Category Archives: Culinary

Nashville HEAT is a Menu Game Changer

Nashville hot chicken might be a recent concept or just starting to trend in your region, but make no mistake, the idea is anything but new.

This fiery, cayenne-spiced fried chicken dates back to the 1930s when the wife of Thornton Prince tried to get even with her husband for his philandering ways. While making his breakfast one morning she decided to teach him a lesson by cranking up the heat on his fried chicken. As it turned out, he loved it; his brothers loved it; and the customers of their newly inspired restaurant, Prince’s Hot Chicken, loved it.

While the meal has been in a mainstay in the Nashville area ever since, it has gained traction coast-to-coast ― positioning it as one of the trendiest fried food items in country. In response to the demand, we rolled out our own seasoning earlier this year, Nashville HEAT.

The addition of Nashville HEAT opens up new menu possibilities for just about any restaurant. Paired perfectly with our red or green label breading, there couldn’t be a simpler opportunity for a business to expand their product offerings. With the seasoning applied following the frying process, no changes to preparation processes are required. By simply adding an additional shaker to your equipment inventory and determining the level of heat you’d like to include in your new items, any business can get in on the hot chicken trend.

Shaking the seasoning directly onto fried food fresh out of the fryer allows the microscopic palm oil crystals to melt into the breading, which is the main difference between typical “spicy chicken” products that incorporate spices into the breading. The heat in hot chicken isn’t dependent on interior heat, but rather is completely dependent on amount of spice you include in the paste ― giving restaurants an easy way to differentiate their product from other businesses. Nashville HEAT can be added seamlessly to your current ingredients, frying temperature, frying length, preferred cut or any of the other variables that set your standard fried chicken apart from your competitors. The only recommendation for the products is to allow your chicken to sit warming in a holding cabinet for 10 to 15 minutes after Nashville HEAT has been applied.

For those looking to spice up some other menu items, Nashville HEAT isn’t chicken-specific. It can be used on anything from pork cutlets to fries. It’s a complimentary seasoning for just about any item on your menu.

Interested in expanding your offerings and jumping on the Nashville hot trend? Contact your nearest Henny Penny distributor, which you can find here.

Is your equipment manufacturer committing to YOUR business’ success?

Your business’ success is so reliant on the choices you make as you begin setting up your restaurant.  The right personnel.  The right food supplier.  The right marketing plan.  The right equipment.  And many of the equipment purchases you make need consideration beyond the product itself.  Asking your potential partners about things like warranty, service network, customer service, training, install and beyond is incredibly important.  Not understanding some of these keys value adds can be the beginning of trouble if you don’t understand what to expect.

To convey some of the differences our customers experience when working with Henny Penny we’ve engaged with our Vice President of Strategic Sales, Ryan Kutter and our Director of Technical Service, Todd Hennigan to talk about some of the frequently asked questions they get and how in these situations the Henny Penny difference can be a game changer.

Technical Support
Todd Hennigan

If something happens to my equipment, am I going to be easily able to get in touch with my manufacturer?  What happens if I experience any problems once the sale is complete?

We are truly passionate about customer service.  We have worked hard over the years to separate ourselves from the pack here. We offer a free 800 service number (domestic only) that can get you to a real person to talk to, 24/7. That’s unique.  We prioritize our calls to service current customers first.  The average hold time is less than two minutes, and even better, we have a 35 percent solve rate over the phone allowing you to avoid a service call.

If we do need to send a service technician out to you, the technician will be there within 24 hours and more than 85 percent of the time your equipment will be fixed on the first visit. Customers can also expect a follow-up call to make sure everything is still running smoothly.

 What pro-active things can be done to maintain my investment?

Annual planned maintenance will not only reduce the overall total cost of ownership of your purchase but also minimize the cost impact of unplanned equipment breakdowns. Henny Penny can work with you to develop an annual inspection plan that can include service checklist to inspect all electrical cords and O-rings (when applicable), as well as clean certain areas of the machinery.

Is the manufacturer willing to train my in house staff on equipment maintenance and repairs?  How does my team become proficient at using your equipment?

Henny Penny will not only provide a two-hour startup and operational employee training session with your equipment, but also offers training classes, free of charge,  throughout the year so your business can send  in-house equipment service employees to learn everything they can about your Henny Penny equipment.  This is invaluable as you build internal expertise which can further eliminate costs after the new equipment warranty period has ended.

If being onsite doesn’t work, Henny Penny offers a robust series of training videos that are available to our partners online, which is a great tool for people who want to learn, find manuals or watch detailed (but short) videos on their products.

Talk to us about parts….

As with any manufacturer’s equipment it’s always a best practice to use OEM parts.   Our distributor and service network supports our global customers by ensuring appropriate stock is on-site, in fact our network can resolve an issue the first time over 85 percent of the time, that means they have the know how and the needed parts!

Account services support
Ryan Kutter

I’m a small business; can I expect any attention after my purchase?

Absolutely.  We truly value every partner.  Whether you are big or small, we work hard to make sure you have what you need to be successful using our equipment.   Our mantra throughout the organization is, “do the right thing.” Our distributor network, many of whom have been with us since the beginning of our company, subscribe to this philosophy too. Our goal is to make sure that no matter what you buy from us, when you are ready to invest in more equipment, you don’t consider looking anywhere else for the value you received.

Why does the price of the competition seem too good to be true? 

There is no doubt you can find cheaper equipment on the market.  After years of working with customers who have chosen that route and come to us to solve problems that either weren’t solved or exacerbated by the “cheaper” choice, there is most likely a reason it is less expensive.  You have to look at the whole package, including durability, reliability, quality of the materials, and post-purchase support.

Does Henny Penny stay in touch with me after the sale?

Henny Penny keeps in touch with its national clients with a phone call immediately after the startup of the product and periodically throughout the relationship. Smaller, general market customers can expect the same of our distributors.  We like to make sure you are happy with the product, training, and make sure you are comfortable with your new equipment.  At some point in the life of a Henny Penny product our customers will have questions or require service.  We pride ourselves on being there.  For 60 years Henny Penny has been building strong relationships, many have lasted for more than 40 years.  We work hard to innovate and engineer products that last and to deliver on a promise to help our customers deliver on their brand promise.  We focus on that every day.

Still have more questions about your Henny Penny post-purchase benefits? Visit our distributor/service locator tool to find and contact your local distributor.

Improve your guest experience with consistent food quality

The dining experience that creates a loyal customer, one that chooses your restaurant when discretionary dollars are being spent, is based largely on the ability to ensure that they are not disappointed by the consistency of the food quality.

While it’s important that you perform all the basic ‘blocking and tackling’ that create a great overall dining experience like great tasting food with excellent service, it is every bit as important that your game plan is executed consistently.  What is delicious on Tuesday night should be just as delicious on Saturday night. Furthermore, consistency doesn’t just go a long way with your guests,

but your crew will appreciate it and your wallet will thank you for it.

As a business, falling short of providing that consistent experience can be easy to do, even despite having a seasoned and well-versed chef. Weekends provide larger crowds, which produce stress on labor and preparation. Stress can lead to mistakes or cut corners, which can lead to inconsistency in flavor, texture, even timing.

Since the number of guests is not under your control, the first step to improvement is to lessen the stress on your staff. In any trade, the right tools can be used not to replace a laborer, but to assist them. The kitchen is no different. Having the right equipment can allow your staff to put their focus where it needs to be.

A Henny Penny FlexFusion combi oven for example, allows you to cook foods at low-temperatures over many hours, even days, and still maintain the utmost levels of moisture and tenderness. Whether you are roasting overnight or doing light sous vide production, your staff should be focusing on items that need to be prepared in the moment, not on items that could have been started yesterday. Not only are today’s combi ovens a time saver for your staff, but they cook with greater accuracy and consistency than traditional ovens. Ovens today have the ability to save and store programs as well as deliver messages in the moment. These processes go to the heart of consistency, creating the right environment for an item that can be duplicated every time.

Open fryers such as Henny Penny’s Evolution Elite series are no different. The programmability in these machines makes operation simple, efficient and consistent. Once you add in the built-in filtration, you have oil that lasts twice as long. And with oil quality being one of the main factors of consistency when it comes to a fryer, you’ll want to be sure you’re producing the same product with the same color and flavor every time. Perfecting your oil filtration and usage will also mean long term cost savings.

Henny Penny's SmartHold holding cabinets allow restaurants to cook in larger batches and maintain temperatures and moisture levels for extended periods of time before serving.

Henny Penny’s SmartHold holding cabinets allow restaurants to cook in larger batches while maintaining perfect temperatures and moisture levels for extended periods of time before serving.

Pairing your fryer with the versatility of a SmartHold holding cabinet, you’re now able to offer dishes that take longer to cook, such as fried chicken, and serve them quicker. The holding cabinet allows you to cook in batches and hold food at perfect temperatures and moisture levels, again allowing staff to place their focus elsewhere.  Proper utilization of a holding cabinet means not having to worry about that food until the moment it’s needed, increasing service speed and customer satisfaction.

With just these three pieces of equipment, you’ve made it easy to prepare food, freed up your staff and delighted you return customers with a consistent meal that has been cooked identically to their previous visit. Of course purchasing new equipment won’t be the source of success by itself. Execution trumps implementation, and in order to properly execute, a chef or restaurateur must first have a plan in place to properly manage around peak hours and slow hours, to eliminate food overages and shortages and to properly motivate and get the most out of their staff. Manufacture consistency in these areas and the rest will follow suit.

You pleased your guests the first time, that’s why they’ve come back. Make sure you’re doing what it takes to validate their faith in your restaurant, your process, and your food.

To hear more on this topic, be sure to take advantage of our archived webinar, Quality to Table: Creating Repeat Customers, with guest speaker and Corporate Executive Chef, Benjamin Leingang. To register and view the webinar for free click HERE. For more ways to improve your guests’ experience, be sure to subscribe to Henny Penny’s Our Take blog HERE. More information on the products mentioned in this article can be found at www.hennypenny.com/products.

Achieving Consistent Food Quality

Discover the procedures, products and programs that can help your operation serve the best with every order.

While today’s most successful foodservice operations may offer a range of menus and pricepoints, one thing they all have in common is consistency, defined as “the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.” In fact, no facility can be considered effective or successful in the current foodservice landscape without the ability to reliably replicate customers’ favorite dishes time after time.

By implementing proven systems — including the latest procedures, products and programs for cooking — operators can more accurately control the variables that affect food quality and consistency.

Procedures 

From ordering ingredients to standardizing recipes, operators can take several steps to optimize their procedures for maximum consistency. By sourcing food products from the same vendors — at the same specs for size, brand and delivery temperature — facilities can limit the challenges that can threaten consistent results when replicating dishes.

When standardizing recipes, it’s important to consider details like unique titles, ingredients, itemized weight/volume and specific preparation instructions. Other notes about cooking time and temperature, serving size, recipe yield and necessary equipment and utensils can also be helpful to staff on different shifts as they replicate each recipe.

Products

Cooking equipment is a critical part of the consistency equation for any operation, large or small. Whether it’s the performance and capability of the equipment itself or the information it conveys to kitchen staff, every factor plays a key role in ensuring customers get the results they expect.

For example, by using a combi oven in place of a traditional oven, operators can prepare a much wider variety of menu items without sacrificing control — plus, the latest technological advances in the category allow users to store a full range of settings and cooking programs based on food type, desired preparation and volume.

The FlexFusion combi oven from Henny Penny features the Chef’s Touch control panel with a state-of-the-art, full-color touchscreen that gives users total control with both customizable and preset AutoChef programs.

Other areas of the kitchen also offer opportunities to build in greater consistency, such as a facility’s fryer lineup. With today’s technology in place, the latest fryers can store between 40 and 160 unique programs — and with features like load compensation (adjusting cook time when the standard load is incorrect), proportional control (preventing oil from exceeding its set-point temperature) and filter tracking (giving management total visibility over filtration frequency), these advanced models can help cut costs, save labor and ensure control throughout the cooking process.

The new Evolution Elite with Smart Touch Filtration™ from Henny Penny features push-button filter activation with automatic drain operation — with on-the-fly filtering complete in just four minutes or less. With filtration being the most significant contributor to consistent oil quality, these types of automated features play a vital role in preserving the flavor, appearance and texture of fried menu items.

Programs

 Once the necessary procedures and proper equipment are in place, implementing equipment programs can help simplify workflow, reduce preparation time and ensure finished dishes are consistent when they leave the kitchen. Whether it’s a varied batch in the combi oven or a one-off fryer load, it can be extremely beneficial for operators to program select repeatable preparations based on the current menu — allowing kitchen staff to work smarter, not harder, with the touch of a button.

Consistency is a foundational goal for any foodservice operation — regardless of service style. By considering the cooking equipment, team procedures and specific programs at work in the kitchen, operators can guarantee a higher level of food quality with every order, every day.

A New Perspective on Equipment: How Investing in Upgrades Today Is Helping Operators Prepare for Tomorrow

With growing competition and a constant struggle for market share, today’s foodservice operators face more pressures than ever before. You are surrounded by evolving — and sometimes conflicting — corporate initiatives and customer demands, requiring everything from menu expansion and decreased store footprints to more transparency, higher staff wages and much more.

As you evaluate your list of desired upgrades and needed store repairs, it’s often easy to look at cooking equipment as just another expense. However, it’s important to realize that the equipment you choose for your kitchen does much more than simply cook food. The right equipment can make your facility’s system stronger as a whole — providing greater flexibility, maximizing smaller kitchen space, streamlining workflow and even building in cost and labor savings.

Two particular product categories worth considering are combi ovens and fryers:

Combi Ovens

Popular in European kitchens, combi ovens aren’t as widely embraced in U.S. facilities — perhaps due to lack of awareness. But the benefits they provide are invaluable to high-volume operations and low-traffic businesses alike.

• Healthier foods: Consumers are demanding healthier options while still expecting the usual menu items. Finding the right balance may seem difficult, but combi ovens can help operators enhance any menu, as these ovens can roast and steam proteins and vegetables while also baking desserts and other hearty side dishes.

• Smaller footprints: Cooking with a combi oven eliminates the need for convection ovens and steamers, clearing valuable floor space. And for even the tightest kitchens, more compact options like the Henny Penny FlexFusion Space$aver combi oven can fulfill a variety of cooking needs.

• Flexibility: It’s hard to predict the menu trends of the future, so it’s important to have equipment that can accommodate a wide variety of foods and cooking methods. A combi oven can often handle a wide variety of current menu items, while also providing flexibility for the future.

Fryers

From QSRs to fine dining and even non-commercial kitchens, fried foods are often a menu staple. However, fryers are often looked at as one in the same, despite the many differences in volume, specialty and innovative features.

• Flexibility/Space Savings: Some menu items are better suited to pressure frying—a method that locks in flavor and moisture—while others are meant for open frying. However, when space is at a premium, a pressure fryer can double as an open fryer to provide maximum flexibility.

• Volume: Some fryers are designed especially for high-volume kitchens and can help increase throughput while reducing oil costs. However, if you select a high-volume model that you don’t truly need, you might actually be wasting oil and energy.

• Cost-savings: With Henny Penny’s next-generation Evolution Elite open fryer, operators can realize the cost- and labor-saving potential of Smart Touch Filtration™, the latest advance in built-in, push-button filtration from Henny Penny. With a suite of oil-conserving features, the Evolution Elite allows for 40% less oil in the frying vat — savings that goes straight to the bottom line.

Equipment as an Investment

With careful purchasing choices and knowledgeable industry partners like Henny Penny on your side, it’s easy to make equipment a net positive for your operation. Keeping in mind how each piece functions as part of a larger system, you can create an efficient combination of equipment that maximizes space, saves time and labor, and builds a foundation for growth and expansion for years to come.

The Holidays Are Here!

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but a good holiday meal is delightful……ok, I might not know a lot about writing song lyrics, but I do know a lot about holiday meals, and anyone with taste buds will agree that the holidays offer us the opportunity to wow our friends and family with some of the best food of the year.  Whether you are traditional, like to spice things up, or a little bit of both, you can’t go wrong with brie. Ever since the French Emperor Charlemagne first tasted brie at a monastery in Reuil-en-Brie and fell in love with it, brie has been one of the most popular dessert cheeses in the world.

So, if you have some leftover cranberry sauce (which I’m sure a lot of you do), some puff pastry in the freezer, can get your hands on some brie, and want to amaze your friends with a dessert that’s fit for an Emperor, then this recipe is for you. It’s simple to make and even simpler to eat.

Enjoy!

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon,

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp mace

1/2 cup cranberry sauce

1 (8 ounce) brie round

1   egg, beaten

Toasted baguette for service

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Defrost puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Toast the walnuts until golden brown in oven, approximately 3 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle nuts with cinnamon, nutmeg and mace.
  6. Spread cranberry sauce over the top of the brie.
  7. Top with walnuts
  8. Lay the puff pastry out on a flat surface.
  9. Place the brie in the center of the pastry.
  10. Brush the beaten egg over exposed pastry
  11. Gather up the edges of the brie, pressing around the brie and gather at the top.
  12. Fold in an overlapping manner clockwise around brie. Ensuring it is completely covered
  13. Place Brie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
  14. Serve with toasted baguette and enjoy

 

Tailgating: It’s not a game

As we enter the latter half of the football season, and our favorite NFL and College Football teams are kicking into high gear to prepare for the playoffs, it’s time to take your tailgate to the next level. Being a southerner, tailgating isn’t just a party, or a fun event, it’s a way of life.

In the south, we have places that take tailgating to the next level, but no matter where you are, you can make your tailgate something to remember with some very simple steps:

First, make sure you are cognizant of the weather. If it’s going to be cold out, make something that will keep your guests warm. Chili is great and I’ve known guys that’ll even roast a whole hog.

Second, you don’t have to sacrifice taste on the altar of simplicity. There are some simple things you can do that will make your guests have a tailgating experience that they’ll never forget. For instance, since we are coming up on the cold months (and more than likely another polar vortex), nothing would be better at a tailgate than a Burgoo.

Don’t know what a burgoo is? Don’t worry, you don’t have to know the history in order to make it, but if anyone asks, a burgoo is a spicy stew, traditionally made with whatever meats and vegetables were available. I’ve added my favorite burgoo recipe below. It’s a sure-fire hit. Emphasis on fire.

Third, don’t forget your side items. If I were doing a tailgate, I’d do a grilled wheel of brie. It’s simple to do: you only need a grill and a good wheel of cheese (with a thick rind and a soft center). Prepare an indirect fire (a medium-hot fire on one side and no fire on the other), and heat the wheel until it is warm on both sides and then serve immediately. Trust me, people will love it. You can even kick it up to the next level with some peppered jelly. After you’re done with the cheese, throw some crostini on the grill for any bread lovers in attendance.

So get out there and let your mind think past hot dogs and brats and you’ll quickly become the most popular tailgate in the parking lot. Believe me, a good tailgate will not only help your guests forget about the weather, but if your team isn’t doing so well, it’ll help your guests forget about that too.

 

Burgoo

Yield-20 servings

Ingredients:

•2 lbs. beef

•1/2 lb. lamb (baby lamb or mutton)

•1 medium-sized chicken

•2 C diced potatoes

•Red pepper to taste (1 small pod, or more to taste)

•3 C corn cut from the cob (young field corn is best)

•Salt and black pepper to taste

•2 cloves of garlic

•2 C diced onions

•1 C fresh green beans cut in 1 inch pieces

•3 carrots, diced

•2 green peppers, diced, seeds removed

•2 C okra, diced or cut in rings

•1 gallon Brown Beef stock

•12 tomatoes or 1 qt. can

Preparation:

  1. Put the onions, garlic, beef, lamb, and cut chicken in pot with stock, salt, black and red pepper.
  2. Let this come to a hard boil, reduce the heat, and simmer about 1 hour with the lid on.
  3. Add potatoes , green beans, carrots, green peppers and corn and simmer for 2 hours
  4. Stir occasionally
  5. Add water if necessary, to thin burgoo
  6. Add okra and tomatoes and let simmer another 1 hour
  7. Serve immediately or let sit overnight refrigerated.

*note

This recipe is perfect for any leftover BBQ (chicken, pork, beef or mutton).  If using cooked meat then bring to a boil and move to step 3

Don’t be a Kitchen Martyr

I have always believed in dishes that have short prep time but look impressive. Few things are more annoying than hearing someone talk about how long it took them to prepare something, as if the prep time alone is enough for me to be amazed. Many people use the phrase “work smart, not hard,” and in the kitchen, that phrase couldn’t be any more appropriate.

When I’m preparing something, a lot of what I do is to accentuate its natural notes. With very little prep time, and very little complication you can make some really incredible dishes.

In the spring and summer, squash is amazing. Whether its zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan, or the ever popular baby squash, squash on the grill is very tasty. While some people will give you a two page recipe, what I like to do is salt and pepper mine, then grill them, and then add them to a simple marinade. The reason why it is important to grill first is because vegetables absorb when they’re hot. If you put raw vegetables in a marinade, they’re just going to sit there without absorbing any flavor.

A simple marinade containing oil and vinegar (3x the oil to 1x the vinegar to avoid too much bite), with some chopped garlic and you’ll have some veggies off the grill that will amaze your family and friends without wasting most of your day.

Meat and Fire: Does it get any better than that?

Everyone is always chasing after the next big thing.  Whether it be the newest super food or seasoning, we are obsessed with whatever is deemed as “the next big thing.” Now, I understand the attraction, and there is nothing wrong with it, but in my opinion, you can always rely on a classic, and nothing is more pure than an open flame and a well prepared piece of meat.

Grilling is one of the oldest ways to prepare food. From cavemen cooking mammoth meat over a wood fire, to your uncle Bob cooking brats at a tailgate, we have a primal attraction to cooking meat over an open flame. Now that the snow has melted and the sun is out, grilling season is upon us and the options are endless.

We are going to be spending a lot of time on grilling in the near future, so I’ll save some of my tips for future blog posts, but if you are looking for a delicious cut of meat to cook on the grill this spring, I’d start with a teres major (chuck tenderloin), an isolated muscle from the chuck. It’s as tender as a beef tenderloin with a lot more flavor. Generally, when judging cuts of meat, the rule of thumb is that the softer the meat, the lesser the flavor. This is mainly because meat that is tougher is also from a part of the animal where the muscles have worked more, making it harder, but also packed with flavor. The great thing about the teres major is that it comes from the shoulder, so it has been worked, but it is still very tender.

In the coming weeks we will talk more about food preparation, things other than meat that make for some tasty grilling, and different cuts of meat that will help you dominate the neighborhood BBQ.  For now, go to your butcher, get some teres major, fire up the grill, and tweet or Facebook us a photo of your creation.

Happy Grilling!

Time to Head Outside! The Food Trucks are Here!

We’ve all seen them. Whether they are converted U-Haul trucks, vans, or refitted UPS trucks, they are everywhere and the trend isn’t going to die anytime soon. The Food Trucks are here and they are introducing on-the-go customers to some exciting new flavors.

Ever since Charles Goodnight outfitted a US Army surplus wagon with kitchen equipment (giving birth to the “Chuck Wagon”), the idea of getting food from a truck has always existed in American dining culture. With advancements in food storage and cooking technology, and well as the rapid pace of miniaturization over the past few decades, Food Trucks can now offer amazingly wide varieties of high-quality cuisine for a reasonable price.

Food Trucks allow chefs all over the country to push the envelope without the pressure of having to provide a full menu for patrons. Instead, they can specialize in specific regional, classic, or fusion cuisine and offer their customers a unique experience while making a decent profit. For customers, the variety that Food Trucks provide allow them to experience something new every time they walk outside, and most Food Trucks make it easier on customers by having active social media sites that update the truck’s location in real time.

The Food Truck trend is here to stay, so next time you can’t decide what to have for lunch, take a walk outside and I’m sure you’ll find a Food Truck nearby.