GRAPE GARNISH

(Oct. 28) Do away with parsley sprigs for a garnish and give your guests beauty with flavor.

Look at the grape possibilities. The only thing better than the variety of color they add is the juicy flavor. They’re available year-round, they don’t brown and they are easy to work with. They add volume and dimension, and customers like them.

Imagine the creative ways you can incorporate them into your plate presentations. The California Table Grape Commission, Fresno, offers these garnish suggestions:

  • Dip grapes in chocolate and top a dessert.


  • Fill a hollowed lemon half with grapes and serve with fish.


  • Thread grapes onto a rosemary branch as a skewer, lightly sauté and serve with meat, chicken and vegetarian dishes.


  • Sprinkle a sugar/gelatin mixture over wet grapes, let them dry and serve the frosted fruit with dessert, a glass of wine or add to a wedding buffet.


JUICE IN THE AIR

The Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, found a way to increase its juice profit margins to 88% in some of its venues and to save nearly 15% on juice costs, says Tim Morrison, director of food and beverage operations. Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., piloted its “Juiced for You” fresh-squeezed juice program with the hotel and now makes the program available to the rest of the foodservice industry.

Sunkist’s “Juiced for You” program offers operators a kit featuring a cost/profit analysis, information on juicing equipment options, menu and recipe suggestions, merchandising ideas, branded point-of-sale materials and staff training materials.

Learn more on Sunkist’s Web site: www.sunkist.com.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Add a vegetable encyclopedia to your library. “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference” by Elizabeth Schneider, won best cookbook and best reference book awards from the Louisville, Ky.-based International Association of Culinary Professionals this year.

The reference book describes 350 vegetables featuring background information, selection and storage advice, usage ideas, preparation techniques and recipes.

Learn more by visiting www.vegetablepro.com.

COMMISSION COLLABORATION

Want help promoting your restaurant or chain? Develop a joint promotion with a commodity board and tap into their resources. Pizza chain Shakey’s Inc., Garden Grove, Calif., tied in with the California Avocado Commission, Irvine, for a California Pizzarito promotion, which runs through September in 50 Shakey’s locations throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

The featured pizza combines bean sauce, mozzarella cheese and ground beef baked on a thin crust topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, avocado and sour cream.

The avocado commission helped Shakey’s with the cost of 50 billboards near the locations participating in the promotion. Inside, the restaurants are promoting the new pizza with banners, danglers and table tent inserts. The chain also ran television commercials targeting consumers ages 18-49.

FYI

Mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes lead the list of vegetables used in appetizers in the top 200 restaurant chains, according to Chain Account Menu Survey, Wheaton, Ill.