JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

Information Management Is A Core Benefit Of The Kitchen System For Antell

AntellAntell is a company known in Finland especially for its corporate dining services. Antell has been using JAMIX systems since 1998, and they utilize the system diversely. ”The system administrators use both Food and Stock modules covering recipes, menus, and inventory. This year we have started to use BI Reports and Carbon Footprint Calculator included in the system”, tells Antell’s Development Manager Tanja Valtonen. Antell has around 100 restaurants in Finland. In addition to restaurants, Antell product development uses the JAMIX System, as well.

 

”Data Is Easy To Present With The JAMIX System”

For long the JAMIX System was managed along with other work at Antell. Now they want to actively take the use of the system forward. The company has hired a person who is in charge of especially the JAMIX System.

”The general digitalization drives development forward. In addition, the food legislation requires actions which are fluent to present with the JAMIX System”, explains Tanja Valtonen as background for using the system. ”Special diets, allergens, and nutritive data are easy to present through the system. This helps to ensure food safety in its part.”

The consumer interest and knowledge of food has increased. It is emphasized also in the consumer expectations and demands. ”Managing recipes with the system helps in quality control, as well. It is a tool for maintaining consistent quality.”

”Naturally the cost perspective has also influenced in the will to invest resources in using the system”, tells Valtonen. For example, it is easier to understand the costs for restaurant operations, when you get compiled information from the system. During 2021 Antell plans to start making orders to the suppliers directly from the JAMIX System.

 

The System Provides Information To All Users

Fluent use of the system naturally requires basic skills on information technology, Valtonen points out. When you use the system regularly and actively, you’ll get familiar with the logic of the system, and you will be able to use it faster.

Through the system you will get data behind the restaurant operations. The information is safe in the system, and it is easy to find it when needed. One concrete example is moving from hand written journals to the digital world. Also, you will no longer need to scan instructions on paper and send them to restaurants, as sharing information is easy. ”In addition, with the system I can easily monitor, what goes on in different sites in the field”, describes Tanja Valtonen the benefits of the system.

 

JAMIX Support Services Widely In Use

”In challenging situations we have always gotten the help needed from JAMIX helpdesk, and maybe even more.” Antell has around 100 restaurants in Finland. Training the system to a bigger crowd remotely is challenging, so on site training sessions are preferred whenever possible. ”When we will start the deployment of the Stock module, we need to plan the training sessions carefully”, says Valtonen. The idea is to split the sessions in smaller sections, which makes it easier for users of different skill levels to get along.

Antell has utilized JAMIX System Administrator Services for database management. Outsourcing administrative work makes it quicker to get non-recurring tasks finished. This saves time for tasks, which cannot be outsourced, and which are quicker to do with your own resources. According to Tanja Valtonen the co-operation related to System Administrator Services has been fluent, and JAMIX has carried out the tasks as agreed.

 

The Role Of IT Systems Will Be Big In The Future Of Food Services

Digitalization will continue to go forward in the restaurant business, and all information needs to be quickly available. Consumers want information on the origin of food, the content of food, and the environmental effect. ”Food is discussed and knowledge is a growing trend, to which the operators will have to be able to answer.”

”The role of IT Systems will be distinctly big in the future. The generation that has grown into using systems, cannot live without them.” The user rights management has big significance, as well, as many pieces of information needed every day are behind individual users, reminds Valtonen.

 

Tips From Experienced User To A New JAMIX Customer

”When acquiring the system you need to clarify your needs first. What is it, that you intend to use the system for in your operations. After this you need to make sure, that you have reserved enough resources for using the system”, advises Tanja Valtonen.

No system runs on its own. Running operations fluently requires a person, who gets acquainted with the system and has time to work and communicate with it, knows Valtonen. ”The business requires both ways. If the customer is not responsive to the new features in the system, they won’t be built by themselves as a part of their operation.”


Omnia Services Manager Tarja Hämäläinen, Food Services Coordinator Timo Martin

Shared Recipes And Procedures Lead The Everyday Work In Omnia’s Kitchens

In the picture: Omnia Food Services Manager Tarja Hämäläinen, Food Services Coordinator Timo Martin

Omnia, The Joint Authority of Education in the Espoo Region in Finland, has been using the JAMIX systems since 2003. In the beginning JAMIX was used for teaching in the classes for the Restaurant and Catering Services. The food services of the school, offering vocational education in several areas, followed along in 2006. The education department and the food services utilized the system for long as separate units with their own databases. In 2019 the databases were combined, and Omnia extended the use of the system with new features. At this point it was reasonable to continue to use the system from square one, so they kicked off a deployment project.

The System Is Diversely A Part Of The Everyday Life In The Kitchen

In Omnia, the administrators create a shared menu, which the kitchen managers then utilize in their kitchens. They edit their own portion amounts and portion sizes into it, and print recipes for the staff. ”When you have multilingual and international staff in the kitchen, it is important that the managers take responsibility of leading. It is also important to have shared recipes and joint procedures.”, tells Tarja Hämäläinen, Omnia Food Services Manager, and continues: ”This way it is easy to rotate tasks and arrange replacements in the everyday work environment.”

Omnia already actively utilizes the JAMIX MENU Service, which enables them to publish the menus online directly from the system. Each kitchen in Omnia Food Services publishes their own e menu. Once the kitchens get used to the e menu publishing, Omnia plans to extend the JAMIX MENU Service with the Customer Feedback feature.

Along with the combining of the databases and the deployment project, Omnia added the JAMIX CO2 Calculator in their system. It automatically calculates the carbon footprint for the recipes and the meals in the system. Monitoring the carbon footprint of food is an everyday thing in the production kitchens. Omnia has seen the interest in this subject also in the feedback from the students.

 

The System Brings Many Benefits

The JAMIX System has clarified the work of the tutoring managers in Omnia, which according to Tarja is a great help. You can create the menus in one go into the system, and it is easy to edit the recipes. As the information is in one place, you can easily check the detailed information, such as the nutritional data and the allergens. ”The time savings have multiplied compared to the past. Luckily we allocated resources into this also along with the deployment.”, says Tarja.

 

Support For Deployment From Jamix

In the beginning of the deployment project there was a lot to think about, including the evaluation of the content generation with regards own operations. Existing information including the recipes needed to be reviewed, and nutritional data was updated.

According to Tarja, utilizing JAMIX Training was important to both the tutoring managers and to herself. It made it easier to implement the system with the kitchen managers. The JAMIX Support Services and the Training was good, and Omnia had several meetings with JAMIX during the deployment. The project was moved forward step by step.

Tarja acknowledges JAMIX for customer oriented approach: ”They have listened well, what the customer wants or needs.”

The Everyday Work Does Not Run In The Kitchen Without A System Anymore

The future in the kitchen without a kitchen system? ”No thanks”, says Tarja.

The managers and the staff, as well as the customers have been excited of the e menu, published with the JAMIX MENU Service. You can show the menus in digital displays, and it is easy to communicate changes. Everybody has responsibility.

In Omnia there are multilingual and international people both in the kitchen staff, and in the customers. This challenges you to deploy new digital ways of operations. Recipes and content generation is no longer only on papers and printouts. Omnia Food Services does not see you could run the everyday work without a kitchen system. Not now, nor in the future. The next feature extension planned is the utilization of electronic orders directly from the JAMIX system to the suppliers.

 

Greetings To A New Jamix Customer

Tarja sends her greetings to a new JAMIX user: Take time to yourself and to the managers. Select the responsible persons. Start courageously. The system is easy to use and it provides a lot of opportunities to generate your own content and to utilize information. Prioritize the areas in your everyday work which you want to solve first. Recipes, menus, inventory, or something else?

Tarja has noticed, that the interest and the enthusiasm grows along with the experience on the benefits of the system. ”Share responsibility, do not presume to be ready. Continuous maintenance and co-operation with the staff, and with JAMIX especially with regards training.”, Tarja summarizes.


Validia Housing Services uses JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

The Kitchen System Serves The Administration And The Kitchens In Validia

Validia provides housing and rehabilitation services for people needing help due to brain or spinal cord, or other injuries. Validia has been using the JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System for managing their food services since 2016. Validia operates nationally in Finland, and it has 18 production kitchens and 6 service kitchens. Centralizing functions with the JAMIX System saves time in Validia, and thanks to shared recipes the food has consistent quality.

 

The System Serves Both The Administration And The Kitchens In The Daily Work

Validia uses the JAMIX System comprehensively, and it is in daily use both in the administration and in the kitchens. The administration plans the recipes and the menus, and the chefs in the kitchens can view them on their own screens. When the chefs register the sales data of prepared food into the system, the administration can monitor the information both as a whole, as well as kitchen specifically.

Validia’s kitchens use the JAMIX System also for orders, which they can send directly from the system to the suppliers. The service kitchens in their part make food orders to the production kitchens with the system. Information transfers easily in the cloud within the users, and it is always up-to-date. In addition to the previously mentioned functions, Validia uses the JAMIX MENU e menu service for publishing their menus directly from the system online for customers.

 

The System Saves Time And Thanks To It The Food Has Consistent Quality

”With the help of the JAMIX System we can centralize procurement, and all kitchens can use the shared recipes in the system. Centralizing functions saves time, and thanks to shared recipes the food has consistent quality and content in all kitchens.”, tells the Validia Food Services Manager Erja Ruuttila. ”We track sales with the JAMIX BI reporting tool, which helps us manage finances better. Without the JAMIX System we would not get any statistics. We also manage the billing related to internal food orders with JAMIX.”

 

Deployment One Area At A Time

Erja tells, that the deployment of the JAMIX System went well after the first hassle. ”The system is easy to deploy one area at a time. The field thought so, too. Of course new things are always difficult to some extent.”, Erja says.

In Validia the role of the system will grow along with new features deployed, and along with possible new sites.

Erja provides her tips to a new JAMIX customer: ”Plan the deployment well. Don’t deploy the whole system at once, but rather one area at a time.”

 

Support Services And Co-operation Work Well With JAMIX

Erja as the administrator of the system is happy with the support she has gotten from JAMIX: ”I have always gotten help at an excellent level. Some times I feel that I ask too much, but on the other hand I have never felt to have done so.” With regards training Erja prefers efficient remote trainings where you go through only one or a few issues at a time.

”All in all the co-operation with JAMIX has been seamless and good.”, Erja summarizes.

Profitability Food Service Restaurant

Tips For Improving The Profitability Of Your Food Service Operation

By Anna Skyttä

Profitability is a precondition for operations and continuity regardless of the industry you are in. At a minimum, a profitable operation ensures that you can cover costs, and pay for your employees. Profitability that rises above the minimum level enables you to improve your operation through investments. Related to restaurant or food service operations, external factors influencing the profitability are often brought up. Such as the costs for the property, costs related to your employees, taxation, and competition, to name a few.

You cannot deny the influence of the external factors. Still there are many factors that are within the operator’s scope of influence. The right sized margin enables you to cover the necessary costs, and by minimizing waste you can make savings. And you shouldn’t have too much of ingredients lying in your inventory, as it ties up your capital. There are a lot of details related to all of these, which enable you to fine tune your profitability and make it better. And as we know, small streams have their own significance in the big picture.

Margin Calculation Forms The Base For Profitable Operations

menu online - JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence SystemThe margin is what is left in between the sales price and the costs. With the profitability in mind, you should always define a target level for the margin. Often the target margin is defined in percentage. Some times it might make more sense to define it in dollars.

You are often forced to set the sales price following the market situation or the competitors’ pricing. In order to reach your target margin the costs should not go over a certain price point. If the target margin cannot be reached with the current costs and you cannot raise the sales price, you need to find out if you can reduce the costs in some way. For example by changing some ingredient or supplier into another. If you are not forced to set the sales price into a certain level, you can calculate it based on your costs and the target margin. So depending on the type of operation or the competition, you can look at the margin calculation from different perspectives.

The margin calculation is basically quite simple mathematics. Simple can still become complex or at least challenging if there’s a lot of information to be managed in the background. A kitchen system will help you with this, as it calculates the costs and margins for recipes, portions or whole menus automatically and accurately. With the system it is also easy to experiment how different sales prices effect on the margin, or how different sized margins effect on the sales price.

Profitability Through Optimizing The Menu Items And The Portion Sizes

Serving JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

The food that is left uneaten on the customer’s plate ends up in waste. This waste equals to ingredients, that have been prepared for nothing and tossed away in the end. However, these ingredients have already created costs and weakened your margin. So the food waste coming from the customers’ plates eats up your profitability in addition to putting strain on the environment.

In order to reduce the food waste from the leftovers you should look into your menu items, as well as the portion sizes. Is there some part of the dish that is left uneaten more often than others? If it is left uneaten completely, you might consider replacing it with something else or leave it out altogether. If it is left uneaten partly, you might reduce the amount of it in the portion. In a service line operation the previously mentioned are similarly valid for reducing the waste from the service line, and partly for reducing the leftovers on the plates, as well. For reducing the leftovers on the plates in a service line setting, reminding the customers to ’take only what you can eat’ is important, as well.

When you have the recipes and the menu items in a kitchen system, it is easy to make changes to them. When you change the portion size, the system automatically calculates the ingredients, the costs and the margins according to the new portion size. If you want to experiment a menu item or a recipe with a modified content, you can copy the original one as a base for the new version. This makes it easy to create a new version, and the original will still be available in the system, as well.

Sales Forecast To Promote Profitability

Menu Items JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence SystemWhen you are able to forecast sales as close as possible to the actual sales, you won’t be ordering too much of ingredients or preparing too much of food. The first mentioned will help you to reduce wastage in the inventory, and the latter wastage from the leftovers. Sales data from the past is often useful when forecasting future sales. When you have that data in your kitchen system, you can easily utilize it for planning. In the JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System you can easily utilize sales data from the past directly as the production quantities on the upcoming menu.

Despite precise and accurate forecasts, every now and then you experience situations, where the previously made plans are not valid anymore. With regards profitability, especially a need to downsize your forecast might lead to excessive amounts of ingredients ordered or excessive amounts of food prepared. In the JAMIX System you can easily make changes to the portion amounts even at the last minute. The system will automatically calculate the need for ingredients according to the new portion amount. If you made the changes before ordering ingredients, you will be able to order the right amount of them. If the need for changes turns up just before production, you can easily adjust the production quantities with the system.

Drive Profitability By Taking Control Of Your Food Inventory

Food Inventory JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence SystemWhen you are able to keep the quantity of the food items in the inventory at a level corresponding to the need, excessive capital won’t be tied up in the inventory. You could utilize that capital for something that develops your business. When the inventory balance is at an appropriate level you shouldn’t be experiencing problems coming from outdated items. JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System automatically calculates the need for ingredients based on the portion sizes and the portion quantities on you menu. You can use the shopping list directly as a base for you orders in the system. This makes it easy to order ingredients just according to your need.

The system helps you to stay up-to-date with the food items you have in the inventory. When you register deliveries, as well as withdrawals in the system, you will have the real-time inventory balance right on your screen. If you have several storage locations, the benefit of the system is emphasized even more. In addition to registering withdrawals related to production, it is important to register the wastage that originates in the inventory. Waste can be generated for many different reasons. When you register those reasons in the system, it is easier to get a grip of the big picture. Monitoring waste coming from the inventory enables you to set targets for reducing wastage. And less wastage drives you to better profitability.

A Kitchen System Increases Efficiency Which Leads To Improved Profitability

JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

A kitchen system is a great tool for managing the previously mentioned things, which already improve profitability as such. Utilizing systems and technology comprehensively in the kitchen operations increases efficiency. In addition to the earlier mentioned costs related to ingredients and wastage, technology brings savings related to your staff. With the help of a system, you can perform many tasks in the kitchen simply faster, and partly even automatically. This reduces the need for staff related to those tasks. The system also reduces the amount of possible human errors. This in its part enables your operation to run more fluently.

In the labor intensive food service industry you should utilize the possibilities of technology to the fullest. In the kitchen there are still a lot of things to do, which the systems or the equipment cannot handle. If you are able to delegate part of your work to technology, you will have more time for the tasks which it cannot do for you … as decide, which means you want to implement in your restaurant in order to improve the profitability.

Attention To The Amount Of Food Waste Helps In Reducing It

In the U.S. the amount of food waste is estimated to be 30-40 percent of the food supply. A kitchen system helps food service operators in reducing food waste. The customers can also affect the amount of food waste in restaurants. In September the yearly arranged national Food Waste Week in Finland aims at raising the appreciation of food and educating consumers of the importance of reducing food waste.

By Matleena Autio

I was enjoying peaceful breakfast in a hotel lately, as I was on a business trip and there was no scheduled meeting in the morning. My breakfast is usually a pretty dull concept – some bread, yoghurt and too many cups of coffee with milk. During my kitchen career, I have become so familiar with many of the food products that a hotel breakfast rarely gets me to differ from my routine.  Most of the hotel guests seem to feel just the opposite. A buffet makes quite a few to load huge amounts of food on their plates and at the end a lot of it becomes food waste.

As I walked through the breakfast room, I embarrassedly watched the scenery that could have been from the paintings of ancient Rome feasting. Table after table was full of half-eaten servings, which the waiters cleaned away to make room for the next customer´s towering portion. Nobody seemed to care about the amount of food waste.

Are you eating with your eyes or for a need?

According to studies the number of dishes available has an impact on appetite. In circumstances when appetite is lost, you can enhance the amount of ingested food by increasing the number of the served dishes. This also works the opposite way. When there’s only one or two dishes available, the total amount of food you eat usually remains less than in a banquet.

It is also known that the size of the plate influences the size of a customer´s portion in a buffet. We easily pick more food on a large plate than a smaller one. The location of dishes in a buffet line can influence what we take more. Usually you take more of the dishes that are in the beginning of a buffet line than the dishes that are at the end of the line.

Minimizing the food waste

Restaurants are minimizing food waste in many different ways. Psychological ways that I mentioned before are often used. But also, for example info boards are placed for customers to pay attention to the amount of food waste. According to studies, as much as one fifth of the food produced in food services goes to wastage in the EU. In the U.S the amount of food waste is estimated to be 30-40 percent of the food supply.

Food waste caused almost 10 percent of the human-made greenhouse gas emissions in 2010-2016. The U.S and the EU have announced a goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. For example, the EU required it´s member countries to report the amount of food waste produced to the EU commission.

Natural Resources Institute of Finland (LUKE), together with the operators of the food sector and ministries, has initiated a project to build a national monitoring system for food waste. In Finland we have also had a specific food waste week every year in September since 2013. The purpose of this food waste week is to make consumers pay attention to the amount of food waste.

Kitchen Intelligence System helps kitchens but customers must take responsibility, too

There are already good tools for documenting the amount of food waste. In the JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System, you can document food waste and food consumption directly into the menus in the system. You can also update that information to the margin calculations of the menus. With the BI feature this information is also available in a visual format. The system enables printing complete lists of the dishes of the day or the week with the planned production quantity to assist documentation in production.

Thus, documentation on food waste and food consumption can enhance the estimations of sales and help decrease the food waste of a buffet. The system also calculates the actualized portion sizes of a buffet, based on the documentation on produced food, sold portions and food waste remaining. A rather practical tool to predict the consumption of a buffet.

So, The Kitchen Intelligence System helps professional kitchens to decrease the amount of food waste in production and in a buffet. You can influence plate wastage, too, for example in ways I mentioned before. But in the end the responsibility is ours, the customers. Only take food on your plate just the amount that you surely can eat and take more if you need – but not for good measure.

Food that you leave uneaten is expensive for us customers, but also for the restaurants. And the most expensive of all to our common environment.

More information about food waste and related actions in the U.S: FDA: Food Loss and Waste

cost control kitchen software - JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

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.

Ron DeSantis Certified Master Chef

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

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

www.culinarynxt.com

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

Zhoug

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.

www.hungryplanetfoods.com

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.

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!”

www.jamix.com

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.

Ron DeSantis Certified Master Chef

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

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 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.

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.