• Chef's Corner

    Chef Aaron's Blank Canvas

14 Jul

**FRUIT&VEGGUIDE**

Fruit & Vegetable Guidelines


The United States food supply is among the safest in the world, but organisms that you can't see, smell or taste such as bacteria, viruses and tiny parasites are everywhere in the environment. These microorganisms, called pathogens can invade food and cause illness, sometimes severe and even life-threatening, especially in young children, older adults, persons with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are important ingredients in your kitchen. It’s very important to take the time for the health and well-being of your patrons to handle fruits and vegetables safely. Below are some useful tips to make handling fruits and vegetables safer, thus reducing the risk of food borne illness in your establishment.

1)Check

  • Check to be sure that the fresh fruits and vegetables you buy are not bruised or damaged.
  • Check that fresh cut fruits and vegetables arrive chilled and are held chilled.
  • Look at the color and appearance of your product

2) Clean
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Clean all surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap, including cutting boards, counter tops, peelers and knives that will touch fresh fruits or vegetables before and after food preparation.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running cool tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Packaged fruits and vegetables labeled "ready-to-eat," "washed" or "triple washed" don’t need to be washed.
  • Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under running cool tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.
  • Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables. These products are not intended for consumption.

3) Separate
  • Be sure fruits and vegetables are separated from chemicals and raw foods such as meat, poultry and seafood when receiving deliveries.
  • Keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry or seafood. Do not use the same cutting board without cleaning with hot water, soap and sanitizing it before use.

4) Cook
  • Cook or throw away fruits or vegetables that have touched raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.
  • When boiling fresh vegetables, use lightly salted boiling water and do not overcook them, this will bring out more flavor and the appearance of the item will be beautiful.
  • If you are able to grill or sauté your produce, cut the item a little thinner to allow quick cooking time. If it is too thick, it will burn before the center is soft.

5) Chill
  • Refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fresh fruits and vegetables within two hours of prepping.
  • Keep product chilled until ready to use.

6) Throw Away
  • Remove and throw away bruised or damaged portions of fruits and vegetables when preparing to cook them or before eating them raw.
  • Throw away any fruit or vegetable that will not be cooked if it has touched raw meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Always smell the product before prepping it, if there is an unusual odor, rinse the item and smell again. Tomatoes and bananas will give off an odorous gas that smells off, this is normal.
  • If in doubt, throw it out!

20 May

**INVENTORY**

Making More From Your Inventory


Using ingredients that you already have on hand to create new dishes is a great way to keep your food costs in line. Most ingredients are able to be prepared in a variety of different cooking styles and methods. Slicing or displaying your current ingredients a little bit differently will create a new eye appeal. Mixing and matching ingredients that you already use with a different sauce or protein is a great way to create new menu ideas. With summer almost here, use fresh herbs and vegetables as much as you can. Not only will you be able to create more dishes, you will be able to make more money by cross utilizing your existing inventory.

Creating new menu ideas out of the existing ingredients is a creative way to improve profit. You also need to watch the waste and make sure you are utilizing the whole product. For example, if you are cleaning vegetables, you can save the scraps for use in a sauce or stock for soup. Leftover rolls and heals of bread can be saved for house made croutons. If you bought the product, you need to utilize as much of it as possible, after all, you did pay for the whole thing. Another method to decrease food waste is to watch the plates as they come back to the dish room. If the plates come back consistently with leftover side dishes, salad or main course you may want to reconsider your portion sizes.

The objective in cross utilizing the existing inventory is to maintain cost, consistent price point and creativity. If you create a new menu idea that costs the same to prepare, and are able to charge more, you have met your goal. Trying different cooking techniques will excite the interest of your customers and will keep your staff from becoming stagnant.

Allow your staff to help participate in these menu changes to give them some ownership in the idea and a sense of pride while preparing the food. Many of your kitchen employees will have different, unique ways to prepare similar dishes. Ask and consider their ideas, you may find your next top seller.

Whether your kitchen has an ample amount of space or is limited, it is in your best interest to cross utilize your inventory. This will ensure freshness of product, minimal prep and less inventory. Properly cross utilize your inventory and the end result will be more profit.

19 Jan

**CULINARY TRENDS**

Culinary Trends for 2015


After carefully reading many surveys over the past two months conducted by reputable sources, I have put together a list of the Top 10 New Culinary Trends for 2015. These trends will be repeatedly popping up throughout the year. Try to incorporate them into your menu and atmosphere to stay ahead of your competition.

Local - This is a great sizzle word to utilize on your menu to advertise produce, protein, wine, beer & your food suppliers.
Gluten Free - Offer gluten free menu items, become more familiar with food allergies then educate and train your staff about them.
Nutritious Children - Offer more nutritious food to young customers, keep the classics and add healthier side dishes like fruit & veggies.
Head to Tail - Utilize more of the animal and less popular cuts across the menu. This will tie in old world favorites with a new culinary twist.
Simple Cooking - Basic cooking techniques done right. Incorporate your favorite ingredients to a new entree and pair with a classic side dish that is fresh & seasonal.
More Bang for your $$ - Bundling... Enough Said! This word is used as much as Epic these days. Offer a section on the menu or a daily feature that will include a starter, main entrée & dessert or drink. The new generation of customers is looking for “meal deals”.
Smaller Portions - This almost contradicts the one above, with this trend we are attracting the 40+ customers. Offer smaller portions for a smaller price; this will attract the light eaters and budget conscious crowds that you may be missing out on.
Creative Cocktails & Brews - Culinary inspired cocktails and microbrews can be matched with the daily features to complement appetizers, entrees & desserts.
Ethnic Courses - Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, diners’ palates are more adventuresome. Incorporate Asian, Mexican, Italian & Caribbean flavors to keep them interested.
Artisan - Whether breads, cheeses or beverages, this sizzle word will attract customers and add a rustic value to the menu while keeping you on trend.


4 Nov

**FOOD ALLERGIES**

Educating Staff About Food Allergies


Serving diners with food allergies and sensitivities safely is a growing concern for operators. According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), more than 12 million Americans have food allergies, and approximately three million of them are children. FAAN estimates that food-related anaphylaxis results in about 150 deaths and more than 50,000 emergency-room admissions each year. Even trace amounts of an allergen can cause a reaction, which is why proper safeguards and training is so important.

How to Adopt Best Practices
* Know the top eight food allergens: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

* Train, train, train: Your service staff is the front line when it comes to dealing with customers and their allergies, but every person on your staff needs to be educated about how to serve guests with food allergies. Creating a food-allergy reference book that contains all of your recipes and a list of the allergens in each.

* Communication: Encourage your customers to communicate with you, allowing them to express concern on an allergy or dislike. Then pass this information on to the kitchen. Advertise this on the menu or as part of the greeting as they are taking the drink order.

When a guest has a food allergy, follow the four R's:
* Refer the food-allergy concern to the chef, manager or person in charge

* Review the food allergy with the guest and check ingredient labels

* Remember to check the preparation procedure for potential cross-contact

* Respond to the guest and inform them of your findings

As the operator of your establishment, you need to be pro-active in implementing a system that will best suit your establishment for your customers. If it becomes apparent that you have taken this positive step, that goes a long way with your customers. When in doubt, do not serve the item. If you made a soup or sauce and do not have the base container or bag to read the ingredients, do not assume that it will be fine. It is also good to run the ingredient list by the customer if available. They will be able to let you know if they can have it or not.

12 Sept

**FOOD SAFETY**

National Food Safety Month


Summer? Wow! I have never seen a summer fly by so fast. I was hoping it would have lasted a little longer after that long cold winter we all had to put up with. Maybe Mother Nature will bless us with a beautiful lengthy fall season! As I was thinking about what to write about it was brought to my attention that September is “National Food Safety Month”. Below I have listed the 4 main areas that a food handler needs to focus on to ensure the Best Quality and Maximize Profit.

PURCHASING
Safe Food Handling Starts Here! Buying from a supplier like Maplevale Farms will ensure that you receive product that has been Ordered, Received and Delivered under Strict HACCP Guidelines.

~ Always use your Re-Order Guide provided by MVF Sales Representatives, this will give you consistent and quality products, this will ensure that the product is accurate upon receiving
~ Do not over order product unless you have proper storage and are able to use in a timely manner, discarding outdated product is very costly
~ Always purchase from a licensed food vendor, these companies have strict guidelines and their product is received under HACCP standards

RECEIVING
Receiving products is very important; FIFO and proper temperature of products is a must!

~ Check each product for temperature, quality, freshness and damage
~ Make sure cooler and freezer items go right into the correct spot soon after arrival, place each item in appropriate area off of the floor
~ Clear doorways, docks and storage areas so the driver can efficiently deliver products, During the winter months, make sure your loading entries are clear and salted

STORAGE
Proper storage methods will increase shelf life of products.

~ Promptly put order away in proper storage area, cooler, freezer and dry stock. The items should be placed in the same area every time; this will help you to keep track of inventory and prevent over ordering
~ FIFO- First in first out. Proper rotation is a must, enforce and teach this to your staff
~ Check cooler and freezer temperature three times a day, and record these temperatures in a daily log book. While recording temperatures, it is an opportune time to organize the shelves

USAGE PROCEDURES
Reducing spoilage takes constant effort and overseeing. Encourage the following procedures in your daily usage.

~ Employees need to check for USE BY and EXPIRATION dates, to know shelf life
~ Use a daily “eye ball” inventory to know what needs pulled for the shift (don’t guess)
~ If you are heavy on items with a short shelf life try to use them in a featured dish or daily special
~ Make sure all cooler items are kept below 40 °F and hot foods at 140 °F degrees and above to ensure quality
~ Properly chill items using ice baths, ice wands, sheet trays and cooling racks
~ Use a par sheet so you don’t over pull, always date items when pulled

****This should go without saying, but I am a huge fan of Friendly Reminders: Always wash your hands using warm water & soap for 30 seconds, using a clean disposable towel. Do this upon entering the kitchen and after you have soiled your hands. Never touch prepared food with your bare hands! Always use a clean glove or utensil when plating the food. Remember, Flu Season Is Here Too... Wash Right & It Will Fight the Germs****

21 July

**BURGER**

Offering Gourmet Burgers


Gourmet Burger ~ A Gourmet Burger is a sandwich that consists of a seasoned burger, unique bread and toppings.

Meat Selection ~ When creating a Gourmet Burger it is important to choose the best quality and freshest ingredients that your customer base can afford. Your goal is to gain customer trust and loyalty ultimately offering a sandwich that will sell. Think about the clientele, season, and location of your restaurant. This will determine what to feature in a sandwich. Only using ground beef in a burger is past times! Creating a burger using different ingredients in the same style of the “classic burger” is a great way to create a Gourmet Burger. Vegetable Burgers, Seafood Burgers, Lamb Burgers, Salmon Burgers, Shrimp Burgers, Grilled Vegetable Burgers, Bison Burgers, and Turkey Burgers, are all different ways to offer a new variety to your customers. If you have a following that likes beef, then try our MVF Smash Steak Burger. Use of the Steak Burger will produce a more flavorful and juicy burger. When using a chuck grind advertise a Chuck Burger. Using the specific name for the type of grind will give you a sizzle word to create interest from your customers.

Seasoning Meat ~ Always lightly season your burger! Do not over power the meat flavor with too much seasoning. When adding a seasoning, use a flavor that will accommodate the sandwich. Infusion of flavors is wonderful; just make sure they taste good together. Also, remember that your cooking method will lend a great deal of flavor to your burger. Always season accordingly. Do not add a seasoning before cooking if the added ingredients will cause it to burn. In that case you will want to season towards the end of the cooking process. One new trend for burger lovers is to put cheese inside the burger before cooking. Another option is to use a wet or dry marinade to infuse flavors.

Bread, Bun, Wrap, Roll ~ I am a firm believer that you must toast off your Bun selection. Place on grill or char grill with butter or butter alternative. This will create a different flavor, texture and will keep the bun from becoming soggy. Choose the right bread for the occasion. Coordinate the flavor, texture and size of the burger to the bun. If the burger dwarfs the roll it’s on or if there is too much bread than you have an unbalanced sandwich. You need to choose bread that accommodates the flavor, moisture and that looks great when plated. Creating a burger in a wrap is also becoming popular in the culinary world.

Toppings and Condiments ~ When creating a Gourmet Burger, the toppings and combinations are endless. I like to add different textures, flavors and shapes to my sandwiches. These three qualities will create a wonderful visual appeal for your customers. Here are just a few ingredients that can be added to a burger in no particular order: ham, bacon, pulled pork, pulled chicken, pot roast, pepperoni, salami, garlic, grilled onion, peppers, asparagus, zucchini, fried onions, cheese sticks, eggplant, marinara, tomatoes, iceberg, romaine, spring mix, sauerkraut, spinach, coleslaw, jalapenos, banana peppers, mushrooms, Pepper jack, Swiss, American, Provolone, Havarti, Gouda, Goat Cheese, Parmesan, Asiago, Mozzarella, artichoke hearts, crab cakes, fried shrimp, grilled shrimp, calamari, spicy ketchup, Dijon, honey mustard, ranch, BBQ sauce, pesto, mayonnaise, aioli, compound mayonnaise, steak sauce, relish, pickles, bruschetta, teriyaki or balsamic glaze.

3 June

**SOUP**

Cool Down with Soup


As it starts to warm up and your hot soup sales cool down, change it up a bit by adding a freshly made chilled soup to the menu. These seasonal favorites are a great way to use up fruit, tomatoes and vegetables. There are many different kinds of chilled soups offering a variety of colors, flavors and textures. Most warm soups can also be served chilled. Thin out the soup with a little vegetable or chicken stock and then chill rapidly. Always check the flavor of the soup after you have thinned it out, adjust the seasonings if needed.

The king and most popular of chilled soups is gazpacho. This chilled soup has multiple variations, but the most famous is the tomato-based gazpacho that originated in Spain. Seasoned with onions, garlic, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, olive oil, lemon or lime juice, fresh parsley and basil it is a very flavorful and healthy soup. Half of the soup is diced into small pieces while the other half is pureed to break apart the vegetables and release the natural juice. Some people will just small dice the vegetables and add V8 to create the juice instead of pureeing it. They both have good end results. Once the soup is made allow it to sit under refrigeration for 6 hours; allowing the flavors to marry as it chills. The traditional garnish is hard cooked eggs and toasted bread. You can jazz it up by adding grilled chicken or shrimp to make a meal or appetizer. Modern versions can be made with tropical fruits, avocados, corn, and even watermelon.

Vichyssoise is another cold savory soup that has enjoyed decades of popularity. Made of pureed potatoes and leeks this soup is enriched with a swirl of cream before serving, vichyssoise is easy to prepare and makes any meal feel like a special occasion. A trick to creating a velvety smooth soup is to make a potato and onion soup and then chill. Once it is chilled, puree it and slowly add milk and chicken stock until it is the thickness you want. Also with all soups, taste before serving and adjust with salt and pepper.

Refreshing fruit soups are a delightful way to begin or end a summer meal. Berry and melon fruits are very popular. These soups are a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors. Berry soups are often accented with a touch of wine and a splash of cream, yogurt or sour cream. Fresh lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit juice are often used to brighten the flavors of the fruit. Adding fresh grated ginger and mint to fruit soups are a way to kick up the flavor. Garnish pureed soups with whole berries or sliced fruit and a dollop of sour cream. When you are preparing the fruit soups, make sure your soup cups are very well chilled. Serving a chilled fruit soup in a wine glass or a clear cup makes a nice presentation. Always remember to garnish the top of the soup with a sprig of mint, orange slice or any appropriate edible garnish.

16 April

**GRILLING**

It's Grilling Season

Helpful Grilling Hints & Marinade Recipes


To mark your food with those great looking grill marks, simply allow the grilling grid to heat thoroughly before adding the food. Once the grill is very hot you can turn down the flame so you don’t burn your food. Apply seasonings to the items you will be grilling and apply light oil to the food to prevent it from sticking to the grill. You can use a spray, brush or drizzle to apply. Some cooks use butter, and others prefer a vegetable oil. Certain meats such as Strip Steaks and Burgers have enough fat in them and will require little oil, while other items such as seafood, chicken, vegetables, lean beef and pork will need a nice layer of oil to prevent sticking. If you have a clean cloth, you can roll it up tightly and soak it in a vegetable oil. Use tongs to brush the grill irons with the oil soaked towel, when using this method, you will get flare up, allow the oil to burn off and then place the item on the grill. When applying butter or oils to the meat; be careful not to add too much. Excess oil can cause the food to ignite leaving an unpleasant oil film on your food.

If you have thick meats or slow cooking meats, do not rush the process, turn down the flame and allow the process to take its course. Another option is to heat the grill and mark your food, then finish the cooking in the oven. Cut potatoes into smaller pieces so they cook quicker and more evenly. I like to take my thinly sliced potatoes add butter, onion salt, pepper and finish in an air tight dish to allow to steam and marry all the flavors together. I have used heavy duty foil wraps for this, something we did in the Scouts (called Foil Dinners). When grilling corn, par-cook the ears and finish on the grill to give it more color, texture and flavor.

If you don’t have a char-grill in your establishment there are many different ways to infuse flavors into your food. Using cast iron pans and grill plates are very common. By using these plates you are able to give a different texture and color to your food. They will also offer great flavor and a wonderful plate appearance with minimal effort.

Fresh Seasonal 5 Minute Marinades



Marinade for Flank Steak, Pork, Salmon



Very simple to make and use. Be careful not to keep on direct heat for a long period of time, or the sugar will burn. After searing the meat, place on a low temperature area of your grill or pan to finish. Baste as needed, or place meat in metal pan after grilled and drizzle with marinade to allow flavor to infuse.

• ¼ cup Soy sauce

• ¼ cup Water

• 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

• 2 Tbsp. Salad Oil

• 1 Tbsp. Garlic Chopped

Procedure:

Mix ingredients with a wire whisk and allow 5 minutes for sugar to dissolve. Marinate meats for up to 4 hours. This recipe will marinate 5 pounds of meat.

Marinade for T-bone steak, Porterhouse, Pork, Chicken, Seafood



This Marinade will grill, bake or sear very nice. It will bring out a lot of flavor while cooking the protein.

• 4 Cloves Garlic (minced)

• 1 cup Olive Oil

• ¾ cup Soy Sauce (low-sodium variety)

• ¼ cup Lemon Juice

• ¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce

• ¼ cup Prepared Dijon Mustard

• Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste

Procedure:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour over the protein and allow a minimum of three hours to marinate.

Marinade with Red Wine for Pork, Beef, Chicken, Salmon



• 1 cup Red Wine (Dry or Semi-Sweet)

• ½ cup Canola Oil

• ⅓ cup Soy Sauce

• 2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

• 2 Tbsp. Honey

• 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

• 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

• 1 tsp. Garlic (minced)

• ½ tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Procedure:

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until there is a uniform mixture, about 5 minutes. Marinate the protein for no more than three hours. You can also use this for sauté or baking.

21 Feb

**SEAFOOD**

Lent

Fish Galore - Preparation Suggestions


Maplevale Farms carries a wide variety of fish fillets. They are available both fresh and frozen, and can be cooked in many different methods. Baking, Grilling, Searing, Poaching, Frying and Smoking are just a few ways to prepare this healthy protein. Here are some preparation suggestions that you can try for Lent 2014.

Cajun Dusted ~ Light oil & sear, grill or bake

BBQ ~ Sweet, smoky, savory, spicy, dry, wet, your choice

Lemon Pepper ~ Fresh Cracked Pepper with Fresh Lemon

Herb Crusted ~Tarragon, Chive, Scallion, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme

Horseradish Crusted ~ Mix horseradish with panko, top & bake

Dijon Crusted ~ Spread Dijon, top with bread crumbs & bake

Pretzel Crusted ~ Dijon mustard, dip in crushed pretzels & bake

Ginger Pineapple ~ Pineapple with ginger & sweet peppers

Melon Relish ~ Cantaloupe, honeydew & dill, top after cooked

Greek Salmon ~ Capers, olives, feta, pine nuts, tomatoes, olive oil

Bruschetta Salmon ~ Diced tomatoes, garlic, basil

Melba Glazed Salmon ~ Honey/Melba drizzled over during baking

Balsamic Fig Glazed ~ Grilled & drizzled with Balsamic Fig Glaze

Bourbon Glaze ~ Grilled & drizzled with Bourbon Glaze

Honey Garlic Glaze ~ Grilled & drizzled with Glaze

Maple Glazed Salmon ~ Grilled & drizzled with maple syrup

Curry Salmon ~ Curry dusted served with lime & Jasmine rice

Sesame Crusted ~ Sesame Seed dusted & baked or seared

Nut Crusted Salmon ~ Pecan, walnut, almond, pine, macadamia

Lemon & Pepper Poached ~ Served over a salad or vegetables

8 Jan

**RESOLUTIONS**

2014

New Year, New Diet, New Way


What are you doing for your customers who have made New Year Resolutions? One way to accommodate them is to offer a half sandwich & soup or salad as a lunch special or a lighter portion at dinner. This way they can enjoy a meal, but it will be a little smaller. When people are dieting that can mean a variety of things, they can be eating lighter portions or eliminating certain things from their diet. As an operator you need to allow the customer to make those choices, and let them know you are willing to help them. Offering substitutions and different side choices are great ways to start. Having your customers know that you are willing to accommodate them will make them feel more comfortable and will result in repeat business.

Back of the House, and Front of the House both need to be on the same page. There needs to be open communication and an understanding of what the kitchen will be able to prepare for the guest. If you don't currently have menu meeting or pre-meal meetings this is the year to start. Use this time to have kitchen staff present one of the specials or a slower selling menu item for the wait staff to taste. The menu item will be fresh in the mind of your staff and they will be able to explain it better to the table. They are the salesperson on the floor, so if they are better informed on the menu they will be better able to sell. These meetings are also a great way to talk about items the kitchen is running low on, or items they would like the wait staff to sell. Pre-meal meetings should only take five minutes, all of the features, specials and menu item questions can be discussed and the wait staff will be educated on what they are selling.

Feedback from your customers and wait staff is critical. If they report that a customer would like to have a certain dish as a special you need to remember that and consider running the special in the near future. If one person mentioned it, most likely there are more that are thinking the same thing. Having the owner, manager or chef visit the tables is huge, and a great way to get feedback! Understand that you will occasionally encounter negative feedback. If you receive negative news, take it and try to create something positive out of it. Remember it for next time, these are learning tools, and as long as it is corrected for next time you did your job.

To summarize the above: It all starts with your wait staff, the more they know the better for you, try to inform them on the menu and specials before the shift starts, that way they won't need to bother you during your busy rush. Also be accommodating to your customers, they are the ones who are paying. As far as dieting goes, try to offer lighter portions on certain dishes at a lesser price and have a few healthy side choices.

Let’s Have A Great Year!!!!

25 Nov

**Holidays**

Making the Most of Our Time


Fall flew by so quickly and winter is right around the corner. One more big holiday after Thanksgiving and then it starts all over again. WOW! Time can slow down a bit if you ask me.

It is time to make sure that your operation is prepared for the holidays. Make sure you are prepped on the line and you are staffed in the front of the house. People are on the move and trying to make every minute count. Because the sun sets very early, customers are more likely to spend less time at the restaurant. Greet and seat them in a timely manner. Take the drink order and appetizer order immediately. Offer a variety of features that can be cooked and served very quickly. This will expedite the dining experience without making them feel rushed.

Weather is a huge factor concerning our patrons. Make sure you have your parking lot cleared and walkways well salted. Be sure to have runners or rugs inside the doorways to absorb the salt and water when your guests enter. A safe entryway is extremely important, especially if you have an older customer base. Turn up the heat a bit too. Make it cozy on these cold nights for your guests.

Analyze your take-out procedures. This is an opportunity to greatly improve your revenues. It has always been there, but most people have not put forth a good effort to make this work. Advertise that they have this option. You can even take it a step further and have someone take it to the car for them. Just have your customers call when they arrive and a staff member can bring the order to their car door. The main concern about take-out should be double checking the order. If they are missing an item, you may lose a customer, so don’t rush the order into the bag, make sure it is correct. Also invest in nice bags and to go containers. This will add a touch of class, which will go a long way.

22 Oct

**Party Food Ideas**

Football Party

Great ideas for party food


Football season is a great opportunity to host a party! Whether its college or professional, the players provide the entertainment and you provide the food. A lot of people like to entertain and as a restaurant operator you can help turn the average party into a memorable event. Host a party at your restaurant or have the food ready for customers to pick up.

Most restaurants are able to provide take out for the big day. If this is something you don’t currently offer, I suggest you advertise and let your customers know that you can provide a wide variety of food attractions for their game day. If you have an established take out business, place a printed reminder with each take out order to help generate more business.

The selections that are offered should cover all areas of appetite. Offer a variety of flavors from mild to hot and all the creative creations in between. These items should be able to be eaten warm and even after it has cooled. Most hosts do not want to fuss with keeping the items hot all night and items that work hot and cold allow guests to be able to graze throughout the game. A nice selection of crisp vegetables, dips and fruit are a great idea; not everyone wants just pizza and wings. There is a nearly endless variety of selections you can offer. Dip platters such as Tequila Lime Chicken, Black Bean, Spinach & Rosemary, Artichoke & Roasted Garlic, Cajun Crab & Shrimp, Buffalo Chicken and Wisconsin Cheese & Beer are all good places to start. Dip platters can be paired with potato chips, tortilla chips, toasted bread, crisp vegetables or even crackers.

If you plan on having a seasonal carry out menu, make the items on this list easy to prepare, cost effective, and tempting for your customers to try. This is a great way for your restaurant to upsell and at the same time it helps your customers entertain their guests with less stress and mess.

16 Sept

**Fall**

Meat & Cheese Boards

A great introduction to an early Fall Season


Offering an artistic designed Tapas Board is a great way to bring friends together. These boards can be creatively garnished with fresh grapes, dried fruit, nuts, crisp bread, crackers, hummus, spreads and grilled or marinated vegetables. Maplevale Farms offers a wide variety of Imported & Domestic hand cut cheeses along with an array of dried aged and cured meats to please all palates. One thing nice about a Meat & Cheese board, is that they can be assembled to adapt to any price budget. There is a wide range of pricing depending on age and origin of products. Make these wonderful appetizers and displays to fit the needs of your customer base. Pairing the boards with fresh fruits, grapes and produce will bring out flavors of both meats and cheese. Adjust the flavors according to the season, as Fall slips away use more Winter spices to season candied nuts such as ginger and cloves. Offering these boards for two or more to share is a great way to start a meal and a great up sell. Enjoy!

23 August

**Seafood**

Maplevale Farms Brings

The Freshest Seafood

To Your Table


We at Maplevale are proud to sell our customers the highest quality and freshest Seafood available. This time of year offers many seasonal selections from Scallops, Trout, Clams, Salmon and much more. This is a great time of year to do mixed grills and surf-n-turf. Pairing two meats together with a fresh seasonal vegetable and a light sauce is a great menu offering. Change your daily features often, this will allow you to be creative and keep the choices fresh. Don't be afraid to use pork, chicken and vegetables on these mixed grills. This way you will be able to keep the price down and it will also give your customers more options.

I hope you all enjoy the last few days of summer and enjoy your Labor Day. Even if you are working, make the best of it and enjoy what you do.

1 August

**New Brand Alert**

In addition to our new web page, the programmers have given me a space to share my thoughts, cooking tips and showcase exciting new products that Maplevale Farms currently stocks. Keep in touch as we will be updating the Chef's Corner often.

Maplevale Farms is proud to introduce to our market Creekstone Farms USDA Choice Angus. Our butchers hand cut in-house everything from Center Cut Strip Steaks, Ribeye, Sirloin Filets and Center Cut Tenderloins. This Premium Black Angus Beef is Full of Flavor and Tender with every bite. Try it today on your next order!