by Maggie Shea, Chef Magazine
American foodservice, retailers and consumers discard more than 96 billion pounds of good food each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Despite many American diners' insistence for super-size portions at deep discounts, the troubled economy of the past two years has forced many restaurant operators to re-evaluate the need to serve a 16-ounce steak with a 9-ounce side dish. By offering smaller portion sizes and portioning out sides and toppings more efficiently, restaurants can save on food costs and diminish their overall food waste. Here, Chef's editors have rounded up some of the companies that have taken the work out of preportioning proteins, sides and toppings.
Cuisine Solutions offers a line of chef-created, fully cooked and pasteurized frozen food for foodservice. Cuisine Solutions has perfected the sous-vide cooking technique, a method whereby food is hermetically sealed, slow-cooked and pasteurized under precise temperatures in its natural juices. The pressure of the vacuum-packing infuses the herbs and spices deep into proteins, resulting in intense flavors and succulent, tender textures. The sealed cooking process creates products with 10 to 15 percent more moisture content than conventional cooked items. Products include a variety of preportioned fish and seafood items, flavored chicken breast and roulade, duck confit, beef and veal, pork, lamb, pasta dishes, vegetable preparations and a variety of classical and ethnic sauces--all with multiple reheating options. (Pictured: braised beef top blade in red wine and beer.) The 18-month shelf life of items allows storage of Cuisine Solutions products in your freezer. Visit www.cuisinesolutions.com, and click on the Professional tab.
The foodservice division of Hormel Foods has introduced Always Tender Oven Roasted Pork, fully cooked boneless, center-cut loins and tenderloins. Always Tender Oven Roasted Pork eliminates the worry of overcooking the notoriously lean pork loin by using a proprietary cook process that results in consistently tender and juicy pork. The product gives operators the time to create exciting and unique pork dishes such as Thai pork quesadillas (pictured, below), grilled pork chops with blue cheese and ginger and pomegranate-glazed pork. Additionally, pork offers a cost-effective and leaner alternative to beef. For more information, visit www.hormelfoods.com.
The Marzetti Foodservice family of products for restaurant use offers a variety of single-serve sizes, as well as bulk packaging. Marzetti sauces and dressings come in gallon, pouch and cup options, depending on operator needs in a variety of flavors from full-bodied, rich, tangy to lightly sweet, fat-free and light dressings. Marzetti's Slaw Dressing has a smooth, creamy homemade flavor great for potato salad recipes, macaroni salad and deviled eggs. Mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue and other sauces provide toppings for your specialty dishes. Marzetti Frozen Pasta Inc. has expanded for foodservice applications into a wide variety of convenient precooked products that save time and labor. Preparation with precooked products is fast, easy, convenient and with little or no waste. Remove just the amount you need from the freezer, drop in boiling water to thaw for approximately 30 seconds, and it's ready to serve. Marzetti products are made from the finest ingredients and then frozen fresh resulting in pasta that looks fresher and tastes better. Visit www.marzettifoodservice.com.
Kettle Cuisine Foodservice offers a range of soups, chilis and chowders in sizes ranging from bulk to cups with flavor and nutrition profiles to meet all your customers' tastes and needs. Timeless and regional favorites as well as globally influenced flavors satisfy any palate. (Pictured: Hungarian Mushroom soup with fresh mushrooms, Kettle Cuisine beef stock, light cream, sour cream, dill, Hungarian paprika and Madeira wine.) Kettle Cuisine also offers vegetarian, dairy- and gluten-free, organic, low fat and everyday wellness options for those with special dietary requests. Additionally, Kettle Cuisine recently rolled out a newly expanded suite of product information and product promotion tools, including an ingredient and nutritional information nutrient content matrix, product specification sheets, countertop promotional signs and menu/calendar templates. Visit www.kettlecuisine.com/foodservice.
Chef John Hubschman was an executive chef in fine-dining restaurants for 20 years before launching Epicurean Butter six years ago to offer a line of infused butters, combining grade AA butter with all-natural ingredients using proprietary recipes. The compound butters come in spreadable form in tubs, as well as in preportioned coins and logs for time and cost savings. Operators can choose from a variety of sweet flavor profiles, including sweet cinnamon, orange honey and honey pecan, or savory flavors, such as balsamic peppercorn, chimichurri, black truffle, Chardonnay shallot and Tuscan herb.
The butters have a three-month refrigerated shelf life and nine-month frozen shelf life for extended storage needs. For more information, including serving suggestions, visit www.epicureanbutter.com.