MenuDirections 2013 Day 2: Recipe Revamp, Reducing Added Sugar & Steal This Healthy Idea

Celebrity chefs, dietitians, healthy ideas and a butchered pig are the stars of Day 2.

Celebrity chef Jet Tila, managing partner, manager food and beverage at The Charleston in Santa Monica, Calif., kicks the morning off with a cooking demonstration designed to take two comfort foods and make them a little bit healthier. The presentation started with classic Thai curry. Tila was able to reduce calories by substituting tofu for beef and cut salt by using aromatics as flavor boosters. The second dish was chicken friend steak, mashed potatoes and gravy. To decrease calories, Tila used cornmeal flour and cornstarch instead of pure flour for the dredge for the chicken. He also used skim milk for the gravy instead of cream and made a slurry with water and flour to add thickness. All these changes shaved off 471 calories from this classic Southern favorite.

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Ideas and Innovation
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We decided through focus group feedback that our freshmen struggled with the allergy-friendly options or options for students with diabetes on campus. In response, we decided to have a dinner the first few weeks of classes to let some of these students know what was available and let them network with their peers and others with allergies or diabetes. NC State Dining chefs prepared menu items based on foods from cultures around the world. ... From delicious sliced sweet potatoes to savory Ikarian-style roasted chicken, students were able to sample global dishes free of allergens.

Ideas and Innovation
coffee cups

We started a monthly Coffee Hour with just the department director. The goal is to gather 
staff feedback about their jobs and answer individual questions. After the first event, 
several staff members emailed stating they just wanted to meet with the director without 
their supervisors. Now, the meetings offer an opportunity for more of a one-on-one conversation without the presence of the supervisor they 
deal with day in and day out.

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

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