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Gluten Free & Allergy Labeled: Toothpicks Help Mark Their Territory

Gluten Free & Allergy Labeled: Toothpicks Help Mark Their Territory

Cross-contamination is one of the biggest risks when it comes to food safety and dietary needs that warrant strict cross-contamination rules, but with toothpicks that clearly mark what the food is, you’ll help keep your guests safe while increasing sales. Tablecraft offers specialty toothpicks that clearly label gluten-free products and allergy products, so that guests with food allergies know exactly what foods are safe for them. They’re also fun for at-the-table sword fights, but that’s another story ;).

What Does Gluten Free Mean?

You’ve likely heard about the top eight common allergy ingredients, but do you know what it means to be gluten free? Gluten is a protein that is found in grains, which includes the barley used to make beer, as well as, wheat, rye and triticale (that’s a mix between wheat and rye). Celiac disease is the term used to describe people that have an allergic reaction to the gluten protein and they can have similar reactions to other food allergy sufferers when they ingest gluten of any kind.

The good news is that most people with celiac disease are well aware of the foods they need to abstain from to avoid adverse reactions; however, since a lot of grains can be mixed into foods where you wouldn’t usually expect it, it’s always a good idea to be informed of the most common gluten free foods that are avoided, including: beer, breads, cakes, candies, cereals, chips, cookies, croutons, French fries, gravies, imitation meat, matzo, pastas, processed luncheon meats, salad dressings, sauces, soups, and vegetables in sauce. If you’re not sure if the product is gluten free or not, look for a gluten free label, or call the manufacturer.

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Getting Your Restaurant Prepped for Non GMO Labeled Meals

Getting Your Restaurant Prepped for Non GMO Labeled Meals

If we told you that 91% of Americans want to see non GMO labels on the food they eat, would you rethink what foods you should be serving up? “Genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology, and a growing portion of your clientele would like to be made aware of their presence in the ingredients you use. Making the move towards offering non GMO foods for your customers is not that hard, but it will involve setting up separate stations. For example, you should consider investing in another fryer that is only used to hold non GMO canola oil; keep in mind that same frying oil will work to cater to other dietary restriction orders, like allergens and vegetarian diets. If the initial cost of doubling up on a few choice pieces of equipment seems overwhelming, remember that the percentage of people in the US that need segregated food is growing at an exponential rate, which means greater profits for those restaurants that follow suit.

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Who Uses Soap On Cast Iron?

Who Uses Soap On Cast Iron?

In the residential kitchen, we’re all quite aware of the 3 forbidden rules when it comes to cast iron:

  1. Never, ever use soap!
  2. Never, ever soak it in water!
  3. Never, ever let water rest on it after being cleaned!

Depending on who you talk to, and how big their love for cast iron is, there could definitely be some rules added to this list – never use metal utensils, throw out rusted pans (this one hurts my heart a little bit), always season new pans, etc.  However, whether it be a frying pan, oven to table ware, or griddles, almost all of these rules are different when it comes to using cast iron in a restaurant.

Restaurant Use of Cast Iron

If you scour the web for help with taking care of cast iron in a restaurant, resources are very limited, and almost all of the information you find is for home cooks.  However, all of these forbidden rules aren’t the same in the commercial kitchen, because there are health code regulations that don’t allow for a pan to be simply wiped clean and re-used.

If you’re one of those home cooks, prepare to be blown away by what we’re about to tell you.

Wiping a pan clean or using salt to scrub the left-over bits away is not the way to properly clean cast iron after being used in a restaurant.  In fact, as far as the health inspector is concerned, the same holds true for cast iron as with any other pan: it has to be ran through a 3-sink basin with detergent/rinse/sanitizer in order to be properly cleaned for re-use.  As in most commercial kitchens, the detergent that is required to be used is specifically for what’s being cleaned; e.g. pots and pans has their own detergent, just as flatware has a particular pre-rinse formula.  If you think about it, it makes sense to clean cast iron like this, to ensure the seasoning of the pan doesn’t turn rancid – risky and scary.

So, want to know how restaurants get away with not following all of those forbidden cast iron rules?  They use those pans so many more times than that same pan would ever be used in the residential kitchen and they’re stored in a very hot environment, which basically helps them season themselves.

Now, that’s not to say that in the commercial kitchen other rules aren’t followed to help maintain a nice seasoning, which includes doing the first initial seasoning and wiping the pan down with vegetable oil or lard before storing (which a lot of residential users do as well).

With that said, because there is health code obstacles in the way of using cast iron in the food service industry, many cooks have started using hi-carbon or black steel pans to get a close substitute without having to worry about violating health code.

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Portion Control Has Never Been So Accurate

Portion Control Has Never Been So Accurate

71% of adults in America are trying to eat healthier when they eat out. For a lot of these potential restaurant patrons, eating healthy is not just a choice, it’s a need. For your customers on health related diets, the best way to enforce healthier standards is to use portion control. Insuring the accurate amount of butter or salt in a dish for the customer can ensure lower weight and blood pressure, while also saving you money by control ingredient cost. Detecto makes portioning out ingredients easy with their RP30 square rotating scale. This scale helps you weight every last ounce of food while you add it to a plate, making it easy to know precisely what’s leaving your kitchen and heading in front of those health conscious guests.

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Preparing Your Restaurant’s Menu to Go Kosher

Preparing Your Restaurants Menu to Go KosherIf your restaurant is in an area with a large Jewish community, it makes sense to ensure your menu has kosher options. Would it surprise you to know that kosher eaters in America are equal to the number of people with food allergies? The truth is that offering kosher food options on your menu is a big opportunity to grow your business! However, before you can get started, you need to learn the rules on how to prepare, cook, and serve kosher. For example, investing in an undercounter refrigerator (we’d recommend Beverage Air) is a first great move. All kosher cuts of meat need to be kept in a separate refrigerator from other, non-kosher meats being served. Plus, it’s easier for you to know what meats are strictly kosher if you stay organized in the kitchen. You’ll also need to look into separate smallware packages and prep areas. The investment upfront may seem grand, but the return on investment could be greater in the long-run.

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Setting Up Grill Zones: Keep Those Veggies Away From the Meat

Setting Up Grill Zones: Keep Those Veggies Away From the Meat

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Odds are, if you work the grill in a restaurant, you’re already a seasoned veteran in the art of grill zones. There are your hot zones that cook meats at the temperature needed for medium to well-done and other cooler spots that cook it perfectly between rare to medium-rare. There are also other spots for veggies and softer food types, but did you know that there should always be an area specifically designated for your vegetarian and vegan guests? Because different types of oils need to be used for these guests (no animal by-products), it’s best to keep meats and oils, such as bacon grease, well away from the veggie friendly zone. Your grill should be set up so that anyone that comes up to the grill knows exactly what area is for what – no need to worry about cross-contamination for your vegetarian and vegan friendly fans. Maintaining grill zones also helps prevent cross-contamination for other dietary restrictions, like allergens. Taking an extra step toward food safety is easy when you stay organized in the kitchen.

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When It’s Time to Replace Your Refrigeration Door Gaskets

When It’s Time to Replace Your Refrigeration Door Gaskets

We’ve written about how easy it is to replace your refrigeration door gaskets, but time and time again, we’ll walk into a commercial kitchen and see duct-tape doing the job the gasket should be doing.  What, not you?  You may not be taping the door closed, but with any over-worn gasket in the kitchen, duct-tape may be right around the corner.  Here are a few signs that it’s time to replace your gaskets:

  1. If you begin to see cracks anywhere in the gasket.
  2. If the gasket is beginning to separate from the equipment.
  3. If the material of the gasket begins to harden so much that it doesn’t create a good seal.
  4. If the refrigeration unit keeps coming on and shutting off, odds are it’s having a hard time keeping temp.  There are a lot of things that could be at play here, but the gasket is one of the easiest, quickest, and cheapest ways to begin narrowing down where the issue may be.
  5. If you can feel cool air leaking around the gasket when the door is closed.
  6. If you begin to see condensation build-up around the gasket seal.

New Gaskets With Gaps – Is It Defective?

When gaskets arrive at your door, it’ll likely be twisted and contorted in a way that makes it look almost impossible to install.  In fact, if you try to install it without working out the kinks, you’ll notice small gaps that are letting cold air seep through.

To work out the kinks, it’s best to soak any new gasket in hot water for 30 minutes before trying to install it.  If the kinks don’t come out, you can also try using other methods to heat up the gasket a bit.  At home, we’d recommend using a hair dryer or even throwing it in the dryer for 10 minutes, but in the commercial kitchen, you could alternatively bring water to a slow boil, turn it down to a simmer, and put the gasket in the water for 10 minutes. Once heated, lay it on a flat surface and stretch the gasket into the shape it needs to be to fit the equipment it is being installed on.

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Stock Up on New Supplies for Ice Cream Season

Bringing in the summer with new ice cream equipment, supplies, and dispensers helps keep your customers chill and your sales hot, especially when you’re using commercial products that help save you time and money over time.  Our Ice Cream Specialty Shop is perfect for helping to bring everything together, including blenders for yummy smoothie concoctions and dipper wells to help keep utensils clean.  Here are just a couple of our top selling items for ice cream enthusiasts.

Ice Cream Dishers

Stock Up on New Supplies for Ice Cream Season

At the top of our list are ice cream dishers (or is it called a scoop).  These simple little tools are an ice cream essential in the home and business.  Without these, scooping up that ice cream would be a bit harder and wouldn’t give those scoops their signature shape – who wants to see lop-sided ice cream on top of their cone? Ranging from $1-$20, make sure to get the size that is perfect for your needs.

Hot Fudge Dispensers

Stock Up on New Supplies for Ice Cream Season

If you weren’t craving an ice cream sundae before you got to this point, I bet you will after I tell you that our second favorite ice cream parlor must is a hot fudge dispenser.  Capable of maintaining a constant temperature without scorching the chocolate, these dispensers are perfect for helping to keep the flow in the kitchen.  Prices range from $150-$750, and the most important decision when picking these products out is the capacity they need to hold to benefit your business best.

Ice Cream Molds

Stock Up on New Supplies for Ice Cream Season

Want to get into the business of selling your own popsicles or want to give your ice cream a specialty look, then you’ll definitely need these ice cream molds.  They’re easy to use and typically come with wooden sticks to get you started as soon as they arrive.  Prices range from $20-$200, which is mainly based on how much production you’re planning on doing.

Dipper Wells

Stock Up on New Supplies for Ice Cream Season

Dipper wells are handy-helpers on the back line as they help to keep utensils clean for continual use.  They run a constant flow of water over the utensils that reside in them, which ensures bacterial growth is washed away and other harmful allergens. There’s a wide price variety with dipper wells ($50-$1,000), but again, it’s based on the capacity the item needs to be to properly maintain your business.

Ice Cream Drink Mixers

Stock Up on New Supplies for Ice Cream Season

Depending on if you’re looking to serve frozen drink concoctions on a minute-by-minute basis, or just a few a day, ice cream drink mixers are a great way to keep serving up the very best of ice cream favorites.  Ranging in price from $100 to $1,000, the perfect drink mixer for you is going to be deciding on the number of spindles, where the placement of the machine will be, and the speed the machine needs to provide to keep you in business.

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6 Home Uses for Casters

6 Home Uses for CastersCasters are used primarily in the industrial and food service world, we’ve found that there are many small and big uses for them in the home too.  Of course a caster that is able to hold up to 300 pounds under a trash can may be a bit excessive (or maybe not, I’m not judging), there are other uses for a mighty caster like this in your home.

For a bit of fun, we pulled this list together of how you can use different casters around your house and business.

1. Bins and Cans

Ever bring the trash can over to the sink to throw out peels as you shred your vegetables?  How about when the recycle bin or trashcan is overstuffed, and it’s best to bring it out to the dumpster to help unload it?  Casters are perfect on the bottom of bins and trashcans to make them more portable in the kitchen.

2. Islands and Butcher Blocks

For a more industrial look in the kitchen, add casters to the bottom of your butcher block or island.  This also helps with moving them out of the way when more space is needed or different configuration is needed when guests come over.

3. Beds

Keeping with the industrial look, adding casters to your beds will help keep the industrial motif going.  Casters attached to your bed also help move it out of the way for easy cleaning underneath, or for those of you lucky enough to have large doors to the outside, a push of the bed to the outdoors can create quite an intimate occasion – not even kidding, this is a thing!

4. Coffee Tables

Ever have an urge to break-dance in the living room or just need more room for crafting?  When the coffee table is on casters, you can roll it away for extra space anytime!

5. Under Bed Storage

We love these rolling under bed storage boxes on casters.  They give you extra storage space in an often unused area, and are perfect in kid rooms for lego and toy storage.  If antiquing it up isn’t your thing, try using a simpler look, like with these boxes.

6.  For the Pets

Try converting an old suitcase into a dog bed, then place casters on the bottom so that the bed can be wheeled to the living room, outdoors, or by mans-best-friend at night.  You can also use as an old crate on casters as an upcycled pet feeder like our friend Summerofseventy did.

To see other fun ideas on DIY caster projects around the home, catch us on Pinterest.

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Hundreds of Free Parts Diagrams!

Hundreds of Free Parts Diagrams!

Parts diagrams help you know exactly what parts you need to make repairs on common kitchen appliances.  Similar to the diagram above, we have hundreds of free diagrams for you to be able to find the right parts needed for your food service equipment.  The diagrams are broken down by brands and appliance type (salad spinner, mixer, slicers, glasswashers, blending stations, etc.).

Once you find the diagram for the piece you’re trying to repair, all you have to do is match the number up with the list of parts below the diagram, and you’ll be on your way to quick do-it-yourself (DIY) repairs that helps keep money in your pocket.  Don’t feel comfortable making those repairs on your own?  Give our team a call at 888-388-6372 or use the Live Chat function on our main site to be connected with our customer service team.

We have a team full of knowledge when it comes to the food service industry.  From former Chefs and Servers to Repair Technicians and Food Service Veterans, let our team help you do-it-together (DIT).

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