Georgia Tech serves up Southern small plates

Georgia Tech southern food small plates

Small plates starring flavors of the South were the feature at the Meet The Chefs event at Georgia Tech University, in Atlanta, held at the end of the spring semester.

Following the success of a Meet The Chefs event highlighting international flavors, the team at Georgia Tech decided to focus on flavors closer to home for the spring event. “Being in Atlanta, it’s just like a melting pot for modern Southern cuisine,” says Ericlee Reed, residential dining executive chef with Sodexo at Georgia Tech.

Meet The Chefs events provide an opportunity for university chefs to showcase their talents in a restaurant-style format, while getting face time with the students they serve each day, according to dining services.

Taking a modern approach to Southern classics, the team incorporated fresh, healthy Southern flavors—swapping in kale for collard greens, pan-seared sustainable Atlantic salmon for fried fish and a housemade dried peach tamarind barbecue sauce for traditional barbecue sauce—and utilized local ingredients wherever possible, such as a grits from a local mill and lettuce from a company that grows its product in pods at the Atlanta airport. Forty-eight percent of the produce used at the event was local, which is defined as being within a 250-mile radius of campus.

The team took a restaurant-style approach to service for the event, a style it plans to incorporate more moving forward. “At each station, “everything was prepared à la minute and delivered [as a] small plate,” Reed says. “Each plate got the same attention that a restaurant would do if you were running it through a micro-system [Reed’s term for a small operation serving a limited menu], putting it in a window and a server was to deliver it. The only difference was the culinarian or one of our line attendants was bringing that same plate to our customers one-on-one.

“The best part is it caused a lot of interaction with the four chefs that we have from all of the restaurants we have across campus,” Reed adds. “So we’re able to engage with our students, find out likes, dislikes and what they want in the future. And what they want to see is more of that—more fresh, more vibrant, not these huge plates, not these huge lines. [And] we want to be able to streamline, do more tapas-style portions, fresher and more natural—that’s what the consumer is looking for.”

The event menu included:

  • Priscilla’s “Baby” Wedge Salad: wedged iceberg lettuce, pickled celery and red onion salad, hard-cooked eggs, Point Reyes blue cheese dressing;
  • Marinated Shrimp with Grapefruit: herb-marinated shrimp and Indian River flame pink grapefruit wedges seared and served over baby rocket and red watercress;
  • Grilled Breast of Chicken: basted in dried peach tamarind barbecue sauce over greens with coastal-style basmati rice with a balsamic and lavender glaze;
  • Seared Salmon with Black-eyed Pea Relish: Pan-seared red salmon served with spicy mustard greens, fresh sweet potato fries and black-eyed pea chow chow with a benne seed vinaigrette;
  • Chocolate-dipped waffles topped with Greenwood Creamery maple bacon ice cream with brandy chantilly;
  • Strawberry Green Tea Panna Cotta: creamy panna cotta flavored with fresh field strawberries, Chinese green tea and drizzled with fruit purée. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
salad chicken

Vegetables and grains have stepped into the spotlight, thanks to the “flipping the plate” trend, but protein is still an important part of a balanced diet. Sources including meat, cheese, nuts, and meat alternatives such as tofu and tempeh can and should still be on the plate—albeit as a side dish or topping rather than the main event.

“Whatever we do [as FSDs] needs to be rooted in the culture, and today’s culture is all about healthy eating and plant-focused meals,” says Chris Studtmann, executive chef at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “A recipe is an idea; culture is...

Menu Development
jackfruit

It emerged as a top food trend on Pinterest’s 2017 predictions, is “the latest miracle food” according to Epicurious, and was called “a nutritional bonanza” by NPR. Jackfruit is the latest superfood garnering buzz, and Even Stevens Sandwiches has gone after the vegetarian-friendly option for a recently launched torta. Here, Culinary Director Brandon Price shares three lessons learned from adding jackfruit to the menu.

Finding the best form

Using fresh jackfruit wasn’t the answer for the chain. It has to be sourced internationally, and breaking it down cuts into labor costs. But...

Ideas and Innovation
hibachi grill cooking

We saw in 2016 that many operators were trying to have some type of display cooking in their food operation. We installed a hibachi grill this fall, and within three months we had 300 residents and guests make reservations. We also use our hibachi grill for cooking classes twice a month, where our hibachi chef Abby Kramer does an excellent job teaching different cuisines. We have received so many compliments that we have decided to get another hibachi grill for a different dining venue in 2017.

FSD Resources