Brought to you by PerformanceFoodService.com Home| About

21 posts categorized "Passion for Food"

January 3, 2018

Increase Check Averages with Mocktails

By Piet Jones

Mocktails_inlineJanuary can be a rough month for restauranteurs.  After the excess of the holiday season, people can be stretched a little thin and less likely to go out for a nice meal.  Then you take a closer look at those who are coming out and you’re likely to find a bit of a surprise - lower check averages. For any restaurant already operating on thin margins this can be worrisome, especially when you see a big chunk of the decrease is showing up in alcohol sales.  

Fortunately, there’s another trend on the rise that was hot in 2017 and looks to be even hotter in 2018 - mocktails.  Born from the craft cocktail craze and bolstered by booming sales of drinks like LaCroix, mocktails are a great way to maintain your check average even when your customers are refraining from indulgences.  Sure, you could just carry flavored seltzers, but making your own alcohol free drinks isn’t that hard and adds a little cachet to your offerings.

Continue reading "Increase Check Averages with Mocktails" »

May 30, 2017

Butter is Better

Shutterstock_250461964

By Piet E. Jones

The five mother sauces - Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Sauce Tomat, Hollandaise. The basis for French cooking that has influenced international cuisine for generations. Learn these, as nearly every chef does very early in their career, and you have a skill that will allow you to imitate or pioneer most any dish. Once the base was made, one could modify or enhance any of them to fit the dish they were intended for - be it a thyme infused Béchamel for the perfect mac-n-cheese or spicing up your eggs with a Sriracha Hollandaise. These were the sauces that set apart the truly great dishes from the might have beens. Or at least they used to be. 

Continue reading "Butter is Better" »

December 16, 2016

Lehja Holiday Traditions

LehjaBy: Piet E. Jones, Photography by Brooke Marsh

We all know the scene, little Ralphie and his family from A Christmas Story eating Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant to most everyone involved’s amusement. There’s even a bit of a real life tradition of going out to Chinese restaurants for Christmas dinner. Some restaurants, though, have a little difficulty making their cuisine relevant to the American holiday season.

One person who doesn’t is Sunny Baweja, executive chef and co-owner of critically acclaimed Indian restaurant, Lehja, in Richmond, VA. “Indians celebrate every event and food drives you together,” says Sunny who embraces the concept fully.

Sure, there is no tradition of Thanksgiving in India, but the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated very close on the calendar and being a time to celebrate friends and cherish family, is an easy cultural translation. This year, as part of Richmond’s Fire, Flour and Fork food festival, Sunny hosted a Kiss My Indian Grits brunch leading up to Thanksgiving where he strives to “break habits” and show that Indian cuisine doesn’t have to be “static.” Traditionally Southern dishes, popular around the holidays, like biscuits and gravy or shrimp and grits translate easily into Lamb Khari Bhaji (using lamb from a local farm) or Shrimp with Vegetable Umpa Cake - a semolina variation on grits.

Continue reading "Lehja Holiday Traditions" »

March 21, 2016

James Beard Nominee Spotlight: Tyler Anderson

Chef_tylerHaving cut his teeth in Chicago, learning his craft from the likes of the late Charlie Trotter and two-time James Beard Award winner, Sarah Stegner, people expected a lot from Tyler Anderson. And the Best Chef, North East Division, semifinalist for the 2016 James Beard has lived up to those expectations.

Striking out on his own in 2012, Chef Tyler opened up Millwright’s in Simsbury, CT, and set to work celebrating New England cuisine. Inside this 17th century sawmill, he focuses on reviving regionally traditional techniques and ingredients to create dishes that are both nostalgic and fresh. - PEJ

Continue reading "James Beard Nominee Spotlight: Tyler Anderson" »

February 8, 2016

Fat Tuesday Traditions

 

Chargrilled oysters from New Orleans Creole Cookery
You can't visit the Crescent City without trying some Char-Grilled Oysters from New Orleans Creole Cookery.

Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.  No matter what you call it, this celebration of indulgence, the last day before the fasting season of Lent, has become something of a cultural phenomenon enjoyed by all, religious and non-religious alike.  And, like St Patrick’s Day when everyone becomes Irish, on Fat Tuesday we all channel a little bit of Cajun into ourselves.

In New Orleans, the epicenter of it all, the celebration starts well before Fat Tuesday itself.  One of the oldest restaurants in New Orleans, Antoine’s, founded in 1840 and the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller in 1899, should be on every visitor’s agenda for the week, but plan your visit carefully.  Each day, from Hermes Friday to Proteus Monday (named for the krewe leading the parade for the day) might be booked for a special luncheon or dinner by the day’s lead krewe.  And Fat Tuesday itself?  Forget it.  The Mistick Krewe of Comus, the oldest of all the krewes, has for decades sent its 220 members there for a traditional dinner of Oysters Rockefeller and Filet de Boeuf en Brochette Marchand de Vin - prime tenderloin tips in a red wine sauce that serves as a nod to the French origins of both the city and the holiday - before marching out to officially close the festivities.

Continue reading "Fat Tuesday Traditions" »

December 22, 2015

2016 Food Trends

Korean food will be popular in 2016
As we approach the end of 2015, we have to admit this has been an interesting year for food. Labeling regulations have inspired restaurateurs to take a fresh look at their menus. The search for fresh, new flavors has inspired crazy concoctions like a Bloody Mary topped with a slider, bugs packed as snacks, black hamburgers for Halloween, and cotton candy grapes in mainstream grocery stores. With all the happenings of 2015 in mind, here are our trend predictions for 2016.

Continue reading "2016 Food Trends" »

August 10, 2015

Greek Food Showing Up On More Menus

Beet hummus is one of the latest Greek-inspired food trends. Greece may be making headlines these days for a lot more than yogurt, but that’s not stopping Greek food lovers from enjoying the fruits of Greek labor. From Greek wines to fanciful desserts, Greek food is enjoying a renaissance as part of the healthful benefits of a Mediterranean diet and the excitement over the long awaited sequel to a popular 2002 movie. Here’s where growth in this market is occurring:

Continue reading "Greek Food Showing Up On More Menus" »

May 15, 2015

Food Trends From the James Beard Awards Reception Gala

 

Braveheart foodcentric
Our chefs served about 1,300 porcini-roasted Braveheart Beef filets.

We’re settling back in from the glitz and glamour of the 2015 James Beard Awards in Chicago, Ill., that took place early last week. As a sponsor for the reception following the awards ceremony at the Lyric Opera, we sent Chef Derin Moore, CMC, and Chef Ron Warner to serve our Braveheart Black Angus Beef to more than a thousand hungry guests alongside a host of former James Beard award-winning restaurants. A few lucky members of the marketing team were able to ride on the coattails to foodie fame and pick up some food trends at the pre-event parties and the reception. Some of these themes just might inspire Spring and Summer menu items.

Continue reading "Food Trends From the James Beard Awards Reception Gala" »

April 24, 2015

Trend Report from Taste of Vail

Tov1
Photo credit: Zach Malone for Taste of Vail

In the mountain town of Vail, Colorado, there’s a ritual that has become a rite of spring for the last 25 years—the Taste of Vail. Distinguished from other food events by its mountaintop picnic, The Taste also features an American Lamb Cook-Off and a Grand Tasting. This year the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner, with national and local chefs, arrived in Vail in conjunction with the Taste. All the events were a good way to wake up winter dormant taste buds and find out what foods may be on everyone’s plate in the coming season.

Continue reading "Trend Report from Taste of Vail" »

December 16, 2014

Industry Trends That Make Great Gifts

Beer2014 was full of fresh trends and flavors. As we all know, restaurant trends start high-end and slowly make their way mainstream. Since gift season is in full swing, we’ve picked up a few trends that are still riding high on the style wave. They make great additions in restaurants, and, hint: they also make great gifts for restaurant professionals. If you’ve been stressing over what to get your favorite chef, barman or server, look no further.

 

Continue reading "Industry Trends That Make Great Gifts" »