Legendary Chef Paul Prudhomme of K-Paul’s Louisiana was the evening’s big winner. Prudhomme and his Executive Chef Paul Miller held nothing back as they prepared a Pirogue de Patate d’Idaho Plein Sauce Blanc avec Fromage, also known as a Full Boat Idaho Potato Pirogue with White Cheese Sauce. Judges swooned over the Cajun-style dish made with Idaho Potatoes, leeks, cheese, heavy cream, sun-dried tomatoes and some of Chef’s own Magic®. Prudhomme was the very first chef to commit to the contest - doing so a full year in advance, immediately following Nobu Matsuhisa’s crowning at the inaugural competition last September. For Prudhomme’s winning recipe, visit www.idahopotato2008.org/
“Wolfgang always puts on an amazing show and I’ve enjoyed participating for many years,” stated Prudhomme. “This year’s Idaho potato contest was a fun new twist. We knew we had an amazing dish to present the judges… And a little magic always helps,” he added with a wink.
Other chefs participating in the contest included heavy hitters such as Michael Mina (XIV), Lydia Shire (Scampo) and Nancy Silverton (Mozza). Dishes were judged on the best use of the product (i.e. potatoes), originality of recipe, flavor and presentation.
“Once again, we were awed by the level of culinary competition created by these chefs,” commented Frank Muir, IPC President/CEO and one of the judges. “Last year’s contest set the bar pretty high, so we had big expectations for the quality of recipes we’d be tasting. They definitely did not disappoint. And the best part is that each chef participated knowing that they walked away with a pat on the back – The $10,000 prize went to Meals on Wheels!”
The American Wine & Food Festival, founded by Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff, drew a crowd of nearly 2,500 to the intimate setting of Universal Studios’ back lot. Guests feasted on fare served up by 40 celebrity chefs and 70 fine wine and spirits purveyors, and bid on unique auction items that money (literally) cannot buy otherwise. The annual festival benefits Los Angeles area Meals-on-Wheels programs.
Fall 2008: The Rave Review
A Quarterly Newsletter for the Foodservice Pro
The Rave Review is a quarterly newsletter designed for the foodservice professional by the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). Each issue will showcase interesting and innovative Idaho® potato information developed specifically for educators, chefs and operators of both commercial and non-commercial properties. We are interested in any feedback you may wish to share. Please email your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fresh Thinking: Paul Prudhomme Wins $10,000 for Meals on Wheels as The Idaho Potato Commission Teams Up with The Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation
Wolfgang Puck and four of his world-renowned chef friends partnered with the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) for the second annual recipe contest at the 26th American Wine & Food Festival (AWFF), held at Universal Studios in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 27th. Star chefs battled it out in a fierce competition of culinary skills for the grand prize of a $10,000 charitable donation made in their name. Learn More »
Executive Chefs Across the Country Serve Up Creative Recipes for Fall
For the better part of the past decade and long before the current nationwide economic debacle, healthcare operators have been under a mandate to “do more with less” while continuing to satisfy their customers. At the 300-bed Regional Medical Center at Bayonet Point in Hudson, FL www.rmchealth.com/ food and nutrition manager/executive chef John Zappone has become a master at doing just that—and incorporating potatoes into best selling dishes suits his bottom line just fine. It’s even better when elements of the dish are commercially prepared product, since they also serve to reduce his labor costs, says John.
Perfectly stuffed: Creating each five-to-six week menu cycle is a team project, and Zappone credits storeroom coordinator Thomas Martinkovic with contributing a new version of Stuffed Potato Skins. “In our usual version, we fry a prepared potato skin—they come 200 pieces per-case—in trans fat-free oil, then stuff it with Cheddar, bacon, chives and sour cream,” he explains. “For Thomas’ version, we use about two ounces of chicken fajita meat, also a prepared product, a dollop of ranch dressing, some mozzarella and a bit of Cheddar. It all melts into the chicken fajita. Then we keep the stuffed potato in a warming oven until it’s served.”Learn More »
For simple prep yet solid sales, Zappone also offers garlic parmesan French fries—fries sprinkled with garlic powder and parmesan cheese—as well as a “Crabby Fry”—French fries sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning—an idea contributed by lead cook Darlene Puzio upon her return from a trip to a restaurant in the “wilds” of New Jersey.
Although he’s kept busy with a myriad of management responsibilities these days, Zappone still enjoys hands-on time in the kitchen. Creating from-scratch dishes for the Doctors’ Lounge provides the opportunity as well as the challenge, he explains. “Many of our doctors are Indian and vegetarian, so this dish—Cauliflower/Potato Curry with Basmati Rice—is very popular. We’ll usually prepare about 50 portions, but if there’s any left over we put it out in the cafeteria and it’s gone immediately!”
Curry-in-a-hurry: To prepare this authentic dish, Zappone sets aside peeled and small-diced Idaho potatoes and fresh cauliflower florets. “In canola oil, I fry curry leaves from my backyard. One of the doctors gave me part of his curry bush several years ago,” Zappone explains. But wait: First black mustard seeds must go into the very hot oil—it should be about 375°F— and they must pop almost immediately. Then, add the curry leaves—expect the sizzle—followed by chopped diced onions and red chili pepper flakes. Fry until golden brown, then reduce the heat to 325°F.
“Push the whole mixture to the side of the pan, add ginger garlic paste (about a 50/50 mix blended several times in a Robot Coup) to the oil that’s running from the side of the pan; then fry and mix the onions back in. Once again, push the ingredients back to the side of the pan, letting the oil run off to the center of the pan,” Zappone continues.
Add spices—including coriander powder, Indian chili powder or cayenne, turmeric and garam masala—a notoriously “warm” ingredient. Carefully sauté these ingredients in the oil then almost immediately add all ingredients back together.
“Finally, add fresh diced tomatoes, cauliflower and potatoes,” he directs. “If the potatoes are cut small enough, they will cook at the same rate as the cauliflower. Simmer, adding a bit of water as needed and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are extremely tender; the end result is a very soft product. Although I like it a bit al dente, the doctors like it this way—it’s a tradition.”
From much past experience, Zappone has learned not to begin cooking Indian dishes until all ingredients are measured and lined up. “With mis en place, it goes quick, and with the intense heat, you’ll be lost if you need to hunt for ingredients. You can’t even blink!”
Come October, Roland Markart, executive chef at The Marbella at Pelican Bay, a Guest Services venue in Naples, FL www.marbellapelicanbay.com/ adds potato pancakes to his menu as part of his Oktoberfest selections. To prepare, he goes heavy on the finely shaved onions and fresh herbs, primarily basil, thyme and a bit of oregano, as well as salt and pepper. “Next, I peel and grate potatoes—I like Yukon Gold—then mix all ingredients together, beat the eggs into it and shape into pancakes.” Using canola oil or clarified butter, Markart gets the pan really hot, browns the pancakes on both sides, then finishes them in the oven; total cooking time is about 10 minutes.
Pancakes into tortillas: At some point this fall, Markart plans to menu Potato Tacos by “transforming” the potato pancake mixture as a tortilla to roll around a filling. “You can create a breakfast brunch filling of sausage and eggs or, for a lunch/dinner entrée, perhaps a crepe-like filling such as chicken ragout, or we can create a veal taco.” Ole´! With approximately 1,600 lunchtime customers to serve each day in the main cafeteria at 570-bed Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia www.tuh.templehealth.org executive chef/purchasing manager Carl Lewis knows he can rely on potatoes to fill the bill. “Potatoes are one of the items I have a passion for ’cause they’re so versatile yet so practical and low cost,” he asserts. “You can prepare anything from Anna Potatoes [potato pie] to Dauphine Potatoes [croquettes]—they span the cuisines of the world.”
Although his customers are particularly fond of simple garlic or Cheddar mashed potatoes, Lewis finds that instant mashed “is so flexible to use in menu planning; you can add parmesan, mascarpone or Cheddar as well as truffle oil or fresh herbs. You can really do a lot of nice stuff to it.”
Focusing on fall, Lewis proudly cites his “wonderful” Honey Roasted Potato dish of wedges of reds combined with garlic, rosemary, cloves, honey, kosher salt, pepper and olive oil. “You toss the potatoes in the mixture and marinate a few minutes,” he says. “Then, lay them out on a roasting pan and bake in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. That goes well with roasted meat such as chicken or mojo-style roast pork. It’s also a good pairing with salmon—the sweetness of the potatoes balances the oiliness of the salmon.”
A Friday fave: Seafood Potato Chowder is a perfect, warming fall meal and a simple clam chowder brimming with chunks of Chef potatoes (peeled and cut into ¼-inch chunks) and is a menu staple for patients and cafeteria customers every Friday, Lewis reports. About 50 gallons prepared that day are “all gone in a flash,” he says. Especially during this chilly season in Philadelphia, Lewis, Jamaican-born and bred, prepares Ginger Mashed Sweet Yam or Sweet Potato—a treat fondly recollected from his childhood.
To prepare, he peels potatoes into 1-1/2 to 2-inch chunks and boils them until very tender in water seasoned to taste with kosher salt. “Drain, add butter, a light shake of cinnamon, plus one teaspoon of ginger powder per-pound of potatoes. Then mash and whip the potatoes until smooth.” If the potato is wet, he suggests adding a small amount of instant mashed potato to tighten it, then serve with “favorite dishes,” such as BBQ or any type of oily fish, as well as turkey or roast pork for Thanksgiving. Made-from-scratch mashed potatoes are such a favorite among University of Connecticut students in Storrs www.dining.uconn.edu/ that it’s still menued daily, notes culinary operations manager Robert Landolphi. “Last year at South Campus—one of our largest facilities that serves about 1,900 students for lunch each day—we cut back to every other day,” he recalls. “But after many comment cards came back complaining, we put mashed potatoes out on a daily basis again.”
‘Do the mashed potato’ (bar): Based on its extreme popularity, there’s also a mashed potato bar that’s set up as a station unto itself as a once-in-four-weeks dinner “special.” This is in addition to a baked potato bar that also rotates through periodically.
“We set it up in one of our steam wells,” Landolphi explains. “Students choose their toppings from roasted corn, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, bacon crumbles, sliced fajita chicken, sautéed ground beef, bleu cheese crumbles, sour cream and country gravy. It’s great comfort food.”
Taco pie-in-the-sky: UCONN students, like many of their counterparts across the country, are fond of Mexican-inspired dishes. So when the recipe incorporates mashed potatoes, what could be better for a cold weather feast? Therefore, when Landolphi menus Potato Shell Taco Pie for either lunch or dinner, approximately 600 to 700 of the South Campus regulars choose it.
“We make a crust from our own mashed potatoes and line the bottom of a hotel pan with them, about ¾ of an inch thick on the bottom and sides,” he says. “Then we sauté ground beef and onions in their own juices, drain the fat and add commercially-made taco seasoning from the packet plus BBQ sauce out of the jug. Then we mix all ingredients together.”
Next, the meat mixture is spread over the potatoes and placed in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes. At that point it’s sprinkled with shredded Cheddar Jack cheese and returned to the oven for about five minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese. Topped with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes, it’s sent right out the door to the steam table wells. “The potatoes really crisp up nicely and form a crust; it’s really like a lasagna,” Landolphi adds.
Potatoes are served in one form or another every day in Café 1845, the main dining location-of-choice for about 700 lunchtime guests at National City Bank in Cleveland, OH www.nationalcity.com. This Parkhurst Dining Services account www.parkhurstdining.com/ — named to commemorate the year the very first National City location opened its doors—menus a wide range of innovative dishes, many conceived by executive chef Eric Petrus. A Persian addition: A recent addition to Eric’s repertoire, Persian Beef Stew (a.k.a. Green Sauce) served over Basmati Rice and Potatoes, was inspired by the recipes of his fiancée’s native land.
“To prepare, I first wash the basmati rice and cook it to about 75% of the way,” he says. “Next, you season sliced potatoes with salt and pepper, brown them in oil in the bottom of a casserole dish and top them with the rice. Then cover the dish with plastic wrap and foil and bake in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes.”
Petrus then serves a Persian stew over the potato/rice mixture. The stew itself is a combo of braised beef, parsley, beef stock, garlic and salt and pepper that is slow-cooked for two-to-three hours, or until tender.
“At Parkhurst Dining, we do ‘Hemisflavors,’ a corporate program featuring very authentic ethnic dishes, and I’ve incorporated this dish into the mix,” he explains. “It’s not in the ‘manual’ yet, but I’ve served it here because I know it’s authentic.”
Chili peppers pop: For a hearty-for-fall, one-dish meal from South of the Border, Petrus offers an Open-Faced Chili Relleno that also provides a tasty vegetarian option. This easy prep dish features poblano pepper stuffed with cauliflower, shredded potatoes and goat cheese, seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme. “After shredding, I soak the potatoes in water so they don’t turn brown, then drain through a strainer before the next step,” Petrus suggests. To prepare the filling (i.e., the next step), he combines eggs and bread crumbs with the mixture to bind it, then stuffs the pepper and bakes it in a 350°F oven for 20-to-30 minutes or until it’s cooked to 165°F internally.
“The flavor of the potatoes won’t overpower the flavor of the cauliflower and goat cheese,” he points out. “It’s a hearty dish although some guests pair it with a salad or another vegetable. Here it sells for $4.50, but you could charge about $7.00 in a non-subsidized location.”
Perfect pirogues: Before the fall slips away, Petrus plans to menu Crab and Potato Stuffed Pirogue, one of his personal favorites. His version combines mashed potatoes with cream cheese (for every 5 lbs. of potatoes, about ¾ of a cup of cream cheese), salt, pepper and either lump crabmeat or black fin crabmeat, which is “most cost-efficient” and readily available from his purveyor, he says.
Once the pirogue shells are made—either totally from scratch or from a pasta sheet—spoon about 2-oz. of potato plus ½-oz. of crabmeat into each; seal each shell with egg wash and crimp down the edges. “After they’re par-boiled, for texture I crisp them up in a sauté pan with a bit of olive oil, then drizzle them with lemon-infused butter and top with scallions,” Petrus notes. “I serve four-to-a-portion—each is about 3 to 3-1/2 oz.—so it’s a good lunch-size serving. Customers go crazy over crab in anything—and we know they love potatoes.”
by Karen Weisberg
Health Watch: Recipes for Relief
Chefs David Burke, Paul Prudhomme and Michael Symon are among eleven chefs sharing their favorite Idaho Potato recipes in the Idaho Potato Commission's Recipes for Relief online program. The goal of this unique program is to celebrate the United Nations’ declaration of 2008 as the International Year of the Potato by raising awareness and $50,000 for UNICEF, an organization that provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water and education to children in more than 150 countries around the world.
Every month since last February, which was also Potato Lover’s Month, a different chef and his/her recipe has been featured on www.idahopotato2008.org. Each time a visitor clicks on the recipe of the month, the Idaho Potato Commission donates 10 cents to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, with a guaranteed total donation of $50,000. Funds support UNICEF's programs for children around the world. For more information on UNICEF, please visit www.unicefusa.org. The Recipe for Relief program runs February—December 2008.Learn More »
"We are very pleased the United Nations is recognizing the importance of the potato in helping end world hunger. We know that children are particularly vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition, which is why the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is such a natural organization for us to work with," said Frank Muir, president & CEO, Idaho Potato Commission. "We are especially appreciative to our chef friends who jumped at the opportunity to help us communicate the importance of American's favorite vegetable while raising awareness and funds for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF."
"We are honored to be a part of the Idaho Potato Commission's efforts to raise awareness of the global importance of the potato and to be selected as the recipient of their fundraising efforts," said Caryl Stern, president and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "With the funds raised by the Recipes for Relief program, UNICEF will be able to continue its important work saving children's lives."
Recipes for Relief Chefs
A total of eleven chefs will be featured in the Idaho Potato Commission's "Recipes for Relief" program. These well-known chefs hail from cities across the country and many of their Idaho Potato recipes reflect the region's unique tastes and flavors. Kicking off the program is Chef Michael Symon, owner of Lolita Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. The chef line-up to date is:
International Year of the Potato
The United Nations' declaration of 2008 as the International Year of the Potato will raise awareness of the importance of the potato—and of agriculture in general—in addressing issues of global concern, including hunger, poverty and threats to the environment.
With the world population increasing by approximately 100 million people a year, there is an urgent need to find and/or develop the resources needed to sustain this incredible growth. The potato, which is the fourth largest food crop in the world, has been identified as part of the solution for many reasons:
"When compared to other foods, the potato provides one of the best nutrient density returns for the cost of production," stated Muir. "The potato is rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and other important vitamins and minerals—and uses much less water to grow than rice."
Helping Hunger Stateside
For many years the Idaho Potato Commission has been involved in several initiatives to promote potato consumption in developing nations. The IPC has been working closely with the University of Idaho in developing a fortified dehydrated potato product that could potentially provide sustenance and nutrition to millions of adults and children in developing nations around the globe through US food aid programs. The Commission has also actively been promoting Idaho Potato seed potatoes to countries in Asia and Central America.
For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international children's organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing issues that contribute to the deaths of children. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response, saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicefusa.org.
It’s harvest time in Idaho – which means the freshest potatoes of the year are available now! Learn More »
Menu Planning 101: Food to Share
Fall is packed with opportunities for get-togethers. From Halloween through the holidays, people are gathering for food and cheer at their local restaurants and hot spots. An easy (and economical) way to handle a crowd is by preparing simple appetizers to be shared. Complement them with a sauce sampler that can be made in advance, providing something to satisfy every palate.
Idaho® Potato Lollipops have a presentational wow-factor, but are really just fried slices of potato. What could be easier! Color and flavor are discovered in the trio of dipping sauces from Bacon-Mustard Aioli to Cheddar Béchamel and Arugula Cream. For the full recipe created by Executive Chef Bart Hosmer at the Marriott Corporation, visit http://www.idahopotato.com/recipes/cat_id-4/id-567Learn More »
For a healthier crowd-pleaser, try Baked Idaho Pommes Frites with Simple Dipping Sauces. These potatoes taste decadent but are simply baked for 20 minutes in a 450F oven, then plated with Tex-Mex Ketchup, Easy Microwave Cheese Sauce and Bacon-Cheddar Ranch Topping. Get creative and have fun with your own signature sauces! For the full recipe, visit http://www.idahopotato.com/recipes/cat_id-4/id-5
Enter Your Original Recipe for a Chance to Win $35,000 in Cash and Prizes
Nothing says “after work nosh” better than a refreshing beverage and hot Idaho® Potatoes. From French fries to skins, tapas and tots, taters are a surefire bet for jumpstarting your happy-hour sales. In recognition, the Idaho Potato Commission is launching the Idaho Potato Happy Hour Recipe Contest, awarding more than $35,000 in cash and prizes.
The IPC is asking operators what their secret weapon is in the happy hour arsenal. With so many varieties of Idaho® potatoes—from the signature Russets to the niche Cal Rose and All Blue, the options are limitless and delicious! And with cash prizes awarded to the top two original recipes submitted in each of three categories (Appetizer, Side Dish, and Late-Night Snacks), chances to win are huge! The Grand Prize Winner will also receive an Alto-Shaam® Combitherm® Oven valued at $15,000!Learn More »
The Happy Hour Recipe Contest runs September 1 through December 31, 2008. All recipes must feature Idaho® Potatoes. The first 100 entries will win a Swiss Army watch valued at $115. Additionally, there will be first- and second-place winners in each category for members of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. For more information, contest rules, and eligibility, visit www.idahopotato.com/contest.
New Ad Campaign Launches Ideas and Inspiration
Idaho® Potatoes are the ultimate blank canvas for chefs and operators. This notion is the basic strategy behind the IPC’s latest foodservice advertising campaign, launching this fall. When inspiration strikes, the Idaho Potato is a tremendously popular vehicle for pushing the boundaries of expectation. A flavor conduit, it is also a familiar comfort food that provides consumers with the security to try innovative new recipes. This is one of the main reasons chefs return to the Idaho potato again and again in reinventing the classics.
This is the third year that the IPC has promoted Project Reinvent in its ad campaign. This year, they’re highlighting chefs at eight great American resorts, including The Breakers, Stein Eriksen Lodge and Pebble Beach. The ads depict each chef’s reinvention in beautiful photography. Examples include, Idaho Potato Crusted Kahuku Prawns with Hawaiian Fruit Salsa from Executive Chef Hector Morales at Turtle Bay, Idaho Potato Gnocchi Couer d’Alene from Executive Chef Rod Jessick at the Couer d’Alene Resort and Idaho Potato Wrapped Sea Scallops on Idaho Potato Risotto from Executive Chef Steven Bernstein at the Enchantment Resort. The tagline “Project Reinvent” accompanies each ad along with key ingredients and methods. The print campaign launched in September 2008 and is currently running in several key foodservice trade publications. The ads have also been turned into a set of accordion recipe cards that will be distributed at conferences and trade shows throughout the year. To view all eight ads, visit www.idahopotato.com/project_reinvent/Learn More »
In this Issue: