eTundra Categories

Archive | November, 2013

Happy Black Friday!

Happy Black Friday!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that special time of year when we chase deep discounts and spend with wild (yet savvy) abandon!

Online vs. Offline? No Contest

The best thing about shopping in online, of course, is you don’t need to wake up at 4am and camp out in the bitter cold before the store opens, or wrestle with rabid deal-seekers for the scraps.

When you shop on the web, you don’t even need change out of your pajamas.

You can be a bit more—how do you say—civilized in your Black Friday shopping. Why not eat some turkey leftovers while you peacefully click with your cursor and find what you need? Forget getting in the car. Just check your email: the deals will have come to YOU through a series of tubes leading to your computer. Magic.

That’s how holiday shopping should be, right? Why make this more difficult than it has to be?

Black Friday at Tundra

Here at Tundra Restaurant Supply, we’re celebrating this high holy day of commerce with a humongous site-wide sale:

Take 15% off any order, no minimum purchase. Just use the code NOVBLK2013 at checkout.*

So whether you need a shiny new piece of equipment or a small yet essential spare part, today is a fantastic time to pick it up. Shop our thousands of sale items and make your savings go even further.

Don’t Miss It!

Alas, Black Friday can’t last forever, so don’t wait too long to enjoy deep discounts on Tundra’s extensive menu of restaurant equipment, supplies and parts, because the savings end tomorrow at 11:59pm MST.

Here’s what to do now: make yourself a nice leftover turkey sandwich, put on some Vince Guaraldi, do a few quick cursor-finger exercises and click over to eTundra.com. (Careful not to get any cranberry sauce on your keyboard.)

Then, after you’ve saved some money on your holiday shopping, sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Happy Black Friday, everyone.

*Max. savings $150

Continue Reading

Kitchen Tricks: How to Cut Bell Peppers [Video]

Bell peppers are an extremely versatile vegetable, but cutting them can be very difficult. In this video, Chris Tavano shows you two easy ways to quickly cut down any shape or size of pepper.


Featured Products:

 

Before taking action from the content or resources published here, we request that you visit and review our terms of use.

 

Transcript:

Here in this video we’re starting off with a couple ways how to cut bell peppers.

Here we’re using our Mercer Genesis Forged High Carbon Steel Santoku Knife, seven-inches. The first method I’m going to show you is your pretty much you quarter each side, and then we’re going to get out the nice pith and inner. Then we’ll just julienne these green peppers into little strips. Great for fajitas, great for salads; again, making nice, fluid motions with the knife, constantly going forward and back. Nice julienned strips for fajitas.

We’re going to show you the second version on a bell pepper. Cut off the top like a little cap. Cut off the bottom, make a little slit; we can just roll it out like a little wheel. Some peppers are easier than others. Nice one, giant strip and then right here we can get a nice little smooth julienne for nice fajita peppers, again for salads, making nice forward motions with your knife. Nice little green pepper strips.

That’s another episode of Knife-Know-How Kitchen Efficiency Tricks. Here’s to a better mise en place!

Continue Reading

What is a Rethermalizer?

What is a Rethermalizer?A rethermalizer is a heavy cooking appliance that works to heat up pre-packed foods from a chilled or frozen state (below 40⁰F) to a temperature above 165⁰F, in about 90 minutes.  It is also capable of holding the temperature of food at 150⁰F, until ready to serve.  The main difference between a rethermalizer and a food warmer (like a soup kettle or bain Marie), is that a rethermalizer helps bring foods through the HACCP “danger zone,” which is between 41⁰F and 135⁰F.  In other words, a rethermalizer helps save a step of heating food, then transporting to a warmer.

Common types of food heated in a rethermalizer include pastas, soups, gravies, sauces, vegetable, and meats.  The ingredients are pre-cooked, placed in a 2” wide by 12” long by 10” high package, and then frozen.  The packages are delivered in their pre-packaged state, and all you have to do is pull out a package and slip it in the rethermalizer – helping to save time and labor. 

Other benefits of rethermalizers, include:

  • Consistent Food Quality. The water bath that surrounds the food is gentle enough that even delicate foods come out with consistent food quality.  It also helps to prevent food shrinking and overcooking.
  • Lower Food Waste. No need to guess at how much food to cook up – the packages are pre-measured, so you’ll always know exactly how much to prepare.
  • Menu Versatility. Because the meals are packaged, different menu items can be cooked at the same time.  This also helps with cross-contamination concerns with food allergies.
  • Meal Flexibility. Entire meals can be heated in a rethermalizer, or just focus on the sides, so you can concentrate on the entrée.

Skeptical about the menu choices available with rethermalizers?  The menu above is a list of menu items prepared in the Pitco Cafe – all of which were heated with a rethermalizer.  Tempting, right!  Still unclear if a rethermalizer is right for you?  Leave a comment below and we’ll help you out, or give our sales team a call at 888-388-6372.

Continue Reading

Weight & Volume Conversions for Dry & Liquid Ingredients

Weight & Volume Conversions for Dry & Liquid Ingredients

A lot of what comes down to creating the perfect recipe is knowing the difference between weighing, measuring, and the right conversions.  Simply said; however, these are often overlooked, because a lot of us were raised on the notion that 8 ounces is 1 cup, right?  Unfortunately, that’s not always true, especially when it comes to dry ingredients.

For most liquids, 8 ounces does indeed equal 1 cup; except for heavy liquids, like molasses and honey, where 1 cup is more around 11-12 ounces.  That small adjustment in ounces can make or break a once amazing recipe, especially when it comes to dry ingredients.  When there’s so many other factors that could ruin a recipe (the pan you use, the altitude, the humidity, etc.), it’s important that you know the difference in weights of your ingredients.

Before diving into the conversion table, we’d also like to note that there’s a difference between weight ounces and volume ounces.  Weight ounces are used for measuring dry ingredients (whereas 16 ounces is equivalent to 1 pound); however, volume ounces are used for measuring liquid ingredients (whereas 8 ounces equals a pound).  In this case, if you were to look at the difference between 8 weight ounces of honey and 8 volume ounces of honey, the difference would be ¼ of a pound, which is a lot when looking to be precise with your recipes.  Another example, if you take a dry ingredient (which typically has much more air around it) and try to measure it in a measuring cup, rather than weighing it, odds are you’ll get very different numbers: 4 ounces of grated cheese in a measuring cup can equal 8 ounces of grated cheese on a scale (which one do you think is the right measurement of ounces we’re looking for here?).

Dry Ingredients Cup(s) Weight Ounce(s) Gram(s)
All-Purpose Flour 1 4 1/2 128
Bread Flour 1 4 1/2 128
Cake Flour 1 4 113
Pastry Flour 1 4 113
Whole Wheat Flour 1 4 1/2 128
Brown Sugar 1 7 1/2 213
Powdered Sugar 1 4 113
White Granulated Sugar 1 7 198
Chopped Nuts 1 4 113
Cocoa Powder 1 3 1/4 91
Cornstarch  1 4 113
Liquid Ingredients (for most: 1 cup = 8 oz) Cup(s) Volume Ounce(s) Gram(s)
Butter 1 8 228
Cream 1 8 228
Honey 1 12 340
Milk 1 8 228
Molasses 1 11 312
Oil 1 7 1/2 213
Sour Cream 1 8 228
Water 1 8 228
Yogurt 1 8 228
Continue Reading

Artisan French Wood Fired Pizza … in Colorado [Video]

Before I moved to Boulder, I once waited in line for over an hour to get a table at a restaurant that was claimed by many Portlanders and food critics alike to offer the best wood-fired pizza in the state of Oregon. Leaving such a foodie city, and one often listed as among the best in the world for street food, I wasn’t holding my breath for my next taste of rustic European pizza. 

Imagine my surprise when I ran across Sebastien Idee, a French chef long involved in not only cooking amazing wood-fired pizza, but building the ovens as well. In this video, Seb explains his businesses, Seb’s Portable Wood Fired Cuisine and Rocky Mountain Wood Fired Ovens, and how he is using them to bring artisan French wood-fired pizza to the streets of Colorado. 

 


 

Special thanks to American Metalcraft.

Find your own pizza supplies here!

 

Transcript:

Hi there. My name is Seb. I’m the owner and chef of Seb’s Wood Fired Pizza. Basically what we do with this food truck and the open trailer; we do catering services like wood-fired cuisine. For lunch for businesses, corporates; and evenings, like food truck events, private parties, weddings; all this kind of stuff.

To do so, I use this eight-by-eighteen pizza trailer with a fifty-one-inch pizza oven, wood-fired oven that we build with our other company, which is the Rocky Mountain Wood Fire Oven’s and Trailers.

Now we’re going to go through the process of pizza-making in this oven. Basically we do the dough at the commissary kitchen early in the morning. The dough recipe is kind of pretty basic, but we only use the starter, the yeast, the salt and organic flour, and I mix two different kinds of flour so I got a really precise range of gluten.

As soon as the dough is ready, the oven is ready; we can start. The very unique thing about these kinds of ovens is the principle of refractory heat. Basically the heat comes from everywhere. The floor, the dome, the sides; everywhere, so you have a very balanced cooking.

How do we start to heat up the oven is my trick. I put the wood on that side and I start the fire and if one area of the oven or the floor is cooler, which happens sometimes, I use the propane to heat up this spot.

Let’s make a pizza. We’re going to make a French-style pizza. We’ll start with the dough. Take the dough ball, dip the dough ball in the flour; different techniques about dough-shaping, pizza-making.

My technique is I want to get rid of the air that’s in the dough one side, just in the middle, so I keep the edges. Both sides like that, quickly.

Then I’m going to start to stretch the edges. We are getting there. The pizza we’re going to make today is a French-style pizza; you’ll see why.

I’m going to start with a fresh; crème fraiche, which is kind of sour cream but thicker. French, so better.  I have organic potatoes that’s previously cooked in the oven. Pre-cooked in the oven. I’m going to put on top of the pizza. 

We do put some onions; it’s very important that they are very thin-sliced so they cook better. Same thing with the bacon. You need to cook to slice the bacon when it’s frozen so it’s easier to slice it very thin, so it cooks better. Like that. Everywhere. Then the French touch is French brie on top of everything; so the brie melts on everything.

Try to keep the bacon and onions open, so they cook pretty well. Now using this American metal craft pizza peel I’m going to put the pizza in the oven. Just a little bit of flour. You won’t have to do that if you do many pizzas in a row. Then we put the pizza in the oven. Going to add a little bit more wood to make it faster. Right there. See?

I, usually I cook the pizzas; I mean the oven is at 750-degrees, 800-degrees, the pizza cooks in one minute and a half. I use this kind of peel a smaller peel from American Metal Craft, as well, to turn the pizzas.

Now the pizza is ready and the fastest way to cut the pizza is I think that these tools are just amazing. This knife from American Metalcraft is just amazing because this; just see. One, two, three, four. Very fast.

Then I can use the knife to drop the pizza on the plate just like here. Then the pizza is ready for the customers.

Okay, guys, thanks for watching this video we really appreciate it. Showing us how we deal with our pizza trucks; pizza making. I hope you learned a lot of things.

Don’t hesitate to come like us on our website Seb’s Portable Wood Fire Cuisine or the Rocky Mountain Wood Fire Ovens and Trailers.

Thanks for American Metalcraft for providing these tools. We love them we use them every day and they are just great.

Thanks again, guys, and take care.

 

Continue Reading

Pitfalls of Resizing (or Scaling) a Recipe

Pitfalls of Resizing (or Scaling) a Recipe

Looking to take a recipe and resize it to feed 10 times or 100 times more people than the original recipe called for?  There are a few words of caution to review before doing so.

The term for multiplying or dividing a recipe is called scaling, and for a lot of recipes, you’d be okay increasing or decreasing the recipe by 4 times (most cooks would stick with no more than 2 times), but any more than that, and a lot of other things need to be considered.  But this is generally speaking, there are other recipes that are almost impossible to resize without knowing how different things affect the recipe, like temperature, pan size, pan color, how the batter is mixed, what type of ingredients are being used, how the ingredients are measured/weighed out, etc.  This is because these different factors completely change the food chemistry, and if the original recipe had anything off, that error will be multiplied right along with the scaling.

Savory vs. Baking Recipes

Let’s take a step back and look at the difference in the recipe types.  In a roundabout way, there are 2 types of recipes: savory recipes and baking recipes. 

Savory Recipes

These types of recipes are easier to scale up or down, because they can be done so by taste, you just need to know the ingredients to add slowly and the ones you can go ahead and throw in the pot. 

Items like alcohol, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, herbs, and other seasonings should be added a little at a time.  On average, you’ll be adding in 1 1/2 times the amount the recipe calls for when doubling the recipe.  This may lead to more mixing, but it’ll save your recipe from being overpowered.

Baking Recipes

If you’re not a baker, this will be a lesson for you.  Baking is more than just the art of cooking, there’s a very scientific archetype behind it.  It’s not as simple as throwing ingredients together, like with savory recipes.  Everything has to be measured out, and most Baker’s would tell you that things should be weighed out instead of measured.  Baking recipes would include soufflés, baked items that require yeast, cakes, pies, and custards.

It’s not to say that these types of recipes can’t be scaled, but the proportions are so vital to the success of the end product, that a slight error could completely wreck the recipe.  You can see how with some Chefs it would be a great accomplishment to reach that perfect baking recipe large enough to feed their patrons.

Things to Know About Scaling

This isn’t to say that baking recipes are impossible to resize, but it is to say that to do so, you would have to be very particular to the weight of the ingredients, among other things…

Conversion Factor. When scaling a recipe, you can use a simple conversion factor to find out how much more or less of each ingredient you need (although, make sure to look under “Savory Recipes” above for the ones we wouldn’t recommend doing this way).  If your recipe serves 10 people, and you want it to serve 14 people, simply divide 14 by 10 to get the conversion factor of 1.4.  With that number, you can multiply your ingredients by 1.4 to know how much of each ingredient to have on hand to make the recipe.

Shopping.  If you’re multiplying or dividing a recipe, you’ll likely get an odd number of measurements.  Don’t worry about getting 25.4 ounces of chicken broth, you can round up and still be fine.  For splitting eggs, you can either pour them in a bowl, whip them up, then mix half of the egg in with the other ingredients, or just throw the entire egg in (without the shell of course).  Usually recipes that call for eggs will be okay with the other half of the egg added in.

Tasting Savory Recipes.  If you can taste it, like with savory recipes, make sure to keep doing taste tests.  Chefs will go through spoon after spoon until they find the right taste – it’s easier to wash a spoon, than to fail on a big pot of soup.

To Scale or Not to Scale Baking Recipes.  It’s hard to answer this for you, because the answer is, it depends.  The easiest way to make more of a recipe is to divide and conquer – make multiple batches of the same recipe, and yes, this does work for some restaurants, especially those that are making delicate recipes like soufflés and custards.  It also depends on your comfort level for baking. 

If you’ve baked with ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, yeast, and butter, go ahead and try scaling the recipe.  Start with 4 times, then push it from there, but don’t be surprised if you end up with more messes to clean and less successes. 

Recipe Archetypes.  If you want to be successful in scaling your recipe, we’d recommend learning more about how pan size, cooking time, temperatures, ingredients, and altitude can affect your recipe.   You should also know the archetype of your specific recipe… all recipes started from somewhere.  Here are a few articles to get you started:

Write it Down. If you’re going to spend the time scaling a recipe, make sure the write things down, so you know what worked and what didn’t.  Restaurants, and others in the food service industry, require consistent recipes, and they don’t get there by simply guessing every time. 

Continue Reading

Food Service Recipes

Food Service Recipes

In the interest of researching how to scale a recipe that feeds 6 people up to a recipe that feeds the masses, I found that it’s actually very hard to scale a recipe more than 4x up or down from the original recipe.  Well, that puts a restraint on new restaurant owners looking to make a big batch of soup to feed the lunch rush or a slew of cinnamon rolls to feed hungry breakfast goers. 

Where do you get those recipes?

There’s a couple of ways to increase the size of your recipes, but a lot of it is from either trial and error or learning from others.  After spending 10 years in a commercial kitchen, you have likely learned a few secrets to whip up larger batches, but for those that are starting fresh, it’s a bit harder to get your hands on large scale recipes.  However, we found a few online resources to help give you the push you need to start getting creative in the kitchen.  The list is below, but we thought it’d be best to also share a few examples of those recipes, so you can get an idea of what LARGE recipes actually look like.

Spaghetti with Fresh Vegetables for 100 People

  • 265 ounces Spaghetti Noodles (which is equivalent to 20 13.25 ounce boxes or 16.56 pounds of spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 cups Olive Oil
  • 10 cloves Garlic, diced
  • 10 small White Onions, chopped
  • 10 small Zucchini, diced
  • 10 small Yellow Squash, diced
  • 10 bunch Asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 medium Yellow Bell Peppers, julienned
  • 10 pints Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 20 leaves Fresh Basil, torn

  1.  Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. As the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes (or until onions become translucent).
  3. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, and yellow bell peppers.  Sauté until heated through, but still crisp.
  4. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Drain pasta, and mix together with veggie skillet mix.  Toss in the basil, and serve.

(Recipe Credit)

Batch of 500 Cinnamon Rolls

Dough

  • 7 ounces Active Yeast
  • 16 pounds All-Purpose Bleached Wheat Flour
  • 16 pounds Whole-Grain Wheat Flour
  • 2 pounds 3 ounces Non-Fat Milk Powder
  • 2 pounds 12 ounces Granulated Sugar
  • 14 ounces Salt
  • 2 quarts 3/4 cup Soybean Oil
  • 2 1/4 gallons 1 cup Water
  • 6 pounds 1 ounce Non Hydrogenated Margarine


Cinnamon Spread

  • 5 pounds 6 ounces Light Brown Sugar
  • 9 pounds Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 13 ounce cans plus 2 ounces Condensed Evaporated Milk

  1. Bring all ingredients and utensils to room temperature.
  2. Mix yeast, flours, milk powder, sugar, and salt on setting for 4 minutes.
  3. Slowly add in oil and water, then mix on setting for 14 minutes.
  4. Turn the mixer off, and let dough rise in warm area (about 90ºF) for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Place dough on lightly floured surface and weigh out balls at 3 pounds 6 ounces each.
  6. Mix light brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and evaporated milk until it becomes a spreadable paste.
  7. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle 25”x10”x1/4”.
  8. Spread cinnamon mixture over rectangle (about ½ cup per rectangle).
  9. Roll each rectangle into long, slender roll (with cinnamon spread on the inside).  Cut each roll into uniform one-inch pieces.
  10. Place rolls on lightly floured sheet pans, and cover with a bag.
  11. Place in a warm area (about 90º) until double in size – about 25-30 minutes.
  12. Bake the cinnamon rolls until lightly browned: 400º in a conventional oven for 18-20 minutes and 325º in a convection oven for 12-14 minutes.

Optional: Frost with white glaze frosting

Serving Size: 2 ounces
(Recipe Credit)

Macaroni Salad for 100 People

  • 24 pounds Elbow Macaroni, cooked and cooled
  • 6 pounds Creamy Salad Dressing
  • 2 quarts Carrots, shredded
  • 7 cups Celery, diced
  • 2 cups Onions, chopped
  • 16 ounces Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 tablespoon Dry Mustard
  • 4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoon Paprika, for garnish

  1. Mix cooled elbow macaroni with salad dressing.
  2. Add carrots, celery, onions, relish, black pepper, dry mustard, and salt, and toss gently so the macaroni doesn’t tear.
  3. Garnish with paprika, cover, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving Size: 1 cup
(Recipe Credit)

Where to Find More Recipes

Other areas that you can find recipes scaled large enough for the food service industry, include:

Have other large recipes you’d like to share?  Or tips for serving the masses?  Let us know below.

Continue Reading

How to Replace a Walk-In Door Hinge [Video]

The hinges on the door to your walk-in freezer or refrigerator seldom break, but when they do, the risk of spoiled food or sky-rocketing electricity costs can increase greatly. In this video, we show you how to identify the model number for your hinge to ensure that you get the correct replacement part, and walk you through the replacement process; even reversing the direction that your hinge swings!

 


 

Look for your replacement hinge here!

 

Before taking action from the content or resources published here, we request that you visit and review our terms of use.

 

Transcript:

Hi. I’m Chris Tavano for Tundra Restaurant Supply. In today’s episode we’re going to talk about how to identify and replace your walk-in-door hinge.  

The first thing to identify with your hinge is if it’s a flush-mount or a raised-mount hinge. This particular hinge here is a flush-mount. You can see that the wall is at the same surface as the door. This particular hinge is a raised-mount. You can notice that the door’s going to be at a slightly higher level than the wall itself by a couple inches. The next thing to identify is the brand and part number of the hinge. This is always located on the back of the hinge once you remove it from the door. You can notice that it’s actually embossed and stamped into the hinge.

There’s a possibility that your replacement hinge will be set to swing the opposite way than you actually need. However, that’s no problem here. The next thing to do is learn how to switch the hinge from a left-swing to a right-swing. First you want to take out the hinge. Next you want to pull out the lubed plastic nut; keep in mind that the slanted bevel points and slopes towards the inside of the hinge. Once you pull that out; from there pop out the white cap with a screwdriver and replace it on the other end in which you removed it from.

Next replace the beveled nut back in the same way which it came out, remembering to keep the slant sloping toward the inside of the hinge. Once you put the hinge back together it should swing the opposite way. Problem solved. That’s how you replace your walk-in door hinge.

For other do-it-yourself video ideas, comment below. 

Continue Reading

Why Aren’t You Weighing Your Dry Ingredients?

Why Aren’t You Weighing Your Dry Ingredients?

Most bakers will tell you that one of their must-have-kitchen tools is a good scale that is capable of measuring in precise increments.  That’s because they rely on the scale to weigh out their ingredients, rather than simply scooping it up.  For example, take flour that has been packed in its 10 pound bag, quickly fill a 1 cup measuring cup, level it on the side, and then throw it in a bowl on the scale.  Because the flour was pre-packed and compressed, odds are it would be much heavier than the suggested 130 grams (that’s for all-purpose flour, other flour types have different suggested weight).  Now, swirl the flour around to unpack it a bit and spoon the ingredient into the same measuring cup.  Measure in the same bowl on the same scale and, guess what, odds are you’ll get a different number than the first time.  In fact, it’ll probably be less than the 130 grams you’re looking to reach. On average, measuring ingredients this way leads to anywhere between 30% more or less of the amount of flour you’re actually looking to get.  The point is, the collection of measuring spoons and cups isn’t needed, just the scale, because you can spoon in the flour until you reach the weight you are looking for.  If you go over a bit, that’s fine, scoop a bit out. 

Chefs and bakers like to weigh their dry ingredients for more than just the accuracy – it’s also easier to just fill a bowl on a scale. 

It’s important to note that you can measure ingredients in either grams or ounces, both units are okay to use; however, you should be aware of what aspect of the ingredient is being measured with regards to ounces – volume (fluid, liquid) ounces or weight (dry) ounces.  A liquid ounce of water (29.74 grams) is not going to be the same as a dry ounce of water (28.03 grams).  The majority of scales can measure weight in both ounces and grams, so you can switch back and forth depending on what your recipe is calling for or what you prefer.

Finally, if you need to convert things from ounces to grams (or vice-versa), simple type in “ounces to grams” or “grams to ounces” in Google and a calculator will load at the top of the screen.  From there, you can change the numbers as you need to, to find the right calculation.

Although not an exclusive list of weight conversion, here’s an example of a few dry ingredients and their weight in grams and ounces:

Why Aren’t You Weighing Your Dry Ingredients?

Continue Reading

How to Cook Food for the Masses without Losing Your Mind

How to Cook Food for the Masses without Losing Your Mind

What’s the key to cooking for large groups without losing your mind? Sanity lies in a simple French phase

Remember: mise en place

Mise en place—pronounced meez ahn plas—means to put things in place, to prepare. Every food service pro understands the importance of having everything in its right place. Without proper attention to mis en place, things can get chaotic very quickly—and chaos in the kitchen results in hangry (hungry + angry) guests.

Measure twice

You know the old woodworking adage “measure twice, cut once”? That applies to food prep as well, so be sure to double check the conversion rates of your ingredients. This conversion and measurement infographic we made might help!

Have landing zones ready

Tundra’s Chris Tavano, who was a chef in a prior life, suggests having “landing zones” prepared for everything. “It may feel redundant, as you may unnecessarily dirty a bowl for just holding ingredients, but organization is key,” says Chris. “For example, you might have an ice-bath landing zone for chilled items such as blanched asparagus or hard-boiled eggs, or a warming zone for hot items.”

Have the end result in mind

Otherwise, you can get hung up one task while other ingredients continue to cook. This is important but easy to forget.

Divide and conquer

Take a page from Henry Ford’s playbook: build processes, divvy up tasks, and refine them until you’re a model of efficiency. Balthazar, a bistro in New York City that serves hot, perfectly cooked steak frites to 1500 guests on a typical day, employs two full-time potato peelers! They approach french fry production with an industrial mindset that Ford would admire.

Clean as you go

A clean work zone is a healthy and efficient work zone. This is good to do in between each major task or prep work.

Make sure they’re some padding in your timeline

The last thing you want is your roast to be two hours late. For hot food items, be sure you cook them with plenty of time to spare. Put them in the oven a little earlier, and prepare a landing zone to keep it warm until serving.

Braising is great because it allows you to slow roast the night before without any time constraint pressures, and refrigerate overnight to seal in flavors as it cools,” says Chris. “Then, the brasie can be reheated perfectly for service, with much less stress to the pressures of time.”

Take good notes

When the dust finally settles and your guests have gone home, take stock. What worked? What caused problems? What steps can you skip in the future? Don’t assume you’ll remember the next time you’re tasked with cooking for a large group. We suggest taking good notes so you don’t have to keep learning the same lessons over and over.

“Anything to save you a step in the future is good practice and thinking,” says Chris.

Hat tip to Chris Tavano for helping me write this post!

Continue Reading