Around the Table – November 15, 2019

FOOD PRESERVING

It’s no secret that we like to celebrate the start of fall by planning seasonal parties to host, tailgates we can conquer and beautiful weeknight dinners we can create. But there was time when people didn’t utilize the crisp nights to throw oysters under the burlap or boil shrimp by a fire. They used the fall season to gather, hunt and store food for the upcoming cooler months.
 
Canning is a relatively recent development in the long history of food preservation. Humans have dried, salted and fermented foods since before recorded history. But preserving food by heat-treating and then sealing it in airtight containers didn’t come along until the late 18th century. In 1795 a reward was offered for whoever could develop a safe, reliable food preservation method for the traveling army. Fast forward to today, and I am still amazed by all the various methods of canning, smoking and preserving food items for later compulsion and sustainability. I appreciate all efforts to preserve foods and resources, especially if it honors the work and passion of those who plant, grow, raise, catch and cultivate foods for our tables.
CANNING FAVORITE
As a self-proclaimed condiment hoarder, of course I own (or have tasted) every pickle, jam, preserve or sauce available, pickled items have become an important condiment to me and I incorporate this flavor where I can.
Basic Cold Pickle Recipe:
  • Combine in a small saucepan
  • ¾ C Rice Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ C Water
  • ¼ C Sugar
  • 1 T Kosher Salt
  • Heat everything to dissolve the salt and sugar
  • Pour over thin-sliced cucumbers, peppers, onions or cabbage
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate for a day
  • Use as a condiment or snack
  • Add seasoning as you wish; a bay leaf, thyme sprig, teaspoon of dried mustard seed. Be adventurous…
    SPEAKING OF…..As mentioned above, this is a great time of the year time for shellfish, shrimp, oysters, and crab. Expect to see these items as we cycle them into our fall and holiday menus.
As always thank you for your adventurous outlook!
 
—Chef Robert

Around The Table – October 18, 2019

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

It’s no secret that in order to cook well, you need three things: fresh ingredients, simple techniques, and a few, high quality tools. As a professional cook you can imagine owning every knife, spoon and gadget there is. The truth is, I am a bona fide gadget fanatic, and at one point or another I’ve had every kitchen instrument you can think of. However, over the years I’ve realized it’s not about the melon ballers, whisks, or chopping appliances, but about having the right tool for the job.

I have been captivated by knifes and kitchen utensils for decades and have enjoyed being a genuine collector of both. High quality, well-made and robust kitchen tools are vital to my day-to-day work, and without them I would be lost. Like anything, having the right equipment makes doing the job that much better. Whether it’s a well-seasoned pan or a casserole dish that’s been passed down through the generations, great kitchenware makes cooking a joy.
 
CHOOSING THE SET – BUY WHAT YOU NEED VS. WANT
A Chef’s knife is the single most important tool in any kitchen and is used in the creation of virtually every dish. A sharp knife means more control and less slippage when you cut, leading to safer, more consistent slices. Plus, cutting with a sharp knife is just more fun! (Don’t try this at home kids).
 
For such an important piece of equipment, it’s worth doing a little sharp research to find a knife you will love to use. In my tenure at Colleton River I’ve received a lot of questions about buying the right kitchen knives, and I’m here to answer your questions.
 
  • What knives should I buy? Buy what you need for the task. If you’re thinking about chopping squash, dicing tomatoes, or slicing a steak – you’ll need to go with the Chef’s knife.
  •  What are considered the best? Forged steel, classic design, German made is a safe bet.
  • Is it true – are Japanese knives the best? Depends on what you want to cut. If you’re thinking fish, you have the right idea!
  • Should I buy a set? I would only buy what you need! I’m lucky, I have an extensive ‘set’. However, my set was assembled over a long period of time. As I progressed, the additions were various slicers, bread knives, butcher and bonging knives. I started with a 8” Cooks knife and a 4” paring knife! My best advice, whichever way you go (a full set, or individual knives), sharpening equipment is a must have for both!

TAKE CARE OF YOUR INVESTMENT

You finally took the plunge and invested in a good knife – or maybe a few good knives. Either way, you’ve spent good money and your blades deserve a storage place that will keep their edges pristine for as long as possible, and nearly as important as buying the right knives is storing them correctly.
 
Tossing knives into a drawer along with other kitchen gadgets and cutlery is a bad idea. Not only is it a fast pass to the emergency room should you grab the business end of a blade when you were actually going for the ice cream scoop, but jostling against other metal objects can damage a knife, causing it to become dull or need of repairs. I am telling you there is a better way to store your knives.
 
  • If you don’t mind counter clutter, a knife block helps keep tools organized, dry and sanitary.
  • If you do use the drawer method, you can purchase an inlay that keeps your blades safe and orderly. If you like this method, try using blade guards – they work wonders and are inexpensive! Personally, I prefer the bamboo blade guards because they absorb moisture!

CLEANING | CARE | HONING

HONING – The point of a knife is, obviously, to cut things. Therefore, the sharper the knife stays, the better it will do its job. Ideally, you should hone your knife every time you use it (every few days is okay, too). Part of my daily tool and knife ritual includes passing the knives over the sharpening steel to hone the edges.
 
CLEANING – During the preparation phase I take time to clean and dry knives while moving from task to task. At the end of preparations, I sanitize all the tools with soapy water, dry thoroughly, and then do another quick pass on the steel before storing for the evening. This ensures the knife is clean, sharp and ready for its next adventure.
 
CARE – Don’t leave it to the air to dry your knives and don’t leave them in your kitchen sink overnight! We talked about this; store your knives properly and you’ll be able to use them again and again!
 
Happy Honing!                                    
-Chef Robert

Around the Table – October 10, 2019

FALL AFFINITIES

When the temperatures drop and the sun starts to fade, I’m in full-on braise mode. To me (and I hope I’m not alone), braising is the ideal method of fall cooking. It’s an easy technique that guarantees flavorful, warming results. Braising is a well-kept kitchen secret that makes heroes out of weekend (or weekday) cooks. There’s no other technique that asks so little yet gives so much back. Sure, braising requires some practice, but the good news is that you’ve probably already done it. If you have ever cooked a pot roast or even operated a crockpot, you have braised. But the beauty of braising comes from what you like to braise, how you develop flavors, and most importantly – the ingredient selections.

FALL BRAISING TECHNIQUES & RED WINE

I think we can all agree that wine is a delicious flavor, rather it’s poured in your preferred glass or used to enhance the taste of your favorite dish. Red wine is an important ingredient of most braised dishes and is a natural enhancement that encourages richness and succulence to the dishes. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as cooking wine and would suggest using table wine in the dishes you prepare. Don’t cook with something you wouldn’t drink!

THE RECIPE – BRAISED BEFF & FALL VEGETABLES

 
Ingredients
  • 1 – 1 ½ pounds of Beef Short Rib, Top Blade or Chuck Flap
  • Oil for searing
  • 1 cup each organic celery, carrot and onion
  • 1 cup dry red wine (we talked about this)
  • 1 generous sprig of fresh thyme
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 cups veal stock
  • 1 cup veal demi-glace or refined stock
Method
  • Trim away excess fat, if any, season freely with salt & pepper
  • Sear in a hot pan until crisp and develop color, be careful not to burn.
  • Remove to an oven proof pan
  • Add the vegetables and caramelize evenly and deeply, remove/reserve
  • Add the red wine and reduce by half
  • Add the stock and reduce by one third
  • In the oven proof pan, combine the meat, vegetables, reduced liquids and thyme sprig
  • Cover with lid or foil and braise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, at 300F
  • Remove, uncover and test for tenderness. If more time is needed, keep cooking
  • When very tender, remove the meat from the pan, strain the braising jus and return to reduce
  • Taste, reduce slowly, season, skim away any fats, and taste away
 
Enjoy with red wine and good friends!

PROVISIONALLY SPEAKING

We are happy to furnish you with fresh-refined stocks and finished veal demi, if you desire. As part of the our process we keep these items on hand and they may be ordered through the Nicklaus Clubhouse! 

BE ADVENTUROUS

The gloomy fall weather persuades cooks and chefs to think about comfort foods. I want to advise you that during the cooler months you’ll witness a few special dishes, dishes both wholesome and satisfying. To get your appetite going, here’s a few dishes you’ll see this fall season at Colleton; Lamb Neck, the Osso Bucco, and the Short Rib! Any option is sure to cover your comfort food needs!
 
We’ll have the red wine ready!
 
Happy Fall & Happy Braising!
 
—Chef Robert

Around the Table – September 20, 2019

THE BEST SHRIMP TACOS

To quote Forest Gump (which I could for hours), “shrimpin’ is tough!” We are lucky enough to live in an area where fresh and local shrimp is just down the street. Next time you’re in Old Town, don’t be afraid to pick up a just caught, hyperlocal Carolina White at the Bluffton Oyster Factory. Now you’re one step closer to making the best shrimp tacos.
 
Think of a delicious spice loaded shrimp tucked in between layers of flavor. It’s almost hard to talk about these tacos, that’s how much I love them. But here it goes…
 
LETS GET STARTED
This is a simple recipe but it calls for some specific items:
 
  • Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning – hot and spicy. But please, don’t let the hot and spicy scare you away! Although there is some heat, this paste is savory and will be used as a marinade base which you will then pair with other ingredients to give it the perfect balance. Okay, I’m getting carried away already.
  • Shrimp – hyperlocal Carolina Shrimp, to be exact.
  • A pack of 8 – 10” bamboo skewers (these are in your pantry, right?)

 

 

THE RECIPE

Marinating the Shrimp
  • 1Lb Fresh, large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1T Jerk paste
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1T Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Next…
  • Prepare the shrimp and the marinade and combine for 1 hour in the refrigerator
  • Thread onto 2 – 3 sturdy bamboo skewers and grill
 
The Aioli
  • 2T Dukes mayonnaise
  • 1T Jerk paste
  • 1T Sriracha
  • 1T Juice of one lime
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Next…
  • Whisk together thoroughly
  • Season & taste
  • Refrigerate for an hour

 

 

TIPS

  • Prepare your taco garnishes
  • Simmer yellow rice or vegetarian refried beans
  • Grill your shrimp skewers with a cocktail of choice 

FINAL TOUCHES

I realize taco garnishes can be very personal. Here at Colleton we subscribe to the following:
  • Thinly sliced green cabbage, splashed with a little olive oil and salt
  • Finely sliced red radish (you’re in luck – they are beautiful right now)
  • Six-inch white corn tortillas, served warm (of course).

Enjoy the cooler weather and support the local shrimper!
 
—Chef Robert

 

Around The Table – September 12, 2019

GUIDE TO SELECTING AND STORING PRODUCE
We’ve all been there, opening the fridge to find your fruits and vegetables have spoiled is not only frustrating, it’s like tossing your food budget into the compost pile. Learning how to select and store fresh produce will help you increase shelf life, so you can enjoy them longer.
 
There are no real secret tips when selecting fresh produce. Peel back the corn husk, pick the yellowest lemon, and with a satiny yellow skin and a rosy blush, it looks like the perfect peach, but how will they taste once you get them home? Choosing fresh and flavorful produce can sometimes be your greatest challenge in the supermarket. But, maybe we can help.
 
SELECTING GUIDELINES
Sure, everyone has tips and tricks for picking the right melon or apple, but there are few general guidelines to follow to ensure you get the freshest produce possible.
 
FOLLOW THE SEASONS
Probably one of the most important tips for finding great-tasting produce is to buy in season, when possible. Here’s a guide to when certain fruits and veggies are at their peak:
  • Summer – apricots, blueberries, cherries, eggplant, fresh herbs, green beans, hot peppers, melon, okra, peaches, plums, sweet corn, sweet peppers, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Fall – apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, grapes, kale, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, winter squash, yams
  • Winter – beets, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, daikon radishes, onions, rutabagas, turnips, winter squash
  • Spring – asparagus, blackberries, green onions, leeks, lettuces, new potatoes, peas, red radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, watercress

KNOW YOUR VENDOR

With modern farming, processing and delivery, many vendors can put produce out for sale within a day or two after it’s picked. Ask the produce manager or vendor for delivery days or when the food was harvested so you can get to your favorite produce before quality declines. We all have our favorite trusted stores, so there’s nothing wrong with getting to know the people who work there. Ask them produce questions after all they are trained to help! 

BE A PRODUCE SNOB

If it doesn’t look and smell great, don’t buy it. Use your senses. Contrary to some consumer practices, thumping or shaking a melon does not indicate ripeness. Instead, feel or touch a product. In general, produce that’s too soft is too ripe; if it’s too hard, it’s not ripe enough. Try the sniff test, too. With certain fruits, like peaches and melons, a strong scent means they’re ripening nicely. Don’t just take produce because it’s there. Take the time to find the BEST available produce.

BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED

This one is simple. When we cook, we generally prepare more than we need. The best guideline we can provide is to buy in smaller amounts. You’ll have less to cook with, but also less waste. Avoid sales for the sake of the sale. This way you’re not cooking with tired produce, or tossing out the expired.

USE IT UP

After you’ve become close acquaintances with your produce manager or vendor, you’ve touched and sniffed all the produce at the supermarket, don’t forget to cook what you bought. Eat the fresh produce when it’s fresh!

WASHING & DRYING

Okay, it’s time to eat, finally. Even if the produce seems clean, always wash under it cool running water and shake dry – especially the herbs! Always spin – rinse lettuces. Even if the package claims to be tripled rinsed, it can’t hurt to rinse again. 

STORING TIPS

You bring home fresh fruits and vegetables, stash them in the refrigerator and then wonder what happened to make them shrivel, rot or go limp a few days later. Much of the time, the culprit is the way you’re storing them.
 
There are few things I hold in higher regard than how to care and properly store produce. At work, the chefs and cooks know I’m adamant about proper storage. To me it’s the key to great taste and quality – and it protects costs.
 
  • Protect produce from the cold – use paper towels to line the plastic disposable food containers after rinsing and wrap loosely to protect foods from the refrigerator temperature. Use the produce drawers, they sometimes have humidity controls
  • Fruits & Vegetables don’t play well together and should be stored in different locations
  • Don’t clean produce until you’re ready to use it. Washing fruits or vegetables before storing them make them more likely to spoil

COLLETON RIVER PRODUCE

At Colleton we have strict purchasing specifications and when it comes time to chose the produce, we abide by every guideline. We touch, smell, squeeze, weigh, check the skin & leaves and examine the color of every single piece of produce that comes in the door.
 
In fact, produce is hand selected for Colleton River. We work with prodigious local vendors who know our preferences. We also visit the warehouse to inspect the quality of the produce. All in all, we know that choosing the right produce is important. 
 
Keep it fresh, take care and enjoy!
-Chef Robert

Around the Table – August 29, 2019

A TOUCH OF REGIONAL RECIPE HISTORY

There is a difference of opinion as to what exactly the Lowcountry encompasses. The term is most frequently used to describe the coastal area of South Carolina to the Savannah River at the Georgia state line. But there is one belief I think we can all agree on, the Lowcountry enjoys a very diverse and rich culinary history. From the commencement of time, the Lowcountry locals had to make do with what was around them, and with over hundreds of thousands acres of wetlands, marshes, and lakes, it’s easy to understand the Lowcountry philosophy, “If you got it, you cook it.” Still to this day, the philosophy remains true.

WE ARE STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
There was, and maybe still is, a strong sense of rivalry between the cities and people of Charleston and Savannah. They rivaled for hospitability, social graces, and which city was founded first. We, the true Lowcountry, can lay claim to them both, and enjoy the resources, the lifestyles and the histories of the Holy and Hostess cities. One of the most valuable assets of being ‘caught in the middle’ is that we get the opportunity to enjoy the cuisine both cities offer. The costal locations of both Charleston and Savannah provide a soul food inspiration, with foods as rich in history and they are in flavor, and although the Holy and Hostess City have grown and evolved in recent years, classic southern Lowcountry foods like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup remain staples of the food scene.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY

  • Seasonality: There’s a focus on good, locally used ingredients, and luckily for the Lowcountry that means using what we already have. For centuries local cooks have turned to the water for culinary inspiration. Crab, shrimp, fish, and oysters form the basis of any traditional menu. Rice, grits and the produce of the coastal plain also play an instrumental role in the Lowcountry cooking. Cooks and chefs here have always been focused on good quality, and seasonal ingredients.
  • Condiments: Because of the climate in the Lowcountry, canning evolved as a ways to preserve the bounty of produce. It’s still true to this day, most dining venues provide some type of condiment at every table.
  • Seafood Culture: It is strong and continues to flourish with the popularity of recreational offshore fishing. For convenience, and certainly for flavor, grilling seafood is the preferred cooking method for fish in the Lowcountry.
  • Comfort Food: Like most southern cuisine, Lowcountry food is comfort food, best eaten at home and centered around large, one-pot meals.

WHAT LOWCOUNTRY CUISINE MEANS AT COLLETON RIVER

Reflecting on the history and tradition of the Lowcountry allows our team to focus on:
 
  • Variety and quality of the season’s ingredients
  • Traditional cooking methods, keeps us true to our roots as cooks
  • The world’s best seafood and the abundance we enjoy
  • Unique products found right here in our backyard (or marsh)
  • Making your dining experience in the Lowcountry memorable and fun
Everyday I consider myself fortunate to be a lifetime student of the cooking and hospitality of the Lowcountry.
 
—Chef Robert

Around the Table – August 21, 2019

What It Means to Be A Club Member

I certainly don’t have to tell you what it means to be a Club member. Some of you have been members longer than …well, let’s just agree it’s been a long time. I can, however, give perspective on what it means to be a Club Culinary Team.
 
The world of private clubs has long been associated with drinks and food. This should not be terribly surprising given the simple fact that more people eat than swing a golf club and tennis racket. Providing a popular member amenity such as club dining, we frequently discuss being a service team, or a team in service. We discuss the types of service we provide, and how we can refine it. We exchange ideas on how to make the dining experience more enjoyable for you. Lastly, we discuss how our services are different from other restaurants and dining establishments, and what makes us better.
 
YOU HAVE OPTIONS
There’s no denying that dining in the Lowcountry is a culinary excursion on its own. I, of course, have a few favorites. But, when it comes to celebrating, entertaining friends, or just enjoying a casual night with your loved ones, we want to be your first consideration when it comes time to dining.
 
As a Club Culinary Team we’re prepared for your culinary requests, and we will welcome and manage those request to the best of our abilities. This includes the understanding that your request may change as your requirements and preferences evolve.
ITS PERSONAL
Our industry is seemingly one of the most susceptible to changing trends. If you are still obsessing over Quinoa when the rest of the world has moved onto cauliflower pizza, we want to know. Tell us your preferences, as well as your likes and dislikes. Whether it’s dietary, lifestyle, or you just don’t like anchovies, the more we know about you, the better we can serve you.
ACCESS TO QUALITY
Below you will find services we provide to you as Colleton River Club members:
 
  • In-home catering opportunities
  • Catering carry-out options (order a party dish and pick up on the way!)
  • Order pre-cut steaks, meats, and fish items, cut to your specifications!
  • Last, but certainly not least, the finest quality steaks available from our Nebraska Beef Program.
Feel free to get personal with the Club Culinary Team at Colleton! We may be reached through the Nicklaus Front Desk! We’ll be expecting your call.
 
—Chef Robert

Around the Table – August 14, 2019

Summer Salads – Dressed to Kill

Salad can be a nice plate of leaves and vegetables, but lately they are becoming so much more. During the heat of the summer, salad becomes more important and more frequent, especially at my place. Because the grill is running more, it allows me to get creative with my salads. One or two nights a week I am grilling vegetables that will be used on my summer salads, vegetables such as; roasted corn, lengths of zucchini, long green onions, tomatoes brushed with olive oil and lightly charred, seasoned carefully and dusted with chopped herbs.
 
The grilled vegetables really livens the taste and texture of the typical summer salad of greens. Salads are meant to be flavorful, refreshing, interesting and nutritious. However, there is one last ingredient that turns a simple summer salad into a bowl of creativity, a pure mouthwatering dish, and is probably the most important component to me: the dressing.
DRESSING IS EVERYTHING
A summer salad only deserves the best dressing. I’ll be the first to admit there are some great dressings out there, but for me it’s all about homemade.
 
Great, but simple ingredients are a must. Your access to wonderful, flavorful, unique ingredients is limitless. This is where I don’t skimp; when I’m buying red wine vinegar or olive oil- quality doesn’t have to mean fancy. I also stress the balance of richness, spiciness, sour & sweet when blending dressing and tasting. And don’t forget, seasoning is a must! I prefer, and obviously enjoy fresh herbs but don’t ignore dried oregano- there’s always a home for the spice in a robust red wine vinaigrette.
 
Homemade dressings are so easy to make and infinitely better tasting and better for you. I hope you’re making dressings at home. If you are and could use (or want) some further inspiration, here are a few great summertime examples to try!
 
Bonus, both recipes work as a dressing or quick marinade!
 
THE FAMOUS LEMON-THYME
Ingredients
  • 1 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Thyme, stemmed & finely minced
  • 1 tbsp White Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tb Minced Shallot
  • 3 cups Light salad oil, canola or light olive oil
  • Salt & pepper for taste
Directions
  • Mince shallot & fresh thyme
  • Combine all, except oil
  • Incorporate oil by whisking to create an emulsion
  • Taste, season, taste again

SHERRY ORANGE VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients
  • 2 Oranges, peeled, segmented, squeezed, reserve
  • 2 tb Dijon mustard
  • 2 tb Honey
  • 3 oz Sherry Vinegar
  • 6 oz Olive Oil or oil of choice
 
Directions
  • Select the best oranges of the season
  • Carefully peel with a knife, leave whole
  • Segment with a sharp paring knife into your mixing bowl
  • Squeeze the juice from the membrane over the orange segments
  • Add the mustard, honey & vinegar
  • Incorporate oil by whisking to create an emulsion
  • Taste, season, taste again
Regarding our dressings here at Colleton, every drop is house made, with only the best ingredients available. We don’t use stabilizers or flavorings in the production of these recipes, just fresh and simple ingredients.
 
Enjoy your craft!
 
 
—Chef Robert
 

Around the Table – 90th American Culinary Federation Convention

Greetings from the 2019 American Culinary Federation’s National Convention!
The ACF events are convention conferences featuring educations and networking for culinary students, cooks, industry professionals, vendors, educators, and the worlds chefs. The ACF hosts more than 1,000 chefs and culinary professionals for five days of hands-on workshops, national and international competitions, live demonstrations, and educational seminars on the latest industry trends.
 
This conference truly includes the Who’s Who of the culinary industry, and allows us to gather to learn, share, taste, celebrate, and did I mention taste? The 2019 ACF marks the 90th year, which adds even more excitement!
A few of my favorite events from the conference so far:
 
  • Informative session on the fundamentals of Dashi, which became the intricacies of Dashi by the end of the presentation. Chef Ivan Orkin not only demonstrated the preparation of Dashi, he shared his philosophy on the cooking broth’s various applications in Japanese and Western Cuisines.
 
  •  During the afternoon Tradeshows, attendees spent hours of excitement watching regional student teams vie for their chance to become the ACF National Student Team Champions!
 
  • Chefs Rico Torres and Diego Galicia, co-owners of Mixtli in San Antonio, TX who were recognized by Food & Wine Magazine in 2017 as “Best New Chefs” opened Monday morning with their inspirations on the use of chilis of Mexico, and continued expressing their passion for the history and place in Mexican cooking and culture.
 
  •  I had the opportunity to hear famed Chef and TV personality Pierre White describe challenging the odds to be the youngest chef to acquire three Michelin stars in England for his groundbreaking restaurant. Chef White has trained notable chefs such as Gordan Ramsay, Curtis Stone and Shannon Bennett.

Pictured: Chef White and Chef Wysong

Here’s a few of my favorite photos from the contemporary cold food salon. As I hope you notice, this is very distinct work that demonstrates the highest art form and skills.

I look forward to the remaining days of the conference. To say it has been an inspiring time to be here in Orlando among so many colleagues and friends is an understatement!
 
 
I’ll see you all very soon!
 
—Chef Robert
Read more about Chef Robert’s Convention Experience ACF National Convention 2019 Summary

Around the Table – July 31, 2019

Summer Enrichments

I recently heard that the four seasons in the south can be defined as Allergy, Summer, Hurricane and Football. I think we all can agree we are very much into summer. While the definitions of these seem self-explanatory, I want to describe to you what the summer season means to me.
 
Summer itself arrives stealthily, but then instantly the heat is upon us. The heat provides me with the time and opportunity to take a step back, establish, reflect and look toward the future. I want to share with you a few things we are working on in the Culinary Department during the summer.
 
PERSONAL FOCUS
It’s no secret the goal of a culinary team is to provide high-quality food and excellent service to our members. This goal can only be achieved with the cooperation, support, and creativity of the entire team.
 
We continue to acclimate Chef Anthony to our team and methods, and the service team remains focusing on training and knowledge while we continue to improve creativity by involving the team on all levels. Take a football team for example, each player on the team has a different role and each player offers a unique skill- but all have the same goal of winning the game. The same applies for a our industry. Individual creativity of our team contributes to the team’s success, which in return, makes the dining experience more enjoyable for you.
 
PRODUCT FOCUS
The Ingredients of Summer
There are tons of fresh produce available this time of year. Peachessweet corn and blueberries are summertime staples, but venture out this summer and try produce like figs, okra or tomatillos.
 
New Flavors
We’re begging you to be adventurous! It’s easy to stick to a basic meal of a hamburger and french fries. However, branching out and trying different foods is not only delicious, but it is also good for you! Trying new flavors could be more nutritious, or dare we say it, you could even discover a new favorite!
 
New Options
We know you love the Steve Salad, but try new things! We’re pleased to be offering more seafood. Besides, seafood is not only great for your health, it’s versatile and….delicious!
 
PROCESS FOCUS
  • Food Consistencies – this is an on-going effort in every kitchen. We know the importance of consistencies, rather it be the appearance, flavor, or all of the above
  • Keeping the Menus Up-to-Date – if it’s not selling – it’s gone!
  • Making it Lighter – a lighter approach to the day-to-day cooking principals. The heat of summer often steals the body’s hunger and leaves you wanting more foods like salads and seafood. So, when the summer heat is against you, we’re here for you!
  • Lightening the Buffets – especially after 18 holes in a southern heat wave! Am I right?!

As I mentioned above, I like to take the summer not only to prepare and look ahead, but to reflect. What better way to reflect than to provide you with a 4th of July food recap. Prepare to be amazed…or shocked. You be the judge!
 
Conservatively, in rounded numbers, this is just some of what you enjoyed:
 
  • 200 pounds of shrimp
  • 360 hamburgers
  • 320 hot dogs
  • 160 bratwursts
  • 150 pounds of pork shoulder
  • 200 pounds of beef brisket
  • 150 pounds of pork ribs
  • A panel truck full of fresh produce
  • 500 cupcakes
  • 360 cookies
On that note, enjoy your summer, eat light and stay cool!
-Chef Robert