January 30, 2013 |

2010 March: Ask Chef Jeff

By Jeffrey Freehof

Q: We added Alfredo to our pasta sauce lineup, and it has been well received. But, sometimes throughout the week it curdles, sours or even gets discolored. Is there something we’re doing wrong?




A: I’m sure you’re going through more on the weekends than during the week. When a sauce breaks or discolors, that usually means it was held in a steam table at too high of a temperature. If your sauce is just starting to break and hasn’t soured, you can save it by whisking in some cream. Heat and hold smaller batches during the week. Consider portioning the sauce in microwavable cups and heat to order during the week.

I saw round olive fritters at International Pizza Expo once and thought they’d be good on my menu, but can’t find them. I saw on your restaurant’s Web site that you sell them. Can you tell me where to get them?

I used to buy them, but then decided to make my own. I mix cheddar cheese spread and cream cheese with chopped black and Kalamata olives, Parmesan cheese and garlic. With a tiny ice cream scoop I portion little balls and freeze them. Then I double bread them and keep them frozen and ready to fry.

I have always donated to just about anybody who walks through my doors asking, but with lower sales than average and more people than ever asking for donations, I feel like I can’t keep giving to everyone. How do I say “no”?

The best thing you can do is decide how much your business can afford to donate each year and create a monthly budget. When the funds are gone, you simply explain that to the person requesting a donation. You should also weed out those who are not a good cause. Another way to say yes to more folks is to lower the amount you donate. If you used to give a $15 gift certificate, lower it to $10. That will stretch things out a bit.

I have a customer that calls for delivery once a week and complains about something missing or made wrong every time. We usually send a driver out with a replacement even though we always make it right the first time. How do I get this nag off my back?

Open your eyes and realize you are getting scammed every time you send your driver back there with a replacement. As operators, we need every customer and every dollar, but we can’t let people take advantage of us like that. Send them a professional letter in the mail explaining “that you strive to please everyone every time. Since we can’t ever seem to please you, we will respect your decision to dine elsewhere. If you choose to continue to order with us, we will do our best but will no longer be able to remake any food for you.” The bottom line is, you won’t really have to worry about them any more. ?

Jeffrey Freehof, owner of The Garlic Clove in Evans, Georgia, is Pizza Today’s resident expert. Send your questions to: Ask Chef Jeff, c/o Pizza Today, 908 South Eighth Street, Suite 200, Louisville, Kentucky, 40203.