Is It Really Your Own Recipe?

Double Chili Cheeseburger
2006/03/02 10:04:59
Increasingly, the coleslaw at Diner #1 tastes like the coleslaw at Luncheonette #4; the burgers at Restaurant #6 taste just like the burgers at Café #9. And, “Hey, Jack, you know, your chicken salad tastes just like Ernie’s?” Etc. Etc.

It seems to be the way now. Food service companies, large and small, can prepare and deliver numerous items to restaurants for what is often a lower price than if the restaurateur prepared it from scratch. It’s becoming an economic reality.

What percentage of the food served in your restaurant is actually created on premises?
The Bear
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/02 10:48:32
I now only do catering now but we offer sausages at two price points...we make them w/ our "organic" (much too long a story for here about what has happened to the term organic lately) pork or purchased sausages. Basically our oun sausage is four times the cost of the purchased but ten times better in taste. Most of our customers go for our sausage. All other meats are sourced locally. We buy allot of our meat from the local Work U, Warren Wilson College.

Bread-We bake our own in a wood fired oven. No choice on this one...this all we offer.

Salads-we usually buy the greens from a local farmer. Greens are just too much trouble to grow for a catering business.

Coleslaw...Ah, my wife's speciality. I wouldn't even consider buying this item. She has five main recipes and they are all great. Mayo slaw, red slaw, bacon slaw, two cabbage slaw, and sour cram slaw...makes my mouth water just to type it.

I'm fortunate in that I don't have to set a table everyday anymore. We charge a premium price and supply a premium product. If we can make it we do. For some customers we even make the mayo.

Our mid summer heirloom tomato tasting always has homemade mayo. Our oyster roast uses bought dressings as I feel if you're going to put anything on a freshly roasted or raw oyster your tastebuds are challenged anyway.

RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/02 10:54:59
90%,i don't batter my fish,talapia,catfish,haddock,the product i get is fantistic,since i'm a bbq i don't feel compelled to do so. some desserts i get but they also are incredible.the bbq is all scratch,except for the baked beans which i buy canned,then kick them up 20 notches.
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/02 16:54:25
neat topic!!!!!
here's my buy break out tomatoes,lettuce and fruit for garnish,pillsbury frozen biscuits and white gravy mix(but i don't use water and sub heavy cream on that) and bread.
ok here's the stuff i make rubs(beef,pork and chicken),sauces (all 4 types) of course the brisket,picnics,ribs and chicken are smoked and not bag bought (take that sonny's with your bag o' pulled pork) brisket on a biscuit is cooked and seasoned with my stuff. the beans are my recipe but the baked beans,kidney beans and butter beans used in them are canned. the cornbread that goes with the beans are homemade batter(nice being married to an old southern girl) and biscuits and cornbread are baked in my fec100 smoker on site.
again neat topic and it really made me think
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/02 18:27:48
99.9% of our finished food is produced in our kitchen. It could be 100%, but the owners have a fondness for a frozen scone product that we bake off after defrosting. It makes me sad; we could, and have, made far better ones from scratch. If we are catering a very large event and are too busy, we might order French dinner rolls from a very good local bakery, otherwise, I make our breads. As far as potato salad, cole slaw, etc. we always do our own. We smoke our own salmon and meats and make sausage sometimes. Of course, our price reflects our efforts. Screanbear, you're right, it is more often than not less expensive to order industrial products, but fortunately our customers appreciate the quality enough to pay for it. This is a catering only company, that is different, but the last 2 places I ran were restaurants and we still made 99% of everything. The most recent place I made all of our hamburger buns, focaccia, challah and even pickles. We tried our own ketchup, but people wanted Heinz. Heinz was better!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/02 22:04:37
I think I need to add, I do not have a problem using canned beans, frozen corn, peas, berries and citrus juices, mayonnaise, canned tomatoes, canned chiles, canned Italian tomatoes, that sort of thing, to make an in house finished product. There is no way in the world we could do without those and many other quality pantry items that we would be crazy to try to do from scratch, especially out of season. We just try to avoid using pre-fab food to heat and serve.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/03 10:10:15
I agree w/ Zataar about canned items. Tomatoes in January are tasteless and hard as a rock. We also have a farm which means we can a large quantity of goods each year (we used to have a CSA farm but gave that up when the PETA nuts joined/attacked us)

We can twenty to forty cases of asparagus as "dilly beans" each year. Great app and we sell half of each year's production to folks after the party. We raise about 4,000 pounds of asparagus a year but you have to cut it each day. Thursday though Saturday the cuttings go to the market but the rest of the days get canned.

We also can a mix of whatever is left in the garden at the end of the season...beans, corn, tomatoes, okra, squash, onions, and potatoes as a base for a soup/stew as a side item. Brown off some of our chicken and add it to the base and happy campers are born at an event.
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/04 17:28:25
Being a high voulme location with scattered stations we, believe it or not, produce about 75% of our menu mix from scratch. No pre-breaded chicken or fish. We cut our own beef tips, trim our own loins and shuck our own corn on the cob.

Some things I do bite on for instance I purchased a very good Olive Salad from New Orleans for a Muffaletta special I ran last week for Fat Tuesday as well as the round, seeded Italian Bread. This product is just that good. Also, canned green beans as I have found make the best southern style green beans.

Although our kitchen is very small (imagine preparing 100lbs of greens without a steam kettle and in 2 rondues with only 4 eyes..ugh)and a very small staff I have had to make some considerations on our bakery program i.e. proof and bake rolls, boxed cake mixes and frozen cookie doughs.

And yes..we even make our Ranch Dressing from scratch.

Very good topic indeed.

RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/04 20:47:32
great to see another person who cans for themselves. even though all we do is the waterbath method for our sauces for me it is a very relaxing almost zen like endevour. on the dilly beans are those pressure canned or is your acidity high enough to just water bath? not looking for a recipe just curiuos and if i am being too nosy a polite buzz off will suffice
doing my own bread is next on my to do list. since we do not currently have even a small kitchen aide the kneading will be by hand. even though we do bbq the smoker i chose can hit 450f in about 25 mins. funny part is when it runs that hot there is no smoke taste or even aroma. just something i gotta do had some smoked brisket on my pumpernickle bread and have mulled the idea over and next weekend is the big try
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/04 20:58:23
Just a thought for you folks who may on occasion use purchased product(s). Does HFCS as a potential ingredient in some / all of these trigger an alarm from you? IMO, it would for me.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/05 00:39:06
Hello All,
Just a customer here...
We have a local Indian restaurant where if you get at the right angle at the bar, you can see
the owner/cook/chef, let's give due, chef, making the food. Certainly, he is using some canned
products, though very few, but you can see him add the spices, stirring and flipping or whatever
is needed as far as action to the food. Sweating his soul into the food. He creates the food,
whether there is canned or fresh ingredients.
We also have another place that makes their own buns for their fresh, hand-molded hamburgers.
The buns are so unique, adding a flavour to the meat that is beyond delight.
We have a pizza place that makes a beer-battered dough that enchants the tastebuds.
I cherish these places for their uniqueness and quality.
Take Care,
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/06 15:22:29
Prison Chef,
No problem w/ any questions. I generally use the Ball Blue book for all my canning recipes. At leats 95% anyway. Dilly beans is an easy google search and we do it as a pressure can since it is a low acid.

Our soup mix also is done as a pressure can since it is border line on the acid. Jams we do in a French confiture pans. one I lugged back from the other side of the pond and another one I got at Pier One for five bucks. Same pan but one cost me twenty times as much as the other. We put up ten to twenty cases each of strawberry jam, peach jam and wild blackberry jam each season. Big Lots loves to see me coming each spring.

I have three large Presto canners that I use. One came from my Mother and the other two cost next to nothing at flea markets. The local extension agent will test the pressure gauges for free (here anyway) and the new gaskets are pretty cheap.

RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/06 22:48:46
thanks!! the blue book has been my bible ever since my wife agreed to let me help her can years ago. the jams brought up a good memory for me. in 1968 they were going to move my grandmothers house i was 17 at the time. i had to clean out and pack everything in her basement. i came across some of the prettiest cherry preserves i had ever seen hidden in what was the coal bin (ok so i am old) any way i popped the lid and peeled back the perrifine and started eatting. good stuff!!! to date still the best i ever tasted. any way long story short my grandmother had a fit. she put them up during ww2 and sure enough one jar had a date of 1941!! dude they were good but she was so afraid that i would get sick she ate some just in case i did so my mom wouldn't get mad!! sorry just had to share that good memory
Junior Burger
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/07 09:01:13
This topic is the reason we opened a restaurant in NYC. Too much premade food is heated and served or just served. Or pizza, or sushi. Or frozen desserts served as homemade. Or it's is the fancy professional chef food, not JUST GOOD FOOD. We ONLY serve made from scratch home cooking. If we don't make it, we don't serve it (OR BUY IT). It's an upwards, constant struggle, but we're slowly making a name for ourselves in the city. Our niche is Cajun and BBQ, with a Southern stream through it.
RE: Is It Really Your Own Recipe? 2006/03/08 08:56:54
Sysco can be a huge staple in many restaurants, or any other purveyor. For those too lazy to make their own, it is a quick fix for many items on the menu.(and a cheap fix)-
I know one guy who uses most Syscom items for his early bird menu items.