Oct 17, 2017, 22:31

Incorporating Mediterranean Produce on U.S. Menus

By Eric Stein, M.S., R.D.

food1_may10Tis the season for incorporating a wealth of Mediterranean-origin fruits and vegetables in menu development.

The spring season brings a major increase in the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to markets around the country. Some examples of produce that come into harvest in the spring include artichokes, cardoons, citrus, fennel, an assortment of greens and lettuces, spring onions and an array of different herbs. While many of these items are common on restaurant menus in the United States, throughout a variety of cuisines, they also share a common trait that most are also used extensively in the Mediterranean diet.

Essentials of Wine Pairing

By Edward Korry, CWE, CSS

Here’s what every wine server should know.

Service involves more than the step-by-step procedures of opening and pouring wine correctly; it includes suggesting wines that not only pair with the food being ordered, but also that guests will enjoy. That requires knowledge of how food and wines interact with each other so that both either taste the way their creators intended or are enhanced and includes being able to help quests with their selection.

J&W Takes First Place with Black, Blue and a Gold Standard

By Brent T. Frei

food4_april10The fourth-annual Student Culinology® Competition at RCA’s 2010 conference exemplified the blending of culinary art and food science.

An enthusiastic student team from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., took first-place honors, along with a $5,000 cash award and industry-wide recognition as rising stars in food-product development, at the fourth-annual Student Culinology® Competition, March 18 during the Research Chefs Association (RCA) 2010 conference & Culinology® Expo at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix. The award was presented at the 2010 RCA Annual Luncheon on March 20.

"Whole Health” to Guide the Way We Eat

By Brent T. Frei

food3_april10The keynoter at the recent RCA Conference & Culinology Expo also said lowering sodium will be the next big health issue among Americans, mushrooms are a vitamin D “powerhouse,” and not every olive oil offers equal benefits.

More than 1,200 attendees at this year’s Research Chefs Association Conference & Culinology Expo in Phoenix, March 17-20, heard keynoter Clare M. Hasler, Ph.D., executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Environmental Services at the University of California-Davis, speak to prevailing food trends as they pertain to health and wellness.

Hasler launched her presentation by looking back at past decades and Americans’ attitudes toward nutrition and health. The 1950s approach was prayer; the 1960s were marked by support groups and cabbage soup to aid weight loss. Diet pills reigned in the 1970s, and the Scarsdale Diet in the 1980s. We watched our fat consumption in the 1990s, and switched to counting carbs in the early-2000s. Americans today, Hasler said, are interested in whole-health eating: moving away from highly processed foods in lieu of whole foods.

The Casualization Trend

By Brent T. Frei

food2_april10Successful operations today communicate flavor, attitude and spirit, and are using less-expensive ingredients far more than before. Say hello to serving lunch on the loading dock, and goodbye to the toque.

At ACF’s Central Regional Conference in Indianapolis, March 26, Chef Gerry Ludwig of Gordon Food Service based in Grand Rapids, Mich., presented on the “megatrend” of casualization, particularly “upscaled flavor with humble ingredients,” to a packed room.

Ludwig’s chief job is to analyze consumer dining trends. “It’s a huge misconception that half of all meals are in foodservice,” he said. “Nearly three-quarters of all meals are prepared at home.” In 2009, only 19% of meals were served in foodservice outlets, according to NPD Group. “If you’re a full-service restaurant, the number of times a diner chooses places like yours is very infrequent.”