Soup and Sandwich: The Ultimate Comfort Combo

On a cold day, a bowl of soup warms us from the inside out. Thick chowders rich with seafood, silky bisques with tomato or lobster, a savory pho or ramen—soup is the ultimate in comfort food. Although they can be light or hearty, soups are always satisfying, especially when paired with a favorite sandwich. Classic couplings like grilled cheese with tomato soup call out for modern reinventions, such as a grilled pimento and cheese sandwich with tasso ham, partnered with a gumbo-style chicken and vegetable soup.

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How To: Temper Chocolate

Tempering Chocolate

Basic Tempering Principles

The process of tempering chocolate involves incorporating a small amount, typically 2-4%, of solid, stable cocoa butter crystals into melted chocolate. Cocoa butter is capable of solidifying into several different polymorphic forms that, as they cool and set, affect the surface finish, setting time, snap, and mouthfeel of the chocolate. It is important that the cocoa butter crystals in tempered chocolate exist in the correct polymorphic form; we call these stable cocoa butter crystals. The objective in tempering is to arrange the physical “packing” of stable cocoa butter crystals in the right number and size.

The three critical variables that affect the type, size, and number of cocoa butter crystals being formed during chocolate tempering are: temperature, time, and agitation.

  1. Temperature – critical because cocoa butter crystals both form and melt at specific temperatures.
  2. Time – necessary for cocoa butter crystals to form and grow.
  3. Agitation – needed to ensure the cocoa butter crystals are well distributed within the melted chocolate and to prevent their premature growth.

Stable cocoa butter crystals will provide the following properties:

  1. Snap
  2. Gloss
  3. Proper texture
  4. Bloom resistance
  5. Good contraction for moulding
Chocolate is in temper when 2-4% of the cocoa butter is in the stable crystal form.

It is important to provide conditions that grow “good” fat crystals and minimize “bad” fat crystals.

There are four to six different forms cocoa butter crystals assume and each has a unique melting point, set of characteristics, and stability point.

  1. Gamma – exists in this form for only a few seconds before transforming into Alpha
  2. Alpha – melts between 50-75° F (not stable)
  3. Beta I – melts between 60-83° F (not stable)
  4. Beta – melts between 64-94° F (stable)
wilbur tempered vs untempered chocolate
Understanding Proper Chocolate Temper

Properly tempered chocolate will have the following characteristics:

•Shiny/glossy surface
•Even color
•Good snap
•Smooth texture
•Good contraction
•No bloom

Improperly tempered chocolate will have the following characteristics:

•Dull finish
•Fat bloom
•Soft uneven texture
•Poor contraction
•Poor snap
Testing Temper

Manual Method

To check if chocolate is in good temper, dip a metal spatula or knife blade into chocolate and leave a small film on the blade. If the chocolate is firm and not tacky after five minutes at normal room temperature (68° F), it is in good temper. If it is still tacky, place the chocolate chunks back in the bowl and cool about 2° F. Repeat test until tempered.

Using a Tempermeter

The degree of tempering, indicating the quality of stable crystals that have been formed, can be measured by means of a tempermeter. 
A tempermeter produces a temper curve that is a temperature-versus-time curve resulting from uniform cooling of the chocolate sample over a specified period of time.
The slope of the temper curve provides a quantitative means of interpreting the amount of heat of crystallization (latent heat) produced during the cooling of the test sample.

A negative slope indicates over-tempered chocolate and a positive slope indicates under-tempered chocolate.
Wilbur Products at BFS

Why You Should Take Portion Control Seriously

salad portions

Quality control is critical to any restaurant operation, but proper quality control requires a lot of thought as to how it is accomplished. You must factor in labor cost, skill of the person doing the portioning, the equipment being used, and so much more.
Portion control, in theory, provides the operator with consistency, and consistency would seem to result in standards that your customers would appreciate, as well as food costs that always meet your budget.

However, portion control may not be that simple. Portion control as we know it means we put everything into a portion bag and believe it will be consistent all the time.

But, here are a few questions to consider:

  • How much labor goes into the portioning of all these products?
  • Is your executive chef doing the portioning? If not, how consistent are the weights of the portions? Is the scale accurate?
  • Are the dates on the portion bags accurate and what is the shelf life?
  • Are you rotating your portions?
  • Do the products going into portion bags deteriorate because they should not be in plastic?

The answers to these questions could help you determine whether you need to review your methods of portion control. The key is to evaluate your menu and all the products that go into it.

To do this properly, you need an analysis of each item. For example, is it worth buying a 40-pound block of cheddar, shredding it, portioning it, cleaning the equipment, and paying for the labor associated with it? Or, should you be buying shredded cheddar and using a utensil like a spoodle to give you a consistent portioned weight every time? The answer depends on how you are using shredded cheddar and whether it can be distributed in a more profitable manner.

Portion cups and portion spoons have been in kitchens for many years. They are a critical element of portion control and are still used in every kitchen for recipes. Essentially, anything can be used as a portion device. You simply have to find the right vessel and make sure when filled to the top, it weighs what you have allocated in your recipe. By doing the work up front and training your staff accordingly, you will save money.

Another great portion control utensil is a scoop. Using the right sized scoop that is color-coded will provide great portion control, as well as speed of service. Surely, you can portion your tuna salad and other similar items into plastic soufflés to ensure portion control. But, you need to consider how much is left in the soufflé? How much labor was used? What was the cost of the soufflé?

You also need to be sure that the utensils that your staff members are using are working well and that you have back-ups. Your staff can’t follow the guidelines if they do not have the proper tools.

Deli meats and cheeses are items that in many cases should be sliced and portioned in your kitchen. You must have a quality slicer with a sharp blade. The trained employee must understand what the weight per slice is and what the overall portion is. Yes, pre-sliced product can and should be used where consistent portions are needed, and you do not have the skilled labor or equipment to slice in your kitchen.

One other key focus to be consistent and mindful of is to have multiple uses for as many of your products as possible. For instance, if you are cutting 8-ounce fish portions or 6-ounce chicken portions and there is leftover trim, you need another use for these products. It could be in kababs, stir fry, soups and so much more. If there is not another use, it is likely going to result in over portioning or waste. If you are not going to use some of these products for a secondary use, it is best to purchase the product “clean.” Yes, you will pay more per pound for the “clean” 6-ounce breast, but you will eliminate the waste and other components of cost.

Without question, portion control is not just for condiments, but it also requires some serious forward thinking to make sure you are buying the right products based upon the labor you have, the size of your kitchen and storage space, as well as the applications of the products. Spend time evaluating your products beyond just creating a menu and set your staff up for success with the right equipment and portioning tools, and you will have greater consistency on your products and your food cost.

Pork Belly

A few notes on cooking pork belly:

  • It should be roasted on a rack in an oven low and slow, with a deep drip pan that will collect the massive amount of oil.
  • Pork belly can also be braised in a pan.
  • English: Sous-vide Red-braised Pork Belly 中文: 紅燒肉
    English: Sous-vide Red-braised Pork Belly 中文: 紅燒肉 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The skin is best when crispy, so after slow-cooking the meat should rest and then it can be seared or pan fried for ultimate texture and taste.

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McCain for Trendy Appetisers

McCain is a top-quality line of frozen potato and onion products for foodservice and retail.

52% of all visits to casual restaurants result in an appetizer order, while 25% of all tables order an appetiser to share. Be sure to keep your appetiser menu fresh and innovative, to keep your patrons returning.

*Source: CREST® NPD Canada year ending August 2012


The Savory Waffle

The waffle iron transforms goopy liquid batter into golden brown, perfectly fluffy and crispy waffles that become part of a delicious breakfast. This Dutch creation is eaten throughout the world, especially in Belgium, France and the US, but even in Hong Kong, Singapore and on buffets and in restaurants everywhere.

The idea of a waffle promises so much more. However, your trusty waffle iron and that bag of waffle flour have much more potential than you think. Your simple batter can be flavoured with any savoury combination that can be imagined, and then topped with complementary ingredients. A Savoury Waffle can be created based on Classic and Modern recipes, and can be served as a breadbasket item, a side dish, a topper, a bottom, a sandwich or for hors d’oeurves. Instead of just a plain waffle for breakfast, what about mixing in crumbled bacon and cheese, cooking the waffle and then topping with a butter and fruit sauce?

Brunch may never be the same again.

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Mothers Day Ideas




  • Eggs – fresh eggs, liquid eggs, egg whites, hardboiled eggs
  • Meats – Economy bacon, Premium bacon, sausage links, sausage patties, corned beef (canned & fresh)
  • Deli – mortadella, sliced ham, turkey, salami, pastrami, roast beef
  • Cheeses – cheddar, brie, gouda
  • Smoked salmon, shrimp, tuna (canned & fresh)
  • Grits, pancake/waffle mix, croissants, pastries, toast
  • Potatoes – hashbrowns, potato wedges, fries, gratin





  • Salmon Fillet
  • Cornish Hens