FYI

(March 29) More than 70% of adults say there are more nutritious foods available in restaurants than there were five years ago, according to the National Restaurant Association’s “2004 Restaurant Industry Forecast” report.

IT’S BACK

If your guests are asking if you have grapefruit or grapefruit juice these days, they may have been reading. Scripps Institute of San Diego recently announced the results of 12-week diet study that makes grapefruit look pretty attractive. The study, funded by the Florida Department of Citrus, Lakeland, asked participants to eat a half-grapefruit or drink a serving of grapefruit juice with each meal. Participants lost more than 3 pounds without changing their diet or exercise in any other way.

FOOD SAFETY 301

It’s time to update your food safety training materials. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Chicago, just released the third edition of the “ServSafe Coursebook” and the abbreviated version, “ServSafe Essentials.” The editions feature new and restructured content, including updates from the recently released 2003 supplement to the 2001 Food and Drug Administration Food Code. They also offer new science-based and industry best practices.

For more information or to purchase ServSafe Third Edition, contact your state restaurant association or the NRAEF Customer Service Department at (800) 765-2122, extension 701.

WEDGE IT IN

Want a new wacky wedge for your appetizer menu? Make them green with avocados. Dredge avocado wedges in a mixture of seasoned flour and egg wash and roll them in cornmeal. Deep-fry them about 3 minutes until golden brown. Serve them with relish. You’ll find hoisin green onion relish, curried cucumber relish and fruit relish with chipotle and lime on the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission’s Web site: www.avocado.org/foodservice.

GO FOR THE PRIZE

Let your creative juices flow and make a name for yourself, not to mention a little extra cash, in two recipe contests.

Mexican avocados

Develop an attractive, delicious, easy original recipe using hass avocados and you could win $2,000 as a first-place prize, $1,500 for second place or $1,000 for third place. The contest, which is open to chefs and sous chefs, is sponsored by the Michoacan Avocado Producer and Exporting Packer Association, Michoacan, Mexico and administered by the public relations company Lewis & Neale Inc. All entries must be postmarked by June 1 and received by June 7.

Contact Lewis & Neale Inc., 35 E. 21st St., New York, NY 10010; phone: (212) 420-8808; fax: (212) 254-2452; e-mail: info@lewis-neale.com.

PEANUTS

Create an original recipe featuring at least one-third cup of peanuts, peanut butter or both and compete for the $2,500 grand prize. Enter a recipe in any of four categories: appetizer/snack; main dish; salad/side dish; or dessert. One first-place prize of $1,000 also will be given in each of these categories. The contest is open to professional chefs, educators and culinary students. The deadline is May 1.

Contact Peanut Advisory Board, 1025 Sugar Pike Way, Canton, GA 30115; fax: (770) 998-5962; e-mail: lpwagner@comcast.net.