Thursday, December 3, 2015

In House Guests

I work in an environment that causes me some consternation from time to time!!!! This is the result of our "in house guests" . We have an employee dining room where our line level employees (those without comp privileges) eat. The food there is sometimes questionable. However those with the ability to comp a meal, beat tracks to our restaurant 2 - 3 times a week. Unlike the EDR, they feel like they can make special requests on every dish. So, much so, that we had to put a plain grilled chicken dish on the menu  because everyone in a particular "XXXXXX office" was on this particular diet. Most of the time this is not an issue, but, several times a week they bum rush us, and the majority of guests in the restaurant end up being "in-house" guests. They do not complain as a general rule, but every ticket has some alteration of the original menu item. This is where the rub starts with me, they pile in all at the same time, making 30 -40 diners seem like 150!!!!! We will do those people in 40 minutes of sheer chaos then do nothing else the remainder of the shift. I have noticed that when we are in the weeds on a Saturday night in the midst of a 475 cover night we do not have half of the issues with special orders that we have on a typical "in-house" lunch shift.... Just sayin' My thought process here is that this should be policed a little more, if you have comp privilege, don't think that you are special - to the point of having to re-invent the wheel every time you sit down in the chair - you are not that special. Eat it the way it is on the menu or pay for it yourself!

Monday, November 30, 2015


It has only taken us 58 days to go over 2000 views!!! I am not the best about posting something everyday, although I try. There are days such as Thanksgiving, or yesterday that you just do not want to know what I have to say... Having said that, let me say this, I am very blessed to work in the field that I do. The passion about good food done, well and served properly is what drives me to work harder everyday to make things better.
  I started this blog as an outlet for what I consider good food and good stories. A place to share my experiences in the kitchen, my stories of memories made with friends and fellow cooks through the years. A place to keep up with the daily things, specials and milestones. I hope that those that choose to spend your time viewing what I have to say get a chuckle out of it or learn something new!!! I learn something new everyday!!!! Any way thank you!! Pass this blog along to your friends. Sign up for email distribution. Try a recipe for your friends and family - let us know how it turns out for you!
Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving, I served over 600 guests!!!!

Jackpot Magazine

This recipe is featured in this weeks Jackpot magazine.

Cranberry Compote
Ingredients:                                                                                                           Amounts:
Unsalted Butter                                                                                           ½ pound
Fresh Cranberries                                                                                        2 pounds
Sugar                                                                                                           3 Cups
Vanilla Extract                                                                                            2 Tbs
Orange Marmalade                                                                                      1 Cup
 Roasted Pecans                                                                                           1 Cup                                    
Orange Flavored Liquor                                                                              ½ Cup
Melt butter in a sauté pan; add cranberries, sugar and vanilla extract. Cook this until the sugar is dissolved. Add orange marmalade and pecans; cook until the marmalade is melted. Simmer 10 minutes and add the orange liquor simmer 3 -4 minutes.  Refrigerate and serve cold.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

New Email Feature

Hey Y'all!!!
    We just put a new feature on the blog site. Sing up to receive our daily post via your email address! This is a great way to communicate with those folks checking out our blog each day. So, check it out and sign up! Also please leave your comments on our posts. If you try some of our recipes out and like them or not - please leave your comments! We want to know what you think!!!  Are these tips helpful, do our recipes give you any ideas or help in the kitchen? Let us know, that's what this is all about, sharing our favorite recipes and techniques with you.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hook It and Cook It Appeareance

I will be appearing on an episode of "Hook It an' Cook It" this show will be on The Gulf South Outdoors Show with Frank Wilem.  Check out their YouTube channel for episodes of the show. See the link below, once the episode is filmed I will know the air date. Here is what I will be preparing for the show. Last month we served about 680 portions of this dish alone! Stay tuned I will post some pictures of the filming session if I can get them.

Red Snapper Pontchartrain
Ingredients:                                              Amounts:
Vegetable Oil                                          3 ounces
6 – 8 oz Snapper Filet Skin Off                1 each
Seafood Seasoning                                   3 Tbs
AP Flour                                                  2 cups
For the sauce:
Vegetable Oil                                           3 Tbs
Sliced Mushrooms                                   1 oz
Diced Tomato                                          1 oz
Chopped Garlic                                        1/8 tsp
Seafood Seasoning                                  1 tsp
Chopped Green Onion                             1 Tbs
White Wine                                              2 Tbs
Lemon Juice                                             from half lemon
Chicken Stock                                          2 Tbs
Heavy Cream                                            ¼ Cup
Unsalted Butter                                        ¼oz
Colossal Crab                                           2 oz
Bias Cut Green Onions                            1 tsp
In a sauté pan heat vegetable oil, while this is heating season the fish fillet and dredge it through the flour. Shake off excess flour off and place fillet in the pan presentation side down. Cook 2 – 3 minutes over medium heat; do not allow fish to burn. Turn fillet over when cooked half way through and finish cooking 2-3 minutes. Place fish on plate and reserve. Drain excess oil from skillet. Place fresh vegetable oil in sauté pan, sauté the mushrooms and tomato about 1 minute, add the garlic, seafood seasoning and green onions, cook an additional minute; do not allow garlic to brown. Deglaze with wine, add lemon juice and stock bring to a simmer and add cream, reduce by half, and finish with butter. Toss in crab last, when warm through, top the fish filet. 

Fish Butchery
The fish pictured above is about 6 lbs after being gutted. This is going to yield 2 - 12 oz filets with the skin and about 110 oz without the skin. Start by turning the fin side towards you and make a cut along the gill at the head of the fish. Next make a small cut down the fin line from the head to the tail. Continue from the head following along the ribs to the center bone. Once at the tail completely cut the tail free. Follow with the tip of your filets knife along the ribs to the bottom of the fish.

Smoked Tomato and Mushroom Risotto
1 Portion
Ingredients:                                                                       Amounts:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                       2 Tbs
Smoked Tomato Concasse’                                               1/2 Cup
Sliced Smoked Mushrooms                                               4 each
Chopped Garlic                                                                  2 tsp
Seafood Seasoning                                                            1 Tbs
Fresh Chopped Basil                                                         1 Tbs
Chicken Stock                                                                    ½ cup
Cooked Risotto                                                                  1 Cup
Shredded Parmesan Cheese                                               ½ Cup
Heat olive oil in sauté pan. Add tomatoes and mushrooms, cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add chopped garlic, seasoning, and basil, cook 1 minute. Add stock and risotto, stir well and heat risotto thoroughly. Remove from heat and finish dish by stirring in Parmesan cheese. Place in center of plate a top with fish fillet.

Before and After
We smoked hes tomatoes and mushrooms about 30 minutes on heavy smoke at about 200 degrees F look closely at the tomato, it was long enough that the skin is starting to peel away from the flesh of the tomato. This is what you want! This keeps you from having to blanch the tomato, thus partially cooking it, in advance of smoking, which would further degrade the flesh. I like the tomato to be fully intact when using it in this manner. All we are trying to accomplish is to impart smoke flavor and have enough heat to cause the skin to peel.  

Seafood Seasoning
Ingredients:                                                       Amounts:
Dried Oregano                                                  ½ Cup
Dried Thyme                                                     1/4th Cup
Dried Basil                                                        3/4th Cup
Garlic Powder                                                    ½ Cup
Onion Powder                                                    3/4th Cup
Cayenne Pepper                                                 1 ounce
Black Pepper                                                      1/4th Cup
Salt                                                                     3/4th Cup
Paprika                                                               3/4th Cup
Corn Starch                                                       1/4th Cup (Anti Caking Agent)
Combine all ingredients and mix well, store in a dry place with a tight lid. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Soups are Popular in Cool Weather

It's cool outside and this soup will warm you up!!! This will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!! 

Sweet Potato Bisque
Yield 2 gallons
Ingredients and Amounts:
Butter – 1 lb
Diced Onion – 2 lbs
Diced Celery – 1 lb
Diced Bell Pepper – 1/2 lb
Chef Paul Prudhommes Seafood Seasoning – 3 Tbs
Chopped Garlic – 1 oz
Diced Sweet Potato – 5 lbs
Chicken or Vegetable Stock – 2 Quarts
Heavy Cream – 2 quarts
Flour – 2 cups (for Roux)
 Butter – 1 lb (for Roux)
Tabasco to taste
Season to taste with Salt & Pepper
In a large pot melt butter and sauté onions, celery, an bell pepper until they start to caramelize, add seasoning and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add chopped garlic and diced squash. Sauté until the squash starts to get soft. Add the stock and cream bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. While simmering, make a blonde roux with the butter and flour. Incorporate your roux into the simmering soup by placing a 1/3 of the roux in a mixing bowl and add enough of the soup liquid to the bowl, stirring until the roux is smooth and thin (pourable), then add this to the soup pot. Bring soup back to a simmer to allow soup to thicken. Repeat this until the soup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Then puree. Allow the soup to simmer about 15 – 20 minutes and season to taste.    

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Seafood Gumbo

A guest came into the restaurant this afternoon and asked for this recipe and I could not find the word version of the Seafood Gumbo Recipe we serve in house. So I printed off one I had on xcel, that version is hard to read and the instructions are incomplete on the print out, also it was written for our cooks in the kitchen. Here is the word version of that recipe, it is much more comprehensive, easier to read.

Seafood Gumbo
Yield 25 Gallons

Dark Roux-
Start with ¾th gallon vegetable oil and combine with approximately 10 lbs All Purpose Flour. Once these are mixed together with no lumps place in a 500 degree oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until a rich dark peanut color has developed. Remove from oven and allow roux to cool. If roux is “SLACK” or there is extra oil on top, add enough additional flour to absorb any additional oil. This occurs due to the flour being cooked - brown roux will have less thickening power than blonde roux.

For the Gumbo:
4 lbs. Melted Butter
12 lbs Diced Onion
7 lbs Diced Bell Pepper
5 lbs Diced Celery
6 each Bay Leaves
16 oz Chopped Garlic
4 oz Chef Paul’s Seafood Seasoning
1 oz Tony’s Creole Seasoning
2 oz Dried Thyme
2 oz Coarse Ground Black Pepper
10 lbs Diced Smoked Sausage
6 gallons Chicken Stock
9 gallons Shrimp Stock
2 # 10 cans Diced Tomato
5 oz Worcestershire Sauce
2 oz. Tabasco Sauce
*Roux to Thicken
25 lbs 90/110 P&D Shrimp – Raw
8 lbs Crawfish Tails
2 Bunches Chopped Parsley
10 lbs Frozen Okra
4 oz. of file powder
Season to taste w/ Kosher Salt& Coarse Ground Black Pepper

In a 30 gallon tilt braising pan melt butter. Sauté the vegetables until they are clear and start to caramelize. Add all dry seasonings and smoked sausage, cook until the sausage is rendered and starts to brown. Add in all stock and diced tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and incorporate dark roux stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Allow gumbo to come back to a boil, once the roux is incorporated. Add seafood and frozen okra. Add filet powder at this point. Simmer just until the seafood is cooked, season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. 

Adding Roux - We accomplish this by combining the hot roux with liquid from the soup in a separate bowl. This will keep the roux from forming lumps by the temperature variance. 

Cold Weather Creole Vegetable Beef Soup Recipe

As we get into fall and winter is approaching fast I like to make hearty soups! Soups that are more like a meal. This is one of my favorites Vegetable beef has that warming feel of home, Like momma used to make! Everybody has their own version that their family makes. So, her's from my family to yours!

Vegetable Beef Soup
Yield: 2 gallon

Ingredients/ Amounts
Butter                                               ½lb
Beef Tips                                          5 lbs
Diced Onion                                     1 medium
Diced Celery                                    ½ bunch
Diced Bell Pepper                            2 medium
Chopped Garlic                                2 TBS
Bay Leaves                                       2 each
Chef Paul’s Seafood Seasoning       2 oz
Onion Powder                                  1 TBS
Worcestershire sauce                       2 TBS
Red Wine                                         1 Cup
Beef Stock                                        4 Quarts
Black Pepper                                    1 TBS
Brown Roux                                     ½ Cup
Frozen Green                                   ½lb
Frozen Baby Carrots                        4 oz
Frozen Corn                                     4 oz   
Diced Potatoes                                 6 oz            
Canned Diced Tomatoes                 6 oz
Kosher salt and black pepper To Taste

In butter sear beef tips, remove and reserve. Sauté celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic with dry seasonings, until the vegetables start to clear, deglaze with the red wine and Worcestershire sauce.
Add  beef stock, and the remaining vegetables. Simmer for 30 minutes. While this cooks make the brown roux*. Add roux to the soup by placing the brown roux in a mixing bowl and add beef stock until the mixture is pourable*. Add this to the soup stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Add the reserved beef tips simmer an additional 20 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

** A few recipe tips**
Brown Roux - this is a mixture of oil (we use vegetable oil) and flour - equal parts. A trick here is to heat your oil first before adding your flour. Of course, your flour will start to brown immediately, so, don't turn your back!! Also, with hot oil BE Careful, It Will Burn You!! You will have to pay attention and stir this constantly. It is the flavor you are looking for here more than anything. The thickening power of brown roux is half that of blonde roux. This is due to the destruction of the gluten protein present in flour. The longer it cooks the more"slack" it will become. The addition of brown roux to the  soup will give it a depth of flavor and more mouth feel than normal.  

These black balls you see in the picture above is a burned roux. If you see this - throw it out and start over. So, be careful, once your flour starts to brown, lower your heat. The time it takes to make the roux that peanut butter color will be worth it in the end. 

Adding Roux - We accomplish this by combining the hot roux with liquid from the soup in a separate bowl. This will keep the roux from forming lumps by the temperature variance. Some cooks think that they are fast enough to add the roux to the soup directly and that continuous stirring will break the lumps up. I am living proof that the "SHOEMAKER" way of doing things will always lead to a dissatisfied customer and probably lumps of roux in your soup!! So, do it the correct way, from the start, and have no lumps in your soup!!!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Alternative to Turkey and Dressin'

This is an awesome dish!! Very Colorful! It is a great alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving this year or just an awesome idea for a cocktail party even. This one packs a punch and is very flavorful!!!!

Dried Fruit Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

10 servings
15 oz. Dried Figs
15 oz. Dried Pear
10 oz. Dried Cherry
15 oz. Dried Apricot
36 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
40 oz. Orange Juice
40 oz Brown Sugar
10 each Cinnamon Sticks
10 each Vanilla Beans
5 each Pork Tenderloin
Vegetable Oil As Needed
Creole Seasoning

Red Eye Gravy:
4 oz Coffee
4 oz Bourbon
1 each Sprig Rosemary
½ tsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper
3 oz Veal Glaze
2 Tbs Unsalted Butter
Season to taste with Creole Seasoning

In a medium sauce pan heat the whisky and orange juice and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla beans. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Coarse chop the dried fruit and add it to the whisky marinade while it is still warm. Macerate fruit in whiskey marinade for 24 hours.
Remove the fat and silver skin from the tenderloin. Trim the tapered end and run a chef’s steel through the center. Open the tender up for stuffing with your fingers, taking care not to split the tender. Set this aside in a cooler for future use.  Stuff the macerated fruit into the center of the pork tender loin. Pack it as full as possible without splitting the tender. Once this is complete, dredge the tender through the vegetable oil and season with creole seasoning. Place in a “cold” smoke for 30 – 45 minutes. Remove, chill and grill the tender until fully cooked.

For the sauce:
In a skillet, reduce the coffee and bourbon by half with the coarse ground black pepper and rosemary. Strain into a skillet, add the veal glaze and bring to a simmer. Mount with butter and season to taste with creole seasoning. Serve garnish with fresh rosemary sprig.

Corn Pudding

10 servings

5 cups fresh white corn kernels (about 9 ears)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Process 1 cup of the corn in a food processor until ground. Combine the ground corn, remaining 3 cups corn kernels, sugar, flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and mix well. Whisk the eggs, heavy cream and half-and-half in a bowl until blended and stir into the corn mixture. Add the butter and mix well.
Pour the corn mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and allow the pudding to cool.  For Service, cut into 10 diamond shapes and sear off to reheat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Great Fall Recipe!!!!

This is one of my Favorite recipes for the Fall and Thanksgiving! These squash are fresh and in season and just right for harvest time!!! I have seen the butternut squash in several stores in peeled and diced form - a real labor saver!!!!

Fall Squash Sauté

Ingredients:                                                        Amounts:
Butternut Squash                                               1 Each Peeled, Seeded - 1 Inch Dice
Acorn Squash                                                    1 Each Peeled and Seeded - 1 Inch Dice
Spaghetti Squash                                               1 Each Seeded
Unsalted Butter                                                  4Tbs
Tony’s Creole Seasoning                                   1Tbs
Coarse Ground Black Pepper                            2tsp
Coarse Chopped Fresh Thyme                         1Tbs

Prep butternut and acorn squash by splitting them in half and removing the seeds. Next peel them and chop them into a 1 inch dice. Blanch the squash in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove and shock them in ice water. This will stop the cooking process. Once squash is cooled, reserve squash for later use. Next split the spaghetti squash and remove seeds. Blanch in boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes until the meat is tender. Remove and allow the squash to cool and drain until room temperature. The meat will continue to steam. Once cool enough to handle use the tines of a fork to remove the meat. It will look like little strands, reserve.
In sauté pan melt butter add the butternut and acorn squash cook over medium heat. Allow this to cook until the squash start to brown. Next toss in the spaghetti squash season with Tony’s, black pepper and fresh thyme. Allow this to cook for an additional 1 - 2 minutes. Plate and enjoy!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Here at Big Pot Cooking .com we are attempting to bring to life our daily culinary experience and share as many of these things with anyone that checks in with us at any time. We have such a diverse experience that we hope you will be enthused by the journey that we are on and the opportunities that we have to cook with soo many different people. We hope you will use our experience and recipes, cook them for your friends and family around the world! Share these with new people!!!! Also for a little financial "plug" Click on these adds !!! They are supposed to be themed to our audience! We hope they are and hope they help you out!!! Also there are video's from YouTube on the site that are culinary themed video's! Use these to help learn new cooking techniques, incorporate these into your kitchen!!!


Here are a few photo's from our WLOX appearance!!! I felt like the show went well! We were the first group to do Thanksgiving food this year. The squash was a big hit and the whole fried turkey looked impressive. They destroyed the caramel pecan bread pudding with praline sauce and ate all of the squash and 2 fried turkey's!!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

CRAB!!! Stuffed Mushrooms

Top these with Hollandaise Sauce, Torch and YUM!!!!!

Crab Dressing for Stuffed Mushrooms
Ingredients                                              Amounts
Butter                                                         2 lbs
Diced Onion                                               3 lbs
Diced Celery                                              1 ½lbs
Diced Bell Pepper                                      3/4 lb
Chopped Garlic                                          2 Tbs
Chef Paul’s Seafood Seasoning                 4 Tbs
Bay Leaves                                                 2 each
Shrimp Stock                                              2 quarts
Tabasco Sauce                                            3 Tbs
Worcestershire Sauce                                 2 Tbs
French Bread Crumbs                                 3 quarts (Dressing should be moist)
Colossal Crab Meat                                    3 lbs
In a large rondo melt butter. Sauté onion, celery and bell pepper until they are clear. Add garlic, seafood seasoning and bay leaves, cook an additional minute. Add stock, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Turn off and fold in bread crumbs. Dressing should be moist – not dry. Fold in crab meat as you stuff mushrooms.

For the mushrooms:
Steam jumbo mushrooms with stems removed for 2 – 3 minutes. Cool down and stuff with mixture above. Place in a baking dish 2 pieces per order, top with shredded parmesan cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs, bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and top with a 2oz ladle of hollandaise sauce, brown this under the salamander.       

Turkey Time

It's November!!! And that means TURKEY!!! All shapes, sizes and cooking methods!!! Today we are featuring one of my faves!!! Turkey Pot Pie! In the colder climes - not the 75 degree F temps we have here in south Mississippi - this dish is awesome for lunch! It makes you feel like MOM is in the kitchen!!! It is warm and nutritious, like chicken soup, only better. You can make it with turkey, chicken, seafood, smoked chicken! Your choice, go crazy!!! The pie dough is simple easy, and stores great for a few days in the refrigerator or you can freeze it for later use. The recipe calls for hand mixing, I like to use a food processor, it really get the butter well dispersed in the flour to give you that flaky texture that screams homemade~!!!! YUM!!  

Pate Brisee (Basic Pie Dough)

15     ounces       All-Purpose flour
8       ounces       Butter, cold, & cut into thin slices or shavings
6       ounces       Water, very cold (ice-water)

Mix the flour, butter, and  together very lightly, so that the pieces of butter remain visible throughout the flour.

Add the ice-cold water and mix very fast with your hand just enough that the dough comes together. Cut the dough in half. The pieces of butter should still be visible. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours or use it right away. If you use it right away, the butter will be a bit soft, so you may need a little extra flour in the rolling process to absorb it.

Turkey Pot Pie Filling

Ingredients:                                                                Amounts:
Water                                                              8 gallons
Chicken Base                                                   20 OZ
Diced Onion                                                    5 lbs
Diced Celery                                                   5 lbs
Blonde Roux to thicken – Very Thick
Frozen Mixed Vegetables                               10 lbs
Drained Canned Corn                                     1 Can
Diced Turkey                                                   1 case
Season with Black pepper and a little Tony’s.
Combine water and base in pot to make stock. Add onions and celery and bring to a boil. Thicken with blonde roux – almost to a paste consistency. Add frozen vegetables, canned corn and diced turkey. Bring mixture to a simmer. Season with pepper and Tony’s to taste.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Lots of Work to do!!!

After 3 weeks of solid work I am tired!!! The trip home last Saturday seemed like a month ago. I  just never caught up. There has been no "routine"- this week! back to work Sunday morning, had Wednesday as an off day, then rolled right into 3 back to back 13 hour days covering shifts at the restaurant because of Sous chef issues. I say that, one swing shift sous had to have emergency surgery on his had due to a staph infection and the other was off for 2 days with a day of PTO ( Paid Time Off) tacked on the end of the week. Take that coupled with Friday and Saturday being the end of the month and Halloween and yeah we served about 800 people on Saturday!!!! Needless to say, my arse is dragging!!! Next week is no better so far, inventory on Monday, monthly ACF meeting at the school Monday afternoon, Tuesday is prep for WLOX on Wednesday!!! Then--- 2 Days In A Row Off!!!!!!  For the slow time of year I am beat!!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Introducing Nationwide On Site Catering

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Formed and equipped to specialize in full service on site  feeding. Our company owns a state of the art 53 foot mobile kitchen unit fully equipped to produce up to 2500 meals per day. Our staff is experienced and fully trained to meet and exceed our clients needs. Here are some of the clients we have served:

·   Katrina in 2005, along the Mississippi gulf coast our staff prepared and served 7000 – 10,000 meals per day to the residents along the gulf coast of Mississippi,
·   Gustav in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2008, contracted with Base Logistics, our staff provided breakfast and dinner meals for 1000 Orleans Parish Sherriff’s officers at the convention center.
·   Hurricane Ike in Houston, Texas while contracted with Base Logistics our staff provided meals, breakfast and dinner for 4000 Entergy linemen.
·   In addition to those experiences, while under contract with FEMA, for the Emergency Food Supplemental Assistance Program HSFEGC – 08- R-0023. Our Executive Chef was integrally involved with the set up, organization, routing of vehicles, staffing, ordering of food, menu development and rotation, and execution of meals, providing hot breakfasts, boxed lunches, and hot dinners for FEMA trailer residents quartered in hotels encompassing 7 cities in the gulf coast area with 15 separate routes.
·   In July of 2009, 15,600 meals including breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets were prepared and served at the new Southeast Regional Campus for AmeriCorps. Also provided were cook outs, and box lunches. Much of this was delivered to remote sites when members were undergoing training off site.  These meals had to meet the specific dietary needs of the group inclusive of vegetarian options.

 Our ability to perform is a direct result of the vision and planning of our Chefs. Our  past history in the food service industry includes as clients: casino’s , national company’s such as Merck, Net Jets, Air Chef, Entergy, Unified Brands, Mississippi Power, Mississippi State University, US Foodservice, and others.

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Monday, October 26, 2015


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Recipe Conversion and Consistency

The Ultimate Guide to Recipe Calculation

Recipe Writing and Conversion

I recently completed a cook chill recipe project. The scope of work was defined as developing, writing and testing over 100 menu items. These furnished menu items were already set in stone. Some of the protein items, beef, chicken and turkey, would be cooked in cook tank and added to the prepared sauce, soup, or casserole, then pumped, bagged and chilled. At least that was the theory going in. As the project progressed it morphed into some of the items using raw protein. After some discussion it was determined that we would break the recipes down into "like" groups, test 5 of each, after identifying the recipes that were crucial to each groups success, and apply the recipe format to the following menu items. So we set off on a 4 week writing campaign. To be followed by a 5 - 6 week testing phase. The batch size for the steam jacketed kettle was 100 gallons, we would be testing 50 gallon recipe batches, then this would be converted to metric, before undergoing a nutritional analysis. And finally a 3 - 4 week revision and retesting process. Over all I feel that the project was a success. 
   In reality I knew that there would be some revision necessary, once these recipes hit the production floor - viscosity for example is a matter of opinion, some chef's or manages think a sauce should be thicker and some think it will need to be thinner. So, in the year that these recipes have been in use there has been some of that to be sure. However, some of the recipes were spot on, as was the case for baked beans. One of the hurdles we faced was in adding pasta to a casserole. Pasta is one of those items that will just keep cooking as long as heat is present, eventually absorbing so much moisture that it just disintegrates. Our theory was to add the uncooked pasta last, the reasoning was that after a 10 minute BOT COOK at 90 C, the pasta would still be under cooked somewhat and it would still have to chill to below 5 C and would finish cooking in that time, most likely 2 hours. Of course it was never going to be perfectly cooked as it takes about 20 - 30 minutes to pump a 100 gallon kettle into a 7 liter bag, clip it and get it into the chill tank. Mean while the pump out temperature on the control panel is set at 75C. So there is still a bit of prolonged cooking that takes place.  
    I am attaching a recipe that we produced last week, a funny thing happened on the way to Bath! These recipes have now undergone 4 separate iterations! Meaning that they have been employed in 4 separate institutions. Also something else that took place here was that when the nutritional analysis was done the computer program skewed some of the measurements, and when the recipes were printed out there was a printer error and some of the ingredients and production steps were missing. Okay, so in the second to last institution, the production levels are so high that some of the recipes have to be cooked in 2 kettles in order to meet the needs of the population served. So, the manager there decided he wanted to condense some of the soups, so that he would not have to use 2 kettles, only one thereby reducing his number of production turns each day. The theory was postulated that this could be accomplished by reducing the amount of water by half and doubling the amount of vegetable particulate in those soups that were being concentrated. 
   One of the other factors that contribute to a recipe being a success or failure is the order of use of the ingredients listed. This is culinary school 101!!!! Ingredients are listed in order of use. The method needs to clearly state the cooking method, instruction, temperature and time needed for each recipe stage. The client removed the method, cook time and temperature from all the recipes. In addition, they are using the reasoning that the procedure is the same for all recipes - cook to 190C for 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 85C, cook 10 minutes, add remaining ingredients and do a BOT Cook for additional 10 minutes. This is all for expediency! This will not work for all recipes, a good example would be baked beans, those beans have to cook for at least 45 minutes before you add the remaining ingredients, just in order to get soft!
   So here's what's happened - we produced 5 recipes in total for the last facility - all of them have been adulterated and all of them overflowed the kettle. For a system that professes to insure consistency, it is only as good as the cooks and management that are using it. Unfortunately, for the client, I see many issue to combat, just in general, your recipe should not be one of them.

 Look over the format of the following recipe, this is one of the soups that were "concentrated" and the yield was greater than the kettle volume. 

The Ultimate Guide to Recipe Calculation

Cook Chill Recipe
Recipe Name: Barley Lentil Soup               Recipe#:

Production Style:  Kettle                             Batch Size: 100 gallons

Portion Size:  6oz Number of Portions: 2133                                              
Date: Supervisor:                      

INGREDIENTS                                                  SPECIFICATIONS
1. WATER                                                  60 GALLONS
2. BEEF BASE                                            14 LBS
3. DICED CARROTS                                  42 LBS
4. DICED ONION                                      32 LBS
5. DICED CELERY                                     27 LBS
6. GRANULATED GARLIC                       1 LBS
7. DRIED THYME                                     4 OZ
8. DRIED MARJORAM                           2 OZ
9. BLACK PEPPER                                   3 OZ
9. GREEN LENTILS                                  25 LBS
10. BARLEY                                              25 LBS
11. DICED POTATOES                            23 LBS  
13. FLOUR                                               3 LBS
14. MODIFIED FOOD STARCH             3 LBS


1. Inspect the weight and condition of all ingredients.
2. Combine 55 gallons water and base in kettle. Set temperature to 185F.
3. Add carrots, onions, celery, garlic, dried herbs, black pepper and lentils and barley to kettle.
4. Cook at 185F with agitator on low speed for 20 minutes.
5. Stop agitator and add diced potatoes, and stewed tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes with agitator on low speed and set point at 185F.
6. Combine the flour and starch with the remaining 5 gallons of water to form a slurry.
7. Stop agitator to add the slurry to the soup, restart agitator, cook 10 minutes or until the soup is thickened and set point of 185F is reached.
8. Pump.  

9. Set pump speed at ____ and agitator speed on _____ to _______.
10. Fill casing with _____ quarts of _____ (180° F) per casing. Label. Hold each casing for 3 minutes to allow for inside of
casing surface pasteurization. Check seal before adding the casing to the chiller. Put a special label on the last casing so this casing can
be found in the chiller. The product temperature of this casing is measured to assess cooling of contents of all casings before they are
removed from the chiller.

11. Place in chiller water (35° F). Chill < one hour. Make sure the chiller water has 5 ppm chlorine or equivalent chemical.
When temperature of control casing is < 40° F, all casings can be removed.
12. Put casings (<40° F) one layer deep in storage racks on the cart.

13. Allow food to deep chill to 29° F (+/- 1° F) in < 12 hours.
14. Hold at 29° F (+/- 1° F) and use within < _____ days.
Place casing in boiling water and heat for 165F.
Now I know that the HACCP guidelines will change the structure of these recipes somewhat - however, I think that there should be more thought given to the individual steps to insure consistency.