Northwestern University texture enhancements

Published in Menu Strategies

Farro Salad

Farro Salad

Nut-laced butters and sauces and crispy tortilla strips are just a few of the texture and flavor enhancements chefs use at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

“Incorporating different textures creates a well-rounded dish,” says Joseph Burdi, executive chef of nuCuisine, the Sodexo foodservice program on campus.

One common technique is basting fish with melted butter, ground almonds and fresh rosemary as it sautés in the pan. “When the fish is plated, it has a sauce and a toasted nut crust,” says Burdi.

Another way to add a pleasing mouthfeel and flavor is with pesto sauces made with nuts. Burdi suggests mixing a pesto of chunky almonds, fresh ginger, cilantro and sesame oil to lend contrasting crunch and bright flavor to Asian noodles.

Tortillas become crispy, tasty salad garnishes when they are brushed with cardamom-flavored butter or extra virgin olive oil infused with oregano and garlic, cut into strips and baked.

As an alternative to the standard three-step breading for fish (flour, eggwash and bread crumbs), Burdi suggest a topping of flavored compound butter. Mix softened butter with chopped almonds and spices, roll it out in thin sheets that match the size of the fish fillet and freeze it. Just before serving a piece of cooked fish, top it with a frozen butter portion and flash-melt it under the salamander. “You end up with a fantastic crust and flavor,” Burdi says.

Menu Sampler: Northwestern University Dining

  • Cuban Black Beans simmered with onion, garlic, green pepper and cumin
  • Farro Salad with Garden Vegetables: crunchy heirloom farro wheat with crisp carrots, red peppers, tomatoes and fresh basil with red wine vinaigrette
  • Peruvian Beef & Potato Stew with jalapeno peppers, tomatoes and cilantro

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

Industry News & Opinion

James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., recently hosted a weeklong program called Weigh the Waste, which aimed to show students how much food gets wasted in dining halls, The Breeze reports.

Throughout the week, students placed food they were about to throw away on a scale located near the trash bins at one of their dining halls. At the end of the week, the school tallied the waste and saw that 817 pounds of food had been wasted.

School officials hope that the annual program, which it’s hosted since 2015, will remind dining hall patrons to only take as much food as...

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...

Ideas and Innovation
email computer screen

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

FSD Resources