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FSD Culinary Council

Culinary Council: Making food substitutions due to cost or supply

Question:

What, if any, food substitutions are you making as a result of weather-related costs or supply issues?

Answers from FSD's Culinary Council

We don’t want to take items away from our guests, but we do pull back. Shrimp has gotten very expensive so we’ve gotten creative with our sourcing, because if we’re going to pay a higher price, we’d rather get it in the U.S. instead of overseas. We like to work our magic with the menu. Instead of serving shrimp twice a week, we offer it once, during the slowest day of the week.

Kurt Kwiatkowski
Executive Chef for Culinary Services
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Mich.

We are fortunate to have a farm on campus and have direct input as to what is grown. That doesn’t mean we are not feeling the pinch. For example, we have moved off berries and more onto stone fruit, as that is what is available and local. Rather than lemons, we are focusing on grapefruit. The key has been to be honest and clear with our customers about what is going on.

Tracey MacRae
Campus Executive Chef
University of Washington
Seattle

I’m unaware of any substitutions being made right now. We monitor prices and receive a weekly “hot sheet” [from our purchasing director] listing 45 types of produce and flagging prices that have fluctuated more than 5 percent so chefs can stay alert. We don’t change the menus unless something goes up permanently, but we will suspend or substitute items experiencing a spike. 

Bill Claypool
Executive Chef and Assistant Director, Campus Dining
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tenn.

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