So the next time you make something such as baby food, realize 590 million people worldwide are living with dysphagia. This has been a very interesting learning experience for myself as I work deeply with equipment that serves all fascists of the healthcare industry as well as recently having identical twin girls to feed.
I have found great joy in making meals for my little ones and have been enjoying coming up with new ideas, flavors, and textures to get them accustom to. What I have found works the best, has been utilizing Sous Vide to cook down food without losing the valuable nutrients. Below, is a video I made on how I use my cool Sammic tools to help me make baby food.
A huge benefit from Sous Vide, is all of the moisture that would otherwise be steamed off, stays in the bag! Imagine a chicken breast cooked any other way. For one, you need to make sure it’s cooked safe, right? So generally we tend to over cook it, just to be sure. No over cooking with Sous Vide. Set to 165F, and the chicken can’t ever go past that temperature… Even if you are busy changing multiple diapers and extremely sleep deprived, and forget about the food that has been sitting in the tank. It’s all good, get to it when your ready, it will be waiting for you.
Commercial Food Peelers, commonly known as Commercial Potato Peelers or Potato Rumbler Machines, are the best solution for foodservice operations that produce high quantities of product and need to majorly save on labor cost.
It takes on average around 10-15 minutes to peel a 5 lb bag of potatoes by hand. At this quantity, using a quality hand peeler is a perfect option as your labor cost is only around $3.75 per batch (assuming labor cost $15 an hour). To break this further down into the cost of labor per serving, we use a serving of 5.3 oz., or the size of a large fry according to McDonald’s. So, 3 servings per pound or 15 servings total come from a 5-pound bag. That puts us right about $.25 a serving in labor to peel potatoes by hand.
Five pounds of potatoes is an extremely small quantity in some cases. A restaurant featuring fresh hand-cut french fries will need to determine how many servings a day they will go through. Sammic rates their Commercial Food Peelers in a few convenient ways. Down below is their selection guide to help you choose what is best for you. The different examples are by Capacity per load (how many pounds are being peeled at once), Production / Hour (this is if you were living in an unrealistic world and loading/unloading times were nonexistent, none the less, it gives you a good idea of how many spuds you can send through these things), and my favorite, by Covers (notice they give you a minimum amount of pounds of product. They want you to be sure that you get in the sweet spot of production to maximize the value of the machine. In other words, don’t buy an expensive machine that is designed for more than you need).
Let’s knock down some of that labor cost from before now that we have a better idea of how many servings and pounds of potatoes we’re going through. At 300 servings or 100 lbs (two 50 lb bags) of potatoes, that would take 5 hours of labor to do by hand and $75 of labor cost. This isn’t a huge problem for the old school military punishing system, but for employees that are getting more and more expensive, you might find that their time and your money is better spent someplace else. Especially if you add this to a yearly cost of $27,375!
Using a Commercial Peeler, such as the Sammic PI-30, you can knock out 66 lbs, or one of the 50 lb bags, in about 3 minutes. Let’s call it 5 minutes a load and make that 100 lbs a total of 10 minutes. Now we are doing 100 pounds of potatoes in around the same time it takes to hand peel a 5 lb bag. This new labor cost for the entire 100 lbs is $2.50, or per serving, is now less than $.01. That’s a new yearly labor cost of $913 and a savings of $26,462 every year.
These peelers are not just for potatoes though. Many concepts use them for just about anything that needs peeling, such as bulk ginger for ginger beer, loads and loads of carrots, and really any of the globe vegetables like beets, and radishes. If your looking for a better way to get the peel off your produce, look no further.
Our industry operators are facing a common challenge and they have been echoing similar questions: How can we do more or keep up, with less help and money, without sacrificing our brands quality? Foodservice manufacturers view these challenges as their inspiration for developing new solutions. Keeping up with equipment trends helps operators by giving them the resources to know what innovations are being designed for them. Just one example of how a tool has been created to help with all three of the challenges is the highly mobile turbo-mixer called the TRX-22.
The manufacturer Sammic, whose brand is known for quality and innovation, saw a need to expand on their popular and proven immersion blenders in order to provide a large-scale solution. The TRX-22, a blending workhorse of the kitchen, was born from the need to provide operators with a tool that would both reduce the expense of attached kettle blenders, while also being flexible enough to be used in almost any environment or container. The mobility of the machine saves tens of thousands of dollars by reducing the number of blenders needed in a large production kitchen. It also saves on labor by processing in bulk. With 3 easily interchangeable attachments, there is not much it can’t handle.
Recently I had the truly amazing privilege to be a part of a culinary culture “bridge”, put together through Sammic, a worldwide manufacturer of commercial kitchen equipment and innovations. As Sammic says in their blog about the event, “A bridge is the nexus that links two paths, two worlds or two cultures; it is an element of communication that brings two distant or opposing points closer together”. In this case, they successfully built a bridge between the Basque culinary culture, American Chefs, and European manufacturing.
As the name of the program suggests, the goal is to form stronger relationships between industry partners. The participants of the program ranged from acclaimed chefs, powerhouse foodservice design consultants, to manufacturer representative professionals. Everyone involved is a culinary leader or trendsetter in the foodservice world. And here I was, soaking up everything I could under the warm Spanish sun, many times with a cool sweet Bodega K5 Txakolina (Spanish white wine) in my hand.
Sammic began the program with a tour of their factory headquarters in Azkoitia Spain, a small town of about 11 thousand people, located in the autonomous community of Basque Country. The first impression you have is how absolutely stunning the views are that surround the building. I’m more familiar with factories in the locations that are less desirable for residential building thus being a bit less attractive in nature. Location may not have the same impact on actual production as many other factors do, however, with Sammics average length of employment being 20 years, the retention rate sure does show how enjoyable it is to work here. The employees here have a lot of pride in the products they manufacture, and to ensure a high standard is kept up, the workforce is self-managed and has employee ownership. As the group strolled through the many areas of the building, showroom, R&D labs, production, engineering, and sales offices, it was very apparent that the culture of Basque Country lives strong at Sammic. The employees here are proud hard working professionals who find joy in providing quality equipment around the world.
Once the formalities of the tour ended, the fun began. Chef Enrique Fleischmann heads up the culinary team at Sammic, he is the executive chef of two highly rated local restaurants and a leading culinary resource for Sous Vide cooking. Chef Fleischmann greeted the team in the culinary innovations center of the building. Sous Vide circulators, vacuum machines and an assortment of Sammic food preparation equipment was being operated by his team of professional chefs who are integrated with the development of new Sammic products. Their chefs engaged with demonstrations on sous vide techniques and gastronomic techniques. The food was incredible and the education was second to none. Many times, when cooking via Sous Vide, chefs become almost hyper-focused on a particular way of doing things. Enrique and his team showed a plethora of ways to accomplish refined menu ideas. As the demonstrations were winding down, Sammics management team presented the acclaimed chef’s, Josiah Citrin, Paul Kahan and Ilan Hall, a gift of custom engraved Smart Vide 8’s, the most top of the line Sous Vide calculators available. The circulators have Bluetooth HACCP tracking capability, remote wireless operations, precision probe capability, and the most durable stainless steel design on the market.
Now that the appetite has been peaked, it was time for lunch. The group was now shuttled through the beautiful Basque countryside to a Gastronomic Society in Azpeitia. The theme of sharing good food and enjoying time with family and friends is at the center of everything here in the Basque Country. A Gastronomic Society reminds me most of something between a midwest supper club, and a classic cigar club. A small kitchen and dining area are owned by a privet group of people, usually men, who share in cooking together and enjoying each others company. It’s almost like a Sunday dinner with the family but rather than just mom cooking, everyone is in the kitchen sharing in the experience. Since food is so important in this region, sharing it with guests is so very intimate of a process. As we sat down to a large table that was filled end to end with delicious bite-sized portions of food called Pintoxs, more commonly known as tapas in the states. This was the first time we all as a group of chefs, consultants and manufacturers had a chance to sit down and get to know each other. You could not dream of a better icebreaker than wine, fresh anchovy, and my new favorite food, tortilla.
A tortilla in Basque Country isn’t the same as you expect from the US, it’s actually a Spanish omelet. These omelets are most commonly made by softly cooking, almost boiling, onions and potatoes in oil until they are soft rather than fried. Once they are finished you remove them from the pan and remove most of the oil, leaving just enough to cook a load of beaten eggs and the potato and onion mixture. Again, cooking at a lower softer temperature unit the eggs begin to set. Once they have reached this point, about 5 minutes in, you flip the whole omelet over using a plate to cover the pan and slide the omelet back into the pan from that plate. Finish cooking for a few minutes and cut it into small shareable servings and you are ready to present your first pintxo!
The pintxo experience is one that will live with me forever, it is as welcoming of a way to eat than you will ever have. Just like our tortilla pintxo, these small servings are easy to pick up and eat, a common statement in Spain is “eat little bites, a lot!”. The restaurants and bars in this area all have pintxos out ready for people to enjoy. This is how it goes, you walk into a small three or four table place with a tiny bar, a few chairs, and are warmly greeted. You order a beer or wine for a couple of euro, more than likely unable to keep your eyes off of the plates of food displayed out over the bar. If a particular item looks good, you ask for one and they hand it over. Each is only a few bites so you can inexpensively taste so many great things while sipping your wine. The key and I can’t stress this enough to anyone new to pintxos, is to find the best of many places. You don’t need to spend all of your time in one place, get one or two pintxos and a glass of Txakolina and head next door to the next place. Meet and greet everyone you see and bathe in the loving culture of Spain.
After our long lunch and tours around the local area, filled with laughter, wine, and bite-sized local delicacies, it was time to get ready for dinner at the three Michelin star restaurant Martin Berasategui. By this point, our group has been tasting our way through Basque Country only to end up at one of the worlds top restaurants. In fact, only a few days later, it would be named No.76 on the Worlds Best List, ahead of the famed Perse, and French Laundry. What was even more special about the meal wasn’t that it luckily landed on my birthday, which it did, but the menu was The Great Tasting Menu 25 Year Anniversary featuring the best and most popular signature dishes of the last 25 years. 13 courses of incredible plates that pushed the boundaries on all of the senses followed by three incredible desserts to finish. The meal included some amazing personalized touches from the chef such as signed chef coats for our famed chef guests presented by Martin Berasategui himself and a special birthday dessert for me. An absolutely incredible culinary experience I will cherish for life.
The Kitchen Bridge Program was an extraordinary industry experience that helped build lasting partnerships and friendships while educating us on so many facets of the hospitality world. I thank Sammic for this experience and look forward to one day returning to Spain to enjoy some more of the culture!
Thousands upon thousands of hospitality industry professionals, from operators, chefs, purchasers, and even enthusiast, gathered in the city of Chicago for one of the worlds largest trade shows featuring foodservice products. At the 2018 National Resturant Association trade show, the Sammic sales professionals and chefs greeted new and current customers. With open arms, they formed new relationships and strengthen old ones.
A common comment was heard around this years Sammic booth, “I have Sammic equipment in my kitchen, and I LOVE IT!”. The word is out about Sammic and our National Restaurant Association booth proved it. Our quality brand brought many people through the booth, where they were able to get a hands-on feel for what makes Sammic so special.
If seeing is believing than tasting must be even more reinforcing. The Sammic chefs, Devon Shires, Jason Pruett and their assistant Lorene Wilson, worked hard all week long presenting exquisite food. They cooked everything from Ribeye Steak Street Tacos, to fresh Arctic Char. The Sammic booth was filled with the intoxicating aromas of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables as well. The food that was prepared left attendees of the show unable to resist coming in and seeing what was hot and new this year.
If while you were at the booth, or if you were unable to stop by and see us this year, and wanted to learn more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to speak with you more and welcome you to the Sammic family.
The NRA Show 2019 is less than a year away, we can’t wait to do it all again!
Thank you for such good days! You can see all the pictures of our booth, here.
Sammic’s five-model range of Vegetable Prep Machines are ideal for all slicing, dicing, julienne cutting, shredding and grating applications. These dynamic food processors have an hourly output of up to 2,200 lbs. an hour, that’s suitable for kitchen operation serving 1,000 covers per day.
However, these products have a variety of applications, as well as prices, that should be considered before an educated purchasing decision can happen. So, allow me to share this chart with you to break down some of the many options, into just a few simple ones.
The first frozen flakes of snow have already begun to fall for some of us in the chillier states. On my recent business trip out to the intermountain states of Idaho and Utah, the mountain tops were beginning to wear their beautiful caps of pearl white snow. I would get a good chance to view the unique scenery as I joined my local Sammic representative
Chef Zach Barker of IFE Intermountain Food Equipment, on a four-day sales seminar that was loaded with cooking demos. Being the new guy on the block at Sammic, I had a lot to learn about all of the unique solutions that the global leader provides the restaurant and hospitality industry. I could think of no better person to learn some of the more advanced cooking skills for vacuum sealers, sous-vide, and vegetable preparation equipment, than from Chef Zach. Our first order of business was prepping our food for our first demo scheduled for lunch the next day. This is where Sammic first stepped in to make my life a whole lot easier. By using the right tools for the right job we were able to get things done fast and consistent. Setting up our CA-311 vegetable preparation machine with a dicing grid and slicing disc made fast work for our potato sides we were making. What really made me happy was the fact that once all of the potatoes were cut, in a matter of seconds, I didn’t need to add them to water or spray them with an acid like lemon juice to keep them for oxidizing. Nope, all I had to do was bag them up and vacuum seal them.
That was a huge timesaver alone, but what we really needed to do was precook, or par-cook, our root vegetables. We were also going to serve infused carrots for lunch and those needed a little longer cook time than we were going to be able to pull off on site. That’s where Sous Vide cooking really came through for us. We had two options, cook and chill the food the night before, essentially softening the product enough to where we just needed to get it back up to serving temperature, or cooking the product the day of service by dropping it in the sous vide bath well in advance of the lunch where we would only need to remove it and serve it at our convenience later. Because in this case, we were acting more like caterers, we went with cooking the day before and reheating for service the day of service.
We made Pork Roulade, infused carrots, roasted potatoes, sous-vide pineapples, and they were ready at a drop of a dime.
The combination of quick prep work with the vegetable dicing and vacuum packing, mixed with cook-chill cooking and sous vide retherming, really made for an exciting lunch that could be pulled off for a large group of people in a matter of minutes. Now that I knew the ropes, we started cooking for the rest of the demos where we served everything from stuffed chicken breast to BBQ ribs, and all of our sauces and sides. All of our guests were very happy to enjoy the wonderful food that Sammic had to offer.
Needless to say, I had a great time and owe special thanks to Zach and all of the team at IFE for all of their hard work. They have been Sammic representatives for years and do a great job spreading the word about how Sammic solutions can help save time and money in a kitchen will upping the food game to whole new levels. I look forward to my next journey and will definitely come hungry… Thanks for reading!
Many people think a garbage disposal works like a blender, with spinning blades chopping and breaking down the waste. In reality, garbage disposals work in a different way – and there are NO blades involved.
Instead, impellers, or lugs, mounted on a spinning plate use centrifugal force to continuously force food waste particles against a stationary grind ring.
The “grind ring” breaks down the food waste into very fine particles, virtually liquefying them. After they’re ground, the running water flushes the particles through the “grind ring” and out of the disposer and into your waste water pipe.
From there, it flows to a wastewater treatment plant or your septic system.
The honest truth is that Will It Blend? started with us fooling around. I mean, we had an objective, but YouTube was brand new and at the time we didn’t really see the “marketing” side of people posting silly videos on the Internet.
George Wight, the marketing manager at the time, asked me to set up a shoot where Tom would blend a bunch of things (marbles, rake handle, can of Coke, Big Mac meal, etc). George got that inspiration from watching Tom test the power and durability of blenders by blending 2x4s down to sawdust. My job was to film Tom and make it interesting.
If you watch the first 10 or so Will It Blend? episodes, you’ll see Tom with almost no comedy, no lines, no gags or sound effects. Tom basically said, “Here are some marbles; I think we’ll blend these.” That’s it.
The “don’t breathe this” line came from a joke I did during the first shoot. Tom had blended a ton of items the first few days we were shooting. I think we cranked out 6–10 episodes. When Tom got around to blending marbles (the first blend we posted), he joked that we shouldn’t breathe the demolished marbles because they were made out of pure glass, and if we were to breathe in the particles, we could get silicosis.
To be funny, I copied Tom’s warning from the marbles video and pasted it into the following episodes. It was an inside joke but eventually became a staple of the series.
Whether behind the bar or in the kitchen, we all want to be a little bit more efficient, to do more in less time. It can get hectic during service no matter how seasoned a professional you are, and moving faster can often seem easier said than done. Here, four women who’ve conquered speed bartending competition Speed Rack — which not only showcases women behind the bar, but also raises money for breast cancer research and educational initiatives — break it down for us and share their keys to success.
1. It all starts with the set up
Whether opening your own bar or working in someone else’s, set up — both daily and long-term — can make or break your quest for working speedier.
“It starts with how the bar is actually built, where you put the sinks…how high your rail is, how deep everything is, all of that stuff is super integral to being able to work quickly and efficiently,” says Caitlin Laman, a bar consultant and former bar manager at Trick Dog in San Francisco (and Miss Speed Rack 2014).
Yael Vengroff, bar director at The Spare Room in Los Angeles (and Miss Speed Rack 2012), agrees. “I think that, too often, we see these bars being designed by the contractors, or the architects, or the design team, and it’s not someone that’s actually been behind a bar before. That’s where you run into a lot of issues where it’s like, ‘oh, you know, we didn’t think about putting a sink here,’ and that’s ultimately the most important thing,” she says. “Do you have the ability to clean your tools right away, and next to you? Because if you can’t clean your tools, you’re gonna walk all over to the other side of the room, then the longer it’s going to take for you to be ready to make the next round of drinks.”
Beyond the construction phase, organizational choices can similarly let you work at your quickest or slow you to a crawl.
“[A] lot of your POS systems, you can run summary reports at the end of the week and you can see what are your highest selling items, highest selling spirits, highest selling cocktails, highest selling beers… those are the things that you need to have close to you,” says Brittini Rae, bar manager at the Venice Whaler in Venice Beach and Miss Speed Rack 2015. “[I]f you sell a whole bunch of Bulleit bourbon, but Bulleit bourbon is on the third shelf all the way on the left, you know, you’re constantly going to pick up that bottle, but you sell it 68 times a night, why? It may look beautiful there, but if that’s the case, then have one in the well and have one on the back bar, so it always looks pretty, but you have it close to you.”
A place for everything and everything in its place, as your mom or grandma probably told you once or twice. According to Eryn Reece, who was crowned Miss Speed Rack in 2013 and is now starting up the bar program at New York’s Sons and Daughters, opening at the end of the month, it’s true behind the bar as well.
“[E]verything has [to have] a home,” Reece says. “Because the minute you’re having to stop and search for something, it’s going to become a huge issue. Especially when some of these people have a more expansive cocktail menu, it just makes sense that everything goes back in the exact same place every single time,” Reece said.
How your well is set up can also make a difference. Don’t force yourself to stick to the same old, vodka, gin, rum, tequila format, adds Brittini Rae. She and Reece both suggest switching it up and organizing or grouping by cocktail, rather than a predetermined rule. It helps remind you what’s next, too, in case you’re so busy you forget.
2. Don’t put extra things on top of the bar
We’ve all seen the stacks of napkins and coasters, container of straws and little box of maraschino cherries and lime wedges on the bar right in front of where the bartenders are working—and the guests are sitting or standing. In some ways those are convenient spots for them, but when you’re going for speed, extra odds and ends can just get in the way.
“A lot of times they have their POS systems on top of bars, right in front of guests’ seats, where we’d be sitting, and bartenders are constantly trying to reach around,” says Brittini Rae. “If you’re trying to reach around anything on top of the bar, whether you’re trying to deliver a drink, or you’re trying to clean up a spill, or just wipe a table down, you’re automatically adding seconds to your night because you just put something in your way.” She adds that garnish stations are a common obstacle. “I know the glass garnish station has been very popular, which is great, but that needs to be on either end of the bar or it needs to be so far in the bar that it’s not in the way,” she says. “[T]here’s a bar I went to once that has, like, a beautiful bitters tower, like a Lazy Susan but with bitters on it, but it’s three shelves high. It’s beautiful, but it’s right on top of the bar and bartenders have to constantly move it,” said Brittini Rae.
3. Teach yourself to be ambidextrous
It’s not just a crazy thought: some speedy bartenders really are ambidextrous, and it helps them move even faster.
“I’m right-handed but I bartend left-handed because that’s how I was trained,” says Laman. “It makes me really able to do a lot more things because my dominant hand is not activated as much as my non-dominant hand, so I have the ability to do so many more things because I have that dominant hand free, in a sense. And so, if you set your bar up in a way that kind of trains you to use your non-dominant hand more, it frees up your dominant hand and gives you the ability to do a lot more things,” she says.
For bartenders—or anyone—wanting to try? “[I]t takes about three months for you to finally get used to it,” Vengroff says.
4. Know your stuff
Recipes are crucial, and on busy nights there’s not much time to slow down and think. Make sure you know your recipes and your techniques—it’ll boost your confidence.
5. Think ahead and take only one step
“[A]lways just think about what your next step is,” says Brittani Rae. “I think that’s kind of a no-brainer, you know, don’t step more than once and always think about what your next step is and doing it in your head before you get to it. When you’re making cocktails, if you’re making three drinks and they all have lime juice, you shouldn’t be picking up that bottle of lime juice three times… if all three drinks have lime juice, you should be able to put lime juice in all three tins and then go back to finish building the first one. You should never have to pick up a bottle twice on an order — ever.”
6. Don’t look down on batching certain ingredients in advance
“We batch the spirits in a cocktail, so we’re able to provide these complicated, complex cocktails to the guests, but we can still get them out quickly because it’s only a three-bottle pick-up instead of seven,” says Vengroff.
“I feel like in the past, it may have been a little looked down upon, but we’re at a certain point where people don’t want to wait 25 minutes for their cocktail anymore — they’re over that,” adds Reece. “There are so many places they can go for good drinks these days, they’re like, ‘oh, this place takes too long, I don’t want these 12-ingredient cocktails,’ but there’s easy ways to smartly batch out a blend of, like, a quarter ounce of three different syrups that make your cocktail a little bit more interesting and have a little bit more level of flavor,” she says. “If you’re batching out a quarter ounce of ginger, orgeat and cinnamon, you put it in a 3/4-ounce pour. It’s just such a quick little thing.”
Ultimately, getting the basics down (and with that, your confidence up) is the best place to start, says Brittini Rae. “Once you’re confident in that, and you feel that you have that second nature to designing drinks, then, speed is going to come, because you’re just going to keep getting better and better.”