, states Lynn Dornblaser, of Mintel. Diners will expect good flavors; good ingredients and where they come from; and of course, good pricing.

Menus will need to be fresh, both from ingredients and with interesting twists on familiar foods. Chefs will incorporate high quality ingredients, classical preparations twisted for today’s diner, and authenticity will be expected in traditional preparations. Key will be to evoke customer’s emotions and drive repeat business. Menu design will be important to restaurants and updated menus will reflect customer demands and build excitement about the offerings. Today, demands for more flavorful, bolder, fresher, natural, organic, local and sustainably sourced fare is impacting menu design. The past 2 decades has produced a more sophisticated, and well-traveled consumers. In addition, aging Baby Boomers are continuing to look for new and exciting food offers. This demographic will continue to impact important segments of the food industry. Restaurant operators looking for on-trend flavors, foods and beverages, will incorporate new flavor and ingredient trends. Among these are:

  • Bacon – bacon showed up on menus this year in cocktails (at NYC bar, Please Don’t Tell), to dessert (cupcakes from More in Chicago). Expect to see bacon and its cousins, pancetta or speck, continue to be explored on menus.
  • Salt – premium salts such as fleur de sel, Hawaiian red salt, or smoked salt will be highlighted on menus. Sweet-savory combinations are likely to continue using salt (Haagen-Dazs fleur de sel ice cream, or the CIA’s Apple Pie Bakery Café sea salt caramel).
  • Fruit – fruits will play a significant role in savory applications. Roasted Black Jonathan apples compliment Pork at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega in Napa Valley. Look for balsamic strawberries, oven-roasted figs, and pickled peaches on this year’s menus.
  • Smoking – smoking provides layers of flavor from the various woods available to chefs. Expect smoked cheese, vegetables, and herbs to provide complex layers of flavor.
  • Sauces – customers will be the winners when it comes to sauces. Chefs will “re-discover” classical French sauces, and embrace Global sauces at the same time. Fond de veau, veloute, and béchamel will find new uses along side mayonnaise, mojo, and romesco.

Three main themes will define 2010 –

Global Impact

  • Familiar with a Twist
  • Europe Revisited
  • Fusion Grows Up

Ingredient Impact

  • Freshness
  • Source

Emerging Impact

  • Mobile to You

Familiar with a Twist

Comfort foods resonate particularly strongly with consumers. People crave foods that are soothing or just bring a smile to their faces. Comfort foods are favorites from childhood – foods such as macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, meatloaf and stew. But these old favorites are getting new twists on today’s restaurant menus. American food will continue to be defined by the incorporation of our heritage – the American Melting Pot. Macaroni and cheese is being made with penne pasta in white truffle-infused cream sauce, served with grilled shrimp, asparagus and scallions. Mimi’s Café introduced a seasonal “Comfort Foods with a Twist” menu, offering Banana Chocolate Chip Pancake Breakfast, Tender Pork Shank and Mimi’s S’mores. The presentation of food, the flavor, and the experimentation will continue to excite in 2010.

Traditional favorites using lesser cuts of meat are the foundation for comfort- and value-minded diners – and chefs. Entrées such as braised-brisket ropa vieja at Justin’s in Albany, N.Y.; and beef daube at Nel Centro in Portland, Ore., capture the trend. Operators are looking to buy cuts of meats that are less costly; for example, buying chicken thighs instead of breasts or using whole chuck roll to make slow-braised beef. Nel Centro Chef-owner David Machado, daube recipe calls for beef chuck roll braised in red wine with pancetta, a pig’s trotter, crushed tomatoes and pork stock. His other restaurants,

Vindalho and Lauro Kitchen, also feature cost-effective comfort fare such as braised pork shoulder and lamb shanks.

Burgers have advertised the use of fresh Angus beef, premium ingredients or a signature sauce. Operators are going beyond standard burger toppings – lettuce, tomatoes and ketchup – and are offering interesting twists. The “better burger” trend is evident across the foodservice industry, in segments from fine dining and casual dining to fast casual and quick service.

  • McDonald’s has unveiled Angus Third Pounder burgers with 100% Angus beef on premium buns in deluxe, bacon and cheese, and mushroom and Swiss varieties.
  • Burger King has new mini-BK Burger Shots.
  • Red Robin has introduced burgers with spicy ancho-chipotle or satisfying bleu cheese toppings.
  • Atlanta’s new FLIP Burger Boutique is serving “upscale yet affordable burgers,” ranging from a $6.50 basic burger to the ultimate in decadence, a Kobe burger served with foie gras, shaved truffles, bread and butter, pickles and red wine syrup for $45.
  • 5 Guys Burgers has created an east coast cult following of their retro-burger joint made with fresh beef and fries.
  • BLT Burger in Las Vegas offers an American Kobe Wagyu burger for $17.

Sandwiches, like burgers, have also been going upscale. Sandwiches are appealing because it can simultaneously offer consumers something familiar and something unexpected. Upscaling is often achieved through the use of high-quality cuts of meat, artisan breads, specialty toppings and distinctive condiments. Sandwiches will emphasize global influence by offering Scandinavian open faced, Indian Kati rolls, PLTs with pancetta or pork belly, international grilled cheeses and redefined Mexican tortas. The trend toward hand-crafted gourmet sandwiches is especially apparent in the fast casual segment. Panera Bread Company offers a Smokehouse Turkey Sandwich, featuring smoked turkey breast, smoked bacon, smoked Cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and ale mustard on grilled three-cheese artisan bread. Meanwhile, Au Bon Pain offers the Prosciutto & Mozzarella Sandwich, combining prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, romaine, tomatoes, mayonnaise and Mediterranean relish on a farmhouse roll. At Char No. 4 in Brooklyn they serve Char’s tender, smoky lamb pastrami – tissue-thin slices on seeded rye with coriander-spiked aioli. Tom Collichio’s ‘wichcraft serves a meatloaf sandwich with cheddar, bacon, and tomato relish.

Continue to expect deep-fried everything. Thomas Keller’s ad hoc restaurant in Napa Valley has a southern fried chicken night, NYC’s Back Forty is offering deep-fried pork jowl nuggets, and Fried Apple Pie is served at Sou’Wester in Washington, D.C. Fried food is craveable and diners continue to order fried foods. House-made potato chips, tortilla chips fries, and croquettes are turning up on menus. Most consumers do not deep-fry at home, so expect them to look for fried food away from home.

Europe Revisited

The recent release of Julie & Julia is inspiring restaurateurs to explore French recipes that bring back memories of Continental Cuisine. Nostalgic Julia Child fare, such as lobster Thermidor, quiche Lorraine and salmon mousse, are reminding diners there is comfort in familiar. At the same time, these foods become new for a younger dining crowd. During the last decade diners were introduced to a global flavor palate. Exciting foods from Mexico, Central and South America, the Mediterranean, and Asia dominated menus. American diners were so intoxicated with the excitement of new flavors, they quietly set aside the traditions and classics of “the Continent”. 2010 will see operators and diners remembering the best from Europe. Chefs will reintroduce Continental Cuisine to diners.

Fusion Grows Up

Los Angeles’ Kogi truck and its signature Korean tacos and Vermilion’s Indian-Latin blends gets at least some of the credit for this latest fusion craze, which will only get bigger in 2010. Of course a few operators were ahead of the curve— Asia de Cuba has offered diners blends of Asian and Latin cuisines since 1997; Jose Garces debuted Peruvian-Cantonese hybrid Chifa in Philadelphia in early 2009; and Richard Sandoval continues on the fusion path he established in Washington, D.C. Their menus offer previews of flavor couplings to come:

  • Chaufa Rice: stir-fried rice with chorizo, mango, edamame and soy-glazed scallops
  • Cuban BBQ Chicken with Thai coconut sticky rice, avocado-cilantro fruit salsa and tamarind sauce
  • Pulled-beef tostadas with cilantro, peanuts, bean sprouts, cotija cheese and guacamole
  • Short rib sliders with Sriracha aioli at E&O Trading Co.
  • Sourdough bread and lavash with feta walnut spread and Caspian tapenade at Zare at Fly Trap

Global influences are here to stay. Sriracha (rooster sauce) is the new salsa. Vietnamese Banh Mi is the new Ham & Swiss; and Middle Eastern spices and spreads go mainstream. When consumers dine away from home, they want food with unique flavors and profiles they cannot easily recreate in their kitchens. These distinctive flavors are based on ethnic ingredients and cooking techniques. Asian, Mexican and Italian influences have migrated to mainstream restaurants. To differentiate their menus from those of competitors, operators of ethnic restaurants are introducing more focused regional ethnic cuisine, such as Italian entrées from specific regions, Jalisco-style Mexican fare, or Korean or Vietnamese items instead of just “Asian.”

Freshness

Emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients will continue to grow. Operators will be challenged to provide interesting and flavorful food within the constraints of seasonality. Fresh frozen local strawberries will be used in the winter, and will deliver a clean, just-picked tasted. Buying vine-ripened tomatoes in August, then freezing them whole will provide operators with salsas and tomato toppings that taste just-picked in the dead of winter. Innovation in acquiring and handling seasonal food will challenger kitchens to re-learn canning. Expect to see house-pickled summer vegetables to appear on menus. Just because people don’t have time to cook doesn’t mean they don’t crave homemade food. In 2010, watch chefs add an artisan touch where they can: artisan breads and cheeses, house-infused spirits, locally sourced produce and meats. “Rustic” will describe naturally-shaped pizza crusts and mashed potatoes. Restaurant-grown items are also a great way for restaurants to differentiate themselves.

With a vegetable garden at the White House and the First Lady now tending it, look for more chefs to follow suit with herb and vegetable gardens. Emphasis will be on local and seasonal ingredients. Demand for heirloom farm products—from tomatoes to lettuce, to livestock—will continue.

Sourcing

A distinct trend is the consumer preference for locally sourced and sustainable food–both produce and proteins. Michael Pollan made readers aware that sustainable food is achievable in his book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Today’s consumers are aware and concerned about their carbon footprints, and, when they purchase food, they want to know their purchase does not have a larger impact on the environment. This emphasis on local fare has implications for restaurants that are challenged to find reliable, adequate supplies of locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients at a cost that allows them to make a profit. Given that the issue is now firmly on the minds of consumers, smart restaurant operators are responding appropriately. A case in point is Corner Bakery Café informing customers it planned on “staying local” over the summer growing season with its BBLT Sandwich LTO, which featured a double portion of locally grown tomatoes. America is just now learning how to be sustainable, and Americans are holding themselves responsible. In 2010 we’ll see people and companies becoming sustainable for authentic reasons; they are doing it to make a difference. After all, that’s what comes with understanding.

Pristine local organic produce is no longer enough, chefs and guests are casting their nets beyond small, local, sustainable and organic farming to demand sustainable seafood certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood watch and other eco-conscious organizations.

Mobile to You

It’s the food truck social gathering of focused food purveyors creating the new block party. These trucks are serving grass-fed beef burgers, free-range chicken, heritage pork, local lamb, crème brulee, and fusion tacos. Professional chefs are leaving hotel jobs as chefs to open and operate a food truck. One challenge is to convince consumers that they are not the standard hot dog wagon. Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ serves Korean beef short rib tacos and kimchi quesadillas in LA. Kogi BBQ gets Tweets from customers about great locations to park. When Kogi BBQ shows up, people are waiting in line for the food.

This dining style is in line with Millenninal’s preference for fresh, sustainable, interesting food with big flavor served where and when they want it.

Sources: Various media outlets.

“Jamix is the perfect example of a sophisticated system easy to use for the end-user”

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 12
December 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

This is my last newsletter for 2019. It’s hard to believe that another year is over. As we head into early winter (and it’s snowing today in New England), I wish you a Happy and Healthy Holiday season. Take time to smell the cookies or carve out some time to bake them yourself! The little joys of baking or laughing with family and friends during the holiday season are the kinds of things that bring happiness.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Finland Visit

Finland in November is cold. What made it a fabulous visit are the people. Everyone I met was kind, welcoming, open, and warm hearted.

Jamix CEO, Mikko Jaatinen invited me to Jamix’s yearly conference in Helsinki to talk about the US CulinaryScape. My talk consisted of 4 main parts –

  • Trends
  • Emerging CulinaryScape
  • College & University Insight
  • Jamix as an Industry Disruptor

Helsinki is a port city and easy to navigate.

One of the highlights of a Helsinki tour was of the Temppeliaukio Church. This is a Lutheran Church built into a rock. The walls of the church are the rock cliff it’s built in to, and the ceiling is coiled copper. It’s a breathtaking place of worship with a special peace within.

The food scene is what one would expect in a capital city, diverse and vibrant. I did dine at Muru Ravintola. This was a warm, medium size restaurant. The waitstaff was knowledgeable and competent. The chef is very good at his craft. Jerusalem Artichokes, Yogurt with Fresh Black Truffles, and Bucarones was the first course. The second course, Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese, was my favorite. The rest of the meal was expertly prepared and served. We also ate Sea Buckthorn Sorbet. This tasted mango-pineapple-like. The sea buckthorn berry apparently has many nutritional benefits and is a part of Finnish cuisine.

One last observation of Finland – there are 190,000 lakes! 5.5 million people and 2.5 million saunas…..Finns love their sauna ?. Just don’t ask which is the best way to enjoy a sauna, there are 5.5 million ways!

Culinary & more…

End-user Tech

Technology has always fascinated me. When I returned to the US in 1986 after cooking for 5 years in Germany my first computer was a Macintosh 512K. I got it while taking Computer 101 at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. The class was being taught on IBM MS-DOS computers, and I was barely able to comprehend how to use the MS-DOS computer. Nor did I really care, I was hooked on a Mac and as far as I was concerned, learning MS-DOS was a waste of time.

Thankfully, the personal computer industry and Bill Gates thought that learning MS-DOS was a waste of time and computers all became as easy to use as a Mac. Professional software systems have evolved over the years as well. Jamix is the perfect example of a sophisticated system easy to use for the end-user.

Easy to use for the end-user, in Jamix’s case, means a very powerful system capable of complex operations. This is how I describe it – when you pick up your smartphone or tablet, you launch apps based on what you want to do. This is the same way to use Jamix. Launch Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems and decide what you want to do, then click on that app. The heart of Jamix’s approach is to provide a powerful portable tool, that’s easy to use.

Plant-based Meat vs Cattle Ranchers

This weekend, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled – America’s Cattle Ranchers Are Fighting Back Against Fake Meat. Here’s the link: www.wsj.com

When did plant-based meat become “fake”? There’s nothing fake about plant-based meat. This food is a high-quality source of protein, that satisfies.

Hungry Planet vegan Yakitori

The interest in plant-based meats continues to grow. This month I conducted tastings in Chicago with a food manufacturer; in Austin, TX with the University of Texas Dining; and with an airline caterer at LAX. There were skeptics among the tasters, but delicious food is delicious food. And in the end, everyone enjoyed what they ate. Fake was never a word used regarding the food. Great, delicious, tasty, wonderful, were words used, but never fake.

After sending out my last newsletter I received an email from a close friend. He believes if a description says meat, it has to be “REAL” meat. And if you want to eat bacon, then eat bacon. Several years ago I had a similar conversation with an excellent chef in West Hollywood, Tal Ronnen. Tal is a vegan chef and runs a fantastic vegan restaurant in West Hollywood. When I asked him why “vegan chicken” he explained that this was one way to give people a point of reference. I understood that explanation. It might not work for everyone, but it worked for me. I recently served plant-based lamb to a man who has never eaten meat. I asked him how he would describe the plant-based lamb. He thought for a split-second and said, delicious. Where I’m going with this is that plant-based meat isn’t fake anything. In the right hands it’s delicious.

Links

Here are a couple links to Attention Span Media. One is how they created the CulinaryNXT logo and the next is to Attention FWD which looks at future topics, including the food industry.

www.attentionspan.com

attentionfwd.com

Karelian Pie is a traditional pastry that I discovered in Finland. They were on every hotel’s breakfast buffet, in supermarkets, and in homes. The best were at a friend’s house – hot out of the oven, brushed with melted butter, and served with egg-butter. AH! You are wondering what egg-butter is. Take softened butter and stir-in chopped hard boiled eggs, salt and white pepper. It makes me think of a deconstructed hollandaise, and it’s rich, creamy, craveable and goes perfect with Karelian Pie.

//www.saimaalife.com/recipe-finnish-karelian-pies/

Ingredient of the Month

Canned Tuna

All canned/jarred tuna is not made the same. Canned/jarred tuna is an excellent pantry staple and is ready when you are for a tuna salad sandwich or to top a Caesar Salad. I like placing large chunks of jarred tuna on charcuterie/cheese board to change things up, or add the tuna to a classic niçoise salad.

I look for canned tuna that has large, whole muscle packed in olive oil. Same for jarred tuna. This way I can served the piece on a salad, or I can break it down when mixing tuna salad for a sandwich. Buying whole muscle allows me flexibility.

Cooking Tip

Heat the Pan

Heat the sauté, or roasting pan before adding food to it. This helps to ensure searing and sizzling which lead to great color and taste. When I start cooking at home, I put the fry pan on the range top and set the temperature to low. That way I’m ready to punch the heat up and cook. Same for the roasting pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven and turn it on, by the time prep is done, the pan is ready to roast the cauliflower or any other food you’d like to roast.

In the professional kitchen, pans are kept in a hot oven or stacked in a hot area of the cooking battery, so the pans are always ready.

This is a simple tip that helps.

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.

Nutrient database information is not a simple subject

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 11
November 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

I had a wonderful experience with high school students from Queens, NY a week ago. While at NYC schools’ administration offices to conduct a tasting of a plant-based burger I was asked to introduce the product. The students wanted to know if I knew any celebrity chefs. After I told them a couple of stories about some chef friends, one student asked, “why do you want our opinions, you know the best chefs?”

“Because it’s your opinion that matters”, is what I told them. I explained that their opinions are as valuable as Bobby Flay’s. Their faces beamed with pride!

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

World Food Programme

www.wfp.org

The following article is reprinted by permission.

Jamix (www.jamix.com) founder and CEO, Mikko Jaatinen was invited to participate on a panel at the WFP meeting in Rome on October 17th. At the conclusion of the program, Mikko wrote this report.

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.

But especially important is will to do it.

I have that will!

Mikko Jaatinen

Founder, CEO of Jamix

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – Nutrient Database

Through my work with Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems I’m asked which nutrient database is used by Jamix. That question comes up, presumably, because nutrient database information is not a simple subject.

There are nutrient databases existing which claim to have tens of thousands of nutrients. This may be true, but the quality of the data is the question. While researching various databases available, the most cited nutrient database in the United States is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. There are commercial databases that claim more foods, but these foods are primarily finished goods. The baseline nutrient information for produce, meats, dairy, beverages, etc all come from the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR). The USDA also publishes a database that is used to convert food and beverages consumed into a document called: What We Eat In America. This database expands the information provide by USDA SR.

The University of Minnesota offers a nutrient database with twice as many foods as the USDA database, but the University of Minnesota database is built on the USDA’s. All the information above is a long way of making a point – the USDA nutrient database is considered a gold standard. In fact, when the Nutrition Society of the UK conducted a comparison of nutrient databases, it used the USDA nutrient database for the comparison.

Which database to use depends on how it will be used. If an operator uses branded, finished products then a commercial database might work well. Whereas an operation using more scratch-style preparation will be satisfied with fewer finished products. What is good to know, is that in both situations the base information comes from one reputable source.

Vegan Fast Food

During a west coast trip to San Diego, I visited a vegan fast food chain called – Plant Power Fast Food

www.plantpowerfastfood.com

This location was, coincidentally, 3 blocks from the Ocean Beach apartment I rented in 1976. Crazy! And the food was crazy good. I had the “Big Zac”, and it delivered. Full disclosure, they use Hungry Planet plant-based meats and I’ve been working with Hungry Planet for over 2 years.

The “Big Zac” was really good, vegan fast food. The restaurant was clean, bright and the counter server knew about the product line. I know one thing, if I’m back in San Diego, near Ocean Beach, and in the mood for a “Zac attack”, I’m heading to Plant Power.

B. Good Restaurant – Boston

Two colleagues said to meet at B. Good, Washington St. Boston, so I did. I had NO idea what to expect in this restaurant, but I wanted lunch. The menu board had a lot of great options and I ordered the SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS – zucchini noodles, eggplant meatballs, kale, parmesan, tomato, marinara. This dish was delicious! Everything well prepared, food was hot, wait time was short. The finishing kitchen is open to view and is in the restaurant. What I saw was fresh ingredients being prepared and immediately served. Everything right about that.

The take-out business was busy. Clearly, they have an app allowing customers to order and pay ahead, then just walk in and pick up the order. Back to what I ate…..the star of the dish was the eggplant meatballs. There wasn’t any animal meat, but who cares? I understood what they were saying. These things are GOOD. I now know the eggplant meatballs are available as a side.

www.bgood.com

Mankai at MIT

Yes, that MIT. In Cambridge. It turns out the Resident District Manager of Bon Appetit at MIT is a very dear colleague. Chef Gary Arthur leads the culinary team and launched menu items using mankai. www.eatmankai.com

You may recall I introduced Mankai in my August 2019 newsletter. It is the smallest plant on the planet and is harvested every 72 hours. Mankai grows in fresh water and is a complete protein (all essential amino acids), it has B12 and iron. One of the culinary benefits of Mankai is its neutral taste. This allows it to be incorporated with many foods.

At MIT, the culinary team used Mankai for smoothies, an Asian-style soup, and in the hand-stretched pizza dough. The student body was very interested, and many came back to try it a second time. More information on Mankai in 2020.

Ingredient of the Month

Truff Hot Sauce

If you haven’t tried this stuff – TRY IT! My dear friend, Chef Christian Petroni, set a bottle of this on the table at his restaurant, Fortina and I was hooked at the first taste. This stuff is GOOD. The heat level is balanced, and the sauce has great taste. Additionally, the sauce has a rich texture which provides a very satisfactory mouthfeel.

truffhotsauce.com

Who knew?

Cooking Tip

Chopped Parsley

This is a short cooking tip. In professional kitchens, chefs chop enough parsley for use during the meal period. That way we’re not chopping every time we need some of the herb. So, do the same in your kitchen. Chop the entire bunch(es) of parsley and put it in the fridge to use for the rest of the week. This is, in classical French cooking, mise en place. Today it’s called “place” or “mise”. It simply means having things ready to make the magic happen.

Incidentally, put the chopped parsley between a couple sheets of paper towels and squeeze the moisture out. This will keep it fresh smelling and tasting for a few days in the fridge.

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.


Read more on nutritive information in JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

Fresh Ideas Selects Jamix As New Kitchen Intelligence Partner

Boston, Massachusettes, US – October 28, 2019

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.

www.freshideasfood.com

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

www.jamix.com

Digitalization can help feed the hungry

Mikko Jaatinen at the CFS 46 in Rome

By Mikko Jaatinen, Founder and CEO of JAMIX

World Food Progamme

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.

But especially important is will to do it.

I have that will!

Mikko Jaatinen

Founder, CEO of Jamix

Case study of Finland’s school feeding

Jamix presents digital know-how on School Feeding in the Committee on World Food Security in Rome

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]

www.jamix.com

The World Food Programme: www.wfp.org

Committee on World Food Security: www.fao.org/cfs

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!”