Anyone can pile food on a plate. The real question is this: what works best to make customers want to order a dish? According to Chef Charlie Palmer of Charlie Palmer Steak in New York City, nothing beats white china for plating dishes. "When you use a bright white plate, the food really stands out, its colors seem more vibrant, and it makes the food more appealing," he told Food Today. Todd English, founder of Todd English Enterprises and chef-owner of restaurants including Figs and Olives and Ca Va Brasserie in New York City, adds another piece of wisdom for inventive plating. “One thing you do not want to do when plating is to add garnish just for color," he says. "You must take into consideration the balance and texture of each ingredient and how it plays into the composition of the plate." Susur Lee, chef-owner of Toronto’s Lee, Bent and Luckee, Singapore’s TungLok Heen, and the upcoming Lee Kitchen at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, compares the art of plating to art itself. "I like putting dishes on top of burnt parchment paper or large edible foliage, such as perilla or maple leaves," he notes. "To ‘burn’ the paper, heat up a dry frying pan and put your dry parchment paper in until it starts to brown," Lee advises, adding that different shapes can be used as a presentation.” Finally, there is the advice that simplicity is always beautiful. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that your primary focus should be the quality of your ingredients and execution of your technique used in cooking.” Finally, there is the plating advice of Thomas Keller, chef and owner of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, which includes the French Laundry in Yountville, California, and Per Se in New York City. "Simplicity is always beautiful," he says. "One thing to keep in mind, though, is that your primary focus should be the quality of your ingredients and execution of your technique used in cooking.” That, in essence, is the best advice of all.
Restaurants On Slow Growth
If the Chicago area is any indicator of the rest of the country, restaurant growth is slow and uneven, reports chicagobusiness.com. While the downtown area is booming with great food and cutting-edge chefs, the six counties surrounding the city are showing sluggish growth. According to NPD research, consumers have yet to emerge from the late recession on a psychological level and they continue to watch their spending. According to NPD, the only bright spot is the growth among national chain eateries, up some 16% since 2005.
Gulf Restoration Includes Millions For Oyster Beds
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as the Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill recently announced a 44-project Gulf restoration plan totaling an estimated $627 million. The projects involves Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida and will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds, an important step in fully restoring the region's strong maritime industry.
Adding Wi-Fi To Your Restaurant
Installing Wi-Fi in your business will certainly make customers happy and can help you introduce electronic ordering, QSRWeb says. But, a word of caution. A poorly deployed Wi-Fi install with no real policy in place could actually be worse than no Wi-Fi at all. Before you make a decision, be honest with yourself. Do you have the right skills to install and maintain a Wi-Fi system or are you willing to pay to have it done and maintained? Also, do you want to dedicate time to your business or to the network? If the answer to these questions is yes, then maybe you are ready to make the commitment necessary to run a successful in-house Wi-Fi network. If you are, buckle your seat belt for a wild ride, some experts predict, because the younger generation of customers are rapidly coming to see Wi-Fi as a given, not a gift, when it comes to a night out, and a slow Internet is like a slow car, you get out of it as soon as you can.
Millennials Ranks Thin Out In Restaurants
NDP's Bonnie Riggs has been studying restaurant traffic for 30 years. Recently, she talked to Restaurants News about recent trends and Millennials. The good news is Millennials will soon outnumber Boomers. The bad news is Millennials are dining out far less than they did before the Great Recession, a sure sign that the under-25 crowd has been hit hard by the struggling economy. So what does Riggs advise restaurateurs to do to protect and grow their business? Get a good website, because that is where younger diners look first for a new place to eat. They also like to takeout online far more frequently than letting their fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages. Also, don't forget the Boomers. They are the consumers who are actually helping restaurants stay afloat by keeping their doors open.
Time To Roll Out Those Pumpkin Recipes
With the dawn of fall, and Halloween two weeks away, it's time to break out those pumpkin recipes, from the ubiquitous pumpkin lattes and donuts to soups, pies, specialty drinks, and even entrees, such as pumpkin seafood risotto. Why bother? Industry observers are forever challenging restaurants to separate themselves from the crowd through creative menus. Then too, Halloween happens to be America's second biggest holiday in terms of dollars spent. Why not have some of those dollars spent right in your place of business. All it takes is a little innovation and a whole lot of pumpkin!
Don't Overdo The Small Plate Trend
Sure, customers don't expect piles of food like the fabled good ol’ days. Today's diners like to try something new, which has given way to the nibble, small-plate phenomenon. But according to The Washington Post, enough is enough when the waiter has to rattle on with a laundry list of small dishes to write a book. Talk about menu confusion. Then comes the food itself, a minimum of three to four plates per diner. According to the Post, diners are getting a bit tired of all the choices. Better to scale back, improve quality and service, and maybe even add some specials back onto a more manageable menu. You might be surprised at the reception.