Monthly Archives: July 2014

  • Chef Interview | Luca Della Casa | Silo & Nosh

    Italians have long been known for their passionate enthusiasm on life, culture, family and food, and Torino-born Chef, Luca Della Casa, is no exception. The Italian Chef has become a much talked about fixture on the San Antonio dining circuit thanks to his impressive work as Executive Chef at Silo Elevated Cuisine and Nosh in addition to being a contestant on the much talked about Food Network Star.

    Chef Luca Della Casa Chef Luca Della Casa

    The Mission Team loves going to Silo and to Nosh, where crispy fried oysters abound and fresh, homemade tagliatelle hangs in the kitchen, awaiting its sauce du jour. And clearly, others do too. Della Casa has a humble, happy, hard-working spirit that is contagious for diners coming to both of his restaurants. Since his early days in Italy learning from the best (his grandmother Nonna) to his time working across Europe at different establishments, Della Casa has appreciated the joy that comes from bringing people together around a table. And luckily for us, Chef Luca has turned that joy into a career that everyone can taste and enjoy.

    The Mission Team recently chatted with the popular Chef to pick his brain about his inspiration, favorite kitchen supplies, words of wisdom and more. Read the Interview here & enjoy!


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    MissionRS: You're from Torino, Italy which we're sure is bursting left and right with culinary inspiration. Tell us a little bit about your Italian heritage and how the "homestyle" cooking influences your vision and work. 

    Chef LDC: I was born in a family that loved to cook and entertain. My best food memories were in my grandma Nonna's kitchen, which is my culinary inspiration.


    MissionRS: When did you know that you wanted to make cooking a career? 

    Chef LDC: After working my way up the ranks in the kitchens of Italy and Spain, I knew that cooking was my passion because I love food and making people happy.

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    MissionRS: 
    What is one of your favorite pieces of kitchen equipment/supplies?

    Chef LDC: I love the cast iron pans from Mission because they get really hot and give an amazing sear.


    MissionRS: You know what it takes to work your way up in the industry. Tell us a little bit about your past and any advice you may have for aspiring young chefs.

    Chef LDC: I have worked my way up from dishwasher to Executive Chef. My advice is as follows:
    1. Be ready to work hard. 2. Be humble; and 3. Always taste your food. 


     MissionRS: What are some of your favorite and most treasured food memories?

    Chef LDC: My favorite food memory is always having Sunday dinner at my Grandma Nonna's house and eating gnocchi with rabbit sauce.


     MissionRS: Name a handful  of tastemakers/chefs/foodies who inspire you today. 

     Chef LDC: I am inspired by Chefs like Bruce Auden, Johnny Hernandez, Mark Bliss, Jason Dady, Gabriel Ibarra, Steven McHugh, Tim Rattray, and Stefan Bowers who work hard to put San Antonio on the culinary map.


    MissionRS: San Antonio is really picking up as a coveted culinary destination. What other cities do you look to for serious eats?

    Chef LDC: My wife and I love New York, Chicago and Seattle. We are planning to visit Portland next.

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    MissionRS: For a first timer to Silo and Nosh what would your ideal dinner/wine pairings be?

    Chef LDC: 
    For Silo: Start with the Signature Chicken Fried Oysters and a glass of Sancerre; Oak Grilled Lamb and Palmaz Cabernet, and a Coconut Pie with Tokai.

    For Nosh: Truffle Parmesan French Fries; Shrimp and Tomato Salad with a glass of Prosecco. Buon Appetito!


    MissionRS: Your homemade tagliatelle is one of our favorite things ever. (Listen up readers- it's a must order at Nosh!) What is the trick to making really good, light pasta? Any other tricks in the kitchen you'd mind sharing?

    Chef LDC: The trick to good homemade pasta is to use a high quality "OO" Flour. Follow me on the Food Network Star to learn some of my other culinary tricks.


    MissionRS: Finally, where do you see the industry headed? Anything on your radar for the next year?

    Chef LDC: I believe San Antonio is becoming a culinary destination and it's also a wonderful place to live. As for the future, I want to take my wife on a vacation.


    Make sure to swing by Nosh and Silo- Alamo Heights in San Antonio next time you're in the area. To follow Luca through social media and on his quest through the Food Network Star, use the following links:

     
     
    Hashtags and @Mentions:
    #FoodNetworkStar #StarSalvation #TeamLuca @FoodNetwork @FoodNetworkFans


    And last but not least, we'd like to say a big thank you to Chef Luca and to his wife, Marcella for being a part of our Mission Chef Series!

    *All pictures courtesy of Food Network*

  • 4 Things To Know About The Silver Saver

    Every commercial kitchen, be it a cafeteria, a hospital, a school, a nursing home or a stadium, has a couple of things that it can't operate without. One such thing is flatware: the forks, knives and spoons that allow diners to eat the food created for them. Unfortunately, however, its' lightweight nature makes it highly susceptible to being thrown out unknowingly when plates are being scraped. In fact, did you know that flatware is one of the most frequently re-ordered kitchen items for a restaurant operator? Because these flatware items are tossed out accidentally, costs can grow at unprecedented rates. It's like throwing away money! One of the ways to control this rising cost is to invest in a Silver Saver by the Restaurant Remedy Group. This magnetic probe is designed to grab tossed flatware from the trash. Simply insert it directly into the garbage can and let it do the dirty work for you.

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    Here are a couple of key things to know:

    1. The SilverSaver works perfectly with 18/0 flatware and other 18/0 metal objects like souffle cups and ramekins as it is highly magnetic. For those operators with 18/10 flatware, the SilverSaver may not retract lost flatware quite as easily since the higher nickel content is attributed to lower magnetism.

    2. Since the SilverSaver will be swimming in the trash on an hourly basis, cleaning it should be an obvious priority. The manufacturer recommends cleaning it with hot water and a towel every two hours but notes not to expose the magnet to temperature over 176º F in order to keep its strength.

    3. The Restaurant Remedy Group has a nifty savings calculator on their site where you can calculate just how much money you can save at your establishment by investing in their product. Depending on the total number of stores and the average cost of flatware per piece in addition to the average number of pieces lost a day, you can configure how much money you will save per day, per month and per year. (Some operators make their money back in just 30 days or less!)

    4. There are two SilverSavers available for purchase, both at great, affordable price points. The SilverSaver Ultra is your classic tool complete with a high-powered magnet. The SilverSaver Elite is the same as the SilverSaver Ultra but is is equipped with a magnetic auto release so you can effortlessly remove retrieved silverware by squeezing a trigger.


    What do you think? How much flatware do you run through on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis? It might be more than you think! The SilverSaver is designed to troubleshoot these issues and relieve these lost costs by quickly and easily extracting lost items from the depths of the garbage. You can shop for the SuperSaver here and we welcome your calls at 1-800-319-0690 Monday through Friday.

    Want to watch the SilverSaver in action? Check out the video here!
  • 3 Patriotic Desserts To Try This Summer

    You know summer is in full swing when the sweet smells of freshly-baked pies start wafting from the oven and dinners al fresco become the norm. Summer's bounty of plump fruits and beautiful berries are the perfect subject for a medley of summer desserts, and it doesn't get much easier or more delicious than a pie. With all the creative minds out there, from bloggers to bakers to Pinterest extraordinaires, there is no shortage of fun, patriotic recipes to try. 

    So with this overflow of inspiration, after scouring the web for the best summer desserts, we've found three stand outs that we couldn't resist sharing. There was something about each of these that made them worthy of our vote, be it a sweet detail, an unexpected ingredient or an undeniable wow factor. So whether you're making one of these for family, friends or for a summertime BBQ, we feel confident that they will delight!

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    1. Roasted Plums with Berries, Marzipan Hearts and Almond-Pepper Crust are the stars behind this winning tart by Sweet Paul. The only major thing you need for this recipe is a blender to blend the plums until smooth. The rest, from the lemon juice to the brown sugar, just adds to the goodness.


    2. It doesn't get more patriotic than an American classic like Apple Pie. This version, with its cinnamon apples, flaky crust, salted caramel coating and lattice top (complete with a step-by-step tutorial) is "the holy grail" of American dessert. Though this recipe is the most involved of the three, the stunning step-by-step photographs deliver an undeniable boost of self-confidence. 


    3. Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries abound in this Triple Berry Pie by blogger darling, Knead To Cook. This recipe is bursting with color and healthy antioxidants and is relatively easy to make. Simply throw your ingredients into a pie pan (on top of the store bought or homemade crust) and bake at the ready.
    Let us know if you try one out this summer season! Better yet, if you have a favorite summer pie or dessert recipe, feel free to share with us on our Mission Facebook page!
  • Popcorn Tips and Trivia

    Whether you're sitting in a dark movie theater or sneaking a snack in the company break room, hot, buttery popcorn is hard to beat. Popcorn is also a great option for foodservice operators looking to boost their bottom line. With profit margins often exceeding 80% Commercial Popcorn Poppers drive profitability into all different applications, from cafeterias to theaters, rehabilitation centers and stadiums. At MissionRS.com our popcorn poppers are designed with strong cabinets and space-saving footprints and all will deliver performances that will pop out in your kitchen.

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    What Size Popper Do I Need? If you are looking for a popcorn popper for your movie theater, business break room, school or other commercial application, finding the right size is key. Popcorn kettle sizes equate to the number of one-ounce servings of popcorn that the machine will make in any given pop cycle, which generally lasts 3-4 minutes. An example:

    • A 4 ounce kettle popcorn machine like this one makes 4-one-ounce servings in every 3-4 minute cycle. 

    Knowing that there are roughly 20 pop cycles per hour (60 minutes / roughly 3-4 minute pop cycles) you will be able to calculate what size popper you need given your establishment's peak hourly demand. 

    • If making less than roughly 80-90 servings of popcorn you will need a 4 ounce popper
    • If making approximately 90-120 quarts of popcorn you will need a 6 ounce popper
    • If making roughly 130-160 quarts of popcorn you will need an 8 ounce popper

    How Does Popcorn Pop? Popcorn kernels have a 13-14% moisture content at the center of their hull which is just enough moisture to make them explode under pressure. When this moisture is put under the machine's pressure, that inherent moisture begins to steam and is forced out, causing the hull to pop. If that moisture level is too high or too low the popcorn will not pop- simple as that.

    How Do I Store Unpopped Popcorn? Because that 13-14% moisture level is so important to a kernel's popability, popcorn kernels must be stored in a sealed, air tight container at room temperature, thereby kept from getting overly moist or dried out.

    Is Popcorn Bad For Me? Popcorn in its natural state (sans butter, sorry) is actually one of the healthier snacks out there with everything from Vitamin B, E, iron, phosphorous, protein, riboflavin and thiamin found in its chemical make up. 

    What Is An Old Maid? Old maids are the kernels that don't pop during a cook cycle. These kernels may have too much or too little internal moisture to properly steam, expand and pop, and the kernels remain whole in the popper or in the clean out drawer located at the bottom of the machine. 

    How Addicted Are We? Americans consume 4 billion gallons or 16 billion quarts of popcorn annually making the USA the largest popcorn consumers in the world!

    What Brands Are Available at Mission? MissionRS.com has a number of popper brands to choose from including Star Mfg and Benchmark USA. Both are industry leaders with great warranty terms and trusted performances. Please feel free to contact our customer service team at 800-319-0690 to find out more about these brands and the units available for your business!

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