Brought to you by PerformanceFoodService.com Home| About

14 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" »

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" »

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" »

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" »

October 15, 2014

The Ramen Trend: What You Need To Know

A steamy bowl of ramen noodlesIf you’ve ever been a poor struggling student, you already know about living on a cup of ramen noodles to make that dollar stretch. Heck, even a pack of gum costs more than those crispy, curly bricks. But these days, ramen is a whole ‘nother cup of noodles. 

Ramen restaurants focused on full-flavored broths and fresh ingredients—including the noodles—are new showplaces for a chef’s talent. It’s thought that ramen began in China and spread to Japan in the nineteenth century. Noodle shops are ubiquitous in Japan but most folks credit David Chang, the famous New York chef and restaurateur, for introducing the concept of a high-end noodle shop to America. Chang opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York in 2004—and within 10 years, the noodle bar concept, built around ramen, has spread across the country.

Continue reading "The Ramen Trend: What You Need To Know " »

September 22, 2014

Nature's Liquid Gold: Honey

Honey ImageWhether you’re using the word “honey” to describe a golden syrup or Winnie the Pooh’s favorite food, the word just sounds good, doesn’t it? Last time we looked no one was calling anyone “agave” as a term of endearment. 

September is National Honey Month. We know from our history lessons on the internet that honey has been a crowd pleaser since ancient days, long before Honey Boo Boo twirled onto the stage. (The name “honey” for a girl has jumped in popularity in the last two years, according to some sources. Coincidence? We think not.)

Continue reading "Nature's Liquid Gold: Honey" »

December 16, 2013

Sour Hits the Sweet Spot in Beer

What would sweet-and-sour chicken be without the sweet? Or hot and sour soup without the hot.

That’s right. Sour.

On the other hand, there is sour cream. Sour Patch Kids. Grapefruit. So, maybe sour isn’t, well, all sour.

Especially if you’re talking about beer.

Sour beers are the newest passion of craft brewers, which falls into the everything-old-is-new-again category. Sour beer is one of the oldest, if not the oldest style of beer-making. “The Belgians invented this style called lambics,” says Bill St. John, a wine writer and educator in Chicago, who has an interest in the style because of his Belgian heritage. “It’s an ancient way of making beer, using wild yeast from the air.”

Continue reading "Sour Hits the Sweet Spot in Beer" »

October 29, 2013

The Wheels on the (Food) Truck Go Round and Round Part II

Josh Wolkon
Josh Wolkon / denverpost.com

In our last blog, we talked about the food truck and how it’s opening new markets in the foodservice industry. This time we look at why a well-established restaurateur with three brick-and-mortar restaurants would want to take to the streets. We e-chatted with Josh Wolkon, who has three vastly different food concepts at his three highly successful restaurants in Denver: Steuben’s (comfort food), Ace (Asian-inspired), and Vesta Dipping Grill (fine dining). Wolkon helped to launch the industry in Denver in a big way when he hopped on board the Steuben’s food truck.

 

Continue reading "The Wheels on the (Food) Truck Go Round and Round Part II" »