How to Create a Gut-Friendly Catering Menu
For years, we thought of bacteria as organisms that are bad for us, even deadly. However, research has shown that the human body is loaded with “good bacteria,” which help us to digest food and contribute to our well-being. Serving “gut-friendly foods,” – foods that contain friendly bacteria that aid digestion and help to prevent certain diseases – is a big catering trend right now. Add these foods to your menu and your customers will appreciate the effort you make to help keep them healthy while they enjoy your tasty food.
What Are Gut Bacteria?
The gut is simply another word for our gastrointestinal system, which starts in the mouth and includes the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The gut is essential in sustaining and protecting the health of our bodies, starting with the intake and absorption of nutrients. The digestive process is the foundation for our body’s ability to function and stay healthy.
Roughly 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria live inside our gut, along with other tiny organisms, like viruses and fungi, which form the body’s “microbiome.” Every person has a unique microbiome, which is influenced by genes, as well as diet and lifestyle. Our gut bacteria line our digestive system and affect everything from our immune system and metabolism, to our moods and temperament. Gut bacteria help to break down the foods we eat and aid in the digestion of the nutrients that support our body’s functions, such as energy production, skin health, and mental health.
Continue reading How to Cater for Clients Who Want Gut-Friendly Foods
Salmon: Versatile, Nutritious, and Delicious
When it comes to foods that meet what are arguably the three most important criteria – taste, nutritional value, and ease of preparation – salmon heads the list. Salmon is delicious, it just about cooks itself, and it has more health benefits than we can keep track of. Salmon is also super-versatile – it can be baked, broiled, grilled, and poached, and with so little work on your part, it never fails to be delicious.
All About Salmon
Salmon is an outstanding and unusual fish; outstanding because it’s incredibly tasty, and unusual because both fish lovers and non-fish lovers tend to like it. It’s a fatty, succulent fish with plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, plus a big dose of protein, and an abundance of vitamins. It’s readily available all year round, and, even the most inexperienced (or lazy) cook can prepare it in no time.
Salmon is the common name for fish in the order Salmoniformes. Salmon are “anadromous,” which means that most types of this fish are born in fresh water, migrate to the salt water of the open sea, and then return to fresh water to reproduce, or “spawn.” After living for years at sea, salmon travel a long-distance home to return to the river in which they were born in order to spawn. After spawning, all Pacific salmon, and about half of the other species, die within a few weeks. The salmon that do not die can spawn two or three more times.
Continue reading Salmon: Loaded with Nutrients and Flavor
Air Frying Transforms the Commercial Kitchen
Just about everyone loves fried food and, as a caterer, one of your goals is to give people what they love. However, most people don’t love the calories and the dubious health benefits of fried foods, such as onion rings, French fries, or even fish (which at least has the advantage of being a protein). So what’s a caterer to do? Enter the air fryer: the caterer’s road to making everyone happy.
What is an Air Fryer?
If orange is the new black, air may be the new oil. With an air fryer, you can cook food with the help of circulated heated air, producing tasty and healthier dishes with a lot less oil. We won’t pretend that air frying replicates exactly the heavenly crispy-crunchy texture of deep frying, but with just a tablespoon of oil, French fries, chicken, fish, and vegetables do achieve the yearned for goal: crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and a great taste.
Continue reading Offer Your Customers Healthier Foods with an Air Fryer
Pâté: The Next Best Thing is Here
When it comes to catering trends, the phrase, “what goes around comes around,” is particularly meaningful and relevant. The culinary pendulum is in constant swing and what goes out of style one year is bound to become the trend of the moment a decade or two later. Wait long enough and tried-and-true buffet staples, like pâté, start showing up again at catered events, with a few twists and turns that make them a dish so right for our times. The classic French favorite, pâté, as well as various modern interpretations, are now a trendy item that can showcase a caterer’s skills.
What is Pâté?
Pâté (pronounced pah-TAY) is French for “pie,” but we tend to refer to anything that is ground into a spreadable topping for crackers, or molded into a terrine, as pâté. It is often served baked in a crust (en croûte) but it is easier to simply serve the pâté mounded in a decorative way, so that guests can easily partake.
Continue reading The Revival of Pâté is a Welcome Trend for Caterers and Guests Alike
Homemade Condiments for the Trendy Caterer
As a caterer, you are always trying to set yourself apart from others in the industry with premium offerings that include the best ingredients. The goal is to differentiate your business from others with unique flavors and concepts that earn you a reputation for originality and quality. Offering homemade condiments is a way to give a specialized twist to common foods that people have in their refrigerators, giving an artisanal flare to old familiar flavors.
Homemade Condiments: Perfect for Caterers
While some home cooks may embrace the homemade trend, it’s still way easier for them to grab condiments off the supermarket shelf and store them for later use. Caterers, on the other hand, can whip up a batch of homemade condiments – to be used at a specific event – and not have to worry that it won’t last forever in the refrigerator. Store-bought condiments are loaded with sugar and chemicals, which make them long lasting but not the healthiest of items. Making your own condiments may seem to hark back to the middle of the last century but, creatively, they are a big step forward in this age of health-conscious menus that stress natural ingredients.
Continue reading Learn How Caterers Can Benefit by Using Made-From-Scratch Condiments
Gluten-Free Catering Cuisines
Dining out in restaurants or eating at a catered affair can be a risky proposition for anyone who is restricted to a gluten-free diet. While many restaurants and caterers offer gluten-free options – along with other offerings that take into account various food intolerances and allergies – not all take the time to train staff about the dangers of food sensitivities and to ensure that those “free-from” items are also free from cross-contamination.
These days, however, given how many gluten-free products are available – including vegetables, meat, legumes, and flour alternatives, such as cornmeal and rice flour – chefs can offer menus that are entirely gluten free, making life for a caterer whose client has gluten-free demands much easier. Caterers can offer a wide range of gluten-free cuisines, many of which we’ll discuss here, such as Mexican, Thai, and Indian.
Continue reading How to Cater for Gluten-Free Customers
How to Minimize Food Waste in Commercial Kitchens
Food waste has long been an unfortunate byproduct of commercial kitchens – including both restaurant and catering kitchens. According to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), every year, roughly 40 million tons of wasted food is sent to landfills in the United States. At the same time, record numbers of Americans – about one in six – are receiving government food assistance. In the United States, organizations like the FWRA are taking on the challenges of food waste with the dual goal of shrinking our environmental footprint and addressing hunger in America. So, what can you do to reduce waste in your commercial kitchen? Read on.
What is Food Waste?
The sources of food waste are varied and many. Food waste is generated by consumers and the food-service industry (restaurants and catering companies, for instance), but it can also be a byproduct of manufacturing operations. Food waste is food that can be used again but that is instead sent to landfills. This food is thrown out because it looks weird and inedible; it was not eaten during a meal; or, it is unused and beginning to rot. Food waste amounts to the equivalent of about 20 pounds of wasted food per person per month in the U.S.; and in monetary terms, that’s about $1,000 of food waste per year per four-person family.
Continue reading How to Eliminate Food Waste in the Commercial Kitchen
A Guide to Takeout Containers
In today’s mobile society, even the most elegant restaurant has to be prepared for the takeout crowd. Today, smart restaurant owners make it easy to order and pay for takeaway food with the help of apps, smartphones, and online ordering systems. What this means, though, is that restaurants have to be stocked with all sorts of takeout containers.
Take-out containers have come a long way from the bulky white Styrofoam boxes of years gone by. In recent years, the demand for a new and improved travel food container has graced us with a variety of sizes, shapes, and uses. Today, containers come in all types of materials, shapes, and sizes – including reusable containers – and the trick is finding the right ones for your business.
Continue reading Choosing the Right Takeout Containers for Your Restaurant
Restaurant Health Department Inspections
Restaurant owners generally view a visit from the health inspector as an inconvenience – or worse – as opposed to an opportunity to learn. Most restaurant owners dread health inspections; however, as we previously discussed, preparing for these inspections means that there is no reason to fear the inspector’s visit. Proper food storage, careful personal hygiene, meticulous attention to cleanliness, ongoing training, and self-inspections are all part of the “before.” Now, we’ll talk about how you should act during, and after, the health-inspection process.
Frequency of Health Inspections
The more complex the food-service operation, the more often the health department will visit. A restaurant where meat and fish are prepared and served could be visited two or three times a year, whereas a coffee house or a small bakery will require inspections just once annually. However, other factors can affect the frequency of an inspector’s visit. If, for instance, you regularly receive low inspection scores, you can expect to be inspected up to four times a year. Similarly, if someone reports your establishment for a foodborne illness, or for substandard operating procedures, the health department is authorized to come out and inspect based on that complaint.
Continue reading Know How to Handle Restaurant Health Inspections
How to Work with Health Inspectors
How you interact with health inspectors can go a long way to securing the health of your customers and the reliability of your license to do business. If, as a restaurant owner or caterer, you view your local health inspector as a nemesis, the time has come for you to rethink this position. Health inspectors are not your enemy; if anything, they are your partners, and the goal is to work together to prevent foodborne illness and ensure your customers’ wellbeing.
Why Restaurant Inspections Are Important
Health inspections are not designed to cause stress to restaurant owners and caterers; rather, their goal is to ensure safety for your customers. According to Food Services of America, more than half of all foodborne illnesses are acquired from eating at restaurants. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that half of all produce has chemical contamination. Faced with these challenges, it makes sense that the food in restaurants and catering facilities should be stored, thawed, and cooked according to strict regulations, and that the kitchen, freezers, and storage areas kept sanitary and sterile.
Continue reading Train Staff to Always be Ready for a Health Inspection