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Author Archive | Kasy Allen

Stay Safe With Tucker BurnGuard Oven Mitts

Stay Safe With Tucker BurnGuard Oven Mitts

You’ve likely thought everything through when it comes to ensuring you and your staff’s safety in the kitchen. More often than not, however, one of the easiest protective pieces gets overlooked.

Cotton oven mitts are not a sufficient barrier from the likely perils of a commercial kitchen. They do not protect from liquid and vapor burns, they are not NSF certified, and they do not offer thermal protection. In a commercial kitchen you need these qualities in an oven mitt and that’s why we recommend  Tucker’s BurnGuard mitts. They are built to last 10 times longer, and because they’re more durable than cotton mitts, they will definitely save you money in the long term.

Stay Safe With Tucker BurnGuard Oven Mitts

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Lead Free Standards Now in Every State

Lead Free Standards Now in Every StateSince January, 2010, there has been a nationwide push to make more and more states require low lead levels in plumbing and piping products that come in contact with water for human consumption.  California and Vermont jumped right on board, and two years later, Maryland and Louisiana followed suit. Now in 2014, with a new year, comes new change.

As of January 4, 2014, all states are required to implement the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. This means it will be illegal to sell or install plumbing and piping products that exceed 0.25% lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures. Wetted parts include meters, expansion tanks, backflow preventers, flexible connectors, strainers, and
assorted gauges, fittings, valves, etc. The good news is that most plumbing and piping companies were prepared for the changes and adjusted their product lines accordingly. Krowne, for example, has gone ahead and marked their lead free products as NSF/ANSI Standard 61-G. Identifying the products that meet the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act can be tricky, so we’d suggest visiting our blog post “Are You Ready to Go Lead Free in 2014?,” to learn more about going lead free in 2014, or call us at 888-388-6372 to chat with our team.

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Talking to Customers Through Signage

Talking to Customers Through Signage

If you haven’t done a search lately for funny restaurant signs, you’re missing out on a goldmine of restaurant humor.  From chalkboard sandwich boards to tabletop tents, restaurants are expressing
their messages to customers with a bit of comical tone. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all signage needs be humorous. The key to effectively communicating with your customers is to stick
with your brand’s voice and a clear message. Check out our selection of signage to help deliver your message – some of our favorites come from American Metalcraft, who has been in business for more than fifty years.

P.S.  Join us on Facebook or Twitter for #FRSF (Funny Restaurant Sign Friday).

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DayMark Food Labels

DayMark Food Labels

You may be familiar with First In, First Out (FIFO), an organization system for keeping food at its freshest, but did you know that a big part of FIFO is making sure to use food rotation labels?

DayMark is well known for providing safety systems to help businesses maintain a healthy work environment, and with their different labels (ToughMark, DissolveMark, MoveMark, CoolMark, and DuraMark), they help ensure food safety in varying temperatures, locations, containers, and moisture levels.

 

When trying to decide on the right food label for your business, make sure to look into the benefit of each of the labels:

  • ToughMark – Great for reusable containers that are placed in the freezer and around high moisture.
  • DissolveMark – Also great for reusable containers, but better for containers that are placed in the cooler and have low moisture levels.
  • MoveMark – The last of the bunch used for reusable containers, but best used in dry storage.
  • Freezable Adhesive – Perfect on disposable containers that are placed in the freezer.
  • DuraMark – Theses types of labels can be used on disposable containers as well, but are better paired with containers that are placed in a cooler or dry spot.
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Repairing an Edlund Manual Can Opener: Blade & Gear

Repairing an Edlund Manual Can Opener: Blade & Gear

Edlund has multiple manual can openers that all vary slightly, however, when it comes to repairs, DIY is fairly similar between all of them. There are approximately 15 parts for each can opener, but the most requested parts are the knife and gear – each of which takes less than a minute to replace, and cost much less than buying a new can opener.

To Replace the Knife

Raise the handle of the can opener, remove the grenade pin (in model #S-11) and remove the knife holder. Unscrew the thumb screw, and you’ll disengage the knife. If you haven’t already done so, turn the knife over to use the other edge (the knife has two blade edges to use), or if both sides are worn, it’s time to replace the knife.

To Replace the Gear

Place can opener in its base, and turn the handle counter clockwise to remove handle (for some models, you may have to use a screwdriver to stop the gear from turning, as you turn the handle counter clockwise). When you can lift the handle off of the can opener, you have officially disengaged the gear. Take out the gear, and replace with a new gear. You’ll know which way to put the gear back in, because Edlund writes “Up” on one side of the gear.

For a full list of Edlund can opener parts, visit our site to see breakdowns, diagrams, and parts for your exact can opener.

Repairing an Edlund Manual Can Opener: Blade & Gear

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Top Back Burner Posts of 2013

Top Back Burner Posts of 2013

We had a lot of changes here at Tundra during 2013, including a brand new website, new videos, and tons of fun content that ranged from crazy outbursts in the restaurant to products in action.  As we pulled together our list of top blog posts for 2013, we didn’t expect to see such a diverse mix of favorites, but nonetheless, you have proven that there’s nothing better than a good green chili recipe and getting your hands dirty with a little bit of DIY.

Without further ado, here are our top blog posts for 2013.

  • Amy’s Baking Company: What a Disaster

    If it wasn’t Amy’s tirades, it was Samy’s complete lack of recognition for anyone other than his wife.  Amy’s Backing Company showed us exactly what not to do when it comes to being on television and back-lashing in social media – we’re still not sure if we’ve regained our composure from this one.

  • Recipe Measurement Converter and Equivalents

    A late comer in the year (as it was posted in October), the Recipe Measurement Converter and Equivalents chart made quite an impact with shares, favorites, tweets, and views; no wonder, it’s an easy cheat sheet for any cook’s kitchen!

  • 6 Tips for Better Plating and Presentation

    When we came up with the idea for this post, we thought that the majority of you would have it down, and that only a handful of you would appreciate a quick list of plating and presentation tips.  But we were wrong – you loved the list!  We can’t blame you either, those food pictures are yummy!

  • 10 Things That Make Restaurant Websites Great

    It’s not just the big brands that are making sure they’re building an online presence, but with it becoming easier and easier for even Ma and Pa shops to jump on board, restaurants that aren’t updating their site are falling behind rather quickly.

  • Green Chili Recipe

    Green chili is a Colorado recipe favorite, and when fall starts getting closer, it’s hard to subdue the craving for a big ‘ole bowl of this chili.  Including how to roast your own chilies, this was our top recipe for the year.

  • From Trash to Treasure: How to Repurpose Old Restaurant Supplies

    We were happy to see that this blog post made the list, because it means that a lot of you are mindful of re-purposing things that could easily be tossed out.  We loved a lot of these ideas, but some of our favorites were those wire whisk lights – beautiful.

  • Kitchen Tricks: How to Cut and Save an Avocado

    It wasn’t so much the slicing and dicing of avocados that we thought would hit home, it was storing the avocado without it turning brown.  Chef Chris Tavano was surprised by the reaction he received on some of our videos this year, because what he saw as “simply chef tricks,” got a lot of us interested in watching more of his videos.

Alright, now it’s your turn to sound off.  What do you want to see in 2014 from the Back Burner?

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Safely Avoiding the Temperature Danger Zone with Soups, Stews & Hot Liquids

Safely Avoiding the Temperature Danger Zone with Soups, Stews & Hot Liquids

One of the many challenges for a restaurant is avoiding the dreaded food temperature danger zone. When your team is in crunch-mode working on their prep lists, one of the best ways to be
more efficient is to get out of that danger zone faster. In order to prevent the growth of bacteria, soups, stews, broths, and other hot liquids cannot remain between 41°F (5°C) and 140°F
(60°C) for more than two hours. Trying to get foods below that 41°F mark quickly, however, can be tough without the use of cold paddles. FDA directives for chilling foods calls for the
use of cold paddles, and  San Jamar’s Rapi-Kool cold paddles are the perfect way to get hot liquids in the safe zone. San Jamar’s paddles can be filled with water and frozen ahead of
time. They also help reduce waste, because they’re constructed of a smooth material that helps food easily slide off. Bonus – the cold paddles can also be placed in the dishwasher.

A final tip — you can place the hot liquid container in the walk in cooler or an ice bath, to get to the safe temperature zone sooner. Where the cold paddles cool the soup from the inside out,
the walk in cooler or ice bath will help cool from the outside in. Remember that until the soup reaches the temperature safe zone, temperatures need to be recorded hourly.

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What are the Differences between Commercial and Residential Food Service Equipment?

What are the Differences between Commercial and Residential Food Service Equipment?

Great question and one we get more often than not.  The glaring fact is that there are definitely different price points, which encourages residential customers to stick with residential equipment, and tempts restaurant owners to do the same.  We get it, it’s about keeping money in your pocket, but the truth is that there’s more than just price that sets residential and commercial equipment apart, and in the long run, you actually get more for your money with commercial equipment.

When looking to make an investment in a piece of food service equipment, you’ll need to compare apples to apples.  Look at storage space, how it would hold up to being used in a commercial kitchen (vs. in a home: the equipment may only be used a few times a week, or month), size of product, if it complies with FDA and NSF regulations, thickness of the electrical cords, warranties, motor options, electrical options, etc.  Where a regular KitchenAid may work in your home, in a restaurant you’ll likely have to step it up to a much larger mixer to withstand the wear and tear of back of house.  Make sure you know all of the differences between the pieces of equipment you’re shopping for and know if it will hold up to your cooking needs.  Besides, paying less in the short term doesn’t always mean greater savings in the long run – if a machine breaks down because it is overloaded, you’re looking at repairs, or worse, replacing the machine altogether.  Of course, if you ever need help, just let us know, we’re happy to help.

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Food Service Industry Giving Back to the Community

When it comes to the holidays our hearts start to fill with the gift of giving, and we’re a little closer to our philanthropy side.  We see those on the streets in need of blankets, gloves, shoes, and socks, and the next time we rummage through our closets, we think of them before dropping our used things off at the thrift store.  Something as simple as a blanket can give a small glimmer of hope to someone living on the street and warm your heart. 

We thought it would be nice to see what businesses in the food service industry do to give back to the community.  We found that plenty of you offer free meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what we didn’t expect to find was these two particular companies that give back year around.

La Trobada | Terrassa, Spain

La Trobada is a restaurant located in Terrassa, Spain that recently opened to the public.  When you think of giving back, this restaurant got it right.  Instead of charging diners for their meals, they offer a fair trade: work one hour cleaning or serving, and a three-course meal is provided for free. 

And with a down economy, patrons of La Trobada have been grateful for the opportunity to enjoy a nice, warm meal and not have to worry about money woes for once.  In fact, about 50% of the restaurant’s patrons are part of the work to eat program.

United Methodist Church | Providence, Rhode Island

Food Service Industry Giving Back to the Community

We’ve heard lots of stories about churches giving back to the community and helping the homeless population get back on their feet – even if it’s just a pair of shoes.  But we really liked the concept that the United Methodist Church of Providence, Rhode Island took.

Homeless people are invited to breakfast that includes heaping piles of yummy bacon, eggs, and pancakes, in exchange for helping to cook and serve the food.  What started off as a small program, has grown immensely and now the breakfast group easily has 40 volunteers every morning.  The program is said to do more than just serve up a warm meal, it helps give the homeless population that volunteer a sense of hope and kindness.

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Top 10 List of Gifts for Chefs

Gift giving for chefs can sometimes be hard, because the majority of them get the things they need, when they need them, but don’t walk away just yet.  We asked a few of our chef friends what types of gifts they’d love to receive (even if they already had it), and we were able to narrow down the list to a few top contenders.  From the foodie in your life to top chefs, here are our favorite food lover gifts.

 1. Pocket Thermometers

Top 10 List of Gifts for ChefsEvery chef needs a pocket thermometer, and extra on-hand at that.  Why you ask?  Temperatures of food are everything for a chef – it keeps their patrons safe and the health inspector happy.  Thermometers that are small enough to fit in a side chef jacket pocket and can give fast digital readings are preferred, especially when they have accuracy within 1⁰F.

Our Favorite: Comark Waterproof Digital Pocket Test Thermometer – $24.90

 2. Wine Keys

Top 10 List of Gifts for Chefs

Whether it’s for the chef in your life or a bartender, for some reason or other, wine keys always seem to disappear.  Pocket size wine keys are perfect for on the job, but other corkscrew sets are helpful for wine aficionados.

Our Favorite: Focus Food Service Swing-A-Way Waiter’s Corkscrew – $31.89/6pk

 3. German Knives

Top 10 List of Gifts for ChefsA knife is at the top of the list for best gifts to give food lovers, but there’s a catch.  Most chefs would prefer to hold their knives before making an investment.  They fall in love with the feel of the knife before they do the actual make of it.  That is, until it comes to German and Japanese knives.  German knives are the most widely used and favored of chefs.  You can basically get any type of German steel knife (boning, paring, slicing, etc.) and your foodie will be happy.

Our Favorite: Wusthof 10” Cook’s Knife – $32.00

 4. Stocking Stuffers

Top 10 List of Gifts for ChefsStocking stuffers are always great, inexpensive items that any chef would adore.  A few that were on our list of favorites included: apple corers, peelers, needle nose pliers, micro-plane graters, cherry/olive pitter, fish spatula, garlic press, offset spatulas, bar mats, bar caddies, 1-9 pans, and squeeze bottles.

Our Favorite: San Jamar Dome 3 Quart Garnish Center – $36.49 (may have to get a bigger stocking for this one though)

5. Mandolins

Top 10 List of Gifts for Chefs Mandolins are often an overlooked accessories that (as one of our chefs put it), “You don’t realize how much you need it until you look over and there it is, and you think, “Geez, I’m glad I have that.””  It may not be the center piece of kitchen must-haves, but they’re definitely helpful for getting precise, consistent cuts.  They’re also great for any budget, because they range from $6 to $150.

Our Favorite: Jaccard Safe Hands ABS Mandoline – $36.95

 6. Knife Bags

Top 10 List of Gifts for Chefs What’s a better gift for knife enthusiasts than knife accessories?  Our next items on the list are knife bags.  If they’re spending the money on nice knives, they also know that it’s worth it to protect their investment, and that’s where knife bags come in.  There are different sizes, depending on how many knives your foodie needs to tote around, but a simply knife roll that holds at least 5 knives will do just fine.

Our Favorite: Mercer Cutlery 10-Pocket Knife Roll – $43.20

 7. Chefwear

Top 10 List of Gifts for Chefs

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know how yucky clothes can get for those working with the food, which is why you can never go wrong with a set of new chef coats, beanies or pants.  Make sure you know the color and fit they prefer, because some restaurants are strict on color and some chefs have preference different sleeve length, other than that, prices vary from $5 to $100, so there are a lot of options to fit any budget.  Our chefs noted that they could never have enough pants and coats on hand, so this is definitely a winner!

Our Favorite: Chef Works Monte Carlo Chef Coat – $82.92

 8. Japanese Knives

Top 10 List of Gifts for ChefsJapanese knives are a different story.   These knives are handmade and are fit for the best of the best cook out there.  The caveat is that these are the type of knives that most chefs want to hold and get a feel for before making a purchase. But, your chef can always exchange the knife, and if they’re a Japanese knife newbie, they’ll love you for being able to experience the beauty of these handcrafted knives.

Our Favorite: World Cuisine 6 ½” Deba Japanese Sushi Knife – $58.05

 9. Dutch Ovens

Top 10 List of Gifts for Chefs If you haven’t ever invested in a Dutch oven, you’ll be surprised at how pricey they can be, and also why they’re a great gift idea for food lovers.  Investing in a great Dutch oven, is like investing in a great set of knives – you collect them overtime, but they last forever.  Any cook that has cooked with a Dutch oven will tell you that the way they cook and keep their heat is unlike any deep bottom pot you’ll ever cook with.  Prices range from $50 to $360, and there are tons of difference sizes and colors to choose from.

Our Favorite: Lodge Red Enameled 6 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven – $69.86

 10. Knife Sharpeners, Steels, and Stones

 Top 10 List of Gifts for ChefsDon’t worry, if you don’t know the difference between knife sharpeners, steels, and stones getting any of these will make your chef happy.  The difference between getting a countertop, handheld, or manual version is completely up to what your chef is interested in, but you definitely can’t go wrong with a sharpening stone with coarse, medium and fine stones.

Our Favorite: Mundial Course/Medium/Fine Sharpening Stone – $145.59

Click to for a video on how knife sharpening works.

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