What types of food are considered German?
Do restaurants still cook properly?
Although cooking shows are still popular and recipes are in high demand, everyday food should be as easy and quick to prepare as possible. This is not only what consumers want, but also cooks. For this reason, prefabricated products are often used in the catering industry - so-called convenience food. The term is derived from the English word for convenience or expediency. But in some cases it doesn't have much to do with real cooking.
But the advantages of convenience products for the catering industry are obvious:
- less work and preparation time
- better planning - less is thrown away
- less expensive storage
- consistent taste of the dishes
Different degrees of manufacture and methods of preservation
It is true that pre-prepared foods are usually more expensive than self-processed foods. The use is obviously worthwhile because it saves time and, above all, specialist personnel. A trained cook is not necessarily needed to warm up. Experts estimate that convenience food should already be used in 80 to 90 percent of restaurants. The products are divided into five degrees of manufacture.
Untreated foods (no convenience):
- Animal halves
- raw vegetables
- raw potatoes
Kitchen ready: No longer needs to be cut or portioned. Inedible parts - such as bones - have been removed. However, ready-to-use food still has to be cooked and prepared to the end.
- ready-cut meat (only chicken breasts for example)
- cleaned vegetables
- unprepared frozen vegetables
- frozen fish fillets
- Potatoes in a glass
- Scrambled egg from the tetrapak
Ready to cook: Still needs to be fried, boiled, deep-fried.
- frozen mirror egg
- fresh fish or meat fillets
- Rice, noodles
- Frozen fries
- Frozen cream vegetables
- breaded cutlet
Ready to mix or process: Prepared or cooked food to which additional ingredients have to be added and which have to be heated.
- Mashed potato powder
- Sachet soups
- Instant noodle dishes
Ready to prepare: Can be heated directly and then consumed.
- Frozen ready meals
- Microwave dishes
Ready to eat: Can be eaten straight away after opening or removing the packaging.
- Rod egg
- cold sauces
- Canned fruit
- Canned fish
- ready-made salads
Convenience products can be preserved in different ways. They are frozen, chilled, dried, sterilized or pasteurized, preserved, acidified or packed under vacuum.
Finished products can hardly be distinguished from fresh ones
Some restaurants only use ready-to-cook vegetables, others cook with ready-made sauces such as hollandaise sauce or deep-fry cooked, breaded schnitzel. Since potatoes are a big time-waster, almost all potato dishes or products are also available in a ready-to-cook version: hash browns, pancakes, croquettes, gratin, casseroles, duchess potatoes. This is usually not visible to the guests, because the products are becoming more and more valuable. They can hardly be distinguished from homemade things.
This is also the declared aim of the industry: potato wedges or pancakes, for example, are now rather roughly and irregularly cut so that they look as if they are homemade. The catering industry is even allowed to use the term, even if something is industrially manufactured, because it is not protected. This also applies, for example, to breaded schnitzel from the conveyor belt, which in some companies is specially produced in such a way that the breading throws bubbles as if it were freshly prepared by hand.
Notes on convenience food in the restaurant
After all, there are some indications that a restaurant is using convenience food. The clearest sign is an overly long card, which may also never change. A restaurant can hardly offer a variety of pasta, meat and fish dishes of the same quality or pizza and sushi as freshly prepared dishes. As a rough guide, one can say that a menu should not contain more than 20 to 30 dishes including starters and desserts. However, the size of the kitchen and the kitchen team must of course also be taken into account. Many chefs can also prepare many dishes.
A large number of breaded dishes should be suspicious. Because these can be pre-produced very well. Even a very small kitchen can be an indication that not everything is freshly prepared there. Namely, it makes keeping stocks more difficult. Fresh vegetables and meat need a sufficiently large refrigerator.
On the other hand, a menu that is adapted to the seasons and serves soup with wild garlic in April and May or dishes made from seasonal mushrooms and meat from the region suggests a kitchen in which at least large parts of the dishes are freshly cooked.
Fine top menus: pre-cooked from the bag
When the restaurant buys so-called high-convenience products, however, it is practically impossible to tell whether the chef has actually prepared everything freshly himself. These are dishes that can be prepared; However, they are not produced industrially, but freshly prepared in a catering business. A dish is separated into its components - for example vegetables, mashed potatoes and meat - and filled in portions into plastic bags. Sometimes companies that offer such a cooking service work according to the recipe specifications of the restaurant owners or chefs. But they also offer dishes that they have developed themselves. The dishes intended for upscale and top gastronomy then only have to be heated, refined a little and served.
Serious consequences for the culinary culture
Even more and more training companies are relying on convenience food of various degrees of production. By using the many finished products, trainees simply do not learn their craft properly. Most recently, almost half of the cooking apprentices nationwide achieved just a sufficient level in the final examination. Only a little more than a third was satisfactory, only 0.5 percent very good. But convenience will continue to prevail: The use of it will soon play a greater role in training. Because the shortage of skilled workers in the restaurant will continue, while the ready-made products will become even more sophisticated and practical.
How do I get rid of ready-made meals?
Anyone who has got used to ready-made meals often tastes too bland when they have cooked themselves. How can the weaning from industrial meals succeed and why is it worth it? more
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Market | 04/29/2019 | 8:15 pm
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