Monthly Archives: March 2015

  1. Are you a Slicer or a Chopper?

    Are you a Slicer or a Chopper?

    If you’re a chef looking for a particular kind of knife, one big factor of your selection is how you like to use your knife. Some chefs prefer to slice things, while others prefer chopping. The purpose of either cut is the same, to cut a narrow piece off of a larger one, but the way it is done is very different.

    Let’s say you want to chop an onion. First, cut a section of it so that it can rest flat on the cutting board surface. Hold the onion with your non-knife hand, keeping your fingertips away.  Bring the knife near the hand holding the onion and rest the side of the blade against your knuckles. The entire blade is off the board.

    Your knuckles are going to serve as a guide to how much you will chop off the onion with each stroke. Press the knife down and slightly forward to chop, then bring the knife back up. That’s chopping.

    Slicing is very similar to chopping, but with important differences. The food and the hand holding the food are done in the same way, but the way the knife moves is different. In slicing, the tip of the knife rests against the cutting board and the side of the blade rests against your knuckles. Pull the blade backward keeping the tip on the board until the blade slices partially into the food. Then press down and forward using the full length of the blade until your slice is complete. Repeat the action while keeping the tip of the knife on the board at all times. The knife will make a circular motion.

    Chopping is more seen with Asian forms of cooking, where their style of knives is more suited to lifting and dropping. Slicing is what you probably learned in cooking school. Either technique gives you the same result, but which one do you prefer? Let us know!

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  2. Learn how to cut Chiffonade

    Learn how to cut Chiffonade

    The proper use of knives is a fundamental cooking skill. One of the things that sets home cooks apart from chefs are their knife skills. In this post, you’re going to learn about the chiffonade cut, a decorative cut that is excellent for turning leafy vegetables and herbs into attractive garnishes and soup ingredients.

    The word chiffonade means “made of rags” and turns leaves into thin ribbons. The basic procedure is this:

    • Take your leaves and stack them into a neat pile. About ten will do. If you’re cutting a large leafy vegetable like kale, cut out the center stem first.
    • Roll the leaves into a tight cigar shape, then roll it so the seam is against the cutting board
    • Take your sharpest knife and slice across the rolled leaves. The finer the slices, the finer the final garnish will be. If you’re cutting for soup, go with larger slices.
    • Fluff up the chiffonade and use immediately.

    Chiffonade vegetables and herbs are best used immediately. The cutting technique causes the edges to quickly darken. The technique is best suited for broad-leaved plants that can roll well. It would be very difficult to try this cut with something like parsley, which has a very irregular leaf. You can even chiffonade unexpected things like crepes. This goes great in savory soups as an unexpected treat.

    The key to a good chiffonade is good rolling and thin slicing with a sharp knife. If you need a knife or a sharpener, well, you know where to turn to! Take a look at our stock at Restaurant Supply.

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  3. Maintaining Your Commercial Ice Machine Without Mechanical Knowledge

    Maintaining Your Commercial Ice Machine Without Mechanical Knowledge

    Your restaurant ice machine tirelessly works in the background, churning out pound upon pound of ice to your servers, bartenders, and staff.  If you’ve got no mechanical aptitude, what are the three biggest things that you can do to help keep it running?

    Read the manual

    The single most important thing that you can do to help the function of any mechanical item like a commercial ice machine is to read the owner’s manual.  Here, you can find operational parameters for the machine as well as recommended maintenance schedules and other useful items.  This is the lifeline to the machine, and should be read from cover to cover.

    Observation

    Look at the machine.  Take in the sounds and the meter readings.  Are these readings coming out a little high?  Is the machine making sounds that you’ve never heard before?  Is it sounding a little clunky when it’s dumping ice, or is the ice that your ice machine is producing not up to par?  That might be the indication that there’s a problem brewing… you might want to schedule a service appointment.

    Cleaning

    After you’ve read your manual, you’ve got a good idea of the cleaning substances that you can use for your commercial ice machine.  It’s time to put in the elbow grease and get the inside of your ice machine bin cleaned out and sanitized.  With a sanitized bin, you’re preventing all types of nasties from getting a hold of your ice machine.

    While we do understand that the owner’s manual for ice machines are boring, it helps to have a good understanding of how the machine runs so that you can observe it and clean it.  These three tips will help you get far.

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  4. When is it Time to Upgrade your Equipment?

    When is it Time to Upgrade your Equipment?

    Your old equipment has served you well, but when do you know it’s time to upgrade your equipment? Most restaurants can’t afford to wait until a piece of equipment breaks completely for a big item, and replacing smallwares can be tricky. Here are some things to look for that tell you that it’s time to update.

    1. Spending too much on repairs

    Most restaurants have a service contract for their larger equipment. If you’re calling that service line a lot, it may be time to look for a replacement. All machinery will eventually wear out and need replacement. Talk with your service tech to see if there might be a better option than waiting for that new compressor. Again.

    1. Changing concept

    Restaurant concepts can change over time in subtle ways. Perhaps you’ve attracted a different sort of clientele that would appreciate different place settings. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon a new dish that will need different smallwares to reach presentation perfection. This is also a sign to upgrade.

    1. Cookware wearing out

    The term smallwares also includes all of the cooking and baking vessels your cooks use. If your pots and pans are getting banged up it can affect how well they can cook the food.

    1. More efficient cooking

    You will also receive better cooking efficiency by upgrading or expanding your equipment. You may just need more space to cook, or want to branch into a form of cooking that needs specialized equipment.

    New equipment is coming out all the time, equipment which can make your cooking experience much smoother or more efficient.  By studying your options, you will be able to get the most for your restaurant supply needs.

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  5. Don't Make your Bar Messy. Get a Bar Caddy!

    Don't Make your Bar Messy. Get a Bar Caddy!

    A bar needs more than just alcohol and a bunch of glasses. There are a lot of specialized items that are necessary for a good bar from glass washers to bottle coolers. But there’s a humble product that every bar needs, and that’s a bar caddy.

    A bar caddy is a simple piece of equipment that holds things like napkins, coasters, and stirring rods. A typical bar will go through many of these a night. Having them in one spot makes bar operations easy and efficient.

    Another type of bar caddy is a bar condiment holder. Cocktails sometimes need a garnish of some kind to complete the drink. A martini isn’t the same without the olive! A bar condiment holder organizes items like lime and lemon wedges, maraschino cherries, and martini olives in one location. Several of our models are chilled to keep condiments fresh.

    The costs of these items depends on several factors. A chilled compartment costs more than an unchilled one. A larger compartment costs more than a smaller one, and more compartments also costs more. Bar caddies can be made of plastic or of stainless steel. Fortunately, most bar caddies will run you under $100 and many are under $50. Only extremely high-end models like the San Jamar Ultimate Garnish Center will run higher.

    When your bar is busy, you don’t want to end up hunting all over the refrigerator for your lemons, limes, olives, and other garnishes. Keep them all in one place with one of our bar caddies. Your efficiency will go up and your bartender will be much happier.

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  6. Don't Let Fish Mingle! Get a Fish Refrigerator

    Don't Let Fish Mingle! Get a Fish Refrigerator

    Do you run a seafood restaurant? Then you know what can happen when the flavors of fish mingle. It’s not very good. Have you ever wondered if there’s a fridge that can hold your crushed ice and fish in an efficient and sanitary manner?  The Continental Refrigerator Fish File Refrigerator can do that for you.

    The fish file refrigerator has a number of compartments (depending on the model that you purchase) which holds fish between 38-40 degrees. These compartments are specially made for holding your fish on crushed ice. It’s much like a set of drawers for blueprints, except you’re holding fish instead. These compartments do more than just keep fish cold. They also keep different types of fish away from each other so that the flavors do not mix. This is very important for restaurants that use a lot of seafood, like a sushi restaurant, which would otherwise have a walk-in freezer with all sorts of seafood mingling.

    So, if you’re stuck wondering about a solution that can keep your fish chilled and not leave you high and dry, consider having a fish file refrigerator in your kitchen.  You'll have better-tasting and healthier fish, and your kitchen staff will love the new tool.

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  7. Keep Your Commercial Deep Fryer Busy With Anchovies

    Keep Your Commercial Deep Fryer Busy With Anchovies

    Anchovies, like liver and Brussels sprouts, are polarizing foods.  As one who adores the salty fish, it’s hard for me to watch friends and family spurn the little guys in favor of other meals.  Like most seafood, anchovies are fairly versatile – you can see the little guys showing up in your commercial deep fryer, commercial ovens, and on your salad prep tables.

    In most cases, the anchovy is used as a garnish.  It doesn’t take much, actually, to get the anchovy flavor into the mix. One or two in the blender when you’re making dressing to get a suitable Caesar salad.  They’re also famously seen in many Italian dishes.

    23 Anchovy Recipes from Huffington Post

    • When you’re using anchovies in your meals, it’s best to minimize the salt that it’s been packed in.  Just a little while in a bowl of water will get rid of the excess salt.
    • A little anchovy in a pot of beef stew will give the stew a little bit more depth and it will keep your guests guessing what the flavor is unless they're anchovy lovers.
    • Our favorite is to use anchovies with pasta and other fish dishes.  The boost that you’ll get is absolutely amazing. You have to be careful – it can take over the whole show.

    Fried anchovies would make a delicious appetizer to your customers in an Italian restaurant.  As it’s a polarizing food, people are either going to love it or hate it, but those who love it will be customers for life.

    Fried Anchovies with Salbixtada Sauce

    Your customers expect you to come up with new menu items and change it up every now and again.  Why not keep your commercial deep fryer busy with some anchovies?

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  8. Are You Choosing the Right CAC China For Your Restaurant?

    Are You Choosing the Right CAC China For Your Restaurant?

    Presentation makes all the difference in the world.  If the plate is way too small, then it will look like you’ve overcrowded on your portion size.  If you’ve gone too large, then the customer will wonder what you’ve done with the other half of the meal, even if you’re overstuffing them.  The right piece of CAC China is waiting for you.

    How do you choose the right CAC China plates for you?

    Well, this is where the décor of the restaurant and your menu intersect.  You’d want something that goes with the theme and feeling of your restaurant, of course.  If you’re feeding them down-home messy barbeque, you probably don’t want to be using china!

    Then again, if you’re serving them high-end meals, you don’t want to be serving them on paper plates.  No, the best way to determine that is to think of other restaurants which may be in your niche.  How do they serve their food?  Do you even notice the plate?

    If you don’t notice the plate or hadn’t noticed the plate until we started talking about it, then they probably have the right ones for most of their dishes.  If you seriously notice it, then it’s probably the wrong one.

    Choosing the right CAC China plates comes down to research and experimentation.  Choose the ones that are right for you.  See if you’re able to get just a few of different sizes to see how well they perform for you.

    Remember that it all comes down to presentation and style.  It’s all in your hands.

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  9. NRA Kitchen Innovation Awards

    NRA Kitchen Innovation Awards

    The National Restaurant Association recently held its 2015 Kitchen Innovation Awards.  These awards reward those pieces of equipment and systems that help restaurateurs show a dynamic improvement and a productivity increase.

    Many of the winners were in the water industry.  Water costs are significant in restaurants, as water is being drained from the system through dish washing, customer needs, and cooking.  Coming up with new innovations really helps the bottom line.

    Champion Industries was able to make the grade with its Food Waste Reduction System that re-purposes gray water.  The daily water consumption is dropped between 20-30%.

    The EnviroPure Systems Ozone Recirculation System claims that it can save up to 400 gallons of water every day.  It is able to use the food scraps to further promote anaerobic digestion in the water.

    The Ice Link system is one of the neatest systems that comes in handy for hotel operations and huge commercial ice operations.  It is able to transport cubed and nugget ice to remote locations within the same building.  This particular system would be a boon to those who had to have low-volume ice machines in certain areas.

    The Kitchen Innovation Awards are an opportunity for the National Restaurant Association to show off some of the best of the best.  Find out more about the winners here.

    We’re receiving new items in our inventory all the time.  The best thing to do is to go to Restaurant Supply and look around.

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  10. Choosing the Right Rice

    Choosing the Right Rice

    Commercial rice cookers aren’t just for Asian buffets.  You can find Latin American, Middle Eastern, and African dishes that have rice as part of the menu. In fact, there are about 40,000 different types of rice!

    Not only are there different types of rice, but there are different types of rice cookers. Knowing which one to select begins with with your rice choice.

    Let’s take a look at some of the main types of rice that you can find for your restaurant.

    Brown Rice

    In brown rice, you will find that only the hull of the grain has been removed.  Brown rice is chewy and is somewhat reminiscent of eating chick peas.  Brown rice is great for getting essential vitamins and minerals.

    Parboiled Rice

    Before milling the ‘raw’ rice, the rice is steamed so that each grain is firmer and separate.  It’s great for those who love to have fluffy rice instead of the sticky rice that’s on the market.  It’s very useful for Hispanic dishes.

    White Rice

    White rice is rough rice which has been milled until only the inner while part can be seen.  This removes all of the nutrients and the other good parts from the rice, leaving something which is waiting for your flavors to be added to it.

    When you think about cooking rice, you can cook it in a pot, or if you choose, you can cook it in a commercial rice cooker.  The rice cooker is able to cook the rice perfectly every time.  Here is a small guide which may help you choose a commercial rice cooker.

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