“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
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 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.
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
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
By 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.
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.
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.