Every year, members of the Industry segment of the School Nutrition Association gear up for what we call “school show season.” We travel from state to state and participate in each association’s annual School Nutrition Conference. We set up our booths, catch up with our industry peers, mingle with our customers, and try to “sell our wares,” as my friend Joey says. But as a member of the Equipment delegation of Industry, often we find that state shows are more about food than our hardware. It’s understandable, considering that food makes up the largest expenditure for every school nutrition operation. Still, it can be frustrating because as sales people we are at the mercy of that goal we have to hit.
For years, I have heard about the Georgia Equipment Academy, a three-day conference occurring every other year that focuses solely on equipment and technology. In 2016 I was finally able to attend my first GEA to see what all the buzz was about. I have to tell you, I was blown away. We were lucky enough to be selected in the Hoodless Cooking class (each conference is broken up into categories voted on by need) and were able to conduct five 30-minute sessions over the three-day period. Each session is attended by about 20 decision makers. Not only are we allowed to educate about our equipment, we get to perform live demonstrations to show the “proof in the pudding,” so to speak. Local food vendors donate food for demos and dealers, reps, manufacturers, and the Georgia School Nutrition Association work hand in hand to make the conference a unique experience. Honestly, for what we do, it is the best show I’ve ever participated in, and for the directors, it allows them to truly learn about technology that can advance their programs without any distractions.
Winston Foodservice was proud to participate in the 2018 Georgia Equipment Academy. We are debuted our new CVap RTV Retherm Oven in the Hoodless Cooking category. Hope you had the opportunity to participate!
There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a properly roasted turkey. The skin should have a consistent golden brown hue and a crisp texture that is audible when met with a knife (or a pair of fingers trying to filch a tidbit before it goes to the table). The breast meat should be tender and juicy while the dark meat should be succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating, filling the kitchen with a scent that is tangible and evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.
Brining is an option many cooks exercise though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include salt + sugar + paprika + granulated garlic + granulated onion + peppercorns + water or salt + sugar + aromatics (onion, carrot, celery) + thyme + rosemary + Italian parsley + bay leaves + water. The benefit of brining a turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if the turkey is cooked correctly, brining is unnecessary! In the tests we did for this post, the birds were not brined. Nor were they stuffed. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.
In one test, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8, and we cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.
In another test we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.
An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.
No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!
Mark your calendar! Your opportunity to apply for the 2018 Winston Equipment Award is December 1, 2017!
The award provides ten pieces of Winston Foodservice equipment to a school district in need of improving its school meal kitchen facilities through a competitive grant process.
The winning school district can choose any ten pieces from Winston’s product line of CVap Holding Cabinets, CVap Hold & Serve Drawers, and CVap Retherm Ovens.
Winston works closely with the grant winner to determine needs and assist in the final selection of equipment. Winston also arranges delivery of the equipment to the district. Depending on which models are ordered, it could mean over $50,000 in new equipment for your district!
To apply, you must:
- Be an active SNA director-level member, who has been a member of SNA for at least one year.
- Be the person responsible for directing the school nutrition program for the school district.
How can I apply?
The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) will open the 2018 Winston Equipment Award application process on December 1st, 2017. The deadline for the application is January 15th, or once the first 75 applications have been received (whichever comes first). The application spots usually fill up quickly, so don’t delay in applying!
Want to hit the ground running? Prepare your application ahead of time by downloading the Application Preparation Worksheet. Responses may be copied and pasted from the worksheet into the online application. Visit https://www.schoolnutrition.org/equipmentgrants to learn more.
Best of luck to all of you!
Summer is winding down. The approach of Labor Day marks the time to pack away your summer whites, and is perhaps your last chance to grill out before the leaves turn and a chill returns to the air. Why not try a unique twist on that perennial grill staple, the burger. Aussie Bison Sliders are a much-loved specialty in Australia. They are absolutely bursting with flavor, and can credibly be called a party in your mouth!
The classic Australian burger is composed something like this:
Our version is similar, but we added a couple of twists and advance staged the burgers to make service and assembly a snap:
Mix one quart of Egg Beaters® and pour onto a sprayed ½ sheet pan.
Cook in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 200 + 0 for 20 minutes. Finished product will resemble an egg crepe.
CVap Roasted Beets
Roast whole beets in a CVap Cook/Hold at 200 + 10 for 2 hours with Constant Cook ON, then drop down to 200 + 0 for two hours. After cooking, the beets are to be cooled, peeled and sliced thin.
Cook bacon strips in a CVap Thermalizer at 200 + 100 for 25 minutes, then crumble and set aside for the sauce.
Per pound of ground bison, mix the following ingredients:
1 ¼ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp granulated garlic
Divide bison mixture into 1 oz patties.
Advance stage in a CVap Cook/Hold at 135 + 0 for a minimum of 35 minutes or until you are ready to finish off on grill or flat top.
Small chop a can of pineapple, blend with bacon crumbles, add chopped scallions, and mix with a small amount of sweet Thai chili sauce.
On a sweet Hawaiian bun place a small amount of sauce, slider patty, mild cheddar cheese, egg, beets and serve.
Yum! Yum! Walking down the street and peering into the local cupcake shop, I often wonder, is that a sweet treat or a piece of edible art work? Mouthwatering cupcake shops have popped in every major city and in many small towns. If you want to use your CVap Cook/Hold or Thermalizer to rival the cupcake shops, we can show you how!
Just take your favorite cake recipe and set the Cook/Hold or Thermalizer to the below settings. CVap makes a moist and light cake that will be a hit for any occasion.
With endless variations and recipes for cake, use your favorite recipe. Or if you need a quick and easy cupcake, here is a modified box recipe that I personally love to use:
Take your favorite standard size box mix and use 4 eggs, ¾ cup oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup sour cream and ¾ cup sugar. Mix and bake.
Constant cook ON
Food Temperature 165
Bake at the recommended time listed for your specific cake recipe.
Cook for recommended time and check mid-way through cook cycle
As for icing, buttercream is my favorite. Italian buttercream is made by cooking sugar and only using real butter. Cooking the sugar gives it a smooth texture and the butter gives it a rich flavor. Below is my recipe 🙂
Buttercream Icing Ingredients:
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
- Pinch of salt, optional
*Makes buttercream for 12 cupcakes.
- Combine sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring with a metal spoon, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Increase heat to medium-high and allow syrup to come to a boil.
- Meanwhile, place egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or in a medium bowl if using a handheld mixer, and beat until whites are almost able to hold soft peaks.
- Cook syrup until it reaches 235°F, then immediately remove from heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the bowl with the egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling: don’t pour the syrup onto the whisk, or the syrup may splatter against the sides of the bowl; instead, aim for a spot close to the whisk.
- Once all the syrup has been added, keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch and the meringue has cooled down to body temperature.
- Add butter one cube at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and salt. The mixture may start to look as if it’s separating, but don’t panic: just keep mixing and whipping until the buttercream comes together and becomes smooth and gorgeous.
- Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container or a zipper-lock bag in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to two months. To use buttercream that has either been refrigerated or frozen, first allow to come to room temperature then beat until smooth and spreadable again. Cakes or cupcakes decorated with buttercream generally keep up to 3 days, stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve buttercream at room temperature.
School Nutrition’s Annual National Conference and Exhibit
San Antonio, Texas, is the seventh most populated city in the United States and the dry 100 degree days in July are HOT! It was definitely cooler inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, but the action and learning was just as hot as the south central Texas days outside.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) Annual National Conference pulls members and vendors from all across the U.S. and is likely one of the most fun events you can attend each year as a K-12 professional. We always have a great time and a great theme in the Winston booth. This year we were dedicated to Mission: Possible!
And like always, we dressed, played and had fun with the part!
This may have been one of our most active times at this yearly conference so far. Fans of CVap stopped to learn and have fun in droves.
Everyone enjoyed the Winston “Selfie Station,” nights on the Riverwalk, The Annual Membership, Star Club Breakfast, and so much more.
Honestly I have about a hundred photos and trying to choose which ones to post was not easy! My favorite though, was this shot at the airport as we were all leaving to go home. One of many examples I saw while everyone waited to board their respective flights. Another awesome time at SNA’s ANC with your CVap friends at Winston!
Last Tuesday we had the pleasure of participating in Endeavor – The Louisville Food & Beverage Tour. Endeavor Louisville led 18 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 10 countries on an F&B tour of the city this week, featuring site visits, panels and discussions with Endeavor Louisville board members, as well as other business leaders, involved in the industry. The tour provided an opportunity for these industry icons to deliver firsthand knowledge to Endeavor Entrepreneurs about scaling up, going big, and winning in the industry.
Winston Industries own Chef Barry Yates partnered with Chef Space Louisville’s original kitchen incubator to demonstrate how community leaders can partner to accelerate others ideas. Barry demonstrated CVap Staged New York Strip in the newly equipped Jays 120 space at the west Louisville incubator. CVap staging is a technique that allows QSR operators to drastically reduce service times while maintaining extraordinary food quality. One of the aspects we loved about this event is that guests were able to get an up close and hands on feel for how CVap technology can optimize their kitchen operations. Great food fast every time!
“Winston Industries, building on its entrepreneurial legacy, was a natural partner for the tour,” says Barry Yates, “innovation and ideas are in our DNA.” he continued. Winston Industries has expanded into four different divisions specializing in foodservice, manufacturing, electronics and ventures- to perpetuate our entrepreneurial spirit and to provide the opportunity for others to do the same.
Thank you Endeavor and Chef Space for allowing us to participate in the tour. We’ve already received great feedback from attendees and can’t wait to do more of these events in the future! If you would like to learn more about Winston Industries or have an hands on entrepreneurial experience of your own, schedule your CVap demo and cook with us! Visit our website for more info or call 502.495.5400
The trend of ordering takeout among consumers won’t be going anywhere any time soon. What Americans want from their food is convenience – number one on the list even above price (Washington Post). With longer working hours, social events, childrens’ activities, the hustle and bustle of the everyday life make it hard to sit down in a restaurant or pick up dinner. So the delivery person is now on your speed-dial. The most recent data we have comes from 2013, where 60% of Americans admitted to ordering take out at least once a week (Statista).
From fast casual to top-end restaurants, customers want the option to dine on your food in the comfort of their own homes. They not only want to take your menu home, they expect to get it now.
What’s a restaurant to do?
Beyond the obvious – quality carry-out containers that hold the food’s temperature and separate areas for takeout diners to order food, pay, and wait – a restaurant needs to be able to fill these takeout and delivery orders quickly and efficiently.
That’s where CVap® Staging ability can mean the difference between quick turnaround time (happy, repeat customer) and slow service (frustrated, hungry customer). If your side dishes are ready to go, and your proteins just need a quick sear to get the main course ready for carry out, you can let your carryout and delivery customers order and then receive their food in rapid succession. This means getting them in and out faster, so they can dine in the manner they wish.
The CVap® Staging technique allows you prepare the protein in the same way you normally would (seasoning, marinade, etc.) and then place it in a CVap oven, which has been set to the appropriate levels of temperature and texture. Once the protein has reached the doneness levels desired, it can hold at that temperature until your customer orders. It can then go to the next stage in the cooking process: searing, grilling, etc. This gets the order finished much faster than the traditional means of cooking to order without compromising on quality or taste.
Take advantage of this latest dining trend by offering takeout meals. And let CVap® Staging help you make them the best meals your customer has ever had. And things won’t be slowing down anytime soon! The next big thing is online food ordering, which is already a big hit among the younger generation.
A brief history of a continuing school tradition in America
In 1909 in Ventura, Calif., teacher Zilda M. Rogers wrote to the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of California, Berkeley, then, a primary proponent and provider of garden education resources for schoolteachers. “With the love of the school garden has grown the desire for a home garden and some of their plots at home are very good…Since commencing the garden work the children have become better companions and friends…and to feel that there is a right way of doing everything…it is our garden…We try to carry that spirit into our schoolroom.”
School gardens have been around in Europe with the earliest records dated to 1811. It wasn’t until recently that their nationwide resurgence in the U.S. has become much more prevalent. My good friend and kitchen manager of Baker Place Elementary in Columbia County Georgia took it upon herself to get her students involved. She is loved by everyone at that school. I stopped by to see her shortly after she started this colorful start to her garden.
There is so much kids can learn from school gardens. From proper clothing to harvesting and finally being able to taste what they grew on their own school lunch lines!
One of my favorite blogs, “Ideas in Food,” created by Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozowa is about allowing your imagination to look at new and creative ways of using food. But they never fail to look at what is obvious. Their daughter Amaya has been growing food with her friends at school.
Look at these lovely lettuces she was able to bring home and show to Mom and Dad.
I’ve noticed the CVap blog is pretty bereft of vegetable preparation and is almost exclusively about the CVap Cook/Hold oven. I decided that my next blog post would feature the CAT Thermalizer Oven instead! I also wanted to see how some of my favorite vegetable dishes would work using CVap.
I decided to test three vegetable dishes: Roasted Broccoli Florets, Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Baby Carrots. All of these veggies I have prepared in a convection oven at 425°F. Since the CVap oven only goes to 350°F I had a couple of things to consider when converting these items to CVap preparation.
I am amazed at the difference that roasting vegetables makes to kids. My daughter has always turned her nose up to broccoli no matter how many ways I have prepared it. Roasting it made all the difference.
I did three different preparations, all of them very simple and all done on Channel 5 on the CAT Thermalizer oven. This setting has a 130°F water temperature and a 350°F air temperature. This high differential allows for the greatest browning potential. I did the following items:
Baby carrots with honey and cajun spice. First, toss the carrots in a bowl with honey and Cajun spice to taste. These take 20 minutes total cook time.
Broccoli tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 18 minutes in the oven I pulled the trays out and sprinkled them with grated parmesan cheese. I placed them back in the oven for 2 minutes, and then drizzled lemon juice over the top after they came out.
Cauliflower with plain yogurt and red curry paste.Toss the cauliflower florets in the yogurt with the red curry paste then add salt and pepper. This takes about 25 minutes total cook time.
Since schools are looking to increase the amount of fresh vegetables that are included in their lunches this is a perfect way to make use of equipment that is normally used to cook pizzas and breaded chicken products to make something from scratch that is very easy and healthy!
The CVap Low Power Thermalizer Oven CA8522 has powerful heaters to quickly retherm foods to serving temperature, then hold them at optimal quality. Its 22 cu. ft.(.66 cu. M) capacity is well-suited for schools, hospitals, or any other high volume operation. The 8-channel pre-programmed and programmable control stores your favorite recipes. Fourteen adjustable universal wire rack supports hold 14 sheet pans or 28 steam table pans. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills, and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. A built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Sits on rugged 3″ (76mm) casters for easy mobility.
The CVap Low Power Thermalizer Oven CA8509 is a workhorse, in half the space of a full size cabinet. The powerful heaters quickly retherm foods to serving temperature, while maintaining food quality. It’s perfect for schools and cafeterias, where speed and food quality are priorities. The CA8509 has an 8-channel pre-programmed and programmable control to store your favorite recipes. Five adjustable rack supports hold five sheet pans or ten steam table pans. A built-in fan circulates air to maintain consistent temperatures. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your fast paced kitchen. Sits on rugged 3″ (76mm) casters for easy mobility.
When you were a kid in school you probably didn’t give much thought to learning about your future career from lunch ladies-which by the way now includes lunch men and even chefs! And I’d be willing to bet that your school district didn’t have a culinary program either. Times have changed.
This is Culinary Specialist Chef Ron Jones with Esteban Gonzales of the student-driven taco recipe team at Greenville County School District, GCSD.
I recently returned from another stop on the School Nutrition Guru world tour and I’ve got to tell you they just rocked the cafeteria at Mauldin Middle in Upstate South Carolina at Greenville County Schools.
The day started with a visit to GCSD Nutrition offices, where I saw a familiar sight when I walked into Director Joe Urban’s office. He’s a true media wiz and grabs pics and video whenever he can that show the pride he has in this awesome district.
Then we drove to Mauldin Middle to meet the student team that had the winning recipe in the district. I felt fortunate I was able to spend some time with them. From left to right: Hunter Criswell, Esteban Gonzalez, SND Joe Urban, and Michael Harmon.
The first thing the team checked were the conversions to school level preparation of the taco ingredients. As an example, the student design team’s original taco featured red onions pickled in red wine vinegar. The school version switched to white vinegar.
Then the first taste test by the team. They agreed the tacos needed a replacement tortilla and a change was made and tested once more. Then on to the lunch rush!
This is the amazing, energetic Vicki Thompson, Cafeteria Manager at Mauldin Middle. Just ahead of lunch each day she holds a pep rally with her team right before the bell. It’s incredible to watch. She has a constant smile and she and the staff LOVE their students!!
This next part was really cool! Chef Ron grabbed the recipe team members and had them help build a balanced complete tray as it might look when the tacos will be added to the GCSD menu cycle.
Word gets around fast when just one kid says “free tacos!” The open hands below didn’t hear about it until they got to their tables with their trays which they promptly left to come back for a sample.
Why not become a friend and fan of Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services Facebook page? You’ll see trends being set and breakthroughs happening. Just recently GCSD made the top ten list on the Food Research and Action Center’s 2016 Scorecard!! It’s not just about School Lunch, read about #schoolbreakfast too!!
You can also watch a short video about Greenville County SC’s newest addition to their lunch menu.