FSD recently had the opportunity to visit Salvatore Cantalupo, corporate chef for Stamford, Conn.-based Corporate Image Dining Services, who showed us around three of his company's accounts. Event though the contract company is small—it is currently serving five accounts in Connecticut—Cantalupo and his team are creating innovative and tasty cuisine for its customers.
Corporate Image Dining Services recently opened its newest account at Beiersdor, in Wilton, Conn. The company completed gutted the building and built a dining space where there was no dining area before. A hallmark of Corporate Image Dining Services is its focus on culinary, shown here with a sample plate of the day's offerings.
The Wilton account, as Cantalupo calls it, serves 125 covers a day. With about 140 employees in the building, Cantalupo is very happy with the participation rate in the new account. However, he says the account is even more dependent on his company's catering services, which he says makes up about 75% of the account's business.
The grab-and-go area at Wilton offers salads, snacks and beverages during breakfast, lunch and after hours.
The salad bar at the Wilton location offers composed salads, roasted vegetables and an assortment of fresh vegetables to choose from.
The location is a one tenant building, which allows for the café to operate after-hours service. The café closes around 2 for about an hour and then opens for self-check out. This is the dedicated POS system where customers can check themselves out using the honor system.
The seating area at the Wilton location.
This catering space has been an area to host a variety of high-end functions for the account.
Corporate Image's Norwalk location is in a multi-tenant buliding and serves about 350 to 360 out about 525 employees in the building.
Sample plates at the entrance to the café offer customers a chance to learn about the daily specials.
One of the daily specials at Norwalk was this paella, which was offered at the action station. The chefs created a base paella and then offered items such as shrimp, scallops, chicken and clams. Customers can choose to have all fillings or just pick and choose what they want and their meal is sautéed to order.
One of the specials of the day was this Korean Taco, which Cantalupo says was inspired by a MenuDirections session on street foods from a few years ago. He serves pork and chicken tacos, which are both topped with Korean barbecue sauce, a cucumber kimchee and what the account calls guasacava but is actually called guasacaca. "It’s a very popular sauce in Venezula," Cantalupo says. "It’s like here you get bread and butter, but there you get this sauce. It’s basically like a creamy guacamole. It has avocados, cilantro, parlsey, oil, red wine vinegar, onion, garlic—all pureed up. That plus the Korean barbecue sauce brings three different cuisines togetherr. People go crazy for it"
The action station changes daily. Here, the chef is taking the base paella and customizing it to customer preference.
Composed salads are a feature at each Corporate Dining Services account.
Roasted vegetables on the salad bar.
The action station at Corporate Image Dining Services largest account in Stamford, Conn. changes daily. Today the station was making a Malaysian stir-fry with seafood, Chinese sausage and rice noodles, which is another recipe Cantalupo says he learned at MenuDirections. The action station includes a weekly sushi bar.
Sample plates greet customers at the Stamford café as well.
Retail snacks and beverage are set up around the servery.The deli station offers two sides because of demand. On one side the chef offers more upscale-style sandwiches. The other side offers standard deli fare.Grab and go at the deli station is a hot area. Chefs will pile sandwiches and other grab-and-go items and customers can take what they want.Cantalupo says the company likes to put little health facts on some of the grab-and-go items.
The large salad bar at the Stamford location features two lines, one for traditional self-serve and one for composed salads.Composed salads such as quinoa salads, bean salads and pasta salads are very popular.The fruit bar is set up all day but is most popular during breakfast. The department makes all its own parfaits in interesting flavors such as banana cream and death by chocolate.Each location makes its own baked goods such as this assortment of breads, which included banana, pumpkin and cranberry varieties.Cantalupo says they serve about 1,000 customers per day at lunch at the Stamford location. The large dining area allows customers to actually sit down and eat lunch.