Oser Communications Group

Food Equipment Daily News Feb 21 2015

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F o o d E q u i p m e n t N e w s 3 7 S a t u r d a y, F e b r u a r y 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 FOOD PRICES SOAR, RESTAURANTS TURN TO PORTION CONTROL Among many common ingredients used in professional kitchens, the price of cheese is on the rise. In fact, it has reached record levels twice in September of 2014. On the 19th, a 640 pound block cost $2.4500 per pound, and on the 25th, a 500 pound barrel cost $2.4900 per pound. Similarly, continued issues with drought and disease have U.S. meat prices on the rise as well. Pork, beef, veal, poultry and fish have all seen price increases in the last year. This puts restaurateurs in a tough spot. Should they short their customers with less food, raise their prices or take a hit on profits? The options are not ideal. The best solution to mitigate the higher cost of cheese, or any other ingredient, for that matter, is to imple- ment a portion control program. For example, in your average pizzeria, if the pizza makers are hand tossing the cheese there is almost certainly a varia- tion in the amount spread per pie. Even the most seasoned pizza maker will likely over-spread more often than they under-spread, especially under the pres- sure of a busy kitchen. Using a portion control scale is the best way to ensure the cor- rect amount of cheese is spread consistently, which helps con- trol costs, quality consistency and main- tain profits. For a minimal investment, a digital scale will quickly pay for itself in savings. Most pizzerias with a portion control program will measure portions as they spread the cheese on the pizza, directly on the scale. Some will pre-measure por- tions by weight and store them in single portion cups for use later. Really, the ideal method is what works best for each individual business. Some pizzerias do have a portion control program in place using portion cups (which is better than no portion con- trol program), but that still relies on the employee to correctly and consistently fill the portion control cups. The density at which the cheese is packed into the cups is likely to vary, and it may not always get filled to exactly the correct height. Measuring portion size by weight will almost always be a more con- sistently accurate method of portion con- trol, and thus provide the largest potential for cost savings. Visit Escali at booth #2210. For more information, contact Kelly Walsh at 952.232.6962 or go to www.escali.com. CAN POOR SHELVING CONDITIONS COMPROMISE FOOD SAFETY? When it comes to shelving in a foodservice operation, how bad do conditions have to be before the health inspector requires immediate corrective action, or worse, shuts down an operation? After a while, epoxy coated wire shelves may peel, rust and lead to unsanitary conditions. Chances are a restaurant will not be shut down if it has shelving that is rusted, dented, chipped or severely worn out, but it could be at risk for receiving demerits or a corrective action notice. There are other consequences. For starters, when a health inspector notices that shelving is not up to standards, it causes concern and makes the inspector more vigilant and doubtful of other areas in the facility. Reliable, easy-to-clean, rust and cor- rosion resistant shelves are a very impor- tant part of food safety because they come into direct contact with food. Often times, kitchen staff is in a hurry trying to grab as many products as needed using both hands. This usually means setting one item down directly on the shelves while they grab another or while they put the lid back onto a container. After a while, epoxy coated wire shelves peel, rust and collect build-up if not main- tained, leading to unsanitary conditions when the surface comes into direct con- tact with food. Cambro interviewed more than 20 health inspectors, and here are major shelving problems that they shared: badly rusted shelves with exposed metal or rusted metal covered by cardboard, aluminum foil or plywood; unstable shelving being held up by milk crates or using zip ties or other "do it your- self" braces to connect to an adjoining unit; non- NSF listed or REACH approved shelving, industrial-type shelving being used to store food; coated wire shelving with chipped paint; shelving not six inches (152mm) off the ground; unclean or poorly maintained shelving; overloading of product onto the shelves, adding more weight than tolerable, mak- ing it difficult to comply with FIFO (First In, First Out) recommendations; wood shelving with grooves or large pores, per- mitting food articles or debris to "hide" or absorb into the material; and storing toxic items such as window cleaners, degreasers, ware washing detergents and other cleaning agents alongside food. Just as the health inspectors shared the problem areas, they also shared things they like to see: shelv- ing that is easy to clean and sterilize – removable shelf plates are a plus; corrosion resistant shelving; vented shelf plates for food items that require circulation; shelf plates or surfaces with anti- microbial protection that are also quick drying surfaces; shelving that supports organization with proper labeling; shelv- ing that prevents debris or dust from building up; flexible shelving that can be adjusted as storage needs change. A kitchen should be set up for maxi- mum cost savings, labor efficiency, food safety and functionality, no matter the size of operation. Visit Cambro's booth to find out how it can help support safety initiatives in your operation. Visit Cambro at booth #1008. For more information, go to www.cambro.com or call 800.833.3003. RUNNING A RAW FOOD SCHOOL TAKES BLENDERS WITH RAW POWER An interview with Matthew Kenney, Chef, Author and Founder of Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy. FEN: What new tools or equipment have you been using lately or plan to use this year? MK: Our team has been loving using the Blendtec Stealth blenders in our restau- rant kitchens and culinary academies. We have also enjoyed using Blendtec's new Twister jar for some of our really tough blends. FEN: Why? What problem or need is this new equipment addressing? MK: A blender is pretty constant in a raw food kitchen. Traditionally, blenders can also be incredibly loud and make creating an intimate vibe in the restaurant chal- lenging. The Stealth has allowed us to prepare while guests are present at our restaurant in Santa Monica. We have a chef's counter where chefs prepare tast- ing menus, and the minimal volume allows for conversation with the chef while they're working. FEN: What is the main need it address- es? MK: It's critical for our team to be able to work in the back of house without dis- rupting the vibe front-of-house. During instructor demos in our academies, the Stealth can also be wonderfully helpful so they can continue to speak to the class while blending. FEN: Why are blenders important to raw food kitchens? MK: Because there is no cooking involved in raw cuisine, we rely heavily on perfectly balanced sauces, creams and emulsions; they allow us to create rich and complex flavors that enhance fruits and vegetables. Traditional blenders don't break ingredients down as well, leading to a mouth feel that isn't pleasant. With a high-powered blender, you can pack a ton of nutrients and super healthy ingredients into some- thing without someone being so aware they're consuming a big handful of spinach. In our book, "Everyday Raw Express," which consists of raw food recipes that take 30 minutes or less to create, the blender and the knife are the two most critical pieces of equipment. FEN: How do you select new equipment and brands to work with? MK: We seek to work with brands we have natural synergy with, teams that are passionate about their work and improving the lives of their clients, it's critical that we feel good about both the product and the people behind them. FEN: How should chefs decide when it's time to invest in a new version of a beloved piece of equipment (if their cur- rent one still works, etc.)? MK: If an old piece of equipment could break down any day, potentially creating an issue for a chef, it's time to let it go. Sometimes we are reluctant to replace pieces, and once we do, we realize we have been wasting time with equipment that isn't as efficient. Visit Blendtec at booth #6411. For more infor- mation, go to www.blendtec.com/commercial. CERTIIFIED COMPOSTABLE TABLEWARE: WHY GREEN WAVE COMPOSTABLE PRODUCTS? It is estimated that 900 million trees are harvested for pulp and paper products each year. Unlike Styrofoam and paper plates, Green Wave's products are not made from trees or plastic. Once the food and fuel portions of sugarcane, bamboo, corn and wheat are removed, Green Wave utilizes the by-products (clippings, reeds, stalks, leaves, trimmings, etc.) to create 100 percent certified compostable tableware, take-out containers and cut- lery. As part of the "Green Ecology," one of the greatest movements on the planet today, Green Wave dedicates its expertise to protecting the environment. Supporting the economy through envi- ronmental sustainability is Green Wave's mission and its corporate social responsi- bility. Remember: "Think Green – Think Green Wave!"

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