School Food Is An Excellent Way To Affect Children’s Nutrition Habits

By Matleena Autio

As school starts again here in Finland, also starts the conversation about school food – tasty or not and why. What is more, in school kitchens you can often hear deliberation about shared recipes. Why recipes should be shared and used jointly in the company? Why professional cooks can´t prepare food just relying on their own taste? So, this is about the matter of taste, after all.

When food is prepared and eaten by countless numbers of people, we can´t and shouldn´t rely on one customer’s or cook’s “taste of the day”. For example, the National School Lunch Program requires that school food meets certain nutritional criteria, and it also should be suitable for as many as possible. As I worked in the school kitchen, I noticed that surprisingly often the dishes that were yummies for some, were pet peeves for others. So, I wonder if the dishes we regard a bit dull are also those that only a few people leave uneaten, although they are not anyone´s favorites.

Let´s take care of our hearts and of our customers hearts

Amount of sodium and saturated fat are criteria for the Heart-Check mark of the American Heart Association, and that is for a good reason. Most of us like food that is a bit salty and made with real butter. However, it is well known, that sodium and saturated fat are injurious for heart health and the amount of those should be kept to a minimum in ordinary dining.

Sense of taste gets used to varying amounts of sodium surprisingly fast and tasting minor changes in the amount of salt in food is not easy even for the experienced cook. Every one of us have our own taste preferences and too salty for one may be bland for someone else. The same with sugar. Standardized recipes help to ensure that the served food meets the required nutritional criteria and tastes the same despite the cook of the shift. Salt and sugar are also easy to increase on the plate when more flavor is needed for some reason.

Childhood habits often remain to adulthood

To affect on children´s nutrition habits is crucially important, for according to studies nutrition habits adopted in childhood often remain until adulthood. School food is an excellent way to affect children´s nutrition habits, as school feeding catches up almost every child and youngster. What is more, many of us still remember the yummies and pet peeves of our school years. So, it is not insignificant what dishes we serve on the school lunch and how do we do that.

As a parent, I appreciate Finnish school food meeting nutrition recommendations. I don´t have to feel guilty about feasting with kids on holidays or weekends, as I know that ordinary dining is on a healthy base. Ordinary food doesn´t have to be gourmet, or every day a holiday. When the basis of the ordinary dining is in order, feasting on holidays is not a problem but just part of the balanced diet.

JAMIX helps you to follow the nutritional recommendations

Nutrition recommendations are designed for professionals to help individuals consume a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet. The function of nutrition recommendations is to inform the development of food and nutrition policies and programs at the public level. There are daily nutritional goals for macro nutrients and minerals, as well as guidelines for how to support healthy eating patterns in different demographic groups. Nutrition recommendations are not meant to be actualized on an everyday basis, but on a week or a menu level. Nutritional goals for different age-sex groups – for example from The Dietary Guidelines for Americans – can be integrated in the JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System and it is easy to compare the nutrient supply of the menus to those recommendations.

In Finland, we are proud of our safe and nutritious school food, a program that is one of the first ones in the world, and we want to lead it also into the future. In the beginning of the new school year, kitchens surely test new recipes but there are those old favorites on the menus too. JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System is here to assist cooks to ensure that both new and old recipes meet the nutritional goals.  Let´s taste new flavors daringly and appreciate the traditional dishes of our cuisines, as well.

More information on Dietary Guidelines in the U.S.:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015.

JAMIX MENU E Menu Service

Managing Information Required In the Food Code With a Kitchen System

Following the Food Code and providing food information to restaurant customers is easy with a kitchen management system. When the information is in place in the system behind the recipes, the system will automatically deliver and compile the information into menus and food labels.

By: Matleena Autio

Ingredient Statement, Allergen Statement, Reference Daily Intake… Considering all the information required in the Food Code may feel a bit hard especially if you are a new operator in the food business. However, it is compulsory to offer specific information of food products to your customers. The purpose of the Food Code is to ensure that food offered to customers at retail and food services is safe, and that the customer has adequate information about the food (s)he is consuming.

Compulsory information

Most packaged food sold in the US must contain Ingredient Statement and Allergen Statement, and also Nutrition Facts sheet with Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values. The information about the allergens is of course important for the customer with allergies. Nutrition Fact sheet, in turn, gives the customer the opportunity to compare products and make healthier food choices easily.

Food package must also contain the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor of the food product. Net quantity of content is compulsory information as well, and some states also require dating the products with best before, expiration or sell-by -information.

Handling statements must be presented on products that require any special handling before eating, like products that are distributed frozen and thawed, and safe handling instructions for raw or partially cooked meat. The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law requires specific imported meat products, perishable agricultural commodities, nuts, and ginseng, to contain the name of the country of origin.

Product information out distinctly

Providing customers product information that the Food Code requires is not difficult. You can find comprehensive information about the subject on the Internet, and JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System helps you in bringing the required information reliably and distinctly through the production all the way to the customers. You can provide product information to your customers on the label, where the system automatically compiles the information. Or you can share your menu online with the JAMIX MENU application, including the product information, for example on the web page of your company.

The Food Code is not meant to be a final test for food service operators. Just the opposite. The Food Code helps operators in food business to perceive what information of the product is the most important for the customer, and also to bring that information out distinctly. When the customer has all the adequate information about the product (s)he can easily make choices according her/his own needs and preferences. It is also an opportunity for a food service operator to stand out by providing distinct product information to its customers.

Print food labels directly from your recipe with JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

For more information:

JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2017). Food Code.

US Department of Agriculture (2007). A Guide to Federal Food Labeling Requirements for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products.

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

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

Nutrient database information is not a simple subject

Nutrient database included in a kitchen management system helps chefs and dieticians in creating menus with nutritional balance. Nutrient database 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 11
November 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

I had a wonderful experience with high school students from Queens, NY a week ago. While at NYC schools’ administration offices to conduct a tasting of a plant-based burger I was asked to introduce the product. The students wanted to know if I knew any celebrity chefs. After I told them a couple of stories about some chef friends, one student asked, “why do you want our opinions, you know the best chefs?”

“Because it’s your opinion that matters”, is what I told them. I explained that their opinions are as valuable as Bobby Flay’s. Their faces beamed with pride!

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

World Food Programme

www.wfp.org

The following article is reprinted by permission.

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

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – Nutrient Database

Through my work with Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems I’m asked which nutrient database is used by Jamix. That question comes up, presumably, because nutrient database information is not a simple subject.

There are nutrient databases existing which claim to have tens of thousands of nutrients. This may be true, but the quality of the data is the question. While researching various databases available, the most cited nutrient database in the United States is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. There are commercial databases that claim more foods, but these foods are primarily finished goods. The baseline nutrient information for produce, meats, dairy, beverages, etc all come from the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR). The USDA also publishes a database that is used to convert food and beverages consumed into a document called: What We Eat In America. This database expands the information provide by USDA SR.

The University of Minnesota offers a nutrient database with twice as many foods as the USDA database, but the University of Minnesota database is built on the USDA’s. All the information above is a long way of making a point – the USDA nutrient database is considered a gold standard. In fact, when the Nutrition Society of the UK conducted a comparison of nutrient databases, it used the USDA nutrient database for the comparison.

Which database to use depends on how it will be used. If an operator uses branded, finished products then a commercial database might work well. Whereas an operation using more scratch-style preparation will be satisfied with fewer finished products. What is good to know, is that in both situations the base information comes from one reputable source.

Vegan Fast Food

During a west coast trip to San Diego, I visited a vegan fast food chain called – Plant Power Fast Food

www.plantpowerfastfood.com

This location was, coincidentally, 3 blocks from the Ocean Beach apartment I rented in 1976. Crazy! And the food was crazy good. I had the “Big Zac”, and it delivered. Full disclosure, they use Hungry Planet plant-based meats and I’ve been working with Hungry Planet for over 2 years.

The “Big Zac” was really good, vegan fast food. The restaurant was clean, bright and the counter server knew about the product line. I know one thing, if I’m back in San Diego, near Ocean Beach, and in the mood for a “Zac attack”, I’m heading to Plant Power.

 

B. Good Restaurant – Boston

Two colleagues said to meet at B. Good, Washington St. Boston, so I did. I had NO idea what to expect in this restaurant, but I wanted lunch. The menu board had a lot of great options and I ordered the SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS – zucchini noodles, eggplant meatballs, kale, parmesan, tomato, marinara. This dish was delicious! Everything well prepared, food was hot, wait time was short. The finishing kitchen is open to view and is in the restaurant. What I saw was fresh ingredients being prepared and immediately served. Everything right about that.

The take-out business was busy. Clearly, they have an app allowing customers to order and pay ahead, then just walk in and pick up the order. Back to what I ate…..the star of the dish was the eggplant meatballs. There wasn’t any animal meat, but who cares? I understood what they were saying. These things are GOOD. I now know the eggplant meatballs are available as a side.

www.bgood.com

Mankai at MIT

Yes, that MIT. In Cambridge. It turns out the Resident District Manager of Bon Appetit at MIT is a very dear colleague. Chef Gary Arthur leads the culinary team and launched menu items using mankai. www.eatmankai.com

You may recall I introduced Mankai in my August 2019 newsletter. It is the smallest plant on the planet and is harvested every 72 hours. Mankai grows in fresh water and is a complete protein (all essential amino acids), it has B12 and iron. One of the culinary benefits of Mankai is its neutral taste. This allows it to be incorporated with many foods.

At MIT, the culinary team used Mankai for smoothies, an Asian-style soup, and in the hand-stretched pizza dough. The student body was very interested, and many came back to try it a second time. More information on Mankai in 2020.

Ingredient of the Month

Truff Hot Sauce

If you haven’t tried this stuff – TRY IT! My dear friend, Chef Christian Petroni, set a bottle of this on the table at his restaurant, Fortina and I was hooked at the first taste. This stuff is GOOD. The heat level is balanced, and the sauce has great taste. Additionally, the sauce has a rich texture which provides a very satisfactory mouthfeel.

truffhotsauce.com

Who knew?

Cooking Tip

Chopped Parsley

This is a short cooking tip. In professional kitchens, chefs chop enough parsley for use during the meal period. That way we’re not chopping every time we need some of the herb. So, do the same in your kitchen. Chop the entire bunch(es) of parsley and put it in the fridge to use for the rest of the week. This is, in classical French cooking, mise en place. Today it’s called “place” or “mise”. It simply means having things ready to make the magic happen.

Incidentally, put the chopped parsley between a couple sheets of paper towels and squeeze the moisture out. This will keep it fresh smelling and tasting for a few days in the fridge.

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.


Read more on nutrition information in JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

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

Nutritional information creates a menu balance

Nutritional information of the menu plays an essential role in all foodservice settings. A kitchen system is an important tool for managing this information. 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 5
May 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

When is it too cold? I’m talking about planes, restaurants, offices…public spaces. On a recent trip every where seemed to have a/c on at really low temps, and it’s not summer yet! Maybe it’s the years I spent in hot kitchens, but I’d rather be warm than cold. All I’m asking is, turn up the heat a little!

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Podium Opportunities

April was an incredible month for attending and participating in conferences. April started with Small Change Big Impact Food Summit at Harvard sponsored by Hormel Foods, followed by my keynote address to the Sunrise Produce Company annual expo, then to Yale Law to hear Chef Dan Giusti of Brigaid talk about the challenges of serving delicious meals in the K-12 sector, and finally at the Produce for Better Healthy conference in Scottsdale, AZ with Amy Myrdal Miller to present a talk/demo about flavor bridges.

The Small Change Big Impact Food Summit is a Hormel Foods initiative to recognize the challenges for the future of the food industry and to find ways to shape things for a better future. The focus of the summit was to create a transparent, secure, sustainable food system through collaboration. Assembled at the summit were leaders from manufacturing, farming, production, culinary, business, procurement, and nonprofits that fight food insecurity.

Hormel Foods, Harvard University Dining Services, Attention Span Media, and CulinaryNXT worked collaboratively to plan, organize and execute the summit.

This was a great team that delivered a meaningful summit. Over the next few newsletters I’ll share more specific information from the summit. Until then, here are a couple links to get you started:

Hormel Foods: Inaugural Small Change Big Impact Food Summit To Bring Together Industry Leaders At Harvard University April 3-4, 2019

Forbes: Hormel, Harvard Team Up To Change Minds About ‘Big Food’

www.attentionspan.com

The Sunrise Produce Company in Fullerton, CA invited me to provide a keynote talk to the 100+ attendees of their annual Expo. The audience was K-12, healthcare, and others. The title of my talk/demo was “Produce – Taking Center Stage”. The first part of my presentation focused on the innovation process for incorporating more produce in menus:

  • Farming for Flavor
  • Foraging
  • 85% Plantcentric menus
  • Center of Plate Transformation
  • Plant Product Recovery

The second part was a couple of plant-based demos to reinforce plant’s co-starring role in recipes.

sunriseproduce.com

My next conference was at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT. Chef Dan Giusti of Brigaid has, since ending his position as head chef of Noma in Copenhagen, been transforming the way kids in K-12 eat. Dan has been transforming schools in New London, CT since 2016 and is now taking his knowledge to the country’s largest public-school system – NYC. Dan shared his experiences in working with the school systems and the successes of which foods kids like to eat. What worked? BBQ bone-in chicken with cornbread and potato salad.

It was clear that Dan is not only a passionate chef, but truly cares about the future of our kid’s food health.

www.chefsbrigaid.com

Produce For Better Health is a conference focused on…produce! No surprise there. This conference’s purpose is to create demand, and drive consumption of produce. To that end, a talented friend and colleague Amy Myrdal Miller MS, RDN, FAND asked me to collaborate on a presentation to the conference. The result was “Powerful Produce Pairings: Using Flavor Synergy to Create Deliciousness”. Amy and I created 5 recipes to share with the attendees. She started our 75 minutes with flavor insights then helped me prepare 5 recipes to a packed room. We prepared:

  • Steak pizzaiola – flash-seared beef scallopini topped with pizzaiola sauce and fried capers
  • Peanut Butter Mousse and Crispy Apples – creamy peanut butter mousse with crispy lemon-scented apple wedges for dipping
  • Avocado Hash with Sunnyside Egg – avocado & sweet potato hash with fried egg, crispy radish, and micro greens
  • Lobster Potato Casserole with Vermont Cheddar – tender, creamy potato and cheddar casserole with New England Lobster
  • Flatbread with Pear-Blue Cheese Crema, Seared Pear & Walnuts – blended pear and blue cheese crema on flatbread topped with seared pears and toasted walnuts. Finished with watercress and pear mostarda.

At the end of the demo, these items were served for lunch. The conference’s culinary team successfully recreated these recipes.

www.pbhfoundation.org

Produce for Better Health Foundation Demonstrates a Way to Boost Sales and Excitement Around the Power of Produce Pairings During Consumer Connection Conference

What an amazing month for keeping up with the industry!

Culinary & more…

Nutritional Data

The value and importance of nutritional data cannot be overstated. The information is critical to dieticians in all foodservice settings. Having easy access to nutritional data allows dieticians to properly guide diners through the many menu options. In clinical settings this information can impact patient’s care. In all foodservice settings this information creates a menu balance, meaning choices for the dining public.

Chefs also have a responsibility to offer menu choices that allow people to select items based on taste, indulgence, allergens, nutritional make-up, seasonality, etc. Technology is available today to make the development of recipes fit within an organization’s established dietary guidelines. Chefs should be the starting point for recipes designed within these guidelines. The dietician can then guide the chef to fine tune the recipes.

The best nutritional systems allow dieticians and chefs to make changes to a recipe and instantly see the nutritional impact. The Jamix Kitchen Intelligence System provides real-time nutritional information to dieticians and chefs. This feature can assist in speeding up the reformulation of recipes while also providing cost per portion of the recipe, all valuable tools in today’s foodservice operations.

Ingredient of the Month

Asparagus

It’s that time of year! Asparagus is one of those foods that says Spring is here. From pencil thin to jumbo there are sizes that appeal to everyone. I just had a great asparagus dish at FnB restaurant in Scottsdale. The chef served grilled asparagus on crispy polenta with fried egg and pea shoots. My favorite asparagus is either roasted or grilled. Don’t do too much to the asparagus, I want its flavor to stand out.

www.fnbrestaurant.com

Cooking Tip

Knife Skills

The ability to uniformly cut food is a skill worth learning. This doesn’t mean a ruler is needed to make sure the brunoise are all 1/8” squared, but just that things are cut as uniformly as possible. The value is that food cooks evenly. The secondary value is that the food looks great. There are countless videos on line that can help with knife skills. After watching them, the most important thing to do is grab a sharp knife and PRACTICE!

Wikipedia: List of culinary knife cuts

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=c91ePNq5mFA

Cheers!

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.


Read more on Nutritional Information in JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

Kitchen systems provide the tools to get allergen and nutrition information to customers

The obvious customer information is menu prices, but many customers want nutrition and allergen information that is easily available. This is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 3
August 2018

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On Already!

During my first hand writing a newsletter a couple of years ago, I called the newsletter, “Come On Already!” This is something you’d hear me say for a variety of occasions – something amazing, something ridiculous, something unbelievable (to me anyway), and….you get the idea. I hadn’t realized I used this phrase until a trip to Spain some years ago and my host wondered why I said that, well because, it doesn’t make sense when translated. But, everyone gets the gist.

Here’s this month’s Come On Already!…give me feedback.

Are Small Plates Too Small?

Small plates are a fun way to eat. A group of friends get together and order a variety of small plates to share and experience flavor & textures. However, at some point the small plates are just too small. How do 4 people share 3 shrimp? The answer is, you have to order a second small plate of shrimp. Now I have 2 more shrimp, but that’s not too bad because I can cut them in half and each gets ½ shrimp. But, wait, who gets the tail and who gets the fat juicy end? But, you say, why not split the last 2 shrimp lengthwise?….why not indeed. When did dining become so complicated????

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Allergen & Nutrition Information

Providing customers with information allows them to make decisions when eating in our establishments. The obvious customer information is menu prices, but many customers want nutrition and allergen information that is easily available. My recent years in College & University foodservice underscored the importance of nutrition and allergen information. The customer population with food allergies must know what is in food.

Kitchen management systems provide managers with the tools to get critical allergen information to customers. Menu cards can be printed or digitally displayed at the point of access to provide diners with allergen information. This information is displayed as a list of ingredient and, in many cases, as icons. The icons are a great visual graphic that allows the diner to quickly scan the known allergens that might be in the food.

Nutritional information is the other piece of information diners use to make meal choices. Kitchen management systems can upload this information to mobile device apps so that the customer can see the information at any time.

Jamix Kitchen Management Systems is a comprehensive technology solution that provides allergen & nutritional information for customers. For more information visit www.jamix.com

Culinary & more

Lentils

I finally realized that I’m a geek…..a food geek. My recent collaboration with CIA Consulting and lentils.org made me realize I’m a geek, otherwise why get excited over lentils!? And I was/am excited over lentils. Together with certified master chef Tony Seta, we lead a group of top chefs through a series of talks, tastes, and team hacks to come up with delicious lentil-forward menu items.

The project yielded some interesting outcomes. The biggest surprise for me was that lentils blend well with ground beef. I went in thinking the lentil flavor would be dominant but in a 66:33 ratio the beef was the star and the lentil helped to make the burgers delicious. Green lentils (which look brown) also blended well with turkey, and pork, and red lentils were delicious with salmon.

Our process was to cook the green lentils, then puree them and use the puree to mix with ground meat. Red lentils were only soaked, then pureed and mixed with salmon.

The participants were set up into teams and given a market basket of ingredients to use. Teams created signature burgers, inspirational bowls, and craveable street food. For more information visit www.lentils.org

Brava

Cooking with light is at the core of the Brava cooking system. The light comes from powerful light bulbs inside the Brava. The power of the light can professionally caramelize meats and vegetables in a short time. The result is seared food cooked to a perfect predetermined doneness. And the food is delicious.

I was able to experience the Brava in action recently in Manhattan. The CEO, CTO, and Chef were in NY to demonstrate the technology. I got there as a 4 portion beef strip was being served with roasted potatoes and seared mushrooms. Here’s the coolest part – all 3 ingredients were cooked AT THE SAME TIME, and each was perfectly done. As if that wasn’t enough, the chef then cooked 2 portions of salmon filet with roasted tomatoes and asparagus. The salmon skin was cracker-crisp and the center of the fish was medium (as requested).

The process includes 3 cooking zones inside the Brava and technology that knows how much light intensity and time is needed for each ingredient. And the Brava has a video feed of the food cooking. I’m going to keep an eye on Brava. For more information www.brava.com

Thanks Darcy!

Chris Cheung

Chef Owner of East Wind Snack Shop NYC & Tansuo in Nashville.

Chris Cheung – cool guy, excellent chef, and mafioso! He’s all that and more. I first saw Chris on Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations in a Chinese restaurant in NYC’s China Town. THAT’S how cool Chris is. I got to spend time with Chris while taping cooking videos for Hormel Foods. Then I interviewed Chris for a Cooking Journey podcast also for Hormel Foods. Talking with Chris is like talking with a good friend. The conversation flows, the talk of food is always in the center and you find out quickly that Chris knows food.

Chris has SERIOUS culinary chops – Jean George Vongerichten, Morimoto, Wylie Dufresne – are notable chefs he as cooked with. He has traveled China to learn about Chinese cuisine, and he worked alongside a Master Chinese dim sum chef to fully understand the craft of creating dim sum.

If you really want to know about Chris’ food, visit him at East Wind Snack Shop eastwindsnackshop.com

Web Link of the Month

Food from India – 2018

The flavor forecast from Flavor and The Menu magazine has great insight into what’s going on right now.

Here’s more information from experts: getflavor.com

Another use for beer from the Czechs…. npr.org

Special Feature

Chef Humberto Espinal

Yale 3rd Cook, Chef Humberto Espinal took top honors at the 2018 NACUFS National Culinary Championship. This is especially meaningful to me for several reasons. Foremost is because Humberto is one of those joyful success stories. 6 years ago while I was Director of Culinary Excellence at Yale Hospitality, I had to inform Humberto that I couldn’t hire him without a high school diploma or GED. It was one of the most difficult messages I had to deliver. It was difficult because Humberto was, and is, a craftsman and I knew he would give everything to our craft. I told him to call me when he has his diploma.

2 ½ years after that meeting, Humberto called me to say he got his GED! His timing was right because we had a cook’s position open and Humberto was now on the Yale culinary team. Over the next couple of years, Humberto continued to hone his craft and this year he wanted to compete to represent Yale Hospitality at NACUFS.

The rest, they say, is history! Congratulations Humberto to your Championship!

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

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


JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System is a comprehensive software for restaurants and foodservice operations where nutrition information is seamlessly linked to your recipes and further to menus.