Hungry Planet Italian Sausage Meatball Parmesan

Hungry Planet® Selects Jamix For Managing Recipes

Boston, Massachusetts, US – May 22, 2020

Hungry PlanetSt Louis based Hungry Planet® will be the first food manufacturing company in the US to implement cloud-based Jamix Kitchen Intelligence System for managing their recipes and culinary database. Hungry Planet® makes a full range of chef-crafted plant-based meats that are a one to one substitution for conventional meats in any dish across every protein. Hungry Planet® also offers a superior nutritional profile compared to conventional meats and compared to other plant based offerings – their meats are packed with protein and fiber and have about half the calories, one quarter of the fat, and no saturated fat.

“Because we are a culinary driven company – with the chef perspective at the very core of everything we do, we wanted a recipe management partner that mirrored that thinking. The partnership with Jamix is a perfect manifestation of our desire to enable chefs to do what they do best – make delicious nutritious food to feed our Hungry Planet” said Jody Boyman – Co-Founder and Chief Purpose Officer

Hungry Planet® has been featured in several media publications including The New York Times, Financial Times and Chicago Tribune.  You can learn more at

Jamix is the leading supplier of kitchen intelligence systems for commercial 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. 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.

”We are excited of our partnership with an innovative food manufacturing company like Hungry Planet®”, says Mikko Jaatinen, founder and CEO of Jamix.

cost control kitchen software

Kitchen Management Software Provides Tools For Cost Control

Cost control is one notable benefit you get from using a kitchen management software system. Costs are linked to several functions in the commercial kitchen. Orders, menu planning and inventory – they all play their own role in kitchen cost control.

By Matleena Autio

The Covid 19 pandemic has definitely had an impact on all of us, one way or another. In the turn of the year few of us could guess, that a new type of corona virus identified in China would have an impact on the whole world in this scale. At the moment the tightest restrictions are being removed in Europe and it seems possible that the restaurants will be opened step by step in the beginning of summer. Even if most of the societal functions slowed down or stopped completely due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, many public food service operations have been functioning almost as before despite the restrictions. Food is being prepared and served ongoingly in hospitals and different types of service facilities. Large amount of schools have also maintained food services in some form.

Benefits of kitchen management software?

Luckily the pandemic has had only little effect on my own life. The biggest challenges seem to have been related to scheduling and serving food – despite the fact, that I have got a decade of working experience in commercial kitchens. When you have to arrange food twice a day into the same table, which during this state of emergency has also been working as my office desk, I have many times missed the routines that are familiar from working life. Often that essential ingredient needed for preparing a certain meal has been missing from my pantry. Or some item has expired, even if I thought that I just bought it a few days earlier. Money and time is wasted – I know, that in the commercial kitchen setting this type of activity would not be appreciated.

”JAMIX is like a multi-tasking employee” is a quote from Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis – in my case maybe a colleague, whom I’ve been missing. With JAMIX it is easy to plan your menus so, that you won’t be accidentally serving soup on five meals in a row (as happened to me). The system also helps you in ordering the right amount of ingredients at the right time – so that you don’t have to replace a part of the wheat flour with corn flour (this has happened to me, as well). Oh, I also managed to ruin one pot of soup, because of slipping too much salt in it. If I had followed a standardized recipe and measured my seasoning, this would not have happened.

With the Food Bank functionality in the JAMIX system you can take food that has been prepared earlier into consideration when planning production. In its part, it helps in minimizing food waste. I missed this function for communicating to my youngsters, that the casserole I made the day earlier was really meant for being heated and consumed.

Kitchen software helps in cost control and saves time

Even if, little by little, life starts to get back to normal, many things have changed. And in many aspects the work is just beginning. Economical effects of the pandemic are extensive and we need new innovations. Luckily, ”old buddies” can help a lot, as well. Kitchen management software system helps in cost control in many ways. You can minimize food waste when you make orders based on the portion sizes and portion amounts, that you have planned on your menu – as well as based on the real inventory balance versus gut feeling.

In addition, the post-production function helps you in serving your customers food they prefer. It also enables you to predict the real sales or consumption of different menu items. For example, mac and cheese might be more popular among students compared to baked beans. This is worth taking into consideration when setting the portion sizes. You don’t have to start planning special diet foods each morning from the scratch, as the kitchen system provides you the information regarding special diets: For which special diets the menu items of the day are suitable, and what special diet foods still need to be prepared. In addition to costs, a notable amount of time is saved, which generates cost savings, as well.

We at JAMIX are ready to help, when it is time to roll your sleeves again. Let us find together, how the system can help your business in the best way. Together we are more.

Kitchen system is a valuable tool for managing costs

“As foodservice operators navigate post Covid-19 and the food industry prepares to re-open, managing costs will be more critical than before.” Managing costs with a kitchen system is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 3 Issue 5
May 2020

200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405

Come On, Already!

I’m just about Zoom’d out. Camera ready, mic on, background blurred or a select pic, look into the camera… do I smile, try to look neutral?, but I keep looking at me! Help!

Right now, a good old fashioned phone call feels good.

Prost! Cheers! Saluti! Kippis!

Master Chef Insights

Flavor Bursts


Flavor Bursts are highly flavored ingredients or condiments that create those “this is soooo good” food experiences. Flavor Bursts are all around us. Some Flavor Bursts, actually all Flavor Bursts, have been around for a LONG time. The easy examples are: Tabasco, prepared mustard, ketchup, pickles, horseradish, and many others. The reason I say “all Flavor Bursts have been around for a long time is demonstrated with these examples: Zhoug, chermoula, romesco, or gremolata. Other Flavor Bursts are built on a mayonnaise platform: chipotle mayo, aioli, smoked-paprika mayo, buffalo-blue cheese mayo, or wasabi mayo. Still others are vegetable Flavor Bursts: tzatziki, pico de gallo, guacamole, muhammara, or toum.

The key to Flavor Bursts is that they brighten and lift up anything they are served or cooked with.

Comfort Food

A smile comes to me as I read and hear the media gushing about comfort food. You’d think a new star was discovered (a twisted nod to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin: “The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.”). The reality is that comfort food NEVER goes out of style. Comfort food (or familiar food) is what people eat every day, not just when a crisis happens.

In January I wrote that I literally traveled around the world in 2019. The common food thread I found was that people aren’t looking for the next best thing in food.

People continue to eat familiar food.

  • Singapore: chili crab, hawker stalls
  • Hong Kong: bubble waffles, dim sum, pork!
  • Japan: Yakitori, tempura
  • Finland: Karelian Pie (rye dough filled with cooked rice porridge, brushed with butter and topped with Egg Butter!)
  • Germany: Pork roast with cracklin’s and potato dumplings, bratwurst with sauerkraut
  • US: BBQ, Taco trucks, NY pizza

Familiar food WILL have staying power.

Comfort Food is NEVER out of style.

In the ‘80s, as a fresh CIA graduate, I went to Germany to cook. During that time, we embraced Chef Witzigmann’s Neue Deutsche Küche (New German Cuisine). Chef Witzigmann was serving traditional, regional dishes in a 3 Michelin Star setting. COMFORT FOOD! The food was spectacular. I ate at his restaurant twice and still remember the experiences. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Klare Hühnersuppe mit Gemüsen und Butterknockerln Chicken Consommé with Vegetables and Butter Dumplings
  • Bayerische Ente, mit Zwiebel und Apfel gefüllt Roast Bavarian Duck Filled with Onion and Apple

Escoffier Restaurant, CIA circa 1986

Of course, Chef Witzigmann served the chicken soup with butter dumplings and fresh morels filled with the butter dumpling as well. And the onions and apples that filled the duck were eventually removed and roasted then served with the duck…imagine the taste of those onions and apples with the rich flavor of the duck! Go to “Kulinarische Kreationen” by Eckart Witzigmann for those and more recipes. I took the lessons I learned in Germany with me to the CIA and into the CIAs flagship Escoffier Restaurant. My menus were familiar foods served with French culinary attitude.

Every economic downturn or national crisis results in people reconnecting with comfort foods. But don’t believe comfort foods desirable only in times of need, comfort foods are who we are.

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – Managing Costs

JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System helps in managing costsBy now it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Jamix. This Kitchen Intelligence System will be a very valuable resource as foodservice operators navigate post Covid-19. This system provides operators with a dashboard to see food cost, waste, orders, inventory, customer feedback, and many more operational functions.JAMIX received the Kitchen Innovation Award in 2019

As the food industry prepares to re-open, managing costs will be more critical than before. Having operational functions in a cloud-based system ensures continuous access to data. This allows managers to make real-time decisions and control costs. For example, a vendor calls a chef with a special price for an ingredient. The chef can change the ingredient price, see what the new food cost is, and then make a decision to purchase based on data. Another example is making decisions based on customer feedback. Jamix allows operators to post e-menus which permit guests to provide feedback. This gives operators another datapoint in decision making.

The next several weeks or few months will be critical as operators re-open businesses. Having data-driven information assists management in an shifting business environment.

Check it out, I dare you. Just don’t complain to me when 2 hours has flown by and you haven’t experienced everything on the website. This is Hungry Planet’s new website. It appeals to both consumers and foodservice. I’m proud of the assembly of chefs that are demonstrating their skills using a variety of Hungry Planet plant-based meats. Once you’ve checked it out, let me know what you think.

Ingredient of the Month

Potatoes in a can.

YES! In a freaking can!! They’ve been on supermarket shelves all my life, but I never ate them. What changed? I was doing a project and wanted to add some potatoes at the last minute. Why not, I thought? It’s just for me to taste. Once I opened the can and saw the contents, I was impressed. Uniform, perfectly cooked potatoes! And they tasted like uniform, perfectly cooked potatoes! Then I fried them with some bacon, topped with parsley and a sunny egg……..hooked.

The lesson? Stay open minded.

Buon appetito.

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.

special diets professional kitchen

Taking special diets into account in the professional kitchen

The number of special diets has increased in the last decades. Preparing diet meals is often considered as a challenging and time consuming job. With good planning you can, however, manage the amount of work. A kitchen system will help the professional kitchen in managing special diets and allergens.

By Matleena Autio

The number of special diets followed by different reasons has increased in the last decades. Reasons for following special diets can be numerous. Health related reasons are, for example, bowel diseases and diabetes, as well as different types of allergies and hypersensitivities. Food restrictions are related to many religions, as well, for example fasting or cutting out certain foods. In addition, different types of vegetarian diets have grown in popularity. This can be seen in the supermarkets, as well, where the assortment for plant based food items has increased. Many consumers have added the consumption of plant based foods in their diet even if they continue consuming meat, as well.

Eating is one of the basic needs of humans, and there are numerous psychological and physical functions related to it. Eating for comfort or strong disliking towards certain foods are familiar phenomenon to most of us. So you should always respect the diet your customer has announced, even if your own opinion was different, and you should always take special diets seriously. For example, diets based on religion or ethical reasons are very personal things and they can have a big significance on how a person sees herself, as well as on her feeling of control in life.

Allergies can be life threatening and in celiac disease the tiniest amount of cereal will cause serious damage in the intestines. The amount of people seeking care because of allergies has increased significantly during the past years. One reason for the allergies to become more common might be better recognition of the symptoms. Unnecessary diets where you avoid foods based on health issues are not recommendable.


Managing allergens safely and appropriately

Diets where you avoid foods put a big strain on food service operations in schools, for example. Announced allergy is always taken seriously in the kitchen and even small amounts of ingredients including the allergenic are usually taken out of the person’s diet altogether. For this reason it is very important that allergies and mild hypersensitivities are separated from each other already when announcing the diet. For example, a person who is allergic to tomato needs a diet where even the tiniest amounts of tomato – which could be one ingredient in a sauce, for example – have been removed. A person who is hypersensitive to tomato might get symptoms from tomato only when it is uncooked or if she eats bigger amounts of tomato. You don’t have to take tomato completely out of the diet of this kind of person, it is sufficient that she has the possibility to choose some other item instead of fresh tomato.

The line between allergy and hypersensitivity is not always that clear, and for example cross allergic symptoms related to pollen allergies might vary depending on the season. So, in unclear cases it is important to check the customer’s situation instead of guessing if some ingredient is suitable for her diet or not.

The law requires that food labels identify the food source names of all major food allergens used to make the food (FDA). In JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System you can add information on ingredients, as well as on allergens included in them, into the nutritive value. The user can choose which allergens are included in the nutritive data and the information runs accurately through the system.

You can also add information on diets into recipes, which indicates their suitability for customers with those diets. The information runs through the system from ingredients and recipes to menus that can be published for the customers easily from the system. Keeping the allergen information up-to-date in the system and checking the information on a regular basis is, however, extremely important.



Customer comes first – also when it comes to special diets

You need to take special diets carefully into account also in the possible transportation or presentation and serving of food. Information related to health and conviction is private and when presenting food you should make sure that this information is visible only to those, who need it.

Preparing diet meals is often considered as a challenging and time consuming job. With good planning you can, however, manage the amount of work and often the nutritive quality of the items will be improved at the same time.

When planning and preparing diet meals you do not only take out the ingredients to be avoided from the diet, but you need to replace them with some other item suitable for the customer. A beef soup will not be turned into a vegetable soup if you take out the beef consomme powder and the beef, but you should replace the beef with a plant based protein and change the flavor ingredient into a vegetable based one. Sometimes it is more appropriate to change the entire course than try to prepare a matching main course option for the customers with special diets.

When talking about special diets, it is good to keep in mind that the customer always has the right to decide what she eats. When the recipes for different diets are ready in the system, even the more exceptional wishes can be fulfilled with small effort and in a safe way.

Jamix Kitchen Intelligence System

Jamix has been digitally fighting against food waste already for 30 years

Jyväskylä, Finland – April 21, 2020

Food service operators and restaurants are making efforts for fighting against food waste, as responsibility and the carbon footprint of food are emphasized more and more. The economical aspect is of course significant, as well – food waste causes major losses. Jamix, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has created a digital tool for professional kitchens enabling accurate orders for ingredients, as well as providing calculations for the carbon footprint of food and nutritive values. The company has grown into being the market leader in Finland, and has gained a foothold internationally, as well, especially in the United States.

Mikko Jaatinen, Founder and CEO of JamixJamix is a pioneer in its field. Mikko Jaatinen, CEO and founder of the company, started to develop the system in the beginning of 1990, when ingredients were ordered to the kitchen by telephone and quantities were based on rough estimates. This tended to result in huge amounts of wastage, and it was hard for the kitchens to monitor if they were staying on budget.

– The customer’s budget might have been used already by November, so for the rest of the year you had potatoes to work with. The daily routines have changed a lot in the professional kitchen during 3 decades. Today the budgets are planned carefully, there are several special diets being served and the origin and the environmental effects of food are taken into account, says Jaatinen.

One of the system’s users is Omnia education and training center in Espoo, Finland. Around 1000 diners visit Omnia’s restaurants daily. According to Tarja Hämäläinen, Omnia’s Services Manager, they have been able to reduce the amount of wastage significantly and the use of time has become more efficient, as well.

– Before we implemented Jamix, orders were made by telephone and recipes had to be developed by ourselves. There were huge amounts of waste, as there were no precise amounts for ingredients in the recipes.

The amount of food waste decreased by around 400 pounds a week

Omnia has made many efforts for reducing wastage. Trays have been taken away, and instead there is a so called generic plate. You take soups and other food on the same plate which results in appropriate portion sizes. The customers are reminded about reducing wastage and Omnia collects customer feedback continuously so that there would be as many preferred options on the menu as possible.

– With these actions we have been able to reduce the amount of food waste by 350-450 pounds a week. That means that we have gotten rid of the cost of one food waste container. We are hoping to implement a scale for food waste, as well. It would make the amount of waste more visible both to our customers and to us, says Hämäläinen.

Huge market in the United States

Today Jamix is the market leader in the domestic market and most of the foodservice operators and restaurants in Finland use its system. Jamix has grown internationally, as well, and it has made major contracts especially in the United States. One of Jamix’s customers is Yale Hospitality, where the system is used in 16 Colleges, 11 Cafés, as well as in a large commissary kitchen and a bakery. Yale Hospitality prepares 18.000 meals a day.  The market potential in the United States is huge: There are 67.000 kitchens within the College & University Food Services alone.

– I believe that we are well equipped for reaching our targets with the strategy we have chosen, that is through college and university kitchens. Our advantage in the US market is, that our system is cutting edge. The customers have been amazed by its web-based user interface, usability and versatile features.

The United States has proven to be an interesting market where the right contacts have been essential in going forward.

– Coincidence plays a small role in everything, and for us becoming acquainted with a resptected and well-known person in the food service industry has had a big impact. We are currently negotiating with several universities and are hoping to be able to publish a new, major contract in the near future, tells Jaatinen, living in Boston since 2018.

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 over one million meals, every day!”

Jamix 30 Years Anniversary

Jamix has been Making Kitchens Work Already For 30 Years

JAMIX originated from a recipe program made by Mikko Jaatinen. The local vocational school became interested in the program and after that, the program was sold at a fast pace to dozens of professional kitchens already within the first year. Soon, custom programs were built to manage inventory and meal orders. These three programs together formed a comprehensive professional kitchen management system for all sizes and types of kitchens.

For the first few years, Mikko Jaatinen took care of everything alone. As the business grew, more employees were hired. At the turn of the century, the customer-base already consisted of a wide range of both public and private-sector companies. The software was continuously developed, and the number of customers increased steadily. After the mid-2000s, JAMIX received an inquiry from Australia: Mikko and his family left for Australia and started export business.

As the operating systems developed, the JAMIX program was re-created in the 2010s as a web-based version. The company’s customer base grew and its staff as well. In the late 2010s, the focus of exports was shifted to the United States. Mikko Jaatinen repacked his belongings and moved to the United States to be closer to potential customers. As a result of the major export project, JAMIX signed an agreement with Yale Hospitality in 2019.

Listening to customers’ needs, uninterrupted product development, and enthusiasm for developing solutions to facilitate the daily work of professional kitchens have been the base of JAMIX for 30 years. Today, over 1.000.000 meals a day are prepared with JAMIX software. As we move into the new decade, the program is being developed more than ever.

Environmental eating is an emerging trend

Students are interested in the environmental impact of the food they are served. Having a kitchen intelligence system with CO2 values provides both foodservice operators and their customers information on the environmental impact of food. This is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 3 Issue 4
April 2020

200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405

Come On, Already!

While considering what to write in this space I decided that I will be your 3-minute getaway from the Covid-19 news. Since that is THE daily topic, you don’t need more from me. So……

How do we get out this tangled mess? It seems that every conference room has a mass of tangled wires for our technology. When will we get rid of this mess? Really, we have wireless earpieces, Bluetooth to the car media, and on and on but we can’t figure out how to clean up a conference room?!


Master Chef Insights

Food Platform

Thinking of food as a platform is a way to do more with less. What that means in an operation is – what recipes can be prepared using a limited number of ingredients? Oh, and customers want to be amazed with each menu item.

One example that helps me explain a food platform in practice is okonomiyaki. This delicious, simple “cabbage pancake” from Japan is a practical way to explore a food platform.

Fundamentally okonomiyaki is shredded cabbage held together with pancake batter. It is seasoned, fried (ok sautéed, but we’re talking about street food here) and topped with a burst of flavor drizzles. Chef Gerry Ludwig was ahead of his time in 2008 when he wrote and talked about okonomiyaki. Since 2008, restaurants have opened with okonomiyaki as the star menu item.

How this all relates to a food platform is due to the versatility of okonomiyaki. What I’ve discovered is that okonomiyaki is adaptable to all global cuisines. When a chef starts with cabbage and pancake batter, she can flavor it any which way. The platform is cabbage and batter. Seasonings and toppings create the final dish. Add conventional beef or plant-based beef to the available ingredients and the okonomiyaki can become vegan, or a meat-eater’s delight. The possibilities are limited only be the chef’s imagination.

Thinking in terms of food platforms allows chefs to offer many menu choices with a smaller inventory.

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – CO2 Value of Menu Items

On March 6, 2020 Yale Daily News reported that students wanted to know more details about the environmental impact of the food they were served. Almost 1,000 students responded to a survey conducted by 2 seniors. The results showed that 86% of students want ”to see environmental impact ratings” of the food in the dining halls. As interesting is that 62% of students claimed they had made food choices based on posters in the dining halls showing the environmental impact of the food.

This is likely the early phase of environmental eating in college & university (C&U) dining. One of the challenges for C&U operators will be access to detailed environmental information related to the food chain. In the student survey, students were specifically interested in the CO2 footprint of the food served.

Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems has a CO2 function built in. The CO2 core ingredients are part of the Jamix system. As a chef builds a recipe the CO2 is calculated for each recipe. This information is carried into the menu design feature of Jamix. This provides managers with clear CO2 footprint information at the recipe and menu levels of the system.

Many C&U operators believe trends begin in C&U. I’m not sure about all trends, but certain trends do start in C&U. Environmental eating is, I believe, one of those trends. Having the right kitchen intelligence systems keeps managers on point with these trends.

Quarantine Pantry

In March I sent out a special newsletter about preparing meals using food from your pantry. I followed up with a video that my daughter did with me, and her friend edited. Then my friends at Hormel Foods tied this into a great service piece with many chefs about cooking from the pantry. Here’s a link.

Ingredient of the Month

Bacon! Looking back on my newsletters I discovered I haven’t put bacon as the ingredient of the month. Well, here it is.

The problem is – what does one say about bacon? Everyone is a bacon expert. Everyone has a favorite bacon. There are even “cult” bacons like Neuske’s. What I’ll share is why I believe bacon is so popular.

Delicious. Yup, bacon is delicious. It has the right balance of meat, fat, smoke, and salt.

Versatile. Bacon can be used in so many ways. It can be the center-of-the-plate, or a flavor enhancer. Chef David Burke made the bacon clothesline a signature menu item in his restaurants. There are desserts with elements of bacon. In other words, bacon is way more than a great accompaniment with eggs in the morning.

In fact, my first cooking assignment as an 18 year old (know it all) Marine at MCRD San Diego was to cook the bacon for breakfast. I figured this was too easy for me, until a pan in the rotating oven tipped, spilling bacon grease in the oven and the oven caught on fire. Needless to say, no bacon that morning, I learned I didn’t know everything, and there were A LOT of ticked off Marines!

Finally, my last comment is – bacon CAN be too crispy. I know I might be one of the few people in the world that might say that, but it’s true. Consider preparing a glace de viande. There is a fine line between perfect flavor and over-reduced. The same goes for bacon. There is a fine line between, just done and too crispy. Fine that perfect point and you’ll be rewarded with the best that this ingredient offers.

Cooking Tip

Sautéing/Pan-frying. First terminology. For me, sauté is the same word as frying. Deep-frying is something else. Panfrying is sautéing/frying in a bit more fat and often with something breaded.

Here’s the information I wish to share – make sure the pan is hot. The amount of fat, to me, is not as important as the pan temperature. Too cool and food sticks. Too hot and it burns. When I start cooking, I put my saute pan on the stove and turn the heat on low. Then I continue my prep. This way the pan is already getting conditioned and it’s a small jump to higher, ready-to-cook temperature.

Once the pan is hotter, add oil. When the oil starts to smoke (lightly, if it’s billowing blue smoke, you’re not going to be happy and it’s become dangerous!), it’s time to add the food. Only add enough food to almost cover the pan surface. And DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. When food is added, the temperature of the pan’s surface has to recover. If it left alone, it seems to recover more quickly. Now fry the food until it’s properly done.

These are my frying tips. Have fun with your culinary experiences!

Buon appetito.

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.

Value Based Model Helps in Choosing a Kitchen Technology System

“Knowing what a kitchen operation requires from a system and using this data in choosing a value-based system is part of the intricate matrix that supports an organization’s success.” Choosing a kitchen system is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 3 Issue 3
March 2020

200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405

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.


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

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 choosing a kitchen systemsystems. 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.


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 tasks

Kitchen system is like a multi-tasking employee

Kitchen system takes care of many tasks in a restaurant kitchen. Understanding what technology does helps us to maximize its capabilities. Tasks of the kitchen system is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 3 Issue 2
February 2020

200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405

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.


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.


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.


All essential information is saved for reviewing.


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


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


Ingredients needed;

Amounts needed;

Preparation instructions;

Schedule for preparation and production


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:

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

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 ( 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.