Riding the Heat Wave

Inspiration comes from a variety of places, allowing for menus to flaunt the delightful flavors of summer in new ways.

Published in Menu Strategies

When it comes to summer, chefs and mixologists alike are challenged with offering guests food and libations that are not only satisfying, but also refreshing. Inspiration comes from a variety of places, allowing for menus to flaunt the delightful flavors of summer in cool new ways.

Ryan McNulty, Metz Culinary Management, Dallas, Pa.  

When brainstorming summer menu ideas for Metz Culinary Management’s 160 noncommercial foodservice accounts, director of culinary development Ryan McNulty often looks to the boldly flavored cuisines of hot climate lands.

“Places like Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Ethiopia, the Mediterranean and India are good inspirations,” says McNulty.

A light and lively Southwestern wheat berry salad is a leading example. It features chilled wheat berries tossed with fresh vegetables, legumes and cilantro cumin vinaigrette. An optional protein addition, such as grilled chicken or turkey or sautéed shrimp, rounds out the offering.

“People like it because it is healthy and filling as well as enjoyable,” says McNulty.

Also popular are Southeast Asian-style lettuce wraps—julienne vegetables, sliced proteins, cilantro, ginger and mint—bundled in lettuce leaves.

He also recommends such ingredients as Greek yogurt, fresh cheeses like ricotta, goat cheese and mozzarella, and eggs, either deviled, hard boiled or in vegetable-stuffed omelets. Chilled soba noodles with julienne vegetables in zesty vinaigrette is another winning item.

Hummus is a pleasing, light way to add protein to summer menus. Metz has a repertoire of 30 hummus variations, McNulty says, including roasted red pepper, cucumber and feta, artichoke, sweet potato, artichoke and wasabi.

Nor should menu makers overlook sushi. “Sushi sales go through the roof,” McNulty says. “We do a sushi program once a week with a local restaurant vendor. Sometimes 30 or 40 individual packets sell out.”

Menu Sampler: Metz Culinary Management accounts

  • Southwestern Wheat Berry & Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Cumin Vinaigrette
  • Open-Faced Grilled Chicken, Artichoke Hummus & Arugula on Toasted 7 Grain Bread
  • Sourdough Toast with Smashed Avocado, Ricotta, Sautéed Dandelion Greens & Poached Egg
  • Toasted Israeli Cous Cous, Fresh & Dried Stone Fruit and Minted Berry Vinaigrette

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
woman surprise

When I joined the staff at FoodService Director in the spring of 2015, I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn about the intricacies of the industry. My past experience, from kindergarten to my college days to on-the-job meals, would lead me to believe that noncommercial dining was a kind of automated process—an amenity that’s expected, and one you only become aware of if something goes wrong.

But as with my own household chores, there are no magical elves making sure the business of feeding students, seniors and hospital patients is done, and done well. Foodservice...

Managing Your Business
hands team

In November, students at University of Missouri in Columbia began leading protests against discrimination faced by people of color on campus—including some marches through the dining halls. Julaine Kiehn, director of the school’s campus dining services, said the 2015-16 school year was a tough one, but she was proud of MU’s students for being at the forefront of a national movement.

And not only did the protests launch important conversations with students, but also with staff. Kiehn heard the protests and thought that her student workers, at least, might not feel safe and welcome...

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

Ideas and Innovation
elderly old hands

A family’s request for at-home meal support for a patient at Lee Memorial in Fort Myers, Fla., led System Director of Food & Nutrition Services Larry Altier to uncover a gap in care. He saw that only 1% of patients had been coded (diagnosed and labeled for billing purposes) as malnourished, while more than 60% of all Lee Memorial patients are over 65 years or older, a population that experiences the issue at a higher rate.

His discovery helped more rigorously identify malnutrition, but it also strengthened Lee Memorial’s community connection. The hospital launched a delivery...

FSD Resources