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Savory and sweet flavor combinations are all the rage. Adding pretzels and potato chips to chocolate and ice cream has never sounded more delicious to the public. Unusual flavor combinations are steadily gaining public affection, proposing a new challenge for chefs in developing food seasonings. For some, such as Heston Blumenthal, the chef of The Fat Duck, unusual flavor combinations is a science waiting to be fully discovered. The science of how to pair foods is based on the idea that combining ingredients with similar molecular makeup creates complementary and unusual flavor combinations. In 1999, before starting to profile different ingredients, Heston Blumenthal famously began pairing white chocolate with caviar, a balance of flavors invented from pure imagination. Since, chefs have been on the hunt for crazy, unusual, and delicious food combinations.
Cooking With Spices and Other Unusual Food Pairings
Spices can be used to contrast with other flavors in a dish to bring out certain components of the other ingredients. Heston Blumenthal’s flavor profiling experiment, for example, found that licorice flavor is a great complement to a salmon dish. Pastry chefs have ...continue reading
The Problem With Outdoor Dining
As the weather heats up, a light dinner outdoors and patio dining starts to become a more and more appealing idea. Hand-in-hand with eating outside comes the risk of bugs on food, possibly the most unappetizing scenario possible. An outdoor restaurant and venues with patio dining should start to implement a plan for how to keep bugs away. By following a few simple strategies, the quality of the customer dining experience can be maintained when eating outside. Luckily, the solutions for how to keep bugs away include options that will not only help prevent bugs on food, but also improve the environment of patio dining.
How to Keep Bugs Away
There are many options for how to keep bugs away. None is 100% effective, so an outdoor restaurant or venue with patio dining should consider selecting and using a few methods simultaneously. The more methods implemented, the less bugs will be in the vicinity. One way to improve the outdoor dining ambience, while repelling bugs, is to light citronella candles. Citronella has a citrus-y smell, which people tend to love and bugs tend to hate. Having the candles on the dining table will help prevent bugs on food. Having ...continue reading
The Factors to Consider
Cutting board material can effect chef and cook performance, kitchen bacteria levels, and knife efficiency. A hard cutting board will get less grooves, harboring less bacteria, but tend to wear down knife sharpness. Just like with pizza pans, materials used for different purposes in the kitchen can impact the outcomes. With cutting boards, cutting board bacteria is the most important factor to take into account when selecting a material. The gentleness on knives and comfort of use are also important considerations. Plastic, wooden, bamboo, and glass cutting boards each have advantages and disadvantages.
Wooden Cutting Boards
Wooden cutting boards are arguably the best option for cutting board material. They tend to be soft on knives and relatively sanitary. Though with time, cutting will cause significant wear and the board will have to be replaced, this is not such a downside, since for purposes of preventing kitchen bacteria, boards must be switched on a semi-regular basis anyways. The wood that the board is made of can vary as well. A bamboo cutting board (not technically wood), has a similar feel to wooden cutting boards, but tends to be harder on knives. Since bamboo is a harder material than most wooden cutting boards, it scars less easily, lasting longer and minimizing nests for bacteria, while taking a toll on knife sharpness. Both bamboo and wooden cutting boards are great options for cutting board material.
Plastic Cutting Board
Plastic cutting boards are extremely comfortable to use. They can be easily washed and dried within seconds, whereas wooden cutting boards tend to retain water and therefore must be aired out well on a cutting board rack in between uses. A plastic cutting board tends to be harder on knives than wooden cutting boards and the scars that ...continue reading
The Electronic Menu
An electronic menu makes the most of technology and digital menu software available, making it simpler for customers to order and restaurant staff to accurately execute the orders. They allow the restaurant customers to be entertained while waiting for their food, and the business to change their menu or menu design at every whim. However, there are clear drawbacks to using an electronic menu, and the investment is unlikely to increase restaurant sales, making it critical for businesses to question whether they are a viable option. A menu expert or restaurant consultants may be able to figure out if tablet computer menus are right for a business, considering all the pros and cons that are involved.
During busy hours, service in bars and restaurants can get slow due to the specific demands and high volume of orders that restaurant customers have. Electronic menus eliminate the customer wait time for ordering. Restaurant customers can order whenever they want and type in their specific requests. The order will almost immediately reach the kitchen or bar, and the extra time it would have taken a waiter to get it there, is saved. This solution is ideal for rushed restaurant customers. Another benefit of the electronic menu is the ability for a business to constantly change menu design and content, for free, at every whim. While regular menus must be reprinted for each addition, digital menu software makes it easy to add, remove, and change menu items. Restaurant customers will be entertained by the games and programs available on an electronic menu, while waiting for their order to arrive. Awkwardness of blind dates will be alleviated, children will be occupied, and groups of friends will team up, to play games such as connect four, jeopardy, and angry birds, which can be added to an electronic menu in addition to the digital menu ...continue reading
Open kitchen restaurants are restaurants in which the kitchen area is exposed and diners are able to watch their meal being prepared. Especially with the recent public fascination with cooking, probably spurred by cooking shows on television, having an open kitchen restaurant design can be a great idea. Many customers will be thrilled to see how their meal is prepared, and work up an appetite just watching and smelling the culinary creations. Whether or not a customer knows how to cook, they will be fascinated to see the way a restaurant kitchen operates a facet of the business that is usually hidden behind a wall and swinging door. Open kitchen restaurants provide an extra level of entertainment for diners, but demand a high level of attention by restaurant employees, owners, and managers.
The design of open kitchen restaurants demands extra attention to be placed on the restaurant kitchen. Will it be at the center of the dining area or off to the side? The aesthetic appeal of the kitchen will have to be high. Restaurant kitchens usually maximize ease ...continue reading
Connections between Organic Food and an Organic Cocktail
Beer is made of barley or wheat, wine is made from grapes, vodka is usually made from potatoes, rum is made from sugarcane products, and whiskey is made from barley, rye, wheat, or corn. The suppliers of the raw ingredients are usually the agricultural industry. Therefore, the same concerns about pesticides and enhancers, being used in produce, are applicable to most types of alcohol as well. And the same benefits of organic food apply to the organic cocktail. Organic restaurants and businesses concerned with sustainable food should look into the alcohol options available to stock the bar. Home brewers and cocktail lovers should consider the benefits of organic for themselves and the environment, and may opt for an organic cocktail next time around.
Green Cocktails and Business
Many companies, such as American Harvest, Tru Organic (vodka and gin), Crusoe (rum), and Slow Hand (whiskey), offer organic spirits to use as a base for a green cocktail. Many bars across the world have begun offering highly artisanal cocktails, using organic ingredients. Blending in flavors from herbs and fruits either while mixing the organic cocktails or allowing its flavors to infuse the alcohol and using it to stock the bar for later use, allows organic food to be used to create a green cocktail. Consumers around the world have made “going green” a top concern and offering an organic cocktail menu that caters to their concerns will draw them as customers. Organic beverages in general can be a great product to stock the bar with. Using fresh ingredients and organic spirits from smaller companies (since most of them are still relatively small) in an organic cocktail, can raise the quality of the drink. Bartenders should sample a small glass of the organic spirits before mixing the cocktail, to ensure the flavor and quality match up to the non-organic counterparts. Once the organic spirits have been deemed worthy of being mixed and sold to customers, a business can start ...continue reading
Culinary Trends and Fish
Various culinary trends predictions for 2013 have stated that non-traditional types of fish will make their way onto more and more menus throughout the year. Branzino, Arctic Char, and Barramundi are a few types that are gaining widespread popularity. Their abundance makes them top candidates for fish dishes, by keeping their prices relatively low (though pricing depends on many other factors as well). Their versatile preparation methods and flavoring options make them ideal for vegetarian entrées (for those vegetarians who eat fish) or lighter entrée options.
Why is sustainable fish such a big deal? With global warming, the temperatures of bodies of water are rising, becoming less ideal for many types of fish, and causing their numbers to decrease. Fish farming allows the industry to artificially create the optimal conditions for fish to grow, regulating the prices and availability of those fish in the market. Some consumers are hesitant to purchase such fish, due to the use of antibiotics to keep the fish healthy. However, suppliers that raise fish by fish farming, specifically for the purpose of being consumed, are providing sustainable fish, in contrast to fishing from the dwindling numbers in natural bodies of water. Branzino, Arctic Char, and ...continue reading
Why Would Customers Want Smaller Portion Size?
With millions facing tough financial times in the United States, and the many initiatives raising awareness about healthy eating habits, cheap healthy foods are in high demand. The challenge in healthy eating is that many healthy foods are not made of cheap ingredients. A smaller portion size gives restaurants and food businesses a solution of how to save money on food while being able to promote healthy eating by offering meals with portion control. The benefit for the customer is the option to purchase cheap restaurant meals compared to the previous prices. Though a typical restaurant cannot be called a healthy restaurant, even the fattiest dish is healthier when consumed in a small portion size. By cutting the portion size of at least some of the dishes on the menu, restaurants can offer cheap restaurant meals despite the ongoing food price increase.
How to Cut Down Portion Size
Businesses looking to reduce portion size to control restaurant price increase, can advertise their initiative, but the customer should never feel like he/she is lacking something from the dining experience by purchasing cheap restaurant meals with portion control. One way restaurants can do this is by offering the meals on the same size plates as large portion size meals, while putting thought into the food presentation so that the dish looks impressive and satisfying. ...continue reading
The Uses of a Pizza Peel
We all know the feeling of trying to quickly pull something out of the oven, while barely touching it, to avoid getting burnt or burning the food item. Such strategies usually end in one of three ways: the dish will fall, you will get burnt, or you will realize the strategy is fruitless and resort to plan B. Pizza peels are a great plan B where making pizza is concerned, and with proper placement and forethought when buying the pizza peel, it will become the first thing you reach for when trying to pull pizza or focaccia out of an oven. Pizza peels come in a few varieties and shapes. Picking one that suits your pizza oven will make the whole process of removing pizza from the oven, painless.
How to Choose Your Pizza Peel
The first factor to take into consideration, when selecting a pizza peel, is the type of pizza oven you will be using. A pizza peel with rounded edges is optimal for maneuvering pizzas in wood fired pizza ovens. A square pizza peel will make it easy to remove and move around pizzas in a rectangular restaurant pizza oven or home pizza oven. Another factor to consider is the material the pizza peel is made of. A wooden pizza peel is great because it will not stick to raw dough, or wear out knives and pizza wheels when the pizza is cut, unlike metal pizza peels. Their downside is that wooden pizza peels may get burn spots over time due to the high heat of the pizza oven. Metal pizza peels are thinner than wooden pizza peels, though, making it easier to remove the pizza from a stone pizza oven using the metal pizza peels.
Is it Worth Investing in a Pizza Peel?
Pizza peels are a great option for keeping a pizza intact and ...continue reading
Catering to the Bride and Groom (and Dozens of Other Involved Individuals)
Wedding catering is possibly one of the most exciting, yet stressful, types of event catering. It is an opportunity for chefs to implement their most creative, high-level catering ideas, with an elegance that is rarely matched in most types of event catering. The opportunity to make a major life occasion so much more memorable, for a couple and their guests, is both the icing on the cake and the source of high pressure, for wedding catering. A caterer will have to offer catering ideas to the hosts, but deal with their every whim and desire. Sometimes the bride’s family and the groom’s family will not be able to come to an agreement about the set-up, styles of service, or catering menu, and it is the caterer’s burden to try to appease both parties. How to cater a wedding is no simple matter. Many factors need to be considered in order to plan all facets of the event.
Event Catering, the Whole Package?
In some weddings, the catering service handles the table décor, in addition to the food. In others, the event planner, or hosting families organize the table settings. Elegant tableware is ...continue reading