A Special Louisville Endeavor

We had the pleasure of participating in Endeavor – The Louisville Food & Beverage Tour. Endeavor Louisville led 18 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from ten countries on an F&B tour of the city this week, featuring site visits, panels and discussions with Endeavor Louisville board members, as well as other business leaders, involved in the industry. The tour provided an opportunity for these industry icons to deliver firsthand knowledge to Endeavor Entrepreneurs about scaling up, going big, and winning in the industry.

Winston Industries‘ own Chef Barry Yates partnered with Chef Space, Louisville’s original kitchen incubator, to demonstrate how community leaders can partner to accelerate others ideas. Barry demonstrated CVap® Staged New York Strip in the newly equipped Jays 120 space at the west Louisville incubator. CVap® Staging is a technique that allows QSR operators to drastically reduce service times while maintaining extraordinary food quality. One of the aspects we loved about this event is that guests were able to get an up close and hands on feel for how CVap technology can optimize their kitchen operations. Great food fast every time!

“Winston Industries, building on its entrepreneurial legacy, was a natural partner for the tour,” says Barry Yates, “innovation and ideas are in our DNA” he continued. Winston Industries has expanded into four three divisions specializing in foodservice, manufacturing, and electronics- to perpetuate our entrepreneurial spirit and to provide the opportunity for others to do the same.

Thank you Endeavor and Chef Space for allowing us to participate in the tour.  We’ve received great feedback from attendees and can’t wait to do more of these events in the future! If you would like to learn more about Winston Industries or have an hands on entrepreneurial experience of your own, schedule your CVap demo and cook with us! Visit our website for more info or call 502.495.5400

Serving Up Delicious Street Tacos for School Lunch!

When you were a kid in school you probably didn’t give much thought to learning about your future career from lunch ladies-which by the way now includes lunch men and even chefs! And I’d be willing to bet that your school district didn’t have a culinary program either. Times have changed.

This is Culinary Specialist Chef Ron Jones with Esteban Gonzales of the student-driven taco recipe team at Greenville County School District, GCSD.

I recently returned from another stop on the School Nutrition Guru world tour and I’ve got to tell you they just rocked the cafeteria at Mauldin Middle in Upstate South Carolina at Greenville County Schools.

The day started with a visit to GCSD Nutrition offices, where I saw a familiar sight when I walked into Director Joe Urban’s office. He’s a true media wiz and grabs pics and video whenever he can that show the pride he has in this awesome district.

Then we drove to Mauldin Middle to meet the student team that had the winning recipe in the district. I felt fortunate I was able to spend some time with them. From left to right: Hunter Criswell, Esteban Gonzalez, SND Joe Urban, and Michael Harmon.

The first thing the team checked were the conversions to school level preparation of the taco ingredients. As an example, the student design team’s original taco featured red onions pickled in red wine vinegar. The school version switched to white vinegar.

Then the first taste test by the team.  They agreed the tacos needed a replacement tortilla and a change was made and tested once more. Then on to the lunch rush!

This is the amazing, energetic Vicki Thompson, Cafeteria Manager at Mauldin Middle. Just ahead of lunch each day she holds a pep rally with her team right before the bell. It’s incredible to watch. She has a constant smile and she and the staff LOVE their students!!

This next part was really cool! Chef Ron grabbed the recipe team members and had them help build a balanced complete tray as it might look when the tacos will be added to the GCSD menu cycle.

Word gets around fast when just one kid says “free tacos!” The open hands below didn’t hear about it until they got to their tables with their trays which they promptly left to come back for a sample.

Why not become a friend and fan of Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services Facebook page? You’ll see trends being set and breakthroughs happening. Just recently GCSD made the top ten list on the Food Research and Action Center’s 2016 Scorecard!! It’s not just about School Lunch, read about #schoolbreakfast too!!

You can also watch a short video about Greenville County SC’s newest addition to their lunch menu.

Unique to Georgia is their School Nutrition Association’s Equipment Academy

As a School Nutrition Guru, it’s really important for me to stay on top of the trends, standards, and challenges that affect school foodservice professionals everywhere, and the Georgia School Nutrition Association’s Equipment Academy is one of my GO-TO sources!

Unique to Georgia, the Equipment Academy takes place in Perry, GA, during non-NAFEM years. NAFEM is the National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, and their bi-annual event showcases foodservice equipment from more than 500 manufacturers.

The Equipment Academy concept is a bit like a scaled-downed NAFEM Show with a school foodservice focus. Five equipment dealers are chosen to represent learning classrooms, and Manufacturer’s Representatives (similar to Brokers) are there to represent the foodservice factories that fit the criteria. School foodservice operators come from all over the state to see what innovations they might bring to their districts, from temperature management systems to fabulous ovens, like Winston’s CAT522 shown here in the CITISCO Dealer booth.

The Academy offers two and a half days of intense learning about what might really make running school cafeteria programs more efficient. Here are Candice Sisson and Emily Hanlin, School Nutrition Directors in Fannin and Douglas Counties, respectively.

We at Winston have had a long partnership with Charles Pace and Associates, our Manufacturer’s Reps for Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. Pictured below are Chuck (right) and Chris (left) Pace, with Winston’s Southern US Regional, Corey Ainsworth (center). This was a milestone for Corey as it was his first Equipment Academy, and he told me he loved it!

You know me – I love to take a selfie with people I’ve worked with for a while. This is James Camacho of Camacho and Associates. James’ design consultancy builds awesome schools and does fabulous remodels. He came to the Equipment Academy specifically to teach a class on equipment specification for school kitchens. It was great to see and have him there. When we took this shot, we were enjoying Thursday evening’s festivities which included great food and drinks prepared by us all.

The Equipment Academy would be extremely beneficial for any of the State Nutrition Associations, and I heard a rumor that Mississippi may be next. We’ll definitely keep you posted!!

Learn more about the complete line of CVap products.

School Food for dinner? Yes, when it’s Tantalizing and Tasty Ranchero Beans!

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about what’s being served in school cafeterias around the country. Take it from me, the best way to find out what’s being plated in K-12 is to actually go to the schools and have lunch yourself. I work with schools around the U.S. and let me tell you there is some wonderful food around the country with creative ways of serving happening every day!

I suppose you could give an example based on new regulations that are taking place. But really those healthier options, even before the new regulations, have been putting school foodservice at the forefront of tasty recipes from one of the most demanding groups of customers there is – your kids.

The K-12 market segment food manufacturers have done a marvelous job with reformulating and reinventing a lot of the tasty treats your kid’s love to eat. Add in scratch cooking that’s being done in many of the nation’s schools and well, you’ve got some great recipes for healthy well fed students that get kids ready to learn.

So here’s my challenge to you. Would you try a dynamic and delicious made from scratch school food recipe at your next outdoor cookout?

Believe me when the side dish is Tantalizing and Tasty Ranchero Beans from a district like Brantley County Schools in Georgia, you can’t go wrong.

Ranchero Beans

Here’s what I did and I’ll show you how. I took the original bulk recipe from School Nutrition Director Laura Lynn’s Brantley County School District and honed it down for an at home gathering with family. I’m sharing the original with you along with my version.

School style:

Number of Portions: 43
Size of Portions: ½ cup

Equipment:

CAT509 – CVap Thermalizer
HA4522 – CVap Holding Cabinet

Ingredients:

1 cup, 8 fl oz water
2 tsp low sodium ham base
1 #10 can/18.5 ct/.5 cup beans, canned, drained, rinsed
1 can #10 tomatoes, diced, canned
1 cup frozen diced onions
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp cumin, ground
1 tbsp salt, table
1 tsp pepper, black
¼ cup mild banana pepper rings

Preparation:

Pre-heat your CVap Thermalizer by pressing Channel 6.

Place can of tomatoes, drained beans and onions in a 2” deep hotel pan. Add 1 cup of warm water mixed with the ham base. Add Italian seasoning, cumin, salt and black pepper. Mix well and place pepper rings on top. Once it’s pre-heated, place in the CAT509 and cook for 30 minutes. Then place in HA4522 Holding Cabinet with a food temperature of 155 degrees and a food texture of +10 degrees until ready to serve. Serve students with #8 scoop or ½ spoodle.

Home Style Version

Ingredients:

½ cup of water
¼ tsp of low sodium ham base (I used Better Than Bouillon brand)
2 cans 15.5 oz unseasoned pinto beans drained, rinsed
2 cans 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
¼ cup frozen diced onions (I used Kroger brand)
¼ tsp Italian seasoning (I used McCormick brand)
¼ tsp of cumin
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
6 or 8 mild banana pepper rings

Preparation:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a half size aluminum hotel pan and then use a CVap CAC503 Cook and Hold set to 90+9 for 30 minutes on high yield so it will drop into an automatic hold of 150 following the heat cycle to warm.

If you don’t have one at home…

Combine the ingredients in a gallon or so pot, reserve the mild banana rings for topping. Heat on medium on top of the stove, covered until warm, then put the banana pepper rings on top for serving.

I then served this to friends and family, including my two year old granddaughter Penelope (minus the mild banana pepper rings) and asked them all what they thought.

The adults loved it and Penelope asked for more. Then the big reveal… I told them it was school food!

This made Penelope ready for kindergarten immediately!

Check out this wonderful dish and try it at home. Take heart in knowing that schools all over America are serving great dishes like this to your children which have been cooked fresh in Winston Thermalizers and held at just cooked quality in Winston Holding Cabinets with the one and only CVap technology.

CVap Saltimbocca, Southern Style!

Saltimbocca (also saltimbocca) (Italian: jumps in the mouth) is a dish (popular in southern Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece) made of veal lined or topped with prosciutto and sage; marinated in wine, oil or saltwater depending on the region or one’s own taste. This dish is also occasionally topped with capers depending on individual taste (Wikipedia).

Although veal and prosciutto are the proteins traditionally used when making this dish, our CVap Saltimbocca features chicken thighs in the starring role. And the Southern spin comes from wrapping the thighs with Woodlands Pork Mountain Ham, which is butchered and cured in the European style. >> Click here to learn more about its creator, Jay Denham. << We further amped up the southern charm by serving the Saltimbocca over Weisenberger grits mixed with Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese.

We boned, skinned, and brined chicken thighs. We then wrapped them in the reserved skins and roasted them in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven at 165 + 30 for :30 minutes, then held them until we were ready for finishing. To do that, we removed the chicken skins, wrapped the thighs with fresh sage leaves, Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheddar, and Woodlands Pork Mountain Ham, and pan-seared them to crisp the ham. These were then held until we were ready to plate. As you can see, the thighs remained incredibly juicy while the ham achieved exactly the crisp texture we wanted.

Meanwhile, we sautéed sliced cremini mushrooms with chopped onion and garlic, then reduced them with stock and a generous amount of butter.

For the grits, we mixed Weisenberger Grits with chicken stock and Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheddar, covered the pan with foil, and cooked it in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven 200 + 100 for an hour. For plating, the grits were topped with a salad of heirloom tomatoes tossed in a honey-thyme vinaigrette. Gorgeous all by itself!

We topped that with one of the Saltimbocca chicken thighs and a generous ladle of the sautéed mushroom mixture and its reduced broth.

And the finished plate was as delicious as it was beautiful!

Kickin’ Chicken Noodle Soup: A Bowl Full of Delicious Techniques!

Whether it’s good for the body, soothing for the soul, or transports you to a nostalgic happy place from your childhood, there’s something deeply satisfying about chicken noodle soup that resonates with most people.

It can also be an eloquent expression of different techniques. In this case, we utilized both CVap and Collectramatic equipment to create a chicken soup with a robust flavor profile and a broad range of textures.

For the broth, we combined chicken carcasses, aromatics including carrots, onions, celery, thyme, sage, parsley, and rosemary, and slowly reduced it in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven set at 180 + 30 for 8 hours with Constant Cook ON.

Chicken thighs were vacuum-sealed with olive oil and salt and CVap-poached at 165 + 2 for 2 hours with Constant Cook ON. The result was a confit with an almost buttery texture.

The skin was removed from the CVap-poached chicken and open fried in a Collectramatic fryer at 350°F for four minutes.

Celery, carrots, and onions were steamed in a CVap at 200 + 0 for one hour and added to the stock and held until it was time to assemble the plates.

We purchased fresh noodles from whole foods and steamed them at the same settings as the vegetables.

For plating, we started with the steamed noodles and topped them with the vegetables, followed by pulled confit of chicken.

We then poured hot stock over the bowls and garnished with fresh herbs and the fried chicken skin crisps.

It just doesn’t get more satiating than that!