Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fisherman's Daughter Wild Sonora Coast Shrimp

The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez or Sea of Cortés; locally known in the Spanish language as Mar de Cortés or Mar Bermejo or Golfo de California) is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa. The name "Gulf of California" predominates on most maps in English today. The name "Sea of Cortés" is the one preferred by most local residents. The Gulf opened up 5.3 million years ago, redirecting the flow of the Colorado River. To the Gulf of California also flow the rivers Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, Yaqui.

The narrow sea is home to a unique and rich ecosystem. In addition to a wide range of endemic creatures, it hosts many migratory species, such as the humpback whale, California Gray Whale, manta ray and Leatherback Sea Turtle. This region has historically been a magnet for world class sport fishing activities, with a rich history of sporting world records.

The region also has a rich history as a commercial fishery. Some authors have reported witnessing tuna schools more than 100 miles (160 km) long in this region. Some argue that this region is one of the few in the world that still has potential to open new commercial fisheries, because statistics show that the fishing resources are stable. (source Wikipedia)

CleanFish is proud to present Fisherman's Daughter Wild Sonora Coast shrimp through our committed partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, the Valdez-Cervantes family, and other forward thinking environmental groups and fishermen. Together, we are working to preserve the health of the Sea of Cortez by promoting innovations in sustainable harvesting.

The Valdez-Cervantes family of Sonora, Mexico has been fishing for generations, and is leading the way toward sustainability in the Sea of Cortez. When their youngest daughter came home from school asking if their family's shrimp boats were part of the reason there were fewer fish in the sea, her parents, Oscar and Irma, decided it was time to rethink how they were doing things. Over the past ten years, this family has led the way in developing a better system for harvesting shrimp that is more resource efficient and less taxing on the environment. Their system goes far beyond national conservation standards. Now, others are ready to join them.

Pioneering in sustainable shrimp harvesting
􀁺 Lighter nets, smaller doors and hydrodynamic design mean less drag on the
ocean floor and less fuel use
􀁺 Larger mesh size and bycatch reduction devices significantly reduce nontargeted
species harvested
􀁺 Turtle excluder devices ensure that sea turtles accidentally caught in shrimp
nets will be able to escape
􀁺 Satellite monitoring technologies assure that shrimp was caught in
approved zones outside of environmental marine preserves
􀁺 Compliance is monitored on boat by third party observers from the
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
􀁺 Complete traceability across entire chain of custody
􀁺 All natural: No preservatives, chemicals or other additives used, ever.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Harbor Banks Calamari, Day Boat Caught Loligo Squid

Sea Fresh USA is proud to offer our line of premium gourmet cleaned calamari. We start with day boat-fresh loligo squid, chilled at sea in icy brinewater, from our fleet of more than thirty fishing vessels. The squid is unloaded at our HACCP approved wharf in Point Judith, Rhode Island and transferred immediately to our nearby production facilities where it is quickly run through our processing line.

There, our highly-trained personnel clean and pack the squid by hand, removing all viscera and wings in the process. The result is cleaned calamari of the highest possible quality, with no waste, no fillers, and perfect taste and texture. We offer a calamari pack of true weight, with no unusable wing or water weight that goes to waste upon thawing. Sea Fresh USA offers cleaned calamari packs of tubes, tubes and tentacles, and rings only.

Please See USPN #5326806 Harbor Banks Tubes and Tenticles. Packed by Sea Fresh USA from Rhode Island.

The squid come every year in the early spring, sometime around late April, early May. They travel in groups and in the spring, mostly male. People line up in the early evening to catch a glimpse of these soft bodied creatures, the ones with large well developed eyes.

Found from Greenland to Florida, the young squid three to six months old travel during April and May from the Grand Banks, Georgia Banks, and to the mid Atlantic, passing through Newport Harbor.

The highest concentration of squid occurs when the bottom temperature exceed 6-7 degrees Celsius. Of course, biological and predatory hunters also have an effect.
Adults migrate near Cape Hatteras and live no more than twelve to eighteen months dying immediately after spawning.

Known as a food source for a variety of fish, mammals, and birds, squid live at the bottom of the sea during the day and. propel upwards at night.
Squid, related to the octopus and a member of the mollusk family travel the depths of the deep waters. Several hundred varieties exist today, some as long as fifty feet and are distributed throughout the oceans of the world.

Used primarily as bait, squid were first harvested by the Japanese. Now a delicacy, chefs offer hundreds of ways to consume the fleshy cephalopod.

Because their arms and tentacles are attached directly to their heads, squid are known as “head footed”. A small internal spine extends along the back of the body and acts as its support. Their bodies are distinct. Cigar shaped with two triangular fins, a funnel, head, eight arms covered with suction cups and two tentacles, the squid move vertically in search of daily food.

The funnel is used as a means of propulsion moving forward or backward at a rapid pace. The squid have well developed eyes on either side of the head and a parrot like beak. Sometimes the squid change colors from an iridescent white and green to a rusty brown. As the squid expand and contract, the color cells act as a camouflage in response to an attack, and then emit a black ink to chase predators away.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Shortage of Wild Salmon in Alaska

Contrary to recent news reports depicted depleted salmon runs in California, Alaska is rife with wild-caught North American salmon.
April 25, 2008

Officials from the Juneau-based Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) retailers said that recently reported depletions of salmon runs in California do not signal any problem for Alaskas summer salmon season, as the states fishing industry will begin harvesting millions of wild Alaskan salmon from mid-May through October, when each of the five Pacific salmon species are abundant.

ASMI said Alaskas harvest represents 90 percent to 95 percent of the wild-caught salmon harvested in North America.

ASMI said Alaskas successful fisheries management practices allow wild and sustainable Alaska salmon runs to return healthy and abundant, year after year. In 2007, the commercial harvest in Alaska exceeded 212 million fish -- the fourth largest salmon harvest on record.

In an effort to keep retailers current on Alaskas sustainable fishery management practices, ASMI is offering a new online training tool, Alaska Seafood U. The interactive Web-based training program provides facts and tips on each of the Alaska seafood species, fisheries management, harvesting methods, health and nutrition plus cooking and preparation information.

Alaska Seafood U is free to all retailers and can be accessed by visiting www.AlaskaSeafoodU.org

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Earth Day Tips

April 22 was Earth Day and listed below are some suggestions for reducing our environmental footprint at both work and home. Feel free to pass on this information...

Here's our Top 10 list of actions for individuals, organizations and
businesses to take as a first step in reducing your contribution to
global warming. The time to act is now.

Project Switch: Change your light bulbs!

There are now highly efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
that last for years, use a third of the energy of regular bulbs and
actually produce more light. Look for the government's ENERGY STAR
label, which means the bulb has been tested for quality and efficiency.
While each ENERGY STAR qualified bulb can cost more initially - anywhere
from $4 to $15 a piece - remember that there are two price tags: what
you pay at the register and what you pay in energy costs over the bulb's
lifetime. You may pay more up front, but you will actually save hundreds
of dollars in your household budget over the long term because of their
long life. Five ENERGY STAR light bulbs will save your household at
least $150 over their lifetime.

Here's the impact. If every household in the U.S. replaced a burned-out
bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent
bulb, the cumulative effect is enormous. It would prevent greenhouse gas
emissions equivalent to that from nearly 800,000 cars. It would also
save enough energy to light 2.5 million homes for a year.

There are other, simple things with household lighting you can do to
conserve. Turn off unneeded lights, dim lights when you can and bring
natural sunlight into your home when it is feasible.

But changing those old light bulbs and replacing them with ENERGY STAR
qualified compact fluorescents that can last seven years or more is by
far the best thing you can do.

Drive your car differently – or drive a different car altogether!

The sad truth is that a gas guzzler emits as much CO2 as some homes!
That's the bad news. The good news is that anything you can do to
improve the fuel efficiency of your car will have an impact. On average,
a passenger car emits 11,400 pounds of CO2 each year while a home emits
9,000 pounds of CO2 per person each year in the United States.

Horribly inefficient SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks now make up more
than half of the cars on American roads. The real tragedy is that
automakers could double the current average fuel efficiency of SUVs if
they wanted. Even improving fuel economy from 20 miles-per-gallon to 25
miles-per-gallon would prevent 10 tons of CO2 from being released over a
vehicle's lifetime.

Buying a fuel-efficient car (like a Hybrid) is wonderful. In fact,
replacing your gas-guzzling car with a fuel-efficient one is by far the
best thing you can do, out of all your choices. But not all of us can do
that - at least, not right now. So, in the interim, there are things you
can do with the car you drive now to conserve energy and be more

Drive less. Every year, Americans as a whole drive more miles than they
did the year before. Stop this trend. Telecommuting and public
transportation are great options. Leaving your car at home two days a
week will reduce your CO2 emissions by 1,590 pounds a year. Even piling
multiple errands into one trip helps and if you can walk instead of
drive, even better.

Get your car tuned up. Just a simple tune-up often improves fuel
efficiency. Studies have shown that a poorly tuned engine can increase
fuel consumption by as much as 10-20 percent.

Slow down, don't race your car's engine, and watch your idling. All of
these save on gas (saving you money) and have a big impact on burning
gasoline. You can save gas by turning the engine off and restarting it
again if you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds.

Your house – not too hot, not too cold!

The bad news is that about 42 percent of your household energy costs go
toward just two things - heating and cooling. The good news is that
means you have a lot of room to make a difference and even small changes
can make dramatic improvements in household fuel efficiency.

Replacing older heating and cooling systems with new efficient models
can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent. So replacing the old
with the new is a wonderful idea, but not very practical for most of us.
Things you can do right now to make sure you're maintaining the right
temperature in your house efficiently include:

Tune up your heating system. By keeping your furnace clean, lubricated
and properly adjusted, you can save up to 5 percent in heating costs.

Clean vents, close unused vents, and change filters in the vents. Again,
just these simple things will save you up to 5 percent in costs.

Buy a programmable thermostat, which can regulate different temperatures
at different times of the day. And if you have one, use it! These
thermostats reduce energy use by 5-30 percent and save you $100-$150 in
energy costs each year.

If one in 10 households serviced heating and cooling systems annually,
cleaned or replaced filters regularly, used a programmable thermostat
and replaced old equipment with ENERGY STAR models it would prevent the
emissions of more than 17 billion pounds of greenhouse gases.

Add two degrees to the AC thermostat in summer, and two degrees in
winter. If everyone did this, the cumulative impact is significant.

Make sure windows and doors are sealed. Again, this will dramatically
improve your household fuel efficiency. Sealing air leaks and adding
insulation can reduce your annual energy bill by 10 percent.

Of course, if you can stand it, by far the best approach is to avoid
using air conditioners. Ceiling fans use 80 percent less energy than
central air conditioners. By only using ceiling fans you can reduce your
annual cooling costs by 10-65 percent. In warm weather run the fan
blades in a counter-clockwise direction to feel 5 degrees cooler. During
the winter set the fan blades to rotate clockwise at a low speed to
force warm air from the ceiling down into the living space.

Tame the refrigerator monster!

Did you know that your friendly refrigerator has a voracious energy
appetite? It is the biggest consumer of electricity among household
appliances and responsible for 10-15 percent of the electricity you use
each year.

Older refrigerators, as a rule, are far less efficient than the newest
ones - as much as 50 percent less efficient. But buying a brand-new,
energy-efficient refrigerator is not always in the cards for most of us.
Fortunately, other things will help.

Don't set the thermostat too high. Lowering the temperature even 1
degree will make a big difference.

If your refrigerator is near a heating vent, or always in the sun, then
change the location, cover up the heating vent near it or cover the

Turn on your "energy saver" switch near the thermostat.

Clean the condenser coil. This one, very simple thing can improve the
efficiency of your refrigerator reducing your annual energy costs by

Get rid of your second refrigerator. If you don't need it, don't waste
the energy.

Make sure the doors seal properly, and keep the cool in.

Twist the knobs on your other household appliances!

The other big users of energy in your household are your hot water
heater, your washer and dryer, and your dishwasher. Each, in its own
way, can be inefficient. Here are some things to try:

Either turn the hot water heater down to 120 degrees, or turn on the
"energy conservation" setting. Some manufacturers set water heater
thermostats at 140 degrees when most households only require them at 120
or 115 degrees. For each 10 degrees reduction in water temperature, you
can save 3-5 percent in energy costs.

Buy insulation at a local store and insulate your hot water heater and

Install a timer on your water heater to turn off at night and on just
before you wake up in the morning.

When possible, wash a few dishes by hand. Over time, that will save a
few loads in the dishwasher, conserving energy.

Don't pre-rinse dishes. Today's detergents are powerful enough to do the

Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher.

Wash clothes in warm water, not hot. Ninety percent of the energy used
in operating a washing machine goes toward heating the water that washes
and rinses the clothes. The clothes will be just as clean, and you'll
cut energy use.

Don't over-dry your clothes.

Green plants with less water, more trees to provide shade.

While it is true that planting more trees will help in the short term
because they essentially soak up carbon, they also release carbon
dioxide when they die. So it just postpones the problem. But there are
other reasons to plant trees - as wind breaks to save energy, and as
shade to lower cooling costs. And even the short-term help while we get
our act together is a good thing.

As for plants, do everything you can in your yard and garden to create
ways in which plants use less water. Choose hardier plants, plant things
in groups that need more water and put in mulch to help keep moisture
in. When you mow your grass, make sure you do it smartly - with sharp
blades, and only when the grass needs cutting. Finally, make sure you
water your lawn sparingly. All of these will conserve energy.

Buy Green Energy, and invest in green energy stocks.

Imagine if we ran out of fossil fuels tomorrow, what would we do? Well,
we'd get our electricity from renewable energy, such as solar panels,
geothermal and wind power sources. Many utilities now give consumers the
option to buy "green power." Ask for it!

Learn the truth about nuclear power and natural gas as viable "green"
options. They aren't. Radioactive waste will be a problem for tens of
thousands of years into the future. Even though natural gas emits half
as much CO2 as coal, it is still responsible for 20 percent of CO2
emissions in the United States while only providing us with around 23
percent of the energy consumed. Natural gas can help us make a
transition, but it isn't the solution.

Finally, invest in green stocks and renewable energy companies through
socially responsible funds. They perform just as well (if not better)
than all of the unfiltered funds.

Go organic.

Even with our vast reservoir of scientific knowledge about farming, most
American farmers still spray a billion pounds of pesticides to protect
crops each year.

Now here's the kicker: when chemical pesticides are used to kill pests,
they can also kill microorganisms that keep carbon contained in the
soil. When the microorganisms are gone, the carbon is released into the
atmosphere as CO2. And when those organisms are gone, the soil is no
longer naturally fertile and chemical fertilizers become a necessity,
not a luxury.

But besides going organic - thereby saving the carbon release from soil
- there are other simple things you can do with food that will also make
a difference:

Eat locally grown food. If the food doesn't have to travel far, there's
less CO2 from the trucks that ship it.

Eat fruits and vegetables in season. Again, that saves the enormous
transportation costs.

Plant your own vegetable garden. It's not as hard as you might think.

Buy recycled.

This may sound simple, but it takes less energy to manufacture a
recycled product than a brand new one. So if you and every other
consumer buy recycled products, you'll help create a market, and
conserve energy along the way.

Because many manufacturers don't go out of their way to tout their
recycled products, you should know that aluminum and tin cans, glass
containers, and pulp cardboard have a fair amount of recycled content.
So buy away!

Recycled products can often be considerably cheaper than non-recycled
products. Most recycled paper products are of comparable quality and
cost competitive with virgin paper products.

Finally, before you buy, check to see if the product or its packaging
can be recycled. The recyclable logo (three arrows forming a triangle)
is fairly common now.

Be a minimalist.

We know it's difficult, but in today's consumer economy, an easy way to
conserve energy is to simply use - and buy -- less. Every time you buy
something, energy has gone into getting that product to you. So the less
you buy, the more you save energy-wise. It's a simple equation.

This last item on our Top Ten list may, in fact, be the single biggest
way to make a dent in the global warming problem. Again, we know it
sounds obvious, but buying less things - some of which you just don't
need - changes the energy equation across the board, on every single
consumer product. If everyone used less, the impact would be large

So how about some specific things? Here are a few:

Buy in bulk. In short, bulk items use less packaging, which translates
into less energy.

Buy one of something, not 21 of something. You don't need 21 pairs of
shoes, if one pair works just as well.

Go through your closet. Donate or recycle what you really don't need,
then make a pledge not to replace everything you just got rid of.

Buy quality products that will last longer. Over time, you'll obviously
buy fewer products that way.

Be creative in what you use for work, play and leisure. You don't always
have to buy new products for activities. Re-use in creative ways.

Well, that's it - Earth Day Network's Top 10. As we said at the start,
if just a third of us in the United States follow through on most of
what's on this list, we can all collectively make a difference - and
keep greenhouse gas emissions where they might otherwise be if the U.S.
government stepped in and imposed mandatory CO2 caps and fuel-efficiency

Friday, April 25, 2008

Humboldt Fog® In Stock At US Foodservice San Francisco

Can you imagine a time when goat cheese wasn’t popular in the United States? It seems difficult to believe, but a mere twenty-five years ago virtually all the goat cheese sold in the United States was imported from Europe. And that’s where the Cypress Grove story begins, with a few enterprising Americans — mostly women — who made small batches of goat cheese in their kitchens and began selling it to discerning restaurant owners and retailers. One of those enterprising Americans was Mary Keehn.

Wanting a source of healthful milk for her children, Mary began raising Alpine goats in the 1970s. She quickly discovered that she had a natural talent for selectively breeding goats. Her herd began winning numerous awards and before she knew it, Mary was recognized as America’s premier breeder of Alpine dairy goats.

As Mary’s goat stock continued to improve, she was faced with an unexpected consequence: surplus milk from fifty goats! And so, armed with her kitchen stove and a knack for inventing unique and delicious recipes, Mary began dabbling with cheese making. It soon became clear that selective goat breeding was only one of Mary’s many talents; she had a natural flair for cheese making as well. Thus in 1983 with the help of family and friends, Mary made the move from kitchen hobbyist to cheese making entrepreneur.

From the outset, Mary strove to make the highest quality, best-tasting artisanal cheeses. Market acceptance, however, was slow. Americans, it seemed, had become accustomed not only to the strong, tangy goat cheeses made in France, but also bland, sliced “cheese” wrapped in plastic. It took quite a few years before consumers developed a palate for the smooth, delicate flavors of Cypress Grove cheeses. Mary used this period of slow, steady growth to take special care of her customers and to work in conjunction with other goat cheese pioneers to develop the American market. Patience, hard-work and a commitment to quality paid off and over time, a large, loyal following began to seek out the Cypress Grove label. Today, renowned for its innovative range of fresh, aged and ripened cheeses — many invented by Mary — and internationally awarded for excellence, Cypress Grove is a leader in the domestic goat cheese market.

Their signature offering, Humboldt Fog is an elegant, soft, surface ripened goat milk cheese. The texture is creamy and luscious with a subtle tangy flavor. Each handcrafted wheel features a ribbon of edible vegetable ash along its center and a coating of ash under its exterior to give it a distinctive, cake-like appearance. An American Original!

Ingredients: Pasteurized cultured goat milk, salt, enzymes, organic vegetable ash
Approx. Size: 16 oz 5 lb Grande
Packaging: 4 per case 1 per case
Optimal Shelf Life: 4 weeks uncut 8 weeks uncut
Type: Ripened Goat’s Milk Cheese

General Handling Procedures:
To maintain original condition: keep cheese cold (33˚–35˚F) and wrapped in waxed paper. Never use plastic, wrap—ripened cheeses need to breathe.
To speed ripening: place in a warmer part of refrigerator and increase humidity.
To serve: Remove from the refrigerator only the portion you plan to serve, and
bring to room temperature. Rewrap in waxed paper.

Top 100 Designs Worldwide, Metropolitan Home Magazine, 2003
Best Cheese & Dairy Product, IFFCS (New York), 2002
Gold, London International Cheese Competition, 2004
First Place, American Cheese Society, 1998 • 2002 • 2005

Serving Suggestions:
1) For a simple yet elegant dessert or snack: serve with honeycomb, pears, and a
crisp white wine.
2) Place a slice atop a delicious salad of spinach, apple, mandarin oranges, walnuts,
cranberries, and red bell pepper. Drizzle with raspberry-balsamic vinaigrette.
3) Humboldt Fog pairs nicely with wild mushrooms and other earthy flavors.
UPC: (16 oz) 0 3949600202 1 (5 lb) 0 3949600201 4
Serving Size: 1 oz
Calories: 100
Calories from Fat: 60
* Percent Daily Values (DV) are
based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Amounts Per Serving %(DV)*
Total Fat 7g..............................11%
Saturated Fat 4g..............................20%
Trans Fat 0g................................0%
Cholesterol 20mg........................7%
Sodium 200mg......................8%
Total Carbohydrates 3g................................1%
Dietary Fiber 0g................................0%
Sugars 0g................................0%
Protein 6g
Vitamin A 9% • Vitamin C 0% • Calcium 4%
Iron 0%

Chef Steve Salle at The Spring Foodshow With Snake River Farms

Steve Salle, Center of the Plate Specialist from US Foodservice San Francisco checked in from the US Foodservice Spring Foodshow in Sacramento.

Hello all,

We had so much interest yesterday about Snake River Farms beef, here are a few fun fact to ponder !!!!

During the second century A.D., a legendary breed of cattle -called Wagyu- were brought from their home on the Asian mainland to a new life in Japan.
The breed was refined in the Kobe region of Japanover hundreds of generations and has become famous around the world for its intense flavor and supreme tenderness.
This ancient breed from Japan is the foundation for the elite quality of Snake River Farms American kobe beef.

Japanese Wagyu are often crossed with dairy cattle in Japan. SRF crosses its premiere Wagyu cattle with premium American Black Angus to create exceptional American Kobe Beef

SRF has adopted many aspects of the heritage-steeped Japanese feeding method, including a slow-paced, all natural production method. The cattle are fed a all natural diet of barley, golden wheat straw, alfalfa hay and Idaho potatoes...never any growth promoting hormones or animal-by products in the feed


Steve Salle

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How the Crack Dealer Became a Chef

Here is a fascinating story by Stephen J. Dubner

Have you ever heard of Chef Jeff Henderson?

Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t either. That’s when our publicist mentioned him and his new book. (We have the same publisher.) Jeff grew up in L.A. and San Diego, became a big-time crack dealer, and was sentenced to a long term in prison, where he learned to cook and became passionate about food. Now, after several years in prison and many, many restaurant jobs, he is the executive chef at the Cafe Bellagio in Vegas. That’s the story he tells in his book, Cooked, which Will Smith’s production company has purchased in the hopes of filming his story.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chef Wants Royalties From Sting

Chef Roy Smith wants royalties from Sting for songs

(What's this?)A chef who claims he helped Sting cook up two of his biggest hits wants royalties.

Roy Smith, 48, says he met the singer in 1977 or 1978 and told him about an ex-girlfriend called Roxanne, who was a prostitute.

He also explained how he once wrote a message to his mother, put it in a bottle and threw it into the sea.

From The Mirror

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Inflation Trends

Consumer Trends
As higher costs continue to squeeze margins, menu price hikes are likely, which then poses the question…how will consumers react?

History shows that consumers modify their spending habits in a variety of ways.

Modified Spending Habits
*Trading down to less expensive restaurants
*Ordering fewer items when they visit a restaurant
*Ordering from a value menu or purchasing a snack
*Taking advantage of special promotions in the form of fixed price menus with ‘pick and choose’ options
*Ordering less expensive items
*Taking advantage of price promotions or coupons
*Sharing/splitting a main entrée *Ordering an appetizer instead of an entrée
*Not ordering a beverage
*Not ordering a dessert
*Ordering a burger/sandwich instead of a main entrée

What Can The Operator Do?
*Because consumers have many ways they can manage their spending, the challenge is much more complicated than deciding how much to raise prices.
*Working with their partners, the operator will need to evaluate their entire menu to anticipate how their customers will react and develop programs that reduce trade-down and offer value.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Food Cost Control

Best Practices
Involve key staff members in food cost control measures.
Teach your staff about food cost management and involve them in the
food cost control process.
Take inventory weekly, or monthly at minimum, and keep a close eye on
Implement daily or shiftly counts of high cost items, beginning with
most expensive items first.
If you are not using Waste Tracking Sheets, begin ASAP.
Implement and monitor Waste Buckets (all food waste is placed in a
special bucket and verified daily).
Make sure someone on your staff is checking in every delivery. NEVER
let a delivery person in your food storage areas alone.
Check building security. All backdoors should be locked at all times.
Employees should only enter and exit through front doors.
Adopt a “write it (or “ring it up”) before you serve it” rule to ensure
all items are paid for.
Don’t overbuy to keep spoilage to a minimum. Notice par levels when
counting inventory to assist in this area.
Follow good sanitation practices.
Pre-portion food to control over-portioning.
Post performance information weekly and let staff know how the team is

Sunday, April 20, 2008

MS Walk in Pacific Grove on May 4th!

A message from Jade, my daughter's best friend, and my "go to" house-sitter.

My mom, Joy and myself have formed Team Don Hawthorne and will participate in the MS Walk in Pacific Grove on May 4th!

Don Hawthorne, our father and grandfather, died on September 15, 2007 as a result of complications from MS. Although he lived with MS for nealy the entirety of his adult life, he was in continual pursuit of furthering the Kingdom of God, and was an inspiration to all who knew him. We honor his memory and celebrate the success of his life by walking on May 4th.

We encourage any who may wish to join us in sponsorship to visit our page and donate online. Check Out Jade's Page

Thank you for your consideration!!


Fighting Food Cost Inflation

According to the Department of Labor Consumer Price Index, the food index rose at a 5.3 percent SAAR in the first quarter of 2008, following a 4.9 percent increase in all of 2007. The index for grocery store food prices increased at a 5.9 percent annual rate, reflecting increases in each of the six major groups ranging from annual rates of 0.7 percent in the index for dairy products to 15.7 percent in the index for cereal and bakery products.

Prospects for any relief, any time soon does not look positive. Headlines continue to forcast tight supplies, and high demand.

The global food crisis intensified as Kazakhstan, one of the world’s biggest wheat exporters halted foreign sales and rice prices shot to a record high after Indonesia stopped its farmers from selling the grain abroad. said a report in The Financial Times on Thursday.

Rising rice prices have triggered riots in the past month in countries such as Haiti, Bangladesh and Ivory Coast. Rice is considered the most political agricultural commodity as it is a staple for about 3bn people in poor countries in Asia and Africa.

Facing these realities it is more important than ever to watch, menu pricing, waste, portions, and percieved value items in our operations.

Other than attending the Spring 2008 US Foodservice Foodshow this week and sampling 4000 new products, (including 600 square feet of green,sustainable products)Peninsula Foodnews will be posting ideas to maximize profits in these recessionary times.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Design West Partnership

Design West Partnership- Provides NO COST initial consultation
Collaborates with architects, engineers, and other project partners during kitchen and food service planning and construction phases.
Prepares Design and Equipment plans for County Health Department submittal, works with Health Department towards plan approval.
Offers project assistance during the kitchen construction phase.
Responds quickly to questions and project needs.
Please call Doug Parker or David Orozco At Design West Partnership toll free, 1-888-261-4664

Friday, April 18, 2008

Raising Ticket Averages-Appetizers to Dessert

Bill Cox of Lad Foodservice was on the Central Coast on Friday. He was launching the latest

Bill Cox Lad Foodservice, Chef Adam, And Barbara Christian of Del Monte Grill Sample Appetizers

appetizer from Brew City, the Buffalo Cheese Stick. A blue cheese and mozzeralla stuffed Cheese stick dipped in hot wing sauce.

Bill, of course, never comes down with just one item. He was working the "bookends" of the meal with appetizers and sweet street desserts too.

Raising check averages without hiking prices is an appealing sales-boosting strategy, but reaching

Eric Waddell, Chef Troy Burnam and Staff Sample Appetizers and Desserts Before Their Next Menu Change

that target requires careful planning. No check-raising tactic—offering food and wine specials or engaging in suggestive selling of appetizers or desserts—works without complete server buy-in. Bill was educating operators on how to get the server buy in and offering to do the training for them.

Check-raising strategies are only as good as the servers executing them, Bill says, and then offers these four ways to motivate them:

1. Show them the money. Figure out how much more servers could earn in a month by suggestive selling, and then literally show them that amount

Bill Cox At The 17th Street Grill With Owner Martha Espinosa

at a staff meeting. "Go around the room and ask each server what they’d do with an extra $50 or $100,"

2. Set goals. "Take your regular average check and increase it by 10%,". Then show servers how easy it would be to reach that goal by adding one appetizer or dessert to an order. But make sure the goal is attainable. "If it’s too high, they won’t try," he says.

3. Post results. "Servers are competitive,". Put peer pressure to work by posting average checks for each server in the kitchen each week.

4. Reward with busier shifts. Schedule servers with the highest check averages during peak periods to reward them and to help you drive sales.

Center of The Plate Tour Featuring Stockyards Angus Beef

When Steve Salle Center of the plate specialist came to visit on Wednesday, he came loaded for bear. (No we didn’t have any bear).

Based on a lead generated from the US Foodservice San Francisco booth at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event we had a customer that was interested in the Stockyards Angus program.

Steve graduated from Culinary School and worked in a number of establishments culminating with running his own business for several years. He began with US Foodservice as a Territory Manager before accepting the position as Center of The Plate Specialist.

Steve had specific customers he was seeing on this trip, and each customer had specific needs to be addressed. With Steve's background he was able to contact the customers in advance and taylor specific items to meet their needs. As a result of Steve's calls he was able to upgrade a local pub from commodity "packer label" beef products to higher quality Stockyards Angus Beef product. Although the price per pound was higher with the switch, between the further trimmed Angus product and better perceived value by the consumer, and the flat out superior taste of the Stockyards product, proven in a blind tasting, the price difference was negligable.

Products shown and cooked during this trip were as follows:

Stockyards Reserve Angus
Sirloin Ball Tips
16 ounce Baseball Cut Ribeye
14 ounce Hanger Steak
8 ounce Tenderloin
8 ounce Sierra Steak
6 1/2 pound Clod Heart Roast
28 ounce Porterhouse
12 ounce Milk Fed Veal chop
Hormel Natural Uncured Bacon

At another account he was able to place 4 seperate cuts on the menu, for 3 different meals at a large state park concession.

At his final call of the day he introduced portion cut Stockyards Reserve, the upper 2/3rds Choice beef product at this white tablecloth account/chophouse. As this operator expands to a third location Stockyards Reserve is in the running to be at the center of his plates.

Steve has two follow up calls at these accounts where he will be providing server training on the features, advantages, adn benefits of Stockyards. His training will emphasize how upselling their customers on the quality of the stockyards program will increase the check size and generate more income for the establishment and the server making the entire experience a win/win!

What Steve explained to our customers on this trip was:

Stock Yards Meat Packing Company was founded in 1893, just outside the gates of the famous Chicago Stockyards. In the early days, they served the local neighborhood as a family-run butcher shop. Their reputation as a consistent provider of high quality steaks and chops spread, and before long, local hotels and restaurants began to ask them to produce quality meat items for them as well.

By the early 1900’s, so much of their business was for hotels and restaurants, that they decided to make it their primary business. Over the many years since then, Stock Yards Meat Packing Company has pioneered a number of the portion control cutting and packaging techniques that are still used to this day.

Stock Yards® celebrates over 110 years of tradition. They have built their reputation on Consistency, Pride and Integrity. Stock Yards has developed a national presence, serving the finest restaurants and hotels in the U.S. and abroad, and those customers rely on the consistent product to build their reputations.

Why Stockyards Angus Beef?

• Continues our tradition of consistently delivering a phenomenal eating experience
• Only the finest beef products deserve the Stock Yards® brand
• Superior meat quality based on rigid specifications
• Highest USDA Choice beef (upper 2/3rds of Choice)
• Celebrates the culmination of over 110 years of Stock Yards® experience
• Honors our heritage as an international Purveyor of Quality Meats
• Only available from US Foodservice

USDA GL22 Requirements
• GLA – Live animal identification, Angus-type
• No Blood Spotting
• No Dark Cutters
• “A” Maturity
• Modest or higher degree of Marbling
• Yield Grade 3 or leaner
• Moderately thick or thicker muscling
• No hump exceeding 2 inches in height

USDA Grading Service verifies and guarantees that all beef carcasses selected for this program meet or exceed specifications for marbling, yield grade, Angus breed selection, and age maturity.

USDA Live Animal Identification
The Stock Yards Angus Beef® Brand has a live animal criteria of Angus type cattle - 51% black hair color.
The Angus breed is world renowned for consistently providing highly marbled beef at a younger age that provides a consistent and great eating experience .

You May Ask Why Not Other Breeds?
Over 80 different breeds are used in the U.S.
Some cattle breeds were bred to survive harsh environments or for draft work purposes.

Continental or European cattle breeds are considered less consistent in delivering high marbling and high palatability traits.

“A” Maturity ensures the cattle are 9-30 Monthes
As cattle get older, their bones begin to ossify and become harder and their muscle tissue becomes stronger.
The membrane that encases each muscle fiber gets thicker and longer making the meat much tougher.

How Stringent are these specifications?
In a typical population of 100 head of cattle, only 8 are going to meet all the quality specifications to be Stock Yards Angus Beef®

We are selecting the
top 8% of graded cattle
to ensure our customers
the most consistent, high quality beef available.

We add even more value to our
Stock Yards Angus Beef® Product
by following the Stock Yards brand aging specifications

Even with our stringent specifications one more step must be added to ensure Stock Yards famous quality and consistency
Proper Aging
Proper aging = Time + Temperature control 34-36° F
All product is wet aged in the vacuum sealed bag
All products have minimum requirements specific to the cut, to maximize Flavor and Tenderness
Tenderloins – 14 days
Shortloins, Striploins and Ribs – 21 days
Top Sirloins – 28 days

High Quality
• Only the top 8% of graded beef meets the specs
• Upper 2/3 USDA Choice and Prime Grades
• Only “A” Maturity Cattle
• Yield Grade 3 or Leaner
• Medium to fine Marbling Texture
• USDA Certified using science based specifications
• Stock Yards aging specifications

Monterey Bay Aquarium and ARAMARK Announce Partnership to Promote Shift to Sustainable Seafood

The Monterey Bay Aquarium and ARAMARK, a world leader in professional facilities management and food services, have entered into a partnership under which ARAMARK commits to new practices that will guide its purchases of sustainable seafood for all ARAMARK operations across the United States.

As part of the partnership, ARAMARK is beginning immediately to shift its seafood purchases toward sustainable sources. The company will complete the transition by 2018.

ARAMARK’s operations in the United States alone employ about 180,000 people and serve tens of millions of consumers at businesses, universities, schools, sports and entertainment facilities, parks and other locations. This includes scores of major league sports facilities, convention centers, leading zoos and aquariums, and national parks and attractions, including Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas, Anaheim Convention Center, the University of Pennsylvania, New Jersey's Adventure Aquarium and Denali Park Resorts in Alaska.

ARAMARK’s action is the latest in a series of significant commitments by leading retailers and food service providers to work with the Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative and similar programs around the world.

“We’re delighted to partner with ARAMARK and help the company fulfill its commitment to serving seafood that comes from sustainable wild and farmed sources,” said Michael Sutton, director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Center for the Future of the Oceans, which incorporates the Sustainable Seafood Initiative and Seafood Watch program, www.seafoodwatch.org. “This decision by ARAMARK, and similar commitments by other business leaders, will have a real impact in the marketplace. By creating more demand for seafood from sources that protect the health of ocean ecosystems, we’re on a path toward improving fishing practices around the world.”

Since 1999, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative has made recommendations – based on sound fisheries science – about which seafood to buy and which to avoid with the ultimate goal of transforming the seafood market to create incentives that protect the health of ocean wildlife and ecosystems.

“Being good environmental stewards is important to our employees, our customers and the communities in which we live and work,” said Robert Dennill, ARAMARK’s associate vice president for corporate social responsibility. “The expertise and knowledge we are able to gain from the Monterey Bay Aquarium will guide business practices and influence consumer behaviors, helping strengthen our commitment to the environment.”

The Aquarium will help ARAMARK to make the transition by providing timely, expert information about what sustainable seafood is available in the market; advice and assistance about finding sources of sustainable seafood; and providing staff support and a suite of programs to help ARAMARK with staff training and education efforts among its clients and customers.

ARAMARK is already working with its suppliers, chefs and managers to:

• Identify and encourage the purchase of seafood listed on the Aquarium’s “Best Choices” and “Good Alternatives” lists, and discourage purchase of seafood on the “Avoid” list;

• Combine operator feedback and Aquarium research so that seafood recommendations are progressive yet achievable;

• Create marketing and training materials for managers and front-line staff that clearly convey ARAMARK’s commitment to sustainable seafood; and

• Distribute the Aquarium’s Seafood Watch consumer pocket guides to its customers.

In recent years, Monterey Bay Aquarium and other members of the Seafood Choices Alliance (www.seafoodchoices.org) have announced partnership agreements with a number of major retailers and food service companies to support the shift to sustainable seafood, including Wal-Mart and Wegmans.

Internationally, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC, www.msc.org) recognizes – via a certification program – well-managed fisheries and encourages consumers to select seafood products bearing the MSC seal of approval.

“The future of seafood, and the fate of ocean wildlife, is an urgent environmental issue,” Sutton said. “Globally, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization reports that the majority of all commercial fisheries are being fished at or beyond their limits. And scientists recently projected that unless we change our fishing patterns, virtually all commercial fisheries will be gone within 50 years.”

“By engaging with partners like ARAMARK, we’re moving closer to a solution,” he said.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Robert Hendrickson of Sierra Mar's Second Career Takes Off

Behind the scenes at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event there were never enough hands to buff all the glasses needed for the crowds.

As a waiter at the wine-centric Sierra Mar restaurant at the renowned Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, Robert Hendrickson has seen a fair share of glassware. And even at Sierra Mar, where attention to detail is keen, the dreaded smudge or lipstick smear can escape detection.

No more, thanks to Hendrickson's invention he calls Wubeez, a glass-cleaning cloth that absorbs moisture, buffs the surface and leaves no lint or residue. The cloths are now featured in dozens of local restaurants and resorts, giving a shot in the arm to Hendrickson's second career. Full Monterey Herald Story

"As a longtime waiter, I've often been frustrated by the amount of time and effort it takes to remove soap residue on glassware, especially on wine glasses. I solved my problem with WUBEEZ... in mere moments I have a glass that is streak-free, lint-free and odorless of chemicals or detergents." Robert Hendrickson

Buy your Wubeez here!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Day I Caught The Last Salmon In The World

The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted Thursday to ban commercial and recreational fishing of chinook salmon off the California coast and most of Oregon this year. The goal is to reverse an unprecedented decline in the population from the

Sacramento River, traditionally one of the West Coast's most productive wild salmon runs.

The financial impact of this year's ban, which nixed the expected April 5 start of the recreational salmon fishing season, has already hurt Monterey County fishermen and those who support them.

"Normally, (Moss Landing Harbor) would be just a hotbed of activity - no slips available, and parking hard to come by," said Harbormaster Linda MacIntyre on Friday. "Now, it's just like another November day.

"It's a domino effect, and it will have a major impact on not only the local community but the economy of the county."

MacIntyre said the harbor district will likely lose tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, in lost parking, launching, berthing and dry storage fees. As many as 400 vessels leave Moss Landing harbor during a typical salmon season.

"During the opening weekend (during most years), we probably make $25,000," she said. "And of course they buy bait, and they buy marine supplies, and they buy fuel from the fuel dock and supplies from the local supermarkets and convenience stores. And of course the RV park that is on the harbor district's property, they actually told us that they had a number of cancellations."

Ban affects everyone
She said the fishing ban will probably lead to unemployment in both the local fishing community and its support businesses. The harbor district itself is considering reducing some of its staff, MacIntyre said.

"Even if people don't have any interest in fishing, it's going to be an impact when they go to the restaurant and try to order salmon at 30 bucks a pound - assuming there's even any salmon to be had," she said.

There should be plenty of farm-raised salmon and wild sockeye from Alaska on the market, but it will be hard to find chinook, also known as king salmon, which is prized by anglers and upscale restaurants.

Despite the hits her community will take, MacIntyre said no one's arguing the ban.

"One guy said it best: Nobody wants to be the one to catch the very last salmon in the world," she said. "We need a good federal and state water management program in the Sacramento River and the Klamath River that will allow the fish to go up and spawn and then get back down to the ocean, so they can grow into fish big enough that we can catch and eat."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April Events In Monterey And On The Central Coast

Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur launched a week long special during Spring Break that took the Central Coast by storm. Yes only at Nepenthe could you order, for only $14.95 a Kosher-All Beef foot long hot dog wrapped in uncured natural bacon and deep fried. For that price, of course, you got a side salad which-upon request-could be deep fried also. They sold nearly 60 pounds of these home wreckers the first week.

I was invited by my friend Tina Gularte to go old school like a VIP at the Fox Theater in Salinas last Friday night. Bret Michaels the former lead singer of Poison and star of VH1 reality show Rock of Love was in town with his solo group, the Bret Michaels Band. (Shrug..who? I had no idea, I had to google the guy.) After a long Friday in Livermore preparing for the US Foodservice Spring Buying Show, coming up April 23rd at the Sacramento Convention Center, I drove out to La Casa Sorrento in Salinas to meet Tina and some of her friends before heading to the show. The place was packed at least 3 deep at the bar. Owner Mike Hackett was on hand pouring cocktails along with his staff. Mike and his wife had an opportunity to take over this business that goes back about 50 years in Salinas. I had the best slice of pizza that I have had in a long time. Check out the coast weekly article Pepperoni Resurrection

For only $5.00 Chef Todd Fisher is preparing dinner at Shoreline Church in Monterey this Wednesday 4/16 for the launch of their new small group Bible Study based on Max Lucado's book 3:16 The Numbers of Hope. The study looks at a critical conversation between a prominent Jewish leader and Jesus of Nazareth. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of a group that was building a case against the man Jesus Christ in order to stop him from speaking and teaching. This was the same group that investigated John the Baptist, who was then beheaded. Nicodemus in spite of his official duties to prosecute Jesus, was facinated by the teachings and actions of Him. He sought him out after dark one evening to question Him. Their
conversation included the 26 words that are the foundation of our faith as Christians. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." For $5.00 you couldn't even get an appetizer at most of the restaurants that Chef Todd worked at or owned!

Another Shoreline Church member and restauranteur Pat Ottone has launched a $100.00 steak special at his Monterey restaurant, Lallapalooza. We have recently reviewed his updated Steakhouse Menu, but Pat has taken it a step further with his 16 ounce Prime Akaushi Ribeye steak dinner. The first week out he sold 10 steaks and re-ordered this 100% Hormone Free, source specific, beef that is a natural source of CLA and Oleic Acid. The steaks for his special are ordered and shipped direct from the Heartbrand Beef ranch in Texas to order. With his second order he added 10 pounds of Akaushi ground beef for a burger and slider special. Be sure to call first or ask you server (or Meg the bartender who can tell the Akaushi story like no other.)

April 13-19 National Library Week

It’s National Library Week, a time to celebrate the contributions of libraries, librarians and library workers in schools, campuses and communities nationwide - and the perfect time to discover how you can join the circle of knowledge @ your library.

“Everyday, libraries in big cities and small towns, colleges and universities, in schools and in businesses help transform their communities,” says the American Library spokesperson. “At our libraries, people of all backgrounds can come together for community meetings, lectures and programs, to do research with the assistance of a trained professional, to get a job or to find homework help..”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

America's 117,000 libraries fall into four basic types (with a few added variations): Public, School, Academic and Special. There are also Armed Forces libraries, Government libraries and multi-use or Joint-Use libraries, which combine library types in one service area or structure.

History of Libraries From The www.ilovelibraries.org website

On a general level, library history probably starts 5000 years ago with collections of clay tablets. In Egypt, the Great Library of Alexandria was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Its collections were said to have included 750,000 scrolls. Fire destroyed some of them and some were taken to Rome as authorized by Cleopatra. While there were private libraries in Rome, Roman citizens could read in dry areas of the public baths. Early libraries also existed in North Africa and the Middle East. Some of these early libraries were available to the public; some were even lending libraries. During the dark ages, printed material was mostly sustained in the monasteries until Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the 1400s. Early library development in France goes back to the 1300s and in Great Britain to the 1400s. Usage of materials in most early European libraries was restricted to scholars.

In the late 1600s and 1700s, library development began in the United States. Benjamin Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731, known as a "subscription library." Many claims exist to being the first U.S. public library. That distinction depends on how the "first public library" is defined, whether by founding date alone, by the founding entity or by level of service offered.

More than 2,000 public libraries were financed in part by the Scotsman, Andrew Carnegie who donated considerable funds to contribute to building them. His first library was built in Scotland in 1883; the first in America, in 1889. Today there are more than 9,000 public libraries in the United States in more than 16,000 buildings.

School libraries are usually part of a school system, and serve students between Kindergarten and grade 12. Many are called media centers, and librarians are often required to have a second degree in education or a certificate in school media.

Not all schools have libraries. Historically, schools were often located near the public library so that students could take advantage of the public library's materials. As demographics changed, schools were located closer to population centers, distance to the public library became an issue and libraries within schools began to appear. Now there are more than 93,000 school libraries.

Academic libraries serve colleges and universities, their students, staff and faculty. In the United States, the oldest academic library is at Harvard University. In 1638, a new college received the bequest of 400 books upon the death of a young minister, John Harvard. He also left half of his land as the university's first benefactor. The school was named in his honor, and the first academic library was established. The 3500 academic libraries today serve 4-year institutions of higher learning as well as junior colleges and community colleges.

The 9,000 special libraries have evolved from the recognition by corporations, businesses, institutions and organizations that they have a need for a central repository of knowledge relevant to their mission and focus. If involved in research, it is vital for them to have the knowledge of what is available, what other research has been done and what findings have resulted.

Go pick up a cookbook at your local library. Research a business plan for your next great restaurant concept. Search the history of a recipe. (I had to find a food segway)Seriously though, if nothing else check out the National Agricultural Library for info on anything agriculture relate. In particular take a peek at the Rural Library Sustainability page.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Crystals in Canned Seafood

I received a call last week from a customer that had a complaint that he found glass fragments in a can of tuna. Indeed when I arrived and checked the product myself and pulled the can codes to trace what I figured would be a Class II recall.. Upon calling my buyer to alert her of the issue, I was informed that these were simply struvites that occur naturally in canned seafood from time to time.

According to Jean Tarbell, buyer extraordinaire- Canned shrimp, tuna, salmon, and other seafood products sometimes contain small fragments of a substance that, at first glance, resembles glass. Occasionally, these fragments are large enough to be noticeable; in such instances, some consumers assume that they have found a foreign substance in their food. What really has happened is that certain natural constituents of the fish or shellfish have crystallized, much as sugar often forms crystals in syrups or preserves.

These sugar crystals in syrups or preserves obviously are harmless—and so are the less familiar crystals found in canned seafood. These small fragments are crystals of a substance known chemically as magnesium ammonium phosphate, commonly call struvite.

Struvite is formed by the union of natural, normal constituents of the meat of all seafood after being sterilized in the can. These constituents are mineral elements, richly supplied by the sea water in which the fish or shellfish live. While the fish or shellfish were alive, these mineral elements were important to their health. After cooking, however, the magnesium, ammonia, and phosphate sometimes come together in such a way that crystals are formed.

Considering the enormous volume of seafood products packed each year, the occurrence of such crystals of a size large enough to be noticeable is a relatively rare event. Nonetheless, the food industry has long been aware of struvite; and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reassured consumers that these crystals pose no danger.

During World War I, someone found these crystals in a can of tuna and assumed that ground glass had been purposely added by an enemy agent—a situation that caused considerable alarm until FDA identified the crystals as struvite. During World War II, crystals in canned seafood were again responsible for a few “ground glass” rumors, some of which were reported by the press. In 1942, FDA issued a news release explaining to the public that these crystals were harmless.

In addition to FDA’s attention to this issue, a number of technical publications have mentioned the formation of crystals in various canned seafood products. These publications all have made the case that such crystals pose no risk to consumers.

The scientific centers operated by the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) examine canned seafood of all types. Over a period of years, crystal formation has been observed in a variety of canned seafood, including canned tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab meat, lobster, and sardines.

While struvite bears a superficial resemblance to broken glass, a close examination—especially with a magnifying glass—usually shows the difference. These crystals occur most often in the form of regularly shaped prisms, with the edges tending to form straight lines. By contrast, glass particles are more likely to be irregular in shape. In solid pack tuna, these crystals sometimes form between the tuna and the bottom of the can. Because of the confined space, the crystals formed under these conditions may tend to be flat and somewhat more irregular than those found in other products.

It is not necessary, however, to rely upon differences in appearance to recognize that these fragments are not glass. Such crystals are not harder than ordinary table salt and can be easily scratched or crushed to a powder with little pressure. In case any doubt should remain after examining them in this way, their true identity can be determined by boiling them with a little vinegar or lemon juice. They dissolve in a few minutes when boiled in this manner, while glass, of course, would not dissolve at all. This test also illustrates the fact that these crystals are soluble in weak acids, and therefore will dissolve readily in the stomach; they are assimilated by the body as easily as the mineral matter of any food.

Struvite is without odor or taste and is too soft to do any harm. The components that form struvite occur in many of our foods and are valuable food elements. While no procedure has been completely successful in preventing struvite, no one should feel alarm at finding these harmless fragments in canned seafood. They are something of a rarity, and any consumer who finds them in a can of seafood is unlikely to every find them again in another container.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Soft Shell Crab Season Is Just Around The Corner

The exact species used as soft-shells varies from region to region. In the United States, the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is used typically, although the use of the mangrove crab in Asia has provided another source for this seasonal food.Live, fresh or frozen.

The soft-shell is the blue crab in its molted state.The molting process means an abundant supply of soft crabs from late spring to early fall, with May through September ranking as the most productive months. They are available frozen year round.

The soft-shell season is traditionally marked with the first full moon in May. At that time, the blue crab begins its molting season to accommodate its summer growth. The actual shedding of the shell can take anywhere from one to three hours, after which it must be removed or the hardening process will continue, reducing the quality of the soft-shell crab.

Soft-shells are harvested in their peeler stage in peeler pounds or pots and transferred to shedding operations where they are monitored around the clock.

Soft-shells are marketed by size with the largest commanding premium prices. They are measured across the back, point-to-point.

Mediums - 3 1/2 to 4 inches
Jumbos - 5 to 5 1/2 inches
Hotels - 4 to 4 1/2 inches
Whales - over 5 1/2 inches
Primes - 4 1/2 to 5 inches

Demand for this delicacy has increased with the use in Japanese and other cuisines, so that the mangrove crab has been used as an alternative source from Asia. Because mangrove crabs grow in tropical muddy flats all year round, such swamps provide a continual source of soft-shell crabs.

The first full moon in May 2008 will occur on the 20th. This will actually be the 3rd of 4 full moons that occurs in one season. This only occurs once every 19 or so years and this full moon is often called a Blue Moon.. ---This is the kind of stuff you might miss, if you don’t check back at Peninsula Foodnews on a regular basis.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What Is A Pullman Loaf?

The pullman loaf, sometimes called the "sandwich loaf" or "pan bread," is a type of bread made with white flour and baked in a long, narrow, lidded pan. The French term for this style of loaf is pain de mie. In the United States, many popular mass-produced sliced breads are actually pullman loaves; the slices of such breads are frequently square, with four flat (uncurved) crusts.

One theory of the origin of the name, "Pullman," is that the word was derived from a resemblance between the loaf (or its pan) and the Pullman railway car. Some bread companies reinforce this connection by printing the image of a Pullman railcar on their bread wrappers. Another theory states that the Pullman loaf acquired its name because the cuboid shape of the loaf made it easier to store on-board railway dining cars. In contrast to the cuboid-shaped Pullman loaf, the oval-shaped loaves of the past did not lend themselves to maximizing the storage space in confined on-train cooking areas.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Shrimp Market Update

March 14, 2008

Overview: US shrimp imports started the year off about even with last January. Imports of raw shell-on shrimp from black tiger producing countries were up 50% vs. year ago with black tiger shell-on and all peeled shrimp higher. Imports from white-producing countries were down 1.5% for the month. Of the top six countries exporting shrimp to the US, three are posting growth year-to-date: Vietnam +87.5%, Indonesia +60.9% and Mexico +8.5%, while Ecuador is -1.5%, Thailand is -12.5% and China is -26.7%. Chinese imports continue to spiral downward due to the FDA alert and high tariff rates.

The weaker U.S. dollar is expected to continue impacting the global shrimp industry throughout 2008. The detention of Chinese shrimp continues to impact the breaded and cooked shrimp markets, down 35% and 34%, respectively in January.

Black Tiger: In Vietnam, demand is relatively weak and prices remain stable. In the next few weeks, raw material prices may decrease slightly but not considerably due to higher fuel costs and the significant losses farmers suffered last year. Additionally strong U.S. and worldwide demand continue to place upward pressure on pricing. Currently, sizes 8/12 to 21/25 remain fairly plentiful with stable pricing. The larger sizes from 4/6 through 6/8 are already scarce with firm pricing and sizes 26/30 and smaller are only available in limited quantities.

Vietnam has emerged as one of the world’s top seafood exporters, with total aquaculture production rising 20% in January over year ago. In 2007, annual revenues were up 12% over 2006. The country is optimistic and projects Seafood exports to the U.S. will grow 15% in 2008. However, the declining value of the U.S. dollar is impacting Vietnamese exporters and producers as they face difficulty in converting U.S. dollars into Vietnamese dong (VND). Additionally, they are facing 20% higher production costs, so the extra 2% surcharge to convert U.S. dollars into VND is placing producers and farmers in a bind.

Indonesia is an alternative black tiger supplier who has had difficulty competing due to rising oil prices and the imposition of quality standards by a number of countries. The U.S. and E.U. remain the largest markets for Indonesia and the government is projecting an increase of 13% for 2008, following an agreement with both major markets regarding the quality of fishery products.

Black Tiger Industry Outlook for 2008: Larger size raw materials (4/6 through 6/8) are expected to remain scarce as farmers concentrate on increasing number of annual harvests and worldwide demand for these sizes remains high. Production of sizes 8/12 through 26/30 are expected to increase but strong demand will keep prices stable in 2008. The declining value of the U.S. dollar also continues to put pressure on pricing. The expected result is continued upward price pressure.

White Shrimp: In Thailand, pricing has not dropped due to pressure from the strong Thai baht coupled with reduced raw material supplies. Pricing is expected to remain stable though March. Farmers just recently finished stocking their ponds at the end of February for the upcoming harvest. Since prices were so low in 2007, farmers are taking less risk in 2008, and raw material supplies are expected to decline by 20-30% this year. In the upcoming season, mid-size shrimp are expected to be available in April, with larger sizes coming in July.

Thailand, one of the world’s leading shrimp producers, saw its production increase by 6% in 2007. However, in baht terms, the value of Thai shrimp fell by 11% from 2006 to 2007. The key problem facing the industry is saturated domestic markets, forcing shrimpers to rely on the more volatile export market for growth. Exporters to the U.S. are facing a double-blow from the baht’s appreciation. Additionally, they are experiencing increased competition from neighboring Vietnam and Indonesia, since the strong baht has weakened their price competitiveness.

In response to these issues, Thailand’s leading shrimp farming associations have called on the industry to reduce production by 20%, focusing on shrimp quality, not quantity to offset the damaging effects of falling prices on the industry. They are hopeful that by removing the oversupply issue, prices will begin to climb.

Ecuador is the leading shrimp producer in Latin America and recorded a banner year in 2007, with shrimp export values climbing from US$252M in 2002 to US$600M in 2007. Despite this growth and the favorable World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling, Ecuador is still facing problems with rising production costs and strong competition in the U.S.

Vannamei White Shrimp Industry Outlook for 2008: Thailand’s shrimp situation is expected to remain heavily dependent upon currency fluctuation, supply and the potential for natural disasters. In 2008, smaller sizes are anticipated to be harvested at the end of April with the larger sizes coming in July.

FDA Alert #16131 on Chinese Seafood and Food Safety Issues: In 2007, China’s reputation in product safety came under scrutiny and the FDA alert on Seafood was just one of many cases. In 2008, the Chinese government announced that it will introduce new standards for product quality as part of an overhaul of its quality control system. The crackdown will focus on 28 categories of food and exports will carry a quality certification mark in an effort to cut illegal shipments.

On the U.S. side, the FDA is considering opening satellite offices overseas as part of its effort to improve the safety of food, medicine and other products entering the U.S. Products come into the U.S. from 800,000 different sources and 300 different ports, so more emphasis will be placed on improving the quality of products on the farm and at manufacturing and distribution centers.

Contessa Shrimp is not imported from China. Contessa shrimp is raised exclusively in Thailand and Vietnam and processed under Contessa’s strict quality-assurance guidelines. No other brand in the shrimp industry takes more thorough measures to ensure quality than Contessa!

Gulf Shrimp / Wild Mexican Shrimp: Landings of Mexican wild shrimp are off 22% from last year’s record season, producing tight supplies, higher prices and a firm market. The Gulf Domestic market remains steady and unchanged.

New England Northern Shrimp – The Northern Shrimp season began December 1st with a strong outlook, including abundant shrimp and reasonable prices. However, high fuel costs ($3.40 per gallon this year compared to $2.20 last year) combined with the fact the shrimp are staying further offshore may be complicating the season and making it difficult for shrimpers to make a profit.

Tariff Update – The Byrd Amendment expired on October 1st, however, it will continue to pay out for a couple more years, on a declining basis since it applies to all duties collected until its expiration. Preliminary results of the second administrative review are trickling out and the results appear to be another round of massive tariff cuts. It appears rates in Vietnam for 29 companies would be slashed to 0% and in India, rates would decrease from 7.22% to 1.09%, both below the di minimus amount, meaning effectively that they would have zero tariffs, as has happened in Ecuador. This does not even account for the Feb. 29th WTO ruling that the DOC must eliminate 100% customs bonds for Thai and Indian exporters and not use their zeroing strategy. The final decision will be announced by the DOC 120 days after the preliminary conclusion was announced.

Sources: Urner Barry



Contessa Procurement Team


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sliders on the Menu

Eighty-five years ago, Billy Ingram created a proprietary industrial-strength spatula specially designed to flatten balls of ground beef into addictive little square burgers that he and his partner, Walter Anderson, trademarked as "Slyders."

Anderson had developed an efficient method for cooking hamburgers, using freshly ground beef and fresh onions. After grilling, a slice of dill pickle was inserted before serving. Management decreed that any additives, such as ketchup or mustard, were to be added by the customer. Anderson's method is not in use by the chain today, having changed when the company switched from using fresh beef and fresh onion to small, frozen square patties which are cooked atop a bed of dehydrated onions laid out on a grill. The heat and steam rises up from the grill, through the onions. In 1949, five holes in the patty were added to facilitate quick and thorough cooking. The very thin patties are not flipped throughout this process. This "steam grilled" method is unique among major fast food restaurants.

Since then, the Slyders have given rise to legions of fans called "cravers" and helped turn a single White Castle restaurant that opened in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas intoa 400-unit quick-service chain in 12 states with $537 million in annual sales. The company, a pioneer in fast food, also takes credit for selling 1 million and then 1 billion hamburgers before any of its quickservice competitors.

Today, high-end restaurants have upgraded the slider (and changed its spelling to avoid trademark infringement). Like their fast-food cousins, these baby burgers tend to be ordered in multiples, but they're now starring as trendy appetizers and samplers, more often washed down with a microbrew or martini than a milkshake.

At Fix at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, a trio of Kobe beef sliders sells for $21. They're grilled over a mix of three types of wood, topped with aged cheddar and grilled onions and served on toasted brioche. The beefy threesome is presented on an oval plate along with a cone of Thai spiced hand-cut fries.

Kobe beef with caramelized onions and gruyere is one of six sliders at the Barclay Prime steakhouse in Philadelphia, but the kitchen goes beyond beef. There's the seared tuna with Asian slaw, crab cake with Old Bay remoulade, and poached lobster sliders (prices range from $7.50 to $12 for a sampler). Stanton Social in New York City boasts a separate slider section on its menu: Kobe beef burger ($5), pulled pork sandwich ($5) and lobster rolls ($6).

Brian Meier US Foodservice Center Of The Plate Specialist At The First Annual Pebble Beach Food And Wine Event

Brian Meier added his 2 cents with this email:

The Slider Train Keeps On A'Rollin !!!

In addition to the Kobe Beef Sliders available from US Foodservice San Francisco the Slider phenomenon is popping up everywhere.

* Applebee's has Angus Beef Sliders on their appetizer menu.
* For dinner at Montrio's Bistro in Monterey on Saturday night, Steve Salle, Bruce Raymond and I had Tenderloin Sliders for an appetizer. 2 oz of Tenderloin on a freshly baked bun for only $12.95 each. They were fabulous !!!
* Look for Snake River Farms Kobe Sliders at the Coliseum - Home of the Oakland A's - courtesy of John Miller.
* Speaking of John Miller - I received a call this weekend from John saying " Hey, how about those Phillip's Ahi Tuna Medallions (#4766945) on Sliders with Soy Wasabi and Ginger."" Add a 2 oz Phillip's Crabcake (#5199649) for another Slider special.

Other Menu ideas include:

Mango Lamb Sliders, combine traditional Indian ingredients with a more western preparation. Tandoor-cooked slivers of lamb topped with mango chutney (2335917) served on a dish dusted with cumin salt and tamarind syrup add a cucumber yogurt sauce that is a traditional accompaniment and ideal for cooling the palate.

Foie gras sliders with pear chutney and basil.

Champions Sports Bar Marriott This sporty spot serves four mini-cheeseburgers (topped with mustard, mayo and grilled onions) on wooden skewers, two apiece. The burgers go down easy, accompanied by fine fried onion rings. $7.95

TGI Friday's, Friday's cheeseburger sliders, three to an order, are topped with sauteed onions, which add that White Castle touch. They also offer chimichurri sliders with melted provolone and a savory garlic-herb sauce. $7.29

Smoked Pulled-pork sliders, two to an order, are topped with sauteed onion and cole slaw $6.50.

Meatball sliders on Gorgonzola puffs; three to an order

Smoked Beef Brisket, simmered in barbecue sauce and served on King's Hawaiian rolls. Paired with zingy cole slaw.