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From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant Supplies

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesGetting Organized

  • Any type of cup with a handle can be mounted to the wall and with an S-hook attachment can become a unique utensil holder or flatware organizer.
  • ƒƒ There are multiple uses for Cambro food storage containers, most of which keep you and your staff organized. Check out our recent blog post to learn how: 100 Ways to Use a Cambro Storage Container!
  • ƒƒ Need hooks to hang pots and pans in the kitchen, a coat rack in the dining room or for personal belongings under the bar? Try serving spoons & flatware! Just bend the utensil into the desired shape.
  • ƒƒ Having trouble finding the correct o-ring for your stick mixer? Muffin tins are perfect for keeping track of replacement parts! By labeling each tin & educating your staff, quick & easy repairs can be made in a flash!

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesUpcycled Decorations

  • Repurpose old wine bottles by turning them into table tents. All you need is chalkboard spray paint! This creative flair is sure to get people talking!
  • Cups and glasses are perfect centerpieces on tables for floating candles or displaying fresh cut flowers!
  • ƒƒFunnels, sieves and other containers were also found to make beautiful plant holders – think about growing fresh herbs too.
  • ƒƒPots worn out? Clean and then spray paint them for a cost effective way to make buffet risers, wine buckets & beverage tubs!

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesBold Walls, Ceilings & Bars

  • Saved up all of those wine corks, but have no idea what to do with them? Frankly Wines in Tribeca, New York decorated an entire wall out of them.
  • Use wooden crates? That wood makes amazing wall art, but more importantly, can be used to cover entire ceilings, walls and even floors! That’s right- create a small stage out of wooden crates and start hosting occasional live music!
  • Glass is probably the most popularly reused item for walls, ceilings and bars. The bonus? They help with acoustic sound!
  • Plastic? You bet! One of our favorite walls was made out of water bottles. That got us thinking about all of the other plastic wall possibilities – hmmm.

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesSpeaking of Pallets

  • Pallets can be cut down and stained to make a beautiful wine rack. Bonus, the shelving is low enough to still show off those enticing wine labels.
  • Take out some of the slats and hang the pallet on the wall for shelving. This is a great way to showcase the history of your restaurant starting with the first framed dollar spent in your establishment.
  • Stained different colors, and cut into different sizes, we found beautiful wall art that would look great in any restaurant.
  • Indoor gardening goes well with pallets, and helps restaurants bring in the outdoors, while adding to the décor.

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesUnique Lighting

  • Make light fixtures out of old glassware, including chandeliers, track lighting and pendant lights.
  • Think about using old wine bottles and beer bottles for setting the mood at your tables. Flower vases are also an effective way to repurpose the colorful glass!
  • ƒƒHow about an old sieve, funnel or whisk, we found some very interesting light fixtures repurposing these kitchen items.
  • Did someone say wire guard? Not only does this protect your globes from breakage, we’ve also seen restaurants use them as modern light fixtures throughout the dining room and in bathrooms where maximum light is desired.

From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant SuppliesWant to see how others have pulled these ideas together, plus many more like these?  Visit our Repurposing Restaurant Supplies board on Pinterest!

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Saving the Environment: One Scrap at a Time

Saving the Environment: One Scrap at a TimeComposting is often overlooked in restaurants; in fact, when it comes to talking about food waste, the majority of restaurant owners and operators say that the first thing on their list of priorities is honoring the chef’s culinary skills and making sure the freshest ingredients are being served. Food waste came in last on the list.

We get it; it’s easier to throw food in the garbage. That way the back ally attracts more vermin and the landfills fill up with an overwhelming amount of food waste (which produces an alarming amount of dangerous methane gas). But what if we told you that many cities now offer offsite composting and all you have to do is make sure you separate trash from food waste! Whether it is the trash company, your local school district, or a local farm, there are more and more businesses willing to return your food waste to the ground.

Why take action? The soil that is produced from composting helps build nutrient rich gardens and flower beds. When we look at our local surroundings here in Boulder, CO and take into account the numerous flower beds and gardens from Pearl Street to the University, local elementary schools and surrounding family owned farms, we realize what a difference your “trash” could make on their bottom line and for the environment.

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Sustain and Grow With Us

Sustain and Grow With UsOur mission: We respond immediately to solve the needs of our customers, so that they can sustain and grow the relationship they have with theirs.

20 years ago our company was started based on the mission statement
above. It was important for our founder, Michael Lewis, to do more than just sell parts to restaurants; in fact, it was fundamentally essential that our customers felt taken care of. We built relationships with them and kept things as simple as possible. Based on these fundamental “ways” (we don’t do policies) we were able to grow into the Tundra we are today, and we thank our customers for being there to support us.

With the announcement of our Dreamstaurant contest winner, Adam Hegsted, we knew we had an opportunity to expand on this mission: to expand here at Tundra, to help Adam and to help you.

Today, we invite you to sustain and grow with us as we continue to bring
more to the table.

 

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April Fool’s Day Word Search

Fun Fact: The Scottish love April Fools’ Day. In fact they love it so much, they celebrate it for two days. In Scotland they call it “hunting the gowk” (the cuckoo), and if you are tricked, you are an “April gowk.” To really get “behind” the holiday, the second day, called “Taily Day,” is devoted to pranks involving the back side of the body. The “butt” of these jokes may often have a “kick me” sign placed on their back.

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Too Dim or Not Too Dim: Sound Off On Restaurant Lighting

Too Dim or Not Too Dim: Sound Off On Restaurant Lighting

Photo Credit:Brewtally Insane!

As we sat at West Flanders Brewing Company enjoying some of their delicious brews for happy hour, the lights suddenly went dim.  At first it was hard to focus on small things, like the menu and details on people’s faces, especially distant ones.  This wasn’t anything new to any of us – restaurants dim the lights all the time – but as we struggled to regain focus, we began discussing the potential harm this could do to restaurant profits and how the customers actually feel about it.

What the Studies Say

When you consider that sit down restaurants are quite the opposite of fast-food joints when it comes to music and lighting, there’s definitely a science behind the mood being set and how that mood relates to food; however, finding the studies to say that there is a definite science is somewhat limited.  One study that was done in 2012 by Cornell University found that lighting and music do indeed affect how we eat food, but not how you might expect.

By taking a well-known fast-food establishment and making two different versions – one with brightly-lit lights and up-beat music, and the second with soft lighting and smooth jazz – the researchers were able to offer the same food, but in two different environments.  What they found was that people actually ate less when they were in a more relaxed atmosphere. They may take their time to enjoy their food and drinks, but they don’t order anymore food than they would at a fast-food restaurant.  The researchers (like many of us) expected the exact opposite – they expected people to eat more because with dimmer lighting and softer music, people tend to linger longer.

In hindsight, I should have named this section “What the Study Says,” but that just doesn’t sound as important, now does it?

What Does This Mean For You?

Dimming the lights may cause people to eat less, but if your guests are health-conscious, this is a great way to help them cut calories; in fact, the study showed that consumers ate 18% fewer calories when the mood was set to be more relaxing.

If you’re in the business of strictly gaining profit instead of showing off your culinary talent as well, then fast-food style settings may be the place for you.  But like most chefs, when it comes to their food they’re passionate about the tastes, the blends, the colors, the presentation, etc.  In a fast-food environment you would absolutely be hindering all of your efforts towards making that culinary experience the one you want.

What the People Say

Of course with plenty of places to vent online, there are numerous discussions across the web of people debating the reasons for dim lighting in a restaurant.  The majority seemed to agree that dim lighting was to set the mood – make the dining experience more comfortable.  They felt that it helped to make people focus on what’s in front of them, including the food and their dining companions.

Oddly enough, they also felt that it was almost like a conspiracy theory to help the restaurant gain more profits, because people would eat/order more food (exactly opposite of what the study found).  They also blamed dim lighting on the reason behind coyote ugly – the dim lighting hides blemishes and makes people look more attractive… I knew there was more to this coyote ugly thing than just alcoholic beverages.

The bad news is that many people were complaining that too dim of lights made it hard to read the menu and see the food on the plate.  They also felt that the lower light setting helped to hide bad food: presentation and taste.  And of course, the dim lighting does what it does to my husband every time he watches a movie, makes them sleepy.

What Does This Mean For You?

Well, if your restaurant is trying to make profit off of dim lights, the people are on to you.  They’re also done with biting off their arms because of bad dates they wake up next to.

But you can do something to help them know there is no conspiracy theory.  It can be as easy as adding candle light to the table so it’s easier to see the menu and the food.  You can also invest in some awesome LED lit menus that definitely add some light to the table.

Should There Be Another Study?

The LED lit menus got me thinking – would people order more food if they could see what was on the menu?  Maybe those people in the study actually ordered less because they couldn’t see. Hmm, looks like another study possibility.


Watch out, this video is definitely trying to set the mood up in here.

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Easter Word Search

Fun Fact: Besides chocolate, what other candy pops its head around the corner during Easter time? Jelly beans! An astounding 16 billion jelly beans are made exclusively for Easter. That’s enough beans to fill a plastic egg the size of a nine story building!

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St. Patrick’s Day Word Search

Fun Fact: St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. It is also a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Hard

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Back Burner Recognized in Top Food Blog Infographic

Coupon Audit recently put together an infographic on the top food blogs to follow in 2012 and named the Back Burner #15!  There were many great food blogs listed (like my personal favorite Door to Door Organics) and we are excited to see that our blog stands with some of the greatest food blogs out there!

Back Burner Recognized in Top Food Blog Infographic

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit.

Thanks for the recognition Coupon Audit!

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Foie Gras

Foie GrasMy husband and I, and our two boys, raise 4 chickens (and a 5th that ended up being a rooster). We wanted to share with our boys what it’s like to raise something that you are responsible for, but that also provides for the family. Every day they go out and collect their eggs, feed and water them, and play with them. They also get to enjoy the fruits of their labor with all sorts of egg recipes!

Did You Just Say They Play With The Chickens?

Yes. In fact, each of them has their own personality, but there’s one in-particular that stands out from the rest – her name is Miss Elsie.

Every time anyone walks outside, she runs to the gate that separates her from our deck and patiently waits for her treats (typically leftover veggies, veggie peelings or warm oatmeal). Even when I forget to bring anything out, she convinces me that it’s worth it to go back in as her friends slowly crowd around her waiting for their treats too.

And Elsie’s the only one of the flock that will let you pet her and hold her (which can sometimes be a messy situation, but you learn how to hold them). It’s really been a fun experience for all of us; to the point that I don’t think we could ever eat them (not sure what we’re going to do when they get older though). I seriously couldn’t look at the chicken on my plate and know it’s Miss Elsie – I think my boys would agree with that notion too.

What’s This Foie Gras Thing?

Now, I suppose I should say that I don’t live in Boulder. I actually live up in the mountains where we can raise chickens if we want. It’s a small town, but I like that lifestyle. And I suppose because of this fact, I’ve never heard of Foie Gras. That was, until I received an email on the ban of Foie Gras in California.

I may be a small-town girl, but I’m also a bit of a nerdy-researcher when it comes to new topics. I engulf myself in things until I understand everything about it – the history behind it, why there’s a ban in the first place, what the farmers think, what the restaurants think, etc. Of course everyone is going to have their own opinion (and this story is mine), but I believe that in order to really be able to form an opinion about something, you should be informed on the subject matter beyond one online article. So I researched it.

I read that article that was sent to me, and they mentioned how the ducks are force fed to enlarge their liver to be 6x what a normal liver should be in a healthy duck, and that “ducks and geese experience fear, as well as acute and chronic stress from the multiple daily force-feedings and the pain associated with them. And force-feeding can cause a number of injuries: bruising or perforation of the esophagus; hemorrhaging and inflammation of the neck resulting from the repeated insertion of the pipe into the throat; and asphyxia caused by food improperly forced into the trachea.” (The Humane Society of the United States).

Foie Gras

What Bertrand Hug Says

The article above concluded with a story from a restaurateur that mentioned how upset he was about the ban and that as a child, he saw these birds on his family farm as happy to receive their force fed meal. Of course I had to read that article too.

Bertrand Hug does a great job letting us know how his life on the farm was in France. He mentions many other animals that were raised on the farm: all of them to help feed the family or earn income for them.

This is a pretty typical life on a farm, and for the most part, I grew up the same way. We had cows and goats for milk and cows and goats for meat. We had chickens for eggs and we had chickens for meat. We grew our own vegetable garden, and did our best to live off the land.

Hug goes on to say that yes, there were birds that were force fed, and the money that came from those fatty livers helped bring in “big money.” I was still cringing as I read up this point, but I suppose I can also relate with his recollection of all the ducks running up to be fed – that’s my Elsie. And that the experience of those ducks being force fed is like a bird that swallows a fish whole. Furthermore, he states that all of those birds were far happier than the other ducks that weren’t force fed. I’m not sure on my stance with this though; I don’t think I could ever force feed Elsie just to plump her up.

A Little History Story

Foie Gras

The history of increasing the size of a goose from force feeding dates back to 2498 BC, where the Egyptian monarchy considered geese to be a delicacy, and the animal was often given as a gift. It was during this time that the first records of fattening a goose came to be; however, I should state that there are plenty of sites that say that the Egyptians may have been fattening the birds so that they appeared plump, which of course was for pleasing the gift receiver.

In the second century BC the term Foie Gras came to be known as a food source, also seen as a delicacy. The Greeks and Romans both attribute themselves for discovering this dish, and thus spreading the popularity of the force feeding to bring it to the table around the world.

Today, France considers Fois Gras a cultural gastronomical heritage and is the leading producer and consumer of both forms – duck and geese.

It was in 1974 that the first ban was enforced for force-feeding animals, which occurred in Norway. Other countries that followed suit included Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Last Thoughts

I grew up on a farm and have a family full of hunters, so yes, we all eat meat. But we believe in the ethical treatment of animals. I couldn’t imagine pumping Miss Elsie full of hormones just to make her eggs bigger, just like I couldn’t imagine pumping her full of food just to make her “plump for eating.” The eggs she lays (as well as the other chickens) are small in comparison to store eggs, just like the organic meat that we get from the local organic grocers is small in comparison to shopping at the normal grocers.  And we’re okay with that.

I don’t follow all of my food from farm to plate, but I do try to make a conscience decision to feed my family with food that I at least know a little bit about – whether that be from the food we receive from hunting or because I read the labels on the food at the organic grocers before I buy it.

I also know that when I go out to restaurants I may not be eating food that was humanly raised (odds are that I’m not), but it is also a choice that I’m very aware of and wish I had more options up in my small town to be able to know that the meats were humanely raised.

I wanted to write this blog post about Fois Gras to get your feedback, not to say what my opinions were, but I found that it was harder to do than I thought.  So, I must conclude by saying that if you are a farmer at a Fois Gras farm, or a restaurant owner that serves Fois Gras, I invite you to take a stance and help teach our audience more about Foid Gras and its best practices.

P.S. As one of my co-workers, Molly, read through this, she mentioned that I should post a picture of Elsie.  But the only photo I had at the time was one that was uploaded to Instagram last year, which was when the chickens were much younger, but it’s still cute!  Elsie’s the white chicken on the left looking at the camera.

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