Recently, FoodService Director spoke to operators about after a long day of bringing nutritious meals to a bevy of diners. But what about the opposite scenario—transitioning a healthy recipe from home into your operation? FSD polled its Chefs’ Council panel for their favorites.
Celebrating a holiday
Tracey MacRae, campus executive chef at University of Washington in Seattle, shared a home recipe, misir wot with gomen, that she brought to campus and scaled up for the school’s Black History Month menus served in February. “The lentils (misir) are vegetarian (can be made vegan easily), and the greens (gomen) are vegan,” she says. “Injera bread is made from teff and is naturally gluten-free and vegan.”
Put it in a bowl
“It seems the trend nowadays is to make everything into a bowl,” says Darla Mehrkens, catering manager at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va. “So as I was sitting at home eating a Southern dinner—you know, greens, potatoes, sausage, black-eyed peas and corn (yes, I was carbing out)—I thought, ‘I need to make this a bowl.’” The resulting dish: Taste of the South, which tops shaved Brussels sprouts and kale with chicken and apple sausage, sweet potatoes roasted with agave and cumin, black-eyed peas, pickled corn and a barbecue vinaigrette.
A focus on dietary restrictions
Dietary restrictions have been top of mind for Kurt Kwiatkowski, corporate chef for culinary services at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., when bringing home dishes to his job. Items he’s brought into his operation include chana masala, vegan butternut squash soup, almond butter and a gluten-free burger that started as a vegetarian option but was tweaked to be vegan.
Stealing an idea
Sometimes a healthy home recipe has another origin. “My fourth grader brought home a veggie chili recipe from school that is super easy,” says Eric Eisenberg, corporate executive chef at Swedish Health Services in Seattle. The chili has turned into a weeknight staple at Eisenberg’s home, as his wife and three sons eat vegetarian. He’s also added it to the summer soup rotation at all Swedish hospitals.
After experimenting with a pressure cooker at home, Ryan McNulty, director of culinary development at Metz Culinary Development in Dallas, Pa., wanted to bring the machine to his chefs. “We use traditional braising or stewing cuts of meat and pressure cook them in an aromatic broth, usually Asian flavors,” he says. “The cooking process is expedited in a quarter of the time to braise or stew. When the meat is cooked we strain and chill the broth to remove all fat from the surface and shred all the meat.”