Who are your culinary grads of the future?

That answer and more at MenuDirections 2014 Kickoff Day: Sunday, February 23.

Published in FSD Update

Culinary Workshops

Catering
What’s hot in catering … and what’s not? Chef Eric Eisenberg, of the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, led off the Catering Culinary Workshop in a game show format, challenging attendees to guess the trends that were still in—and those that were played out in non-commercial catering. There were a few surprises:

Still in:

  • Locally sourced meat and seafood
  • Gluten-free cuisine (but instead of pointing out to customers what items are gluten-free, separate those that have gluten)
  • Sustainable seafood. McDonald’s has a Marine Stewardship certification on its filet of fish sandwich and even some cat foods have the certification
  • Environmental sustainability (but it’s been on the list for many years)

What’s out:

  • Ancient grains: not yet hot, but products made with spelt, millet, amaranth, etc. are in, such as pastas and breads
  • Greek yogurt: It’s so mainstream, it’s now longer on the hot list.

Chef Eisenberg went on to define local, in his words: “Local has more to do with proximity than miles … it’s more about the state in which you’re located and the surrounding states.” Some audience members described it as food sourced within five miles, while others said 200 or 500, so there is no definitive answer…and it’s almost become meaningless

These are his top tips for running a successful catering operation:

  • People love sandwiches. Breakfast sandwiches are especially popular. Try an open-face smoked salmon sandwich for a breakfast menu; a roasted vegetable slider with mayo for lunch.
  • Breads are really taking center stage, but don’t give up on the hamburger or hot dog bun; they are good platforms for sandwiches. We created a bahn mi hot dog. In the bun with a whole array of condiments. Not chili or cheese, but a nice bahn mi slaw.
  • Come up with food for vegetarians that appeals to meat eaters: Craveable Vegetarian. Use global flavors, pickled vegetables, pho and other enticements. Escabeche with pickled vegetables, and their roasted vegetable slider with mayonnaise both fit the bill.
  • Get the right packaging products. Corrugated containers with branded messaging are effective and recyclable.
  • To make pho and other Asian soups: Preset noodles in bowl, then encourage customers to go down the line, adding broth, sliced steak, fresh herbs and other goodies.
  • Tap into CSAs (community supported agriculture) to create seasonal specials. Go to localfarming.org to find a CSA in your neighborhood.
  • Customization rules…in both food and packaging. Allow customers to go off the menu and create their own item or personalize a dish.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Six Philadelphia hospitals were honored by the city’s department of public health for healthy food initiatives introduced as part of the local Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, bizjournals.com reports .

The hospitals each debuted healthy measures to their dining services, such as lowering the cost of water bottles and seltzers, and offering dishes that incorporate local produce. One hospital was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The facilities that were honored were:

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern...
Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

FSD Resources