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

University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

Sponsored Content
gluten free diet

From Stouffer’s.

A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

According to FoodService Director , 77% of college and university operators purchase their gluten-free...

Industry News & Opinion

Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

FSD Resources