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As a foodservice professional, you keep one eye on the prep station and one on the trash. You train your staff to understand the importance of minimizing waste and maximizing profits. Controlling food costs is always one of your restaurant’s top priorities.
This aspect of running a commercial kitchen has taken a surprisingly creative turn. Chefs across the country continue to elevate root to stalk cooking from industry trend to daily routine. Scraps and trims are finally being recognized as real assets with all kinds of delicious possibilities. They also help hold down your bottom line.
Root to Stem: 5 Ideas for Taming Food Costs
Your culinary imagination is one of the most valuable ingredients in your personal inventory of professional skills. It keeps menus fresh and keeps customers coming back. Apply that talent to stems, stalks, leaves and tops, and you have a recipe for turning leftovers into profits. We offer these five ideas for developing successful root to stalk cooking strategies in your restaurant’s kitchen.
1. Forage the Source for Inspiration
As well as you know your vegetables, an established grower is an invaluable source for edible information. Small and large operations all have detailed familiarity with everything they grow. Talk with different produce suppliers, and get their input on what should or shouldn’t be a part of root to stalk cooking. These are professionals who take pride in their produce and want you to get the most from their products.
2. Audition Your Good Taste In-House
Do you see flavor potential in those chard stems that usually hit the trash? Mix them into a creamy potato gratin for extra flavor depth and texture. Does a dash of bitter bring out the best in your salsa verde? Add finely chopped carrot or celery leaves. Trust your taste as you work on original root to stem recipes, and audition new creations with back and front of house staff. Let everyone know that you want honest critiques.
3. Confirm Cost-Effective Techniques
When you use a vegetable from root to stem, the kitchen saves money. When you figure in extra prep time for trimming, chopping and shredding, you fine-tune food costs. Not every technique results in budget-friendly ingredients. As you develop whole-vegetable ideas, keep a close eye on the process so that you can gauge an accurate return on your investment in both product and time.
4. Work With Premium Produce
Premium vegetables such as romaine hearts deliver everything you expect in produce for your restaurant: fresh taste, quality appearance and dependable shelf life. By sourcing premium produce, you make sure that what were once prep castoffs now have new potential as unique ingredients. From peeled and shredded broccoli stalks in salads to watermelon rinds pickled in balsamic vinegar, you can count on yields that hold down costs because you’re working with the best.
5. Celebrate Your Culinary Creativity
Size up a vegetable from its very top to bottom. Consider its roots, stalk, leaves and core. Enjoy the freedom of innovation that comes from cooking with every component of your favorite produce. Celebrate your creativity in the kitchen by pounding roots into pesto and grilling stems as sides. Oven-dry citrus peel for seasonings, fry potato skins as appetizers, and simmer onion crowns into soups.
Delivering Premium Produce and Great Ideas
Why fuss with exotic ingredients when you can generate new interest in familiar favorites? Root to stem options let you cook up all kinds of fresh inspiration. Impress customers with your creativity, and score winning points with improved numbers on your bottom line.
Sustainability has always been a key part our foundation as a leader among California produce companies. Here at Hitchcock Farms, we practice the principles of not wasting and not wanting every day. From our fields to your tables, we deliver premium produce and great ideas that help you make the most of your foodservice operations.