Designing Your Menu: Avoid Frozen Food

When I’m not typing away some of the poignant words on this blog for One Fat Frog, I spend a good amount of time watching famous cooking reality shows. I do this because I can’t cook, so watching these shows makes me feel better about not trying because they’re so awesome, but that’s not my point here. And every now and then, you seem familiar faces on one (see our appearance at the top of the blog). One of my favorites of all is “Kitchen Nightmares,” hosted by the loveable and cuddly Gordan Ramsey. One of the things that gets him steamed the most is when restauranteurs are not honest on their menus.

What does this mean? Well, in one episode I recently watched (I’ve recently gotten into this show in the last couple of months), Chef Ramsey stumbled upon a little bistro that claimed to have all fresh food. Well, if fresh means it comes from a plastic bag that had been sitting in a freezer all day, then yes, it was fresh. But really, no it isn’t because any chef worth his salt (and I’m not a chef…see above statement about me cooking) knows that frozen food and fresh food are not the same.

Now, ideally, with the exception of certain items, you want to avoid using anything that’s frozen. In fact, it’s better not to use frozen foods. They give off an illusion that they’re cheaper, but the truth is it doesn’t translate to sales. Customers want to buy fresh food. It might cost you a bit more to purchase at the beginning, but customers don’t mind paying a bit more if they know that the food literally just came in that week. Plus, fresh food also cuts down on overall food costs because it requires less packaging and storage, and if you buy locally (which is even better!), there is less distance to travel, which also lowers food costs.

Plus, most people understand that, even with all the modern technology and the ability to ship food quicker and easier than ever, that sometimes you have to keep certain items in a freezer. Just don’t tell them it’s not from the freezer! Think about those exotic burger joints that have kangaroo burgers. You think that can’t travel across the Pacific without keeping it extra cold? Of course not! Also, this is another area to practice the FIFO rule. FIFO (First In, First Out) is for the sake of food freshness. If you get some frozen bread in on Monday, and another load in on Thursday, use all of Monday’s bread first. That way, it doesn’t get freezer burned and you avoid something really bad.

Again, Chef Ramsey and most don’t want frozen food, so avoid it when you can. Even with my exotic meat example, it’s tricky. But, if you must, then you must. Just don’t lie about it! Or you’ll get an angry Scotsman shouting you down in your kitchen! In the mean time, as you’re designing your menu, don’t forget to swing by One Fat Frog and find out about all the used equipment you can get for your kitchen.

One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment

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