In The Kitchen

2011 April: SOURCING FRESH INGREDIENTS

2011 April: SOURCING FRESH INGREDIENTS

When Chris and Kate Saville opened The Flatz Company in Wyckoff, New Jersey, about a year ago, they knew they wanted to use fresh ingredients. They just didn’t know where to find them. “It took a lot of trial and error and calling people,” says Chris, who is from England and did not have foodserviceMore »

2011 April: I CRY FOR YOU

2011 April: I CRY FOR YOU

While there are many varieties of onions, the four types most commonly used in just about every restaurant are: yellow, Spanish, red and scallions (also know as green onions). When we get into fine-dining restaurants, however, the usage expands to include more exotic onions such as Maui sweet, Vidalia, Walla Walla, cippoline, pearl, shallots andMore »

2011 April: Ground Days

2011 April: Ground Days

Good, old-fashioned hamburger has adorned pizza across America for decades now. Using ground beef is simple, but bear in mind that there are different levels of leanness to consider when purchasing the ingredient. The leaner you go, the more expensive it gets. It’s important to figure out how to cross-utilize all the ingredients on yourMore »

2011 March: Seafood Pasta – Fruits of the Sea

2011 March: Fruits of the Sea

Frank McCarron, general manager/ chef at Portino’s Fresh Italian in Valley Center, California, wanted to freshen up his menu. So he decided not to introduce a new type of pizza, but instead opted to incorporate seafood pasta specials. “Seafood pasta spices up the menu and offers variety for customers,” says McCarron. At Portino’s, seafood pastaMore »

2011 March: Spicy Alternative

2011 March: Spicy Alternative

What exactly is soppressata? In a nutshell, it’s a form of dry- cured salami. A specialty of southern Italy, it is traditionally made using pork (beef is used on occasion). The basic seasonings include cracked red pepper and garlic. Depending on who is making it, some versions are hotter than others (in other words, moreMore »

2011 March: My Bad

2011 March: My Bad

We all make mistakes (ever forgot a birthday or anniversary?). Usually we can make amends in some fashion (roses? dinner out?) and life goes on. In the business we are in, mistakes can cause a deeper problem –– like a customer not coming back –– so we strive to get it right the first timeMore »

Artichokes: All Choked Up

2011 March: All Choked Up

Sure, pepperoni, onions and mushrooms will always be beloved pizza toppings. But as patrons’ palates evolve, so does their desire for trendy toppings. Filling this of-the-moment-ingredient spot is the artichoke. The artichoke is a member of the thistle or sunflower family. While it is a formidable plant to tackle, the edible “heart” provides a nutty,More »

2011 March: Dough Doctor

2011 March: Dough Doctor

From time to time, I get questions from operators wanting to know what the secret is to making a decent thin-crust or thick-crust pizza. To answer this question, I’d like to share some tips for making both thin- and thick-crust pizzas. Thick-crust pizzas always seem to be a bit problematic for those who haven’t madeMore »

2011 March: Keep it Neat

2011 March: Keep it Neat

A neat, clean and organized kitchen is always a happy kitchen. Life in our pizzerias can be hectic. When compared to other restaurants, I think we put out a larger menu with a much smaller space, for the most part. It creates a lot of work and a lot of prep –– all in tightMore »