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.

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

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

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

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

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

School Lunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – What Does Technology Do?

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

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

Collects Information

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

Organizes

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

Connects Information

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

Files

All essential information is saved for reviewing.

Guards

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

Calculates

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

Routine Functions

Communicates information both within the organization and to external parties.

Updates product information from your suppliers.

Searches

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

Guides

Ingredients needed;

Amounts needed;

Preparation instructions;

Schedule for preparation and production

Remembers

Standard orders and Traceability

Stays Up to Date

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

Always Available

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

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

Fresh Ideas Food Management

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

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

Keep an eye on this dynamic food-focused team.

The Big Game Pizza

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

The zones:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredient of the Month

Mejillones en Escabeche from Ramón Franco®

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

Here’s where I found them: trovatoschrageselections.com

Cooking Tip

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

with a beautiful bowl of pure eating pleasure.

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

Bon Appetit.

World Food Programme

www.wfp.org

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

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

WFP – World Food Programme, is an organization under UN – United Nations.

It is present in any major human crisis you can read on global media at any given time, such as Syria right now, feeding people in despair – providing emergency food assistance.

Another main focus for WFP is National School Feeding programs.

WFP is working in 80 countries and feeds 80 million school children. These countries are poor or for other reasons not capable of doing it themselves.

Challenges in producing food in big scale

The challenges in the operations are familiar to anyone trying to provide food on daily basis to hundreds or thousands of people.

How to plan a versatile menu that is nutritious but simultaneously cost-efficient and sustainable. That is challenging and a hard task. Ingredient costs fluctuate and calculating recipe and menu costs is time consuming if not even practically impossible without a digital system. But it gets even more complex with allergens and different diets just to name few.

Food waste happens in many phases of the food production process, all creating huge environmental effects and obviously losing money every time food is thrown away or lost unnecessarily. Is the number of meals correct? Can I scale the recipe according to the right portion size? Do I know how much of each ingredient should be ordered from the suppliers? Do I know the inventory at the moment? Do we have standardized recipes so the cooks can follow planned menu and recipes?

Finland has been offering free school lunch for over 70 years

In Finland every schoolchild has been offered a free and nutritious school meal for over 70 years. When the school lunch system started, Finland was a poor country. The offering was more porridges and soups, but still, every child got a meal at school.

School lunch has huge benefits from many aspects. Obviously a hungry child gets fed and is healthier and happier. Better learning results is a major return of this investment. It is quite obvious that Finland’s rise to the very top of the world in many different categories such as education and quality of life, is based on free nutritious school lunches for everyone. Finland is now a rich country.

Working for digitalization for 30 years

For already 30 years I have been tackling those challenges, in big scale food production, by digitalization.

Significant results can be achieved quickly and the opportunities to improve these processes are endless with the help of IT.

Kitchen Intelligence System can answer “Yes” to all of the above questions, and do even much more.

CFS side event in Rome

Finland was presenting its school lunch achievements in Rome Italy at the side event of CFS – Committee on World Food Security on October 17th, 2019.

I was privileged to be invited by Finnish government to Rome and be a member of the panel in the event.

I was simultaneously proud to present my experience and knowledge in a field where I have worked for such a long time – Solving problems and thinking of ever better solutions for feeding people.

I had great separate talks with stakeholders such as Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, Carmen Burbano de Lara as well as Sandra Westlake and Maria Jose Rojas of WFP, and Marjaana Manninen of Finnish Government.

Small change, big impact

I am sure that digitalization will help the world feed better even the poorest ones.

Even small steps in digitalization will have big impacts. Just having recipes in a digital system allows them to be scaled, to have accurate amounts for production, to follow nutrition and costs. Great digital systems do much more. But there are obviously huge opportunities to take digitalization even further, building eco-systems, presenting AI and giving ever more vital and useful information for daily processes and decision making.

Partnerships and co-operations with different stakeholders – governments, UN, WFP, businesses and individuals – are vital.

But especially important is will to do it.

I have that will!

Mikko Jaatinen

Founder, CEO of Jamix

 

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 70 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions effectively. CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.

Jamix kitchen system healthy meals

Kitchen System Provides Well-being To Your Customers And The Environment

Taking care of your health and the environment doesn’t necessarily require huge efforts. Kitchen management system makes it easy for commercial kitchens to prepare healthy and sustainable meals for their customers.

By Matleena Autio, System Specialist

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

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

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

Healthy diet promotes well-being to the environment

The diet that is healthy for people is also the better choice with regards our environment. Environment-friendly foods include wholegrain cereals, beans, berries and fruit, and local fish – these are the same Food CO2 Calculator in Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systemfoods that are included in a healthy diet.

The possibility to compare the carbon footprint of different ingredients when creating recipes and planning menus makes it easy to take sustainability into consideration in the professional kitchen. You can even use ingredients with a bigger carbon footprint without growing the environmental effect of the meal, when you include other ingredients with a lower carbon footprint in it. In the kitchen system it is easy to compare and try different ingredients and see how different choices effect on the carbon footprint of the meal.

More and more customers are interested in the environmental effect of their meal choices. You can easily communicate the carbon footprint to your customers through JAMIX MENU application, for example. This is an easy way of communicating your business’s sustainability to your customers.

Small steps will take you far without you even noticing it

Taking care of your health and the environment doesn’t necessarily require huge efforts. Small everyday things and paying attention to the right things in your everyday routines often play a bigger role compared to some show off happening once a year. Small changes are usually also easier to accept and they are more likely to become a part of your everyday routine compared to big changes that require a lot of attention.

You can effect the nutritive content and the carbon footprint of your meal for example by replacing some of the meat with a plant based protein or by switching your cooking cream into a lighter version. Even if the change is not that big, when you practice it for one year, it can have a significant effect on the well-being of yourself and the environment.

Ron DeSantis Certified Master Chef

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

Kitchen technology and systems have to be easy to use for the end-users. Usability is especially important for users who are not so technology driven. 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 2 Issue 12
December 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

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

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

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Finland Visit

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

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

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

Helsinki is a port city and easy to navigate.

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

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

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

Culinary & more…

End-user Tech

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

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

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

Plant-based Meat vs Cattle Ranchers

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

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

Hungry Planet vegan Yakitori

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

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

Links

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

www.attentionspan.com

attentionfwd.com

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

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

Ingredient of the Month

Canned Tuna

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

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

Cooking Tip

Heat the Pan

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

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

This is a simple tip that helps.

Bon Appétit!

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 70 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

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

Digitalization can help feed the hungry

Mikko Jaatinen at the CFS 46 in Rome

Mikko Jaatinen at the CFS 46 in Rome

By Mikko Jaatinen, Founder and CEO of JAMIX

World Food Progamme

WFP – World Food Programme, is an organization under UN – United Nations.

It is present in any major human crisis you can read on global media at any given time, such as Syria right now, feeding people in despair – providing emergency food assistance.

Another main focus for WFP is National School Feeding programs.

WFP is working in 80 countries and feeds 80 million school children. These countries are poor or for other reasons not capable of doing it themselves.

Challenges in producing food in big scale

The challenges in the operations are familiar to anyone trying to provide food on daily basis to hundreds or thousands of people.

How to plan a versatile menu that is nutritious but simultaneously cost-efficient and sustainable. That is challenging and a hard task. Ingredient costs fluctuate and calculating recipe and menu costs is time consuming if not even practically impossible without a digital system. But it gets even more complex with allergens and different diets just to name few.

Food waste happens in many phases of the food production process, all creating huge environmental effects and obviously losing money every time food is thrown away or lost unnecessarily. Is the number of meals correct? Can I scale the recipe according to the right portion size? Do I know how much of each ingredient should be ordered from the suppliers? Do I know the inventory at the moment? Do we have standardized recipes so the cooks can follow planned menu and recipes?

Finland has been offering free school lunch for over 70 years

In Finland every schoolchild has been offered a free and nutritious school meal for over 70 years. When the school lunch system started, Finland was a poor country. The offering was more porridges and soups, but still, every child got a meal at school.

School lunch has huge benefits from many aspects. Obviously a hungry child gets fed and is healthier and happier. Better learning results is a major return of this investment. It is quite obvious that Finland’s rise to the very top of the world in many different categories such as education and quality of life, is based on free nutritious school lunches for everyone. Finland is now a rich country.

Working for digitalization for 30 years

For already 30 years I have been tackling those challenges, in big scale food production, by digitalization.

Significant results can be achieved quickly and the opportunities to improve these processes are endless with the help of IT.

Kitchen Intelligence System can answer “Yes” to all of the above questions, and do even much more.

CFS side event in Rome

Finland was presenting its school lunch achievements in Rome Italy at the side event of CFS – Committee on World Food Security on October 17th, 2019.

I was privileged to be invited by Finnish government to Rome and be a member of the panel in the event.

I was simultaneously proud to present my experience and knowledge in a field where I have worked for such a long time – Solving problems and thinking of ever better solutions for feeding people.

I had great separate talks with stakeholders such as Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, Carmen Burbano de Lara as well as Sandra Westlake and Maria Jose Rojas of WFP, and Marjaana Manninen of Finnish Government.

Small change, big impact

I am sure that digitalization will help the world feed better even the poorest ones.

Even small steps in digitalization will have big impacts. Just having recipes in a digital system allows them to be scaled, to have accurate amounts for production, to follow nutrition and costs. Great digital systems do much more. But there are obviously huge opportunities to take digitalization even further, building eco-systems, presenting AI and giving ever more vital and useful information for daily processes and decision making.

Partnerships and co-operations with different stakeholders – governments, UN, WFP, businesses and individuals – are vital.

But especially important is will to do it.

I have that will!

Mikko Jaatinen

Founder, CEO of Jamix

Case study of Finland’s school feeding