Saturday, October 31, 2015
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
Here is our state of the art Mobile Kitchen. Completely ready for on site feeding of up to 2500 people. Includes 3 double stack convection ovens, 2 - 50 gallon steam jacketed kettles, a double stack steamer, warming/cooking cabinets, under counter reach in coolers, a 40 gallon braising pan. We also have portable propane fryers, a 750 pound capacity propane fired smoker, and a 60 inch charcoal grill to support the rig. In addition we have a 28 foot cooler truck.
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.
Monday, October 26, 2015
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.
Cook Chill Recipe
Recipe Name: Barley Lentil Soup Recipe#:
Production Style: Kettle Batch Size: 100 gallons
Portion Size: 6oz Number of Portions: 2133
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
12. CANNED STEWED TOMATOES 18 #10 CANS
13. FLOUR 3 LBS
14. MODIFIED FOOD STARCH 3 LBS
BARLEY LENTIL SOUP
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.
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.
I will be appearing on local television station WLOX Biloxi/Gulfport for Island View Casino on the 4 o'clock show on Wednesday November 4th. This will be a short segment of 4 minutes. So, I plan on getting the most bang for my buck!!! The following recipes will be displayed and i will do a very short finish on the Cranberry relish to place on the fried turkey and toss a few of the fall squash!!
Menu for WLOX
November 4th, 2015
Chef Walter Smith, CEC
Room Chef, C&G Grille
Island View Casino
Gulf Coast Thanksgiving Favorites
Sauteed Acorn, Butternut and Spaghetti Squash (Demo)
Sweet Potato Eggplant Gravy
Cranberry Compote (Demo)
Caramel Pecan Bread Pudding with Praline Sauce
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.
Sweet Potato Eggplant Gravy
Butter 1/2 pound
Diced Onion 2 Cups
Peeled and Diced Eggplant 4 Cups
Diced Sweet Potato 1 ½ Cups
Chopped Garlic 1 tsp.
Seafood Seasoning Blend (Paul Prudhommes, Emeril) 3 Tbs
Chicken Stock 8 Cups
Tabasco Sauce to taste
Melt butter in a 4 quart stock pot. Add onions and sauté until the onions start to caramelize. Add the eggplant and cook until it is soft and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Next add the sweet potatoes and cook an additional 6 -7 minutes until the potatoes are soft and start to stick to the pan. Add chopped garlic and seafood seasoning; cook an additional 2- 3 minutes stirring about every 30 seconds. Add stock and bring to a simmer, cook at a simmer for 3-4 minutes to insure all potatoes are soft and cooked through. Use a stick blender and puree the sauce. Allow the sauce to cook and thicken at a low simmer for an additional 5 – 10 minutes stirring occasionally; season to taste with Tabasco sauce.
Butter 1 pound
Medium Diced Onion 2 pounds
Medium Diced Bell Pepper 1 pound
Medium Diced Celery ½ pound
Seafood Seasoning Blend (Paul Prudhommes or Emeril’s) 4 Tbs
Bay Leaves 2 each
Chopped Garlic 3 Tbs
Oyster Liquor 1 gallon
Chopped Green Onions 3 Cups
Fine Ground French Bread Crumbs 4 - 5 cups
Drained Oysters 4 cups
In a large skillet, melt butter. Add onion, bell pepper and celery and cook until they start to turn translucent. Add seafood seasoning blend and bay leaves and cook vegetables until they start to brown. Add chopped garlic and cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add oyster liquor, green onions cook 2 – 3 minutes more scraping the pan well to remove any debris (flavor) from the bottom of the pan, remove bay leaves. Add the bread crumbs and fold stir until the mixture is firm but still very moist. Fold in the drained oysters. Place dressing into a baking dish and bake in a 350F degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until the dressing in golden brown.
Turkey 1 – 12/14 pound
Cajun Injector 1 each
Use Cajun injector to infuse/inject the provided seasoning marinade into the breasts of the turkey the day before you intend to fry the turkey. In a 10 gallon pot heat your frying oil to 350 degrees. A good rule of thumb is to cook the turkey for 4 minutes per pound. So, on a 14 pound turkey your fry time may be as much as 56 minutes. Always fry your turkey breast side down and do it outside!!! Make sure your bird is dry, moisture will cause the oil to spatter and could injure you. Place your turkey into the fat breast side down. Cook for 35 minutes and check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh. Cook the turkey to an internal temperature of 165F.
Caramel Pecan Bread Pudding w/ Praline Sauce
Whole Eggs 24
Heavy Cream 2 Quarts
Milk 2 Quarts
Caramel 1 Quart
Sugar 4 Cups
Vanilla 2 Tbs
Roasted Pecans 4 Cups
Toasted French Bread 2 Loaves
In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, cream, milk, caramel and sugar. Mix well add vanilla and pecans. In a 4 inch deep hotel pan place toasted French bread. Pour the royal over the bread and mix thoroughly. Bake in a 350F degree oven uncovered for 45 minutes until the royal is set and the top is browned.
For The Sauce:
Butter 1 pound
Brown Sugar 2 pounds
Pecans 1 cup
Vanilla 2 tsp
Heavy Cream 1 Cup
In a 2 quart sauce pan melt butter. Add brown sugar and stir well until the sugar starts melting. Add pecans and vanilla, stir well. Add heavy cream and stir well. Heat to a simmer and remove from heat. Serve on the side or pour sauce on top of bread pudding.
Hope you have time to tune in!!!! I will post pictures as soon as possible!!!
Sunday, October 25, 2015
So, here I am on the road in Ottawa, Kingston Ontario, too be exact. I have been in Canada for the week working with Canada Corrections on the last of five cook chill start ups across the nation. I have made 7 trips up from Gulfport Mississippi since last October. In addition I have worked in Atlanta twice, in support of the companies new training center outside of Atlanta, Ga, a trip to Jackson to the test kitchen in support of Cap Kold - Cook Chill , and a trip to Anehiem California for the NAFEM show. The NAFEM show is THE equipment show for food service! Held every 2 years in either Orlando or LA. I have worked 5 in my career and WOW, the show in LA this year was AWESOME!!! I had such a GREAT time working the demo booth with Chef Steve D'Angelo. I was introduced to Moscow Mules!!!!! HELLO!!! They Rock!!! Sorry I digress - the point of this is to describe the trip currently in progress. The blog gives me an opportunity to describe experiences that would have to be limited to 65 or so characters on other social media, however, here I get to discuss all the in's and out's, Inn's and Hangout's on the road!!!!
My travel mate Mike Smith had been here 6 weeks ago for an equipment start up and certification. In this process he has to work with different contractors to get the equipment set up, electrical, plumbing, HVAC etc, yes there is a lot involved. Anyway - Mike met the General Contractor on this job at Bath,. His name is Sean Murphy - what a character. He is one of those guys that just knows his STUFF - and no one is going to tell he how or what to do - including "the office" in Ottawa!! He hangs out every afternoon at this little place called the Loyal Oarsman!!!! This is where he holds "Court"! (Gives his worldview drinks beer and buys shots!!!!) Yes plural!! Jagermeister is his shot of choice!!! This guy is a riot. Well - he drug us down there on Monday night, now I stayed away from the shots, but got pretty tangled up with Smith-wicks Draft Beer! What a riot!!! The place is just a local pub, and like all local pubs, they have their regulars. This is not a place that will be listed on "Must See Attractions" or anything like that. It is LOCAL, meaning they don't take to kindly to strangers. Don't get me wrong, I think Canadians are SOOO nice that they would never intentionally shun anyone. But, because "Murf" invited us - we were immediately one of the "REGULARS". Which led to a very interesting experience. Several rounds were purchased and there was lots of introductions to folks that I will most likely never see again, but you never know. In this world all things are connected. For instance, as I was checking in for my flight home on Delta at the Ottawa International Airport, the Jamaican ticket agent asked me where I was going, I told her the Gulfport/Biloxi Airport in Mississippi, she says "tell my cousin I said hello, they live in Biloxi. I was down there 2 years ago and we stayed at the Beau Rivage Casino in downtown Biloxi for the week". Well the company there was polite, the atmosphere was great and beer was awesome! It is always a great experience to make friends in new places. Often when we go on these business trips it is the same old thing, work all day, eat dinner in your room or at the hotel bar, go back to your room. This was different, we were accepted, embraced as friends, really a great, warm, friendly place!!!
Friday, October 16, 2015
We marinate 'em in Franks Red Hot Sauce for 24 hours, Then Smoke 'em for 4 hours at 240F. After they cool down we deep fry 'em till their crispy toss 'em with a little Tony's Creole Seasoning and more Frank's ! Serve'em up with Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing. Right now we are cooking about 400 pounds a month!!!!
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Yield: 216 lbs
Unsalted Butter 4 lbs
Diced Onion 15 lbs
Diced Green Bell Pepper 10 lbs
Diced Celery 5 lbs
Diced Andouille Sausage 20 lbs
Diced Tasso 10 lbs
Chopped Garlic 4 oz
Black Pepper 2 oz
Dried Thyme 1 ½oz
Bay Leaves 12 each
Seafood Seasoning 6 oz
Chicken Stock 15 Gallons
Diced Tomatoes 12 - # 10 Cans
Worcestershire Sauce 10 oz
Tabasco Sauce 4 oz
Diced Chicken 20 lbs
Dark Roux 8 lbs
Kosher Salt to taste
In butter sauté celery, onion, bell pepper until well cooked and vegetables start to caramelize. Brown sausage in oven and drain the off the excess fat, add the sausage & Tasso to the vegetable mix. Then add all of the seasoning and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, Tabasco and Worcestershire, incorporate roux, to thicken, and allow sauce to simmer for 45 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt. Fold in cooked rice as needed.
Friday, October 9, 2015
It was with sadness that I learned of the death of Chef Paul Prudhomme yesterday morning. Although I never had the opportunity to work for him or even eat in his restaurant, I learned a tremendous amount from him throughout the years. Though my knowledge was indirect I grew up in the culture the Chef Paul helped develop. He revolutionized Cajun and Creole cooking in the United States and brought it to the world. Not just with Blackened Redfish either. His use of indigenous ingredients and the employment of cooking methods like curing his own meats - tasso, charcuterie (making his own sausage) andouille, SMOKING!!! WOW!!! and his use of high powered seasonings - like cayenne pepper - Incredible!!!! These things made his food jump off the plate and on to your palate!!! I was blessed to have the opportunity to "come of age" in this environment. His cooking methods are responsible for countless cooks and chefs in the field today to be sure. A tremendous amount of the way I cook today has been influenced by this mans legacy.
One such mentor was JB Holstien. JB apprenticed at KPaul's, Chef Paul Prudhomme's famous French Quarter restaurant in New Orleans, for 2 years. JB told me that he showed up there everyday for 2 weeks solid and just sat in the hiring office until the General Manager Glenn Adams, finally gave him an interview. Once he did get hired he said they allowed him to chop vegetables, make stock and butcher fish for 6 months before he got a chance to cook anything. From there he worked his way up to hot apps (appetizers for those not into kitchen lingo). He learned his culinary foundation there. Just for example making stocks - most people by that time had gotten away from the arduous process of stock making. In a busy kitchen like that it is a tremendous commitment of resources to make stock. But Chef Prudhomme understood - that stock is the foundation of flavor. That commitment was just the way he did business. The knowledge that this style of cooking, imparted to me while working under Chef Holstien, impacted my path forever. I had the opportunity to work for JB directly after his time at KPauls, while he was the chef at The White Pillars restaurant in Biloxi Mississippi and again at another restaurant as his sous chef. The hours were long and the work was sometimes hard, but I could never replace the experience and knowledge gained in that time. JB also passed away a few years ago in Houston, we were not close as too often happens, but his indelible mark will always remain.
In his foundational cookbook Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, he lays out those foundations. He talks about rouxs, stocks, the size of a vegetable cut, how important that is in the way a dishes flavors come together, the use of herbs and spices, when to use dry, when to use fresh, on and on. But all in all it was something more with him, his pride in his heritage, Louisiana, the fabric and culture of New Orleans and the food that made him special. He will be missed, we have lost a true legend!
Thursday, October 8, 2015
From WWL TV New Orleans, Louisiana
Paul Prudhomme, the internationally-known superstar chef and restaurateur who brought new life to Cajun and Creole cuisine, popularizing it internationally and setting off a cooking craze in the 1980s, while also building a spice and food business empire, has died. He was 75.
Prudhomme's death was confirmed by his restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. A representative said the chef died after a brief illness.
The restaurant opened in the French Quarter in 1979, taking part of his name and that of his late wife, Kay Hinrichs Prudhomme. But Prudhomme first gained fame in New Orleans as the chef at Commander's Palace, where he, Ella and Dick Brennan revolutionized Creole cuisine. He became executive chef there in 1975, turning the landmark restaurant into a national treasure.
At his own restaurant, K-Paul's, which opened in 1979, Prudhomme and his wife Kay introduced the blackened redfish craze, which made the fish so popular that commercial fishing of the species became restricted in order to prevent it from going extinct. Prudhomme is also credited with introducing the turducken poultry dish, now a mainstay. The line outside his Chartres Street restaurant, which at the time had a no-reservation policy, often stretched down the block. The restaurant now accepts reservations and remains a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.
As a result of endless requests for his seasoning secrets, Prudhomme also in the 1990s created his own line of all natural herbs and spices. Today, his brand of Magic Seasoning Blends and products is distributed in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries around the world, produced at a factory in Elmwood.
Born and raised in Opelousas, the youngest of 13 children, Prudhomme's given name was Paul but as a young man he went by the name Gene Autry Prudhomme, a nod to the famous singing cowboy.
He opened his first restaurant in Opelousas in 1957, a hamburger restaurant called Big Daddy O's Patio. The restaurant went out of business in nine months, which also saw the end of his first marriage. Prudhomme then moved to New Orleans, taking odd jobs in restaurants here and elsewhere.
He moved back to New Orleans for jobs at Le Pavillion Hotel and Maison duPuy. Television personality Terry Flettrich, along with Ella Brennan, are credited with first "discovering" Prudhomme, first as a cooking school teacher with them, and then a superstar chef.
As a national celebrity, Prudhomme has been featured on countless TV series and interviews, as well as national and international magazines. He has been honored with awards from the food industry over the years including Restaurateur of the Year, Culinary Diplomat by the American Culinary Federation, and was named a humanitarian by Bon Appetit in 2006 for his donation of food and services to relief workers after Hurricane Katrina. He cooked for members of Congress, heads of state and international celebrities, as well as donating his time for non-profit causes and fundraisers.
Prudhomme is survived by his wife, Lori.
Funeral arrangements are pending.