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"Chain" Food


markk
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I had been thinking about this even before the story broke about Thomas Keller using Sysco frozen French Fries at his Bouchon restaurants. I know a couple of independent restaurants who use the very same prepared foods from Sysco (and for the same reasons that Keller gives: quality, consistency, convenience). So what we're perhaps thinking is "homemade" at the mom and pop, and even upper-scale independent restaurants may be the same 'prepared in a central kitchen somewhere and packaged and frozen and trucked everywhere' food components that we assume are part of the horrors of chain and fastfood restaurants.

Does anybody have any experience with this? Has anybody spotted this in what they eat? (Okay, the bathrooms stocked completely with Sysco hand soap and paper products may be a give away even before you taste it in the food!) And do any restaurant insiders have tales to tell?

Are they making anything from scratch at the non chain restaurants either? Are we eating Sysco-made foods no matter where we eat?

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Convenences like those fries,(which are good, we used them at Brasserie Jo in Chicago) as well as premade fresh pastas, frozen "fresh" bread dough, etc are quite common especially in areas where the labor pool is unskilled. I must say that in my kitchen, we make everything, the breads, pastas, desserts, eventually the mozz, because its what we are about. Its alot more work, and constantly training new cooks while maintaining a high level of consistency is tough.

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It's probably more prevalent than you think; especially in the resort/hotel end of things.

Nice avatar, Tim. Although Sylvia Plath wasn't a food writer.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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