It’s not uncommon for trends within the foodservice industry to start at the figurative “top” and work their way “down”.
Such is the case for sous vide cooking, which had its ground-breaking moments in fine dining establishments, and is now taking off in fast casual operations.
Sous Vide is French for “under vacuum” and it is the process by which some combination of protein, fruits, vegetables and spices is vacuum-packed in food-grade plastic. The packet is then submerged in a warm water bath for an extended period of time until its contents are cooked to the desired internal temperature.
This method of cooking fits perfectly in fast casual operations primarily because of its reliability. The sous vide method makes it easy to cook a high-quality dish repeatedly. This characteristic is especially important in operations that may experience high turnover, have a majority of part-time staff and/or minimal training resources.
For operations that have locations nationwide, sous vide is a great method because it provides a way for the operation to ensure the quality of its food across the board. One example of this comes from Chipotle, which sous vide cooks all of the meat for its barbacoa and carnitas in one central location and then ships the meat to its stores to be finished on the flattop grill before service. This process allows Chipotle to ensure that its meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature, without compromising a precise, pure and consistent flavor. Because the product is vacuum-packed before it’s cooked, it is also easy to ship.
In a market segment where signature flavor is also a huge point of differentiation, sous vide becomes a great tool. The reason is that the process eliminates several variables that can alter flavor. Once the food is vacuum-packed the only things that can influence the flavor are the ingredients in the packet. This measure of control practically guarantees that the flavor will be consistently pure, making it great for a company like Panera to use on its new menu items including steak, turkey and salmon for sandwiches.
Recognizing that a key component to a successful sous vide process is using the proper equipment, manufacturers like Vollrath and Randell have introduced products specifically designed for sous vide cooking.
Sous vide cooking is a burgeoning trend in fast casual dining. It’s a reliable, easy-to-teach cooking method that produces consistently high-quality product. Now that sounds like a recipe for success in any operation.
Better temperature control and stability. The FX Series can operate at any temperature setting between -5 and 40°F, allowing you to store a wide variety of food products. No other refrigeration system allows you to break through the refrigeration barrier to hold 32 degrees or hold precise temperature within +/- 2 degrees no matter the circumstances.
Food safety. The magnet-to-magnet seal of the lid to the insert locks cold air in while preventing attacks from warm, humid, and ambient air. This cuts down on spoilage, waste, and reduces the risk of bacterial contaminant which in turn boosts profit.
Energy efficiency. The evaporator coil and fans turn off when the unit is open, saving energy and preventing cold air from being pushed out. A single drawer unit only requires 3.9 amps to run even in the harshest environment.
Reliability. The FX Series chef base front breathing design prevents recycling of the exhausted hot air through the condenser allowing it to run 25 degrees cooler than traditionally designed condensing housings. Even in the hottest kitchens.
Strength. Our tops are designed with a 14 gauge solid core top that will accommodate all types of cooking equipment including chargrills, griddle, fryers and even combination ovens. The top is made with a marine edge that will structurally support up to 225 pounds per linear foot. More than enough for the heaviest pieces of cooking equipment.
Chef base measurements and size options on page 2 of this document.
Click here for more information on the FX Series.
Food safety is a primary concern for every area of the commercial kitchen, including the refrigerated storage area. Restaurant owners and managers clearly understand that their role in safeguarding against food borne illness is crucial. Promoting food safety can be expensive for an organization, but it pales in comparison to the costs associated with damages from an outbreak or fees from a low grade inspection. Restaurateurs and managers understand that they must train all food handlers and control all factors that can lead to food safety hazards and violations.
Here are a few ways the FX Series can save operators time, money, and help ease their minds all while improving food safety and the process of ensuring safe food storage practices:
1. Temperature Control and Stability: Refrigerators are essential to food safety, but only when they are at the right temperature. Did you know that traditional refrigeration fluctuates as much as 15° during peak operating times leaving the food inside at risk because it has no way to contain the cold air with the product. The FX Series' innovative design allows for the cold air to be captured and maintained around the food keeping the terperature at +- 2° of the desired set point keeping food fresh and safe.
2. Reduce Risk of Cross Contamination: Reduce the transfer of harmful substances or microorganisms to food. One way cross contamination occurs is food to food, such as when one product drips on another during refrigerated storage. Traditional refrigeration promotes this whether it is an upright, under counter, worktop, or equipment stand due to the open cabinet design. The FX Series' insulated insert creates a micro environment to help mitigate the potential for cross contamination in food storage and create an airtight seal that limits bacterial growth spoilage (once air contacts food, the food begins to spoil).
3. Follow the First In, First Out (FIFO) Rule: The FIFO rule is important for both food safety and food quality. Whenever new shipments of food arrive, the newly arrived food should be placed behind older food so the older food is used first. In most cases traditional storage systems (outside of a walk-in) do not promote this rotating stock or make it a daunting task for staff. The FX Series allows you full access and visibility to all products within the drawer making stock rotation a breeze.
4. Cleanability: Food safety hazards can be introduced into foodservice operations in a number of ways such as food, equipment, supplies, and customers. The FX Series' insulated insert pulls out for easy cleaning and disinfecting.
FX SERIES PRECISION REFRIGERATION is simply unmatched by any other product in the commercial refrigeration industry. The FX Series offers the flexibility of point-of-use preparation, an adjustable temperature setting between -5°F to 40°F, and enhanced savings through less product waste and increased energy efficiency.
The FX line refrigerates, freezes, rapid chills, and safety thaws. The patented design of FX's insulated, refrigerated drawers seals in cold air, keeping temperatures consistent, and reducing stress on the unit's compressor. The removable refrigerated drawer system also allows easy cleaning and disinfecting of the units for enhanced food safety. Chefs and operators consistently praise the reliability, flexibility and efficiency that the FX Series delivers, and comment on the added value that FX units bring to their foodservice operations.
The complete FX refrigeration line is designed to work in tandem with a variety of industrial foodservice equipment in order to simplify and streamline today's commercial kitchen.
Click here to access more information about all that is FX!
Chef Charles Carroll, the Executive Chef at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas, is the Founder and Coordinator of Operation: HOT (Honoring Our Troops). Operation: HOT’s goal of bringing a “little taste of home” and entertainment to the fine troops stationed in Southern Afghanistan is just one way of showing their sincere gratitude for all of the sacrifices they make for each one of
us. Operation: HOT will take place in June of this
year. This is the second time Chef Carroll will be
entertaining our troops. The first Operation: HOT
took place in June of 2011.
Chef Carroll will be taking an amazing team of people to Afghanistan to entertain our troops in Afghanistan. The day will start with a Cajun Creole home cooked meal by Chef John Folse and Company. Then more than 2 tons of gifts will be given away to our troops, from NFL gear to Visine to baby wipes. After the wonderful meal and gifts, Coach Lou Holtz, legendary Notre Dame coach turned ESPN analyst, will open the show with an inspirational speech. ABC’s Secret Millionaire Steve Kaplan will continue to inspire with the secrets to success. Internationally acclaimed hypnotist Boris Cherniak will follow with a humorous and strong performance of mind control. Carmen Barton, said to be one of the hottest new female comedians, will take the stage next. Chef Robert Irvine will then put on a phenomenal live cooking show. Finally, L.A.vation, a U2 tribute band, will finish out the evening by putting on a rocking show.
C&T Design coordinated the donation of four CookTek induction cookers for the cooking portion of the event.
Thank you to CookTek and CookTek President Warren Graber for donating the induction cookers.
Thank you to Chef Carroll and the entire team going to Afghanistan to entertain our amazing troops.
For more information on this amazing event, please visit Chef Carroll’s website here: http://www.chefcharlescarroll.com/index.php/operationhot.
The following is an excerpt from an article written by Georgie Shockey, Principal of Ruck-Shockey Associates, Inc. Her firm specializes in operational consulting for non-commercial foodservice markets.
The food service industry contributes significantly to our nation's economy and way of life. In the last ten years, this industrial sector has experienced continued real sales growth outpacing that of our nation's own economy. In 2011, the total food sales were over $1.7 trillion. Due to the vast number of food service operations (the NRA estimates over 970,000 restaurants along with nontraditional and other food locations there are about 1.2 million locations) and the nature of preparing and serving food, this industry uses tremendous volumes of natural resources and produces significant quantities of waste which together can result in major environmental impacts. The reasons for change within this industry for change within this industry in order to minimize waste are simple: food service managers can save money with decreased disposal fees, reduce energy consumption, gain efficiencies and stay competitive within their industry.
Changing or improving operations can have lasting effects on those food service establishments that are proactive in reducing waste and increasing efficiency. To remain competitive, businesses should consider going beyond traditional means of management and explore the opportunities to save money and help the environment with waste prevention. Many of the opportunities detailed may already be in place; however, every operation still has room for improvement.