Digitalization can help feed the hungry

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

Providing step-by-step photos in recipes has many benefits in the professional kitchen

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 8
August 2019

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

Standing in line for a milk shake at Yankee Stadium with my grandson recently. It was his first MLB game and he was loving it….or he was loving the thought of a chocolate milk shake.

Two young guys ahead of us with a voucher for a hot dog and beer. They tell the server they don’t eat meat, could they have some fries instead? Answer – No.

Too bad. That would have been easy to create a good experience and a happy customer.

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

MANKAI

If you haven’t heard of mankai, it’s because it’s just now hitting the market. And for right now, only in college & university operations.

Mankai is the smallest plant on the planet. It measures ½ millimeter! It is harvested every 72 hours, and it is a complete protein with all essential amino acids. It also has B12 and iron.

Martin Breslin, Culinary Director of Harvard University Dining Services and I are the first 2 professional chefs to work with mankai in the world. Pretty cool. And Martin is good company.

I just completed 2 weeks of R&D and presentations of mankai to select universities and food manufacturers in the Northeast. The takeaway? Mankai is easy to use, adaptable to every culinary application, looks good in food, and allows the dominant flavors of a dish stand out – in other words, it tastes good.

Look under the hood and you’ll learn that mankai is a powerhouse of nutrition. MANKAI contains bioavailable and bioactive protein, iron, and vitamin B12. Research also shows it promotes favorable glycemic responses. An 85-gram portion (3 cubes) of 12% dry matter frozen Mankai provides the following:

  • A good source of protein, including all essential amino acids
  • High quality protein with a PDCAAS of 0.89
  • A good source of dietary fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin B12
  • An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and folic acid
  • Rich in iron, potassium, copper, and zinc
  • Low sodium
  • Provides 390 mg omega-3s (ALA)
  • Rich variety of potentially beneficial polyphenols

If that’s not enough, how about this: “Mankai is a super-sustainable EARTH FRIENDLY crop, it grows in water basins and multiplies every 72 hours, creating the most nutrients-per-gallon of water. It is energy-efficient, minimally processed and harnesses innovative technology for the longevity of life-on-earth.”

Mankai was introduced at CIA Menus of Change this June. I developed a variety of recipes for the conference that incorporated Mankai, then I worked with the CIA chefs to prepare the recipes for the conference attendees. Below is more information about Mankai along with recipes.

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – Recipe Photos

Some cookbooks provide step-by-step photos that help when preparing recipes. This format can be very valuable if you are preparing a new recipe or if it’s a recipe that you don’t prepare too often. Additionally, step-by-step photos are valuable tools for new cooks and chefs joining the culinary team.

Creating recipes with step-by-step photos is a standard feature in Jamix Kitchen Intelligence Systems. Attached is a flatbread recipe I created for the Produce for Better Health conference this past April. It is an example of Jamix’s step-by-step recipe. Feel free to try the recipe too!

Flatbread with Pear and Walnuts 4 portions

Pear Blue Cheese Crema 4 portions

Pear Mostarda 4 portions


Providing step-by-step photos in recipes has many benefits in the professional kitchen. The photo is a visual guide that can reduce errors in preparation. Error reduction saves costs. The ability to call up recipes in the Jamix system is easy because it’s accessible on smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Another benefit is consistency. Guests are the beneficiaries when the food looks and tastes as expected.

Being a culinarian in today’s modern kitchens that adopt and use technology makes cooking fun. Technology is a great tool for new and experienced culinarians.

Ingredient of the Month

Sambal Shrimp

Somehow, thankfully, a jar of this ended up in my suitcase when I was leaving Singapore last month. I was handed a bowl of sambal shrimp at Swatow Seafood Restaurant in Singapore. The taste was complex heat. Sambal is spicy, I was prepared for that, but the flavor of the sambal was astounding. What I learned was that the sambal is made with dried shrimp which gives the sambal a very complex umami component.

Sambal works in pasta, rice, soups, bean dishes including salads, the list could go on. The only challenge is to get more when this runs out…….

Cooking Tip

Cooking Fresh Pasta

Fresh pasta is apparently not easy to cook. My assumption is that cooks believe fresh pasta is done in seconds because it is already soft. That is not correct because I am, too often, served fresh pasta that tastes like raw flour.

I was recently at a very nice restaurant in Boston. Great recommendation from a very good friend. The flavor of the pasta dish was delicious, all ingredients were delicious….EXCEPT the fresh pasta.

Fresh pasta needs to be fully cooked. Other than fresh angel hair, fresh pasta needs a few to several minutes to fully cook the flour and soften the pasta.

How do you cook fresh pasta? Add pasta to boiling salted water (taste the water!), return to a boil, stir occasionally. Cook according to the recipe directions, BUT, taste the pasta before draining! If it tastes like raw flour, keep cooking! In addition to taste, look at the pasta. It should be soft but not mushy, and it should easily wrap around the other strands/pieces of pasta. Then scoop out some cooking water and reserve. Drain pasta, prepare sauce and use the cooking water to keep everything juicy (remember juicy food is the best!).

Bon Appétit!

Keep Scrolling!

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.


Read more on Recipe Management in JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System

Kitchen management system enables scalability of recipes

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 7
December 2018

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

“Our chef isn’t going to enter recipes into a data base.” WHAT!? was the look on my face. The owners are building a new kitchen and are looking at software for the operation. They stopped by the booth at the NY Hotel Show I was working, looked at kitchen management software, liked the system, and as they were leaving said their chef would never add recipes. And these owners seemed ok with their situation.

Come on, already. Who’s driving the boat? To all chefs, culinarians, cooks, food preparers, and anyone in the food business – if you aren’t engaging technology, you’re being left behind. The technology available today is easy to use and will help your operation.

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Tool of the Trade – Recipe

The first topic of my newsletter in June was recipes. In that article I wrote, “Recipes drive ingredient selection, equipment selection, china selection, production schedules, and labor schedules, to name a few operational topics.” The purpose of writing about recipes was to reinforce their value to good operational processes. In a foodservice operation a recipe is a valuable tool, especially when the recipe is dynamic. A dynamic recipe is cool. When a recipe is part of a functional kitchen management system it is scalable, cost aware, ingredient driven, menu accessible, nutritionally defined, photographically represented, and a handful of other useable topics. All important tools to effectively run a successful operation.

Take scalable for example. Chefs know, mostly from trial and error, that all ingredients cannot be calculated equally when scaling a recipe. Scaling meats, vegetables, and liquids generally work using a recipe conversion factor – desired yield /original yield=recipe conversion factor. What doesn’t scale this way are the spices, salt, dried herbs. To accurately scale spices (and, actually, all ingredients) each ingredient must be calculated as a percent of the whole.

A dynamic kitchen management system has this function built in. This is a complex computation done in the background and is easy for the operator to use. Scaling ingredients using percentages provides chefs with accurate ingredient quantities, which results in consistently delicious food.

Culinary & more…

LA Feast & Fundraiser benefitting Rett Syndrome

“Rett syndrome is a neurological disorder which causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.”

A fundraiser was held November 3rd at the Petersen Automobile Museum in LA in November to support the efforts of www.rettsyndrome.org It was a privilege to be a part of the group of chefs that served up food to the attendees. A group of local culinary students teamed up with the chefs in attendance to get hands-on experience in a live culinary event.

The most memorable part of the evening was learning about and meeting the afflicted girls and also meeting their amazing family members.

US Air Force Go4Green

In September I joined the CIA Consulting team of chefs in Dayton, OH for the training and implementation of the US Air Force Go4Green food initiative. This program refocuses the dining experience on air force bases globally. One of the main focuses is to offer flavor-forward plant-based recipes for airmen and airwomen. The CIA Consulting team worked with Air Force chefs and operations managers from several air bases in the country.

The CIA Consulting team worked with the group to not only maximize the taste of food, but also presentation of food on a hot and cold service line. We also dove into the importance of planning and organization in food production. This was the first of several global implementation locations.

Here’s a link to an article about Go4Green: Go for green helps airmen stay fit to fight

Shoreline Chamber of Commerce, CT Staff Member of Year

The following is personal story.

I share with great pleasure that my wife, Sylvia, has been recognized as the 2018 Staff Member of the Year by the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce, CT.

First awards celebration

Sylvia works for the Shoreline Village CT and has been with the Shoreline Village CT for over 5 years and is currently the Director of Services. Shoreline Village CT is a “community of seniors on the Connecticut Shoreline committed to helping each other live independently at home.”

Sylvia works with the many volunteers who are crucial to the organization. Here’s a link to their website:

Shoreline Village CT

I’m overjoyed that Sylvia is recognized for the wonderful and valuable contribution she makes to over 100 seniors living in our community. Congratulations, Sylvia!

Stuff

Fried Chicken

This topic never gets old for me. While reading through some older links I found this one in Flavor & The Menu – “For the Love of Fried Chicken” Enjoy www.getflavor.com

Lebkuchen

My niece arrived from Germany 2 weeks ago and had a very special treat – lebkuchen. Not any old lebkuchen, Nürnberger lebkuchen!

Lebkuchen dates back to the 13th century and is made from nuts, spices and honey. It is reportedly from the Franconian region of Germany (northern Bavaria). These cookies are baked on a wafer and are soft to the bite. Most are glazed….dark chocolate, please! I look forward to lebkuchen this time of year, and once again, I wasn’t disappointed.

Gratitude

I end this newsletter and 2018 with my sincerest gratitude to so many people. It has been my good fortune to work with dozens of creative, professional, inspiring, and caring people.

To everyone reading this, please accept my best wishes for a Happy Holiday and healthy wishes for a wonderful New Year.

Ron

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

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


JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System is a comprehensive restaurant software including a versatile recipe management functionality.

Recipe and ingredient databases establish the foundation for effective kitchen management

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 1 Issue 4
September 2018

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

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

Here’s a culinary challenge to everyone cooking food – cook the vegetables! Somewhere in the last 15 years diners seem to have accepted partially raw vegetables on a plate, and cooks are delivering partially raw vegetables. The art of vegetable cookery has all but disappeared. That nuance between perfectly cooked and slightly raw has been overtaken by mostly raw vegetables served hot. Describing perfectly cooked vegetables is hard, but you know them when you eat them. An expertly cooked vegetable – cooked to the point JUST past raw – is a memorable dining experience.

So, come on, already chefs, take up my challenge and rediscover cooked vegetables. Give diners that element of their dining experience.

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Recipe Compliance

A food operation’s recipe database along with the ingredient database establish the foundation for effective kitchen management. Recipes are built using the ingredients in the database. Ingredients provide data for costing, nutritional analysis, allergen information, and ingredient availability.Well written and accurate recipes help cooks, and cooks appreciate recipes that can help them in a production setting. Recipes help chef and cooks with production planning. Through clearly written, accurate recipes chefs can make production assignments for the entire culinary team according to skill and ability. Written recipes also become a training tool. When recipes are accurate and clearly written, managers and chefs have a strong tool which leads to recipe compliance.

When used properly, recipe compliance is not a top-down management tool. As used here, recipe compliance is cooks performing to an established set of standards. Part of those standards will include a mechanism to modify, and/or improve the parts that don’t work.

Recipe compliance impacts the operation in these ways.

  1. Consistency. Food prepared according to a recipe is consistent in taste, doneness, quantity, cost, and appearance among other things.
  2. Costs. Compliance to the recipe ensures that the operator knows the cost of each menu item.
  3. Nutritional accuracy. Recipe compliance ensures the accuracy of the nutritional value of each menu item.
  4. Allergen transparency. Recipe compliance confirms the trust bond between

All types of food operations benefit from developing and documenting recipes. The benefits reinforce the need for a kitchen management system. The cost benefits help operators to be successful, and the benefits from consistent taste and trustworthy information create brand loyalty.

Culinary & more…

Eat it NOW!

Not all food gets better with age. Cheese does, wine can, salumi definitely, braised meats the next day – sure. But this is about food that should be eaten NOW. Think fries. Fries never get better with age, never. That first batch of fries from clean fat, crispy on the outside, tender and steamy on the inside, just a light coat of fat and seasoned with the perfect amount of salt, and almost too hot to eat …is one of the perfect foods.

How come, then, did we get to the point where it’s ok to let food get “old”? Pizza is perfect immediately out of the oven. I know, we all ate refrigerator pizza for breakfast and said we love it. But it still wasn’t as good as when it was fresh out of the oven. Pizza is an Eat it NOW food, so are fried eggs/ spring rolls/ crabcakes/ grilled cheese/ ramen/ angel hair pasta/ risotto/ waffles. And then there’s toast. Something as simple as toast can be one of the best parts of breakfast if it’s toasted properly, then eaten while warm, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. There are so many other foods that are best when eaten as soon as they are done, because that is when they are perfect.

Somewhere, somehow, we started to lose sight that some food is best eaten immediately. We wanted food delivered or we want take-out. That’s fine, but not all food is suited for take-out.

SoCal Visit

Visiting southern California allowed for some delicious restaurant visits and the enjoyment of an ice cube.

Who gets impressed with an ice cube? Me. At the Sunset Tower Hotel patio bar I ordered a Campari on ice. The ice was a perfectly clear square which fit exactly in a rocks glass. The ice was so clear, one could read through it. The slow melt ensured that the drink wasn’t quickly diluted with water…..simple pleasures.

The surprise dinner experience was at Craig’s in West Hollywood. My daughter was interested in eating there and Craig’s serves Hungry Planet premium-plant based meats (disclosure – one of CulinaryNXT’s clients) so we made reservations. Craig’s is an exciting restaurant to walk into. Great hospitality and busy! The waitstaff is professional, knowledgeable, and know how to deliver hospitality. Chef Krizer’s kitchen delivered expertly prepared, delicious food. For more information craigs.la

Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads always delivers. Food, service, atmosphere, hospitality are all hallmarks of Crossroads. The food is innovative, expertly prepared, and delicious. Incidentally, it’s also vegan. I’ve eaten at Crossroads a half dozen times and it’s a great experience each time. For more information crossroadskitchen.com

In San Diego we met up with a fun chef friend, Jim Phillips and his wife at Trust Restaurant. Brad Wise is the Chef/Owner and clearly loves what he’s doing. The food was big flavor, fresh and satisfying. The kitchen is in the dining room and we sat at the chef’s table with a clear view into the hot zone. One of the surprises that night was a chicken liver toast with mostarda, grilled levain, radish, evoo! That was at the start of the meal and things continued to get tastier. For more information trustrestaurantsd.com

Dim Sum

Nom Wah

On a recent visit to NYC Chinatown I was introduced to Wilson Tang. Wilson is the owner of NYC’s oldest dim sum restaurant, Nom Wah Team Parlor. Not only did I get to experience Wilson’s dim sum, but I got to go on a walking tour of Chinatown with him including a stop at Aqua Best, Inc. In addition to the original Nom Wah Team Parlor, I visited Nom Wah Nolita which serves a new take on Chinese food.

For more information nomwah.com

And aquabestnyc.com

Ingredient of the Month

Parsley

Parsley doesn’t get the respect it deserves (neither does celery). This herb is undervalued in regard to flavor. In today’s kitchens parsley is thought of as a color. The full flavor impact of parsley jumps to life when it is freshly picked and included as a flavor ingredient in many foods.

The classic herb condiment, gremolata, puts parsley in the spotlight. Gremolata can be a flavor powerhouse for grilled or sautéed foods. Freshly picked and chopped parsley will ensure that your gremolata has the bright flavor expected of this condiment.

Take a fresh look at parsley and if you can use it freshly picked, you’ll rediscover a delicious ingredient.

Web Links of the Month

Cancer Nutrition Consortium

cancernutrition.org

Ongoing research to help patients undergoing cancer treatment has been published by the following authors:

Dr. Kisha Coa

Dr. Joel Epstein

Dr. Bruce Moskowitz

Kathy McManus, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.

I am privileged to serve on the Cancer Nutrition Consortium board with this distinguished group of medical professionals. Please join me in congratulating this team. Here is a link to their work:

foodandnutritionjournal.org

Veterans and Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods recently invited me to cook and share one of my go-to foods with other Hormel veterans.

hormelfoods.com

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 including versatile recipe management functionalities.

JAMIX KITCHEN MANAGEMENT keeps your recipes in order and makes pricing easier

HH Ravintolat is a restaurant chain including different types of restaurants, such as restaurant Iso Paja in Helsinki offering lunch and catering services, and Panorama Bistro located in Europe’s busiest port in Helsinki West Harbour where the menu includes sandwiches and warm dishes prepared on the spot.

Consistency and efficiency for recipe management

– For me the best thing about JAMIX is that we can keep our recipes stored and in good order, tells Henri Häkkinen, the entrepreneur of HH Ravintolat.

– Selection of the active items on the menu varies but when we store the recipes in the system, we can bring passive items back on the menu because we will remember that we have good items in store.

– We want to offer a good and genuine experience to our customers, whether you’re visiting our restaurant Iso Paja or one of our cafés or bistros at the ports. We use JAMIX software for efficiency and maintaining regular practices. In this way, we can create recipes and make sure that the food is always made the same way, when we come up with a good idea.

Help for pricing and planning

– I like JAMIX because it makes pricing easier. I can see the ingredient costs in the system and when I calculate some labour costs there on top, I am able to price better, explains Teija Majanen, the restaurant manager of Iso paja.

– It is great that you can predict and make long-term planning. And then, if needed, you can still make changes. And it speeds up ordering.

Better customer experience

– With JAMIX we are able to control what we are selling and we have all the necessary information on the items and ingredients, and it’s available for the customer, as well, summarizes Henri Häkkinen the benefits of the system and Teija continues: We serve vegan food and have a relatively new set of recipes for that. We can store the recipes and keep track of all the allergens, and get an overview of the food with the help of JAMIX.

– Through all these we can offer better customer service, and have menus with regular variation. And as a result it is nice to have lunch at our restaurants, states Henri.

– And then this program is user-friendly, as well. I can use and manage the program well, even though I haven’t had any specific IT training, praises Teija the system.