Author Archives: Sallie Lewis

  • Enchilada : Aztec to Tex-Mex

    Photo via The Rivard Report Photo via The Rivard Report

    Every day people come together and share stories over food. Rarely however, does the food in which people gather around become the story itself. San Antonio restaurateur, Cappy Lawton, is changing this trajectory with the publication of his first cookbook, Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex.

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  • A Chef's Guide To Sous Vide

    Our latest infographic covers all the bases of Sous Vide Cooking, a trending cooking technique that's taking the world by storm.

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    You can view our Sous Vide Equipment online and reach us at 1-888-621-6020 Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM (CST). We'd love to hear from you and help answer your questions.
  • Top 3 Must-Have Knives for Every Kitchen

    Every chef needs a good, trusty knife that he or she can count on. In many kitchens, knives are arguably the most important tool of all, facilitating multiple dish preparations and aiding with day-to-day tasks. Next time you put together a kitchen wish list, make sure to include these classics at the top of the line up:

    Chef's Knife

    As this is the go-to all purpose knife used for most slicing and dicing of fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, most chefs and knife experts recommend spending more money on a chef knife than any of the others.
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    Your chef’s knife should be:

    • forged
    • a minimum of 8-10 inches
    • balanced in weight between blade and handle

    Avoid using your chef’s knife for:

    • butchering and carving poultry
    • removing skin of large veggies
    • any cutting that requires attention to detail
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  • Giving Back: A Recipe for Success

    Giving Back: A Recipe for Success

    For many restaurants, fundraising and volunteering are key ingredients in the recipe for success. Why? Because giving back is good for the community, and ultimately, for business.

    Consumers today are more socially conscious and expect the restaurants they dine in to be socially responsible as well. In fact, 82% of U.S. consumers consider social responsibility when deciding where to spend their money.

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  • Equipping Your Restaurant For The Holiday Season

    Equipping for holidays

    Believe it or not, the holiday season is right around the corner. This time of year always tends to creep up on us, but for the restaurant owner, letting it slip by is not an option. Now is the time to prepare for the multitude of diners coming your way. Consider this, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) found that in 2013, 33 million Americans dined out (or ordered in) on Thanksgiving, and nearly 46 million consumers dined out during their Black Friday Shopping.
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  • Restaurant Inspection Tips

    However daunting and dreaded restaurant inspections may be their intention is actually quite honorable. A health inspector is there to make sure food serving establishments are practicing smart food safety and promoting clean working environments; their job, ultimately, is to check that no threats are being posed to public health.

    Anyone who enjoys eating out can thank them for this. Because these inspections are unannounced throughout the year, your restaurant's staff should be prepared for the visit at any given time. Doing so ensures you're not only prepared but also being the safest, most sanitary version of yourself all year long.

     

    We've put together a trusty infographic to help your restaurant's next health inspection run smoothly. In this file, we uncover the top 5 reasons restaurants fail their inspections along with the details that are most commonly missed.

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  • Are You Ready For The Locavore?

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    Today’s diners have a whole new set of questions about your menu. Responding to increasing concerns about the social and environmental impact of traditional food sourcing methods, the “Locavores” prefer locally and sustainably sourced fare. They’re calling it the local food movement, and it’s gaining serious momentum. The great news is that participating in this revolution might be a lot easier than you think, and adding local food to your menu can be very beneficial for your restaurant.
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  • How Long Will It Keep?

    Need a refresher on food storage and refrigeration? Our handy dandy infographic will get you up to speed on the best food safety practices for storing and refrigerating foods. 


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  • A Guide To Kitchen Thermometers

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    One of a chef's greatest tools can fit right in the palm of their hand or clip straight onto an apron pocket. Thermometers are a case study of simple efficiency and their place in the kitchen is indisputable. These significant tools manage myriad temperatures in the back of the house - be it the storage temperature of your food or the actual temperature of food before it's plated and served to a customer. Temperature is key to food safety as bacteria grows furtively all around us - including in the food we eat. Controlling bacteria levels comes down to controlling food temperature, and having thermometers on hand encourages the constant use and maintenance of food safety practices. In today's market, thermometers are available in all shapes, sizes, and levels of technology. In this guide you will find a basic break down of the most commonly used thermometers in the kitchen landscape.

    Meat Thermometers:

    When cooking poultry or meat, it's important to have a meat thermometer on hand to gauge internal temperatures and the thoroughness of cooking. These thermometers, which generally have a long 5 to 8 inch probe and smaller temperature ranges, are often inserted into meat prior to cooking and left inside throughout the cooking process. Serving an undercooked chicken or piece of meat to a customer is one way to pass foodborne illnesses on to your patrons. Having a dependable meat thermometer is an added precaution to make sure you don't do this. Meat thermometers ultimately allow you to measure whether your meat is cooked through, meaning that the temperature is high enough to have killed off harmful bacteria. Texture and color alone aren't enough to determine whether a piece of meat is "done;" with the use of a meat thermometer you can rest assured you're serving meat that is both safe and delicious.

    Pocket Thermometers:

    These lightweight thermometers are carried by chefs to quickly check the temperatures of everything from casseroles to meat dishes. Outfitted with a thin probe, pocket thermometers allow you to quickly pierce and penetrate the interior of the dish. Many times, pocket thermometers come with plastic sleeves to protect the probe from germs and cross contamination.

    Oven Thermometers:

    Oven thermometers are usually constructed of stainless steel or other heat resistant materials given the high temperatures they're exposed to daily. These units are designed to measure the temperature of the oven's cooking cavity, and the faces often have enlarged, bold numbers and colored cooking zones for quick easy reading. While some models stand on the floor of the cavity, others hang from inside the oven, and some can do both, like this Comark model.

    Deep Fry Thermometers:

    Similar to oven thermometers, deep fry thermometers have high temperature ranges to upwards of 600ºF. Deep Fry Thermometers allow you to closely monitor the temperature of your oil prior to frying chicken, fish, or something in between. Doing so ensures that food isn't saturated or burned from overheated oil.

    Refrigerator and Freezer Thermometers:

    Refrigerator and Freezer Thermometers are essential tools for your cold storage units, ensuring food is being held at the right temperatures. Though most refrigeration units have digital temperature readings on them, having a back up thermometer inside the cooler gives you added security and backup precision. Our simple, lightweight options hang conveniently inside the refrigerator or freezer and are a low cost solution for all commercial applications.

    Candy Thermometers:

    Candy Thermometers help end users who are making homemade candies and other sweets using melted chocolate, caramel, and sugar. These simple thermometers monitor heat and keep sugary substances from burning. They generally have high temperature ranges with long probes.

    Specialty Thermometers:

    Specialty Thermometers are a bit different than your standard analog or digital counterparts as they can use infrared lasers to monitor temperatures amongst other technical tools. Our selection online takes all the guesswork out of cooking thanks to their quick, precise temperature readings!

  • Save Time, Labor and Money With Pacojet

    Be it chocolate, watches or something in between, Switzerland has long been associated with quality, so it’s only fitting that the country is also home to Pacojet, one of the foodservice industry’s most respected, quality manufacturers. Saber Rejbe is the Executive Pastry Chef at Advanced Gourmet and Pacojet in Greensboro, North Carolina. Below we learn a little more about him and the product line that is used in over 40,000 kitchens worldwide.

    Chef Saber Rejbi of Advanced Gourmet and Pacojet. Chef Saber Rejbi of Advanced Gourmet and Pacojet.

    CHEF SABER REJBE

    Chef Saber Rejbe is a Parisian native who went to pastry school in France before working for many fine dining restaurants and five star hotels - such as the esteemed Hotel Crillon - in the City of Light. It was in these venues that he got his start using Pacojet. “I can probably say I’ve been using Pacojet every day for the last 8 years,” he said adding, “I seem to discover a new way of using the Pacojet every day.”  As a professional chef in his own right, Saber firmly believes that the Pacojet will inspires chefs to create new tastes, sensations, and signature dishes for every course, while improving the bottom line in restaurants of all sizes.

    WHAT IS PACOTIZING? 

    Pacotizing enables chefs to 'micro-purée' fresh and deep-frozen foods into ice creams, sorbets, soups, sauces and ultra-light mousses -- all without thawing. It’s a unique process of spinning a food product at a high speed of 2,000 rpm. This shaves an ultra fine layer off the frozen product with each revolution, creating a fine, creamy serving in just 20 seconds! 

    Pacotizing 101 Pacotizing 101

    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PACOJET 1 & 2?

    In a nutshell, the Pacojet 2 (PJ2) is an upgraded version of the Pacojet 1 (PJ1). The PJ1 is 22 years old and after years of listening to chefs around the world, the company has added some exciting new features in the PJ2. One such new feature is the interactive touch screen complete with illustrated, intuitive icons with more customization options.  (BONUS: The PJ2 also comes with an international recipe book complete with 75 basic recipes and 50 recipes from a fan club of chefs using Pacojet around the world!) 

    The Pacojet is a complete system that will allow you to create any type of frozen application (sweet/savory/raw/vegan) but it will also work as a superior machine for processing fresh food and whipping.

    • Frozen Applications: For frozen foods such as ice cream or sorbet, simply fill the beaker to the fill line with your ingredients and a liquid, cover with the lid, and let it freeze for 24 hours using a regular freezer (see illustration above) or 3 hours with a blast freezer. The Pacojet 2 also has an overfill rescue function that senses and recovers overfilled beaker contents automatically without the need to thaw. Freezing the beaker locks in freshness and aromas. Attach the blade with the splash guard to the Pacojet. When the beaker is frozen solid, remove the lid and attach the beaker using the beaker holder to the Pacojet, then choose the number of servings or portions you desire or pacotize the whole beaker without thawing! It’s quick and simple. As soon as the pacotizing is complete, remove the beaker and your product is ready-to-serve, while retaining the most intense flavors, natural colors and vital nutrients. If you have leftover frozen product in the beakers, simply flatten the product and put the lid back on and return to the freezer for future use.
    • Non-Frozen Applications: The Coupe Set attachments enable the Pacojet to be used as a cutter, mincer, mixer, blender or whipper to process foodstuffs in their fresh state without having to freeze them first. Fish, meat, herbs, fruits, vegetables and spices or cream, egg whites, milk, etc. are simply filled into a Pacojet beaker (if desired, together with other ingredients and seasonings) and processed directly using the appropriate attachment for the texture desired. Then press start! 
    Before (bottom) and After (top) Pacotizing Before (bottom) and After (top) Pacotizing

    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BASIC, ADVANCED & SUPER SERIES? 

    The Pacojet has three tiers to choose from, with the only major difference being the quantity of accessories that comes with each of them.

    • The Basic System comes with the Pacojet Machine, a Pacotizing Blade, a Spray Guard, 2 Beakers and Lids, 1 Outer Protective Beaker, 1 Chrome Spatula, 1 Recipe Book and 1 Cleaning Kit.

    • The Advanced System comes with everything the Basic System has, but it has 6 Beakers instead of 2 and a Coupe Set. The Coupe Set comes with three additional blades for non-frozen applications: a 2-blade cutter for coarse textures (e.g. steak tartare), a 4-blade cutter for fine textures (e.g. terrines/pates), and a whipping disc (for whip cream, egg whites and milkshakes). These blades generally allow for chopping, dicing, or pureeing non frozen foods from produce to meats and fish.

    • The Super System comes with everything the Advanced System has with the addition of 4 beakers for a total of 10. It also comes with a Gold Blade which is hardened with titanium-nitride. The Super System is recommended for the chef that has never used Pacojet before. It has all the accessories – including the coupe set – to start working in any size or any kind of application.

    HOW EASY IS IT TO CLEAN?

    As simple as 1-2-3. The touch screen on the PJ2 shows a 3-step cleaning process, which Chef Saber recommends running at the end of the work day. From the screen you’ll see 3 steps: Cleaning, Sanitizing and Rinsing; each step takes just 1 minute. “If you do that you will maintain the quality of the Pacojet for many years,” he said. Additionally, all the beakers are dishwasher safe.

    The Pacojet 2 The Pacojet 2

    WHAT KINDS OF BUSINESSES ARE USING PACOJET?

     Pacojet is used in restaurants and fine dining institutions all over the world, yet it has also found a home in many niche markets: 

    • Catering Companies and Country Clubs: Chefs that need to travel with their equipment greatly benefit from the Pacojet. “They love using it for ice cream because they can bring the Pacojet with them to any location – just plug and play,” said Chef Saber. (The PJ2 weights 35-pounds.)
    • Bakeries: Bakeries use a lot of whipped cream. With the Pacojet you can pacotize 1 liter of whipped cream in less than 1 minute. Just put the heavy cream in the empty beaker and push start. When you come back to the unit the whipped cream will be ready for use.
    • Bars: Mixologists are also fans of the Pacojet for use in making some of their specialty cocktails, such as Granita, slushy Margaritas, Daiquiris, Pina Coladas, and more.

    • Retirement Homes: Many residents in retirement homes have difficulty swallowing, particularly with dense foods, such as meat. Chef Saber’s experience with Pacojet in retirement homes has been extraordinarily beneficial. “The chef micro-purees the meat and puts it into a mold (chicken or steak mold) and they freeze the mold,” said Chef Saber. “When the meat is frozen it keeps the shape of the mold then you cook it and it’s ready to serve,” he added. Preparing the meat this way also makes it very easy to cut.
    • Raw/ Vegan Communities: Pacojet is a popular go-to for the raw and vegan community, which is rife in states like California. Pacojet enables chefs to do more with their raw menus, even making raw ice creams and raw cheeses, to name a few. For raw ice cream, simply put nuts and coconut oil into the beaker, freeze and pacotize without heating the product. All those raw ingredients will turn into a micro-pureed, creamy ice cream that’s ready to be enjoyed.

    HOW DOES IT SAVE?

    •  Saving Time: The Pacojet prepares individual portions (approximately 3.5 fluid ounces) in 20 seconds and a whole beaker worth of food product in less than 4 minutes! In just one hour the Pacojet will produce 15 liters of sorbet/ ice cream in 15 different flavors or 150 portions of soup in 15 varieties. Also, your staff can prepare beakers ahead of time for the entire week, and best yet, there's no need to strain, puree, or remove peels from the food product prior to pacotizing. Pacojet will pacotize cores, peels, skins and more into micro particles so there is no need to throw them away or waste your time removing them.

    • Eliminating Food Waste: Because the Pacojet has a built-in portion system it only pacotizes the amount of food you tell it to. The remainder of food stays frozen in the beaker and can be put back in the freezer for later use. All the Pacojet beakers are hygienic so no oxidation or contamination occurs. 

    • Saving Money: The Pacojet will improve your bottom line and pay for itself in less than 3 months! Check out this ROI chart:4x6 PJ Profit Card front

    • Saving Space: The Pacojet's compact countertop design (Depth Width Height: 19.7'' x 14.2'' x 7.9'') makes it great for all kitchens, though there’s no limit to the number of beakers that can be added with each unit.

    WARRANTY?

    The new Pacojet 2 units come with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor plus a 5-year warranty on the motor. The warranty must be activated when you register the unit on www.Pacojet.com, which takes just a few minutes!

    SERVICE?

    Pacojet service is also available through Advanced Gourmet for yearly maintenance or any other service needs.


    WANT TO LEARN MORE?

    Aside from talking with one of our specialists, Chef Saber is always willing to help you learn more about the new Pacojet 2. “Every customer is different and every customer has different requests,” he said. “We are really here to help and listen to every new project.”

    Call us at Mission at 1-800-319-0690 or contact Chef Saber at 1-877-648-7084! We're open Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM Central Standard Time.

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