What You Need to Know: July 2013

Published in FSD Update

> Baking Success

It’s hard to beat the smell of fresh-baked bread. That’s the idea behind Metz Culinary Management’s new proof and bake program, in which operators are offered five frozen, proof-baked doughs, which they can then customize to their individual communities.

“We felt there was a void in our fresh-baked bread program,” says Ryan McNulty, director of culinary operations for Metz. “When you look at some of the bigger chains, the aroma of their bread when you walk in, that’s what we’re trying to capture.” 

The program offers five doughs, including a 51% whole-grain roll, kaiser roll and seven grain. Metz, in partnership with Rich’s Foodservice, is offering training to its managers, teaching them ways to customize the breads to make signature dishes. One long-term care facility is braiding several of the doughs together to create a five-foot sub sandwich program. Another is making pupusas, an El Salvadorian street food.

> Minnesota Capitol to Allow Alcohol in German-styled Café 

When you style your café after a German beer hall, you’d think the titular beverage would be served. At the Minnesota State Capitol, where its basement cafeteria is known as the Rathskeller, that wasn’t the case. But now, after almost 100 years, alcohol may be available.

A new law was proposed that would allow the public to rent the Rathskeller for special events and permit the sale of beer and wine. 

According to CBS Minnesota, the café’s original design was painted over during a wave of anti-German hysteria in 1917. The Rathskeller was restored to its original design in 1999. It features murals of animals and German drinking slogans. 

> Pop-up Dining

Looking to generate some buzz, the University of Connecticut plans to conduct a series of pop-up-style dining events for students on its meal plan this fall.

UConn Director of Dining Services Dennis Pierce says the idea is to give members of the catering department an opportunity to keep their culinary skills sharp during times when they are not being used. “Sometimes we have down times for our catering department,” Pierce says. “And now it will engage them in a time when they’re down and also will challenge them to create the menu.”

Pierce says two events are scheduled to take place in the fall semester. Students will receive a Facebook announcement that gives the time and date but does not disclose the location or the menu.

The first 60 to 100 students to pick up wrist bands from the student union will be allowed to take part. The location of the pop-up, which Pierce says will be in a non-traditional dining venue such as an art gallery or a theater, will be tweeted to students a few hours before the start of the event.

A portion of the food for each event will come from the university’s Spring Valley Farm, where students grow food that is then used by Dining Services.

Described as being a more upscale way of breaking the monotony that can occur in a residential dining program, Pierce says the pop-up event is a fun, new way to introduce meal themes that go beyond the more traditional Taco Tuesday or Pizza Friday.  

> Corporate Cafés Earn Sustainability, Nutrition Kudos

Four Guckenheimer cafés have achieved REAL Certification by the United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC). These cafés are the first corporate locations to be certified by the organization.

USHFC’s Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) Certification, began as an assurance of nutrition and sustainability best practices in restaurants. These new REAL Certified locations mark the expansion of the program nationally, as well as with foodservice vendors running café operations within corporations, universities, hotels, senior living facilities, event centers and more.

The four inaugural contract foodservice facilities to become REAL Certified are:
Blue Glass Café, John Hancock Building, Boston
Café Hive, The Clorox Company, Pleasanton, Calif.
W6 Café, Google, San Francisco
Union Pacific Café, Union Pacific, Omaha, Neb.

The USHFC pilot program began in December 2012 as Guckenheimer collaborated with accounts to undergo USHFC review. Using a flexible points-based model similar to the LEED green building standard, USHFC’s registered dietitians audited the cafés across a range of criteria, such as the use of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthful cooking and preparation methods, moderate portion sizes, as well as behavioral components that encourage better-for-you choices and sustainable practices for food sourcing. 

> NPS Buys into Local, Healthy Movement

The National Park Service (NPS) climbed onto two bandwagons last month—the healthy eating and sustainability movements—when officials announced that they were implementing rules that will require concessionaires to offer more healthy food options and buy more products from local farmers and ranchers.

Jonathan Jarvis, director of the NPS, made the announcement at a food kiosk on the north side of the Lincoln Memorial. He said the new guidelines, called the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program, are part of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative.

“There is no reason to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park,” Jarvis said during the ceremony. He said the new rules, which were drawn up in collaboration with the help of several current concessionaires are designed “to encourage park visitors to make healthy lifestyle choices and position parks to support local economies by ensuring that all current and future concessions contracts require multiple healthy, sustainably produced and reasonably priced food options at national park concessions.”

Some of the new rules include: full meals must include at least one fruit or vegetable, at least 30%
of all beverages sold must contain no added sugar, and half or reduced portion sizes should be offered whenever possible. 

> Senior Helps Seniors at CCRC 

Senior prom? Not exactly. But residents at Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community, in Cranberry Township, Pa., were treated to a Western-themed dinner and hoedown, courtesy of Taylor Cready, dining room server, and the foodservice team from Cura Hospitality.

For her senior high project for school, Cready shadowed Jesse Komara, service and catering manager, to get a feel for what would be required to stage such an event. She also worked with staff to create the menu, which included corn dog bites, white bean salad, corn fire-roasted chili, slow-braised beef shank, pan-seared trout, fried chicken and “Cowboy Pasta,” which was a barbecue sauce with pork, sweet bell peppers and onions, ladled over pasta and topped with cheddar cheese.

In addition, Cready taught the Sherwood Oaks Line Dancing Club three new steps, which they demonstrated during the event.

“Uniting seniors and youth not only provides a great way to socialize and learn from each other, it’s an example of Living Life, Cura’s wellness philosophy that strives to nourish, heal and uplift the spirit and body through great food, personal service and memorable dining experiences,” says Danielle Weber, Cura’s general manager of dining services at Sherwood Oaks. 

> Hospital Operators Honored at AHF

Several healthcare operators received awards at the Association for Healthcare Foodservice’s 2013 conference in New Orleans last month. Betty Perez, senior director at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York, and Eric Eisenberg, executive chef and retail operations manager at Swedish Health Services, in Seattle, received the Exemplary Leadership award. Autal Jain, retail operations manager and chef at Saint Clare’s Health System, in Denville, N.J., received the Future Horizon award. Denisa Cate, director of food and nutrition at Henry County Medical Center, in Paris, Tenn., received the Lifetime Achievement award.

> Summer Meals Go Mobile

Children at Jefferson County Public Schools, in Louisville, Ky., have a new—and mobile—way to receive free summer meals through the USDA’s summer meal program. The district retrofit a school bus to include a serving and dining area. The Bus Stop Café will be making stops at several locations, serving meals like chicken fajita salads.

“Sixty-seven percent of students [in our district] are eligible for free and reduced meals, so we feed a lot of them every day during the school year. Well, their hunger doesn’t take a break during the school year,” says Julia Bauscher, director of school and community nutrition services.