“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”

Ron DeSantis Certified Master Chef

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Feedback and actions related to it support the journey toward excellence. A kitchen system with integrated feedback application works well in food service. 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 1 Issue 6
November 2018

200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405


Come On, Already!

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

Four Kinds of People.

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

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


Master Chef Insights

Customer Feedback

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

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

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

Culinary & more…

Scratch Cooking

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

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

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




Vegan Meats

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

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

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

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

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

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

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

Philly Beef & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

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

Pesto Chicken Panino

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

Pork Banh Mi

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

Chipotle Chicken and Portobello “Bacon” Panino

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

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

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

Spanish Chorizo & Potato Torta

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

Colombian Bocadillo with Hungry Planet Chorizo™ & Egg

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

Shawarma & Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower in Pita

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

Chicken Tikka Masala Bowl with Basmati Rice and Pickled Vegetables

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

Books & Links

Jamix on Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr.

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

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

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



The Truth About Food

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

Here are a handful of testimonials:

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

– Mark Bittman

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

– Sanjay Gupta MD

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

– Joy Bauer, MS, RDN

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

Chocolate Lava Cake Cuisinicity.com


podcast – REPOST

In case you missed this last month……..

I’ve been waiting weeks to be able to share this information. Over the past several months I’ve been interviewing people that love everything about food for a new podcast series from Hormel Foods. Here is a link for Hormel Foods Our Food Journey™ Podcast www.hormelfoods.com

I’m honored to launch the series with a great colleague, Ethan Watters, conducting my conversation. The range of interviews includes, Evan Inada from Columbus Craft Meats talking about everything salumi; Chef Christina Machamer winner Hell’s Kitchen; CIA Certified Master Chef Adam Busby; Chopped finalist Chef Kenneth Temple; and a compelling discussion with Nom Wah Tea Parlor owner Wilson Tang. Please join the journey.

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.

JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System is a comprehensive restaurant software including an integrated Customer Feedback Service linked to your menu.

More to explore