Don’t Let Them Go to Waste: 5 Steps to Kick-Starting Your Sustainability Efforts — Foodable Web TV Network

Source: Don’t Let Them Go to Waste: 5 Steps to Kick-Starting Your Sustainability Efforts — Foodable Web TV Network

By Tarah Schroeder, FCSI, principal at Ricca Design Studios

Creating a sustainability program can be overwhelming for foodservice operators, as it often brings up questions and conversations beyond the realm of foodservice. And with so much information available, it can be difficult for operators to sort through the noise and  know where or how to start.  If you truly respect innovation, creativity, people, and problem solving to include sustainability in your culture, then turning broad sustainability goals into reality requires thoughtful commitment and careful preparation. Developing a plan is the best way to truly reduce your impact to the environment, as well as build a stronger internal and external community. Read on to learn about the steps any foodservice operation can take to embrace sustainability.

  1. Include sustainability in your mission statement.

A mission statement is a company’s touchstone, providing guiding principles that inform company objectives. Any restaurant or operation that wants to be more sustainable must start here to truly effect change in its culture before it can create achievable goals. Categories can include:

  • Resources — water and energy reduction
  • Community — waste as a resource, gardens, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Health — healthy menu options, healthy work environment

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, a Colorado-based quick service restaurant chain serving breakfast and lunch, has created a mission statement of People, Profit, Planet, Pancakes to reflect both their culture and dedication to sustainability.  It is no wonder that they have high employee participation in waste reduction and energy-saving initiatives.

  1. Create a Baseline.


A baseline lets you know where you stand before making commitments on how to do lightsbetter. In the past, the first step would have been to look at peers’ energy performance. However, it is now understood that differences in menu, operations, and style of service, make it too difficult and inaccurate to compare restaurants to each other.

It is better for restaurants to develop their own baseline from which they can improve upon, such as audits for existing restaurants and energy models for new projects. There are varying levels of energy assessment. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has created three levels of audits on their website.

A level one audit is an internal checklist that starts with utility bills, and then continues to building characteristics, such as lighting, refrigeration, kitchen ventilation, and cooking equipment.  A checklist can be used in conjunction with infrared thermometers and plug load data loggers, and many utility companies offer audit assistance. Overall, understanding these existing conditions are important because they provide a basis for recommending energy and water conservation measures.

A waste audit can be conducted much the same way, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has resources here. The first steps to creating a waste baseline are thinking about where your waste is going, how much and what type of waste is being generated, and where the majority of waste is coming from (pre-consumer versus post-consumer).

  1. Write a Performance Plan.

A performance plan translates sustainability goals into an action plan.  It takes short-term goals, such as retrofit and replacement decisions, and long-term goals, such as smart energy targets that can be reviewed and updated, and puts them into practice. Some examples of strategies for short-term goals include: implementing procedures to assure manual shutoff of systems after hours, timer shut-offs for load shedding, or consolidating preventative maintenance of like equipment. The Foodservice Technology Center is a great resource for strategies.

Long-term goals can be created based upon the baseline information with deadlines further down the road. For example, the goal might be to reduce energy use by 5 percent in four years. The strategies to achieve these goals could include a capital replacement program to purchase Energy Star-rated cooking and refrigeration appliances for replacement of old appliances on a life cycle cost basis, upgrading building automation system or metering to include kitchen systems, or creating a design protocol for any new buildings or projects that come online.

Harvard University was one of the first higher-education facilities to create a performance plan that had specific sections on dining services. This was due in large part to the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2016. Some strategies they used to contribute to this long-term goal included:

  • New dishwashers that have saved over 500,000 gallons of hot water annually
  • 150-gallon stainless steel storage tank for waste vegetable oil
  • Diverting more than 95 percent of construction and demolition “waste” from landfills
  • Peak demand exhaust hood controls
  • Large skylights to improve lighting


Foodservice PotHere’s a simple step-by-step breakdown for creating performance plans:

  • Step One: Make a commitment
  • Step Two: Assess performance
  • Step Three: Create an action plan
  • Step Four: Implement the action plan
  • Step Five: Evaluate progress
  • Step Six: Recognize achievements
  1. Bring the right people together.

Sustainability champions are key to the success of any initiative, as they are enthusiastic about making change and will ensure that the conversation always stays relevant.

When building their new headquarters in Houston, Exxon Mobil wanted to make sure that sustainability and safety were important components of the overall project.  A sustainability group that included operations, maintenance, and design team members was formed to review high-level decisions from an environmental impact point of view. Capital improvements such as waste to energy strategies, that are often value engineered out of a new project, remained intact and contribute to a successful operation today.

  1. Re-evaluate and re-assess.

A plan can only work if it is constantly being updated and revised based upon current trends, culture, and circumstances.  If you take the initiative to follow these steps, the only way to keep it relevant is through re-evaluating and re-assessing your goals and strategies.

It is these purposeful steps that will help you create a culture shift that is focused on sustainability.


Recipe – Smoked Ice

I wanted to come up with a way to add smoked items to bar menus.  I have made Smoke Roasted Almonds and love them.  The problem is that they aren’t all that interesting.  I was talking to someone while bellied up at a bar about cocktails.  He was drinking Scotch on the rocks and I was drinking a Manhattan.  I explained that I love smoked food but really never cared for the smoky flavor in Scotch.  I thought, hey why don’t I try smoking some Makers Mark and make a Manhattan with it.  This stuck on my mind for a while.  I thought it was a great idea but maybe not the best drink to do it with.  I decided I would find away to infuse the ice with smoke so I could try a few cocktails.  The best by far was the Bloody Mary, so that’s what I took pictures of.

Smoked Ice

Adding a smoky flavor to cocktails such as a Bloody Mary separates you as a bar.  As the cubes melt, more of the smoky flavor is released into the drink. This encourages you to take your time and enjoy every sip as the drink evolves.


o 5Lb Cubed Ice
o 1c Hickory Wood Chips


  • Place the ice in a perforated pan on one of the upper trays.
  • Under the perforated pan place a hotel pan to catch the water.


  • Smoke the ice for 120 minutes.
  • The heat from the smoke will slowly melt the ice into the lower hotel pan.
  • As the ice drips it will become infused with smoke flavor.
  • Dilute this mixture with fresh water at a ratio of 4 parts clean to 1 part smoked
  • Refreeze in trays for cubed ice.

A great Bloody Mary recipe to add this ice toSmoked-Ice

8 oz good tomato juice
3 oz vodka
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 celery stalk
1 tbsp Sanford’s Kitchen All American Hot Sauce
fresh lime wedge
fresh ground black pepper

Serve over Smoked Ice and garnish with the lime, celery stalk, and ground pepper.

This makes such a delicious drink with a very unexpected flavor.  This recipe was made with an FWE / Food Warming Equipment Cook and Hold with Smoker

Lamb Barbacoa Taco’s

I came across this challenge while reading through some of the great forums that are on and could not resist.  The set it and forget it cooking method is always a plus during the work week, and it is also great in a professional kitchen.  No reason why we can’t bridge the two right?


Place a boneless lamb leg (NAMP234) in a slow cooker / hotel pan, season with Trade East Six Pepper Blend, add cooking liquid (Beef broth and Tropical Rub Glaze) to about half way up the roast.  Cook on Low /200F for 7-8 hours, and after it is cooked you can either take it out or hold it (if you are in a commercial kitchen) at 150 for up to 8 hours.

This lamb came out tender and juicy.  So tender my bear claws pulled right through it!  I spread it out on a warm taco with some freshly made hot salsa, red onion, cilantro and a squirt of lime juice.   These little spicy Lamb Barbacoa Tacos warmed my bones after shoveling some snow.

The oven I used was an FWE Cook and Hold, the great thing about it is, it can act pretty much like a crock pot on steroids.  You set it for a low temperature and time just like you would at home, plus you get to add a hold temperature that has a little more flexibility than the crock pot, but some idea.

pulled lamb with bear claws

2016’s James Beard Award Winners 

Jonathan Waxman, Eleven Madison Park, Suzanne Goin, and many more.

Source: 2016’s James Beard Award Winners — Grub Street

Tonight, the James Beard Foundation whittled down its list of finalists and honored America’s top culinary talent. Some notable winners: Shaya for Best New Restaurant, Maison Premiere for Outstanding Bar Program, Jonathan Waxman for Best Chef: NYC, Suzanne Goin for Outstanding Chef, and Eleven Madison Park for Outstanding Service. Check out the full list below — and congratulations to everyone. Continue reading “2016’s James Beard Award Winners “

FWE: Cook, Cool, and Conquer BBQ and More

Source: FWE: Cook, Cool, and Conquer BBQ and More

FWE cooking and refrigeration products enhance menu flexibility.

Innovation has driven Food Warming Equipment’s creativity for more than 60 years, and the company continues to develop better solutions for hotel F&B operations. Nate Sanford, FWE sales account manager and R&D chef, and Marketing Manager Martin Szalay recently shared why their new equipment offerings have gotten the attention of hotel foodservice operations. Continue reading “FWE: Cook, Cool, and Conquer BBQ and More”

Foodservice Equipment – Hot Food Holding & Moisture Control

Food is naturally mostly made up of water; since water is a common element in all fresh food, it only stands to reason that preventing the water in the food from evaporating will keep the food fresher longer.  Preparing bulk food ahead of kitchen peak service times is a common way to allow the chef and kitchen staff to focus on other vital tasks during rush hours.  When loading bulk food into a moisture controlled heated cabinet, such as a FWE MTU-12, the food is met with heated and humidified air that creates equilibrium with the foods natural moisture content.

Continue reading “Foodservice Equipment – Hot Food Holding & Moisture Control”

Foodservice Equipment – Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency ($$$’s not ZZZ’s)

I want to tell you a little about how all of the energy conciseness and the green movement can help you get money in your pocket, the real green movement.  Every time you flip a switch, you are bleeding out money, and helping add to a death by a thousand cuts.  Maybe not that dramatic, but I got to make the power bill entertaining right?energystar-fwe-holding-cabinet
There are a lot of ways to help lower your power consumption and help get those dollars and cents back to the bottom line where they belong.  First, it’s more than that blue sticker on the side of your equipment that you need to help lower your bill.  You need to have a little discipline and a little training to identify potential problems.  I’m not here to give you the discipline, I can’t do that (if I could I would be making a lot more money as a motivational book writer).  What I can do though, is help you identify some problem areas.

Continue reading “Foodservice Equipment – Energy Efficiency”

Foodservice Tips – Ice Cubes, Crushed Ice and Beyond

Source: Ice Cubes, Crushed Ice and Beyond

Posted by Tara Stanton

In the restaurant business, the little things no one else thinks about often turn into a major managerial decision. From what kind of hot sauce to serve, to the brand of mustard you carry, the fear of a wildly unhappy customer lurks behind each decision.

One of those decisions that must be made is what kind of ice to serve. Do you offer cubes, crushed or some kind of fancy-shaped ice with a flower frozen in the middle of it? With all of these options to sort through, we’ll try to steer you in the direction that’s right for your business.

Cubed vs. crushed ice

Some people prefer crushed or flaked ice, arguing that it will cool your drink more quickly, which is true. Crushed ice will also melt more quickly, though, diluting your guest’s drink and turning their Coke, Old-Fashioned or whatever it is they’re drinking into an unenjoyable watery concoction. Cubed ice, on the other hand, may be the best “all-purpose” ice, whether the cubes are square or crescent shaped.

Adventures with ice

A lot of restaurants and bars have been experimenting with serving different-shaped ice cubes in their cocktails. One popular alternative is the ice block, which is essentially a giant ice cube, about 2″x2”. Most often served in a tumbler, an ice block provides a very neat and clean look to everything from a Mojito to a classic whiskey on the rocks.

Others have begun to make festive ice cubes that have flowers or pieces of fruit, even herbs, frozen in the middle. Needless to say, these cubes don’t come out of the under-counter ice maker. They can take some time to prepare, but if done properly, the novelty can really add to the presentation value, all while giving your drinks a little extra flavor or panache. All things considered, this is one way a small detail like ice cubes can have a noticeable impact on your guests’ dining experience.

If you need help determining what type and size ice machine you need for your operation, contact your TriMark representative.


Foodservice Tips – Time and Temperature Requirements

Food safety is paramount in any foodservice facility.  Here are a few key numbers that can help you keep your customers safe from the evils of hazardous food.  please be aware however, every local municipality and their local codes prevail, this is only a guide.temperature-danger-zone

Temperature Danger Zone

  • The number one rule is keep hot foods hot, and cold food cold!
  • Temperature danger zone is between 41°F – 140°F
  • Bring hazardous food through this temperature range as quickly as possible
  • Even when cooling food, the faster the better

Holding Hot Foods

  • Maintain hot food at a temperature of 140°F or above
  • Specialized hot holding equipment can make this an easy task in any foodservice operation
  • No need to kill the roast, properly cooked roasts may be held at 130°F or above

Reheating foods

  • Specialized equipment called retherms, are designed to reheat foods quickly and safely
  • Reheating food that has been previously cooked in-house and will be held for service must reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F for 15 seconds
  • Reheating food that was made in a food processing plant, opened in your facility, with the intent to be held for service must reach a temperature of 140°F
  • Reheat all food rapidly in less than a two hour period of time
  • Foods that have been cooked and cooled properly can be served at any temperature just as long as it is served immediately

Always use an accurate food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to and held at a safe temperature.



Foodservice Equipment – Retherm Ovens

Retherming is the process of reheating food that has been previously cooked to a safe temperature and safely cooled to a frozen or refrigerated “slacked” state of 41°F or less. All food that has been safely cooked and chilled in-house, that is being reheated from this state must reach an internal temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds within 2 hours or must be thrown out. In general, cooking times of 90 min or retherm-ovenless are preferred to allow for a safe amount of flexible preparation and cooking time.  Retherm ovens are typically found in large institutions such as school, hospitals, and prisons. Retherm ovens allow food preparation to occur off-site, catering to centralized kitchens with satellite operation that have a minimum of other expensive cooking equipment, as well as associated kitchen ventilation systems.  Because retherm ovens such as the FWE RH-18, top out at a maximum temperature of 350°F, in most states these ovens are not required to be under expensive ventilation hoods.


In many respects, retherm ovens are similar in design to low temperature convection ovens. A retherm oven however, has about four times the wattage and double the air movement to increase energy transfer efficiency.  Retherm efficiency is the transfer of energy from a heated cabinet to a thermal mass (food) in a fast and controlled rate. Testing determines how effective Retherming energy transfers to a thermal mass (food). By testing an empty cabinet and a loaded cabinet, we can compare the energy transfer in kW to the thermal mass (food).  Retherm-energy efficiency is a measure of how much of the energy that an appliance consumes is actually delivered to the food product during the rethermalization process.


The larger the thermal mass, the more energy (kW), is needed to transfer to the mass. In the same regards, the more energy (kW) the faster the thermal mass can absorb the energy and reach desired temperatures.