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Who Will Win The World Cup of Flavor?

world cipAs always, the World Cup this year has been filled with excitement for some, and disappointment for others. However, it is undeniable that this was the most shocking World Cup in recent years. From the United States surviving the “Group of Death,” (Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the U.S.) to powerhouse favorite Brazil getting romped by Germany 1-7, this World Cup has provided fans with the entertainment and action they crave. One of the most notable things about the World Cup, though, is its ability to stir up strong sentiments of national pride, as millions of people from across the globe gather to watch their team proudly represent their home country on the Brazilian battleground. Though soccer is certainly the star of this global spectacle, the rich cultural traditions from all types of nations is definitely a dominant presence. With this in mind, we have selected well-known, delicious dishes from each country to feature. Sink your teeth (like “World Cup biter” Luis Suarez!) into these plates that make their respective country proud.

  • Brazil: Aside from hosting the World Cup, Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world and home to the world’s most popular and frequently visited beach, Copacabana Beach in Rio De Janeiro. A national favorite is lagosta grelhado na casca, or “grilled lobster,” which is full of complex flavors. Add some lime for a kick!
  • Croatia: Homeland of Marco Polo, Croatia is also home of gnocchi, or potato pasta! This delicious, doughy pasta, tastes light and airy with a doughy texture.
  • Mexico: Aside from its beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, and vibrant Mexico City (which sinks 10 inches per year!), Mexico is home to flavorful cuisine. Tamales, or beef wrapped in corn husks, are delicious and packed with flavor!
  • Cameroon: Hailing from Africa, Cameroon is a nation rich with culture and tradition. Aside from being the first African team to make it to the quarter-final of the World Cup in 1990, Cameroon boasts world-famous brochettes, or lamb kabobs. These kabobs are succulent and tender, and pair great with grilled vegetables!
  • Paella - SpainSpain: Soccer powerhouse Spain is home to some of the most beautiful cities, beaches, and art in the world. When Spain isn’t busy producing 44% the world’s olive oil, Spain’s many chefs and families enjoy making paella, a flavorful dish loaded with saffron-infused rice, seafood, and chicken. The ingredients are added into a skillet and cooked in an oven for rich, bold flavors.
  • Netherlands: Much like the stature of the Dutch people, culinary standards in the Netherlands are very tall! Slavinken, or mince meat wrapped in bacon, is a fusion of meaty goodness.
  • Chile: A very long, thin, and mountainous country, Chile is home to delicious South American/Spanish cuisine. Palta Reina, or avocados stuffed with chicken salad, tuna, prawns, or other fillings, is a favorite.
  • Australia: In the land down under, sports and fitness are to priorities: 70% of the population participates in sporting events at least once a week! But when these athletic people need to let loose and eat some desert, they turn to national favorite, Pavlova – a meringue desert with fruit and cream! Sweet and (somewhat) healthy!
  • Colombia: Colombia, home of soccer fanatics and many miles of coastline, is known for their ajiaco dish, a stew of chicken, corn, and potatoes.
  • Gyro - GreeceGreece: You guessed it, Greece is known for its gyros (grilled lamb and veggies wrapped in pita bread)! Greece also has an impressive track record for sporting events – the Olympic Games originated here!
  • The Ivory Coast: Like chocolate? Then thank the Ivory Coast for being the world’s largest exporter of cocoa! They are also home to Mafé, or meat in a flavorful peanut sauce!
  • Japan: Futuristic Japan is home to healthy citizens who, on average, have a life expectancy 4 years higher than that of an American. Their most well-known food staple is sushi!
  • Uruguay: A charitable nation, Uruguay was the first nation to implement the one Laptop per Child Program. When Uruguayans are not busy improving the lives of others, they enjoy eating asado, or barbequed beef.
  • Costa Rica: This nation’s cuisine is as rich as its biodiversity, which accounts for 5% of that of the entire world even though the nation itself takes up .03% of the earth’s landmass. Their culinary claim to fame is Gallo Pinto, a breakfast dish featuring rice, beans, and veggies served with sour cream or a scrambled egg.
  • England: Geographically diverse and historic nation England is known for its famous Yorkshire Pudding, a baked batter served with roast beef and gravy!
  • Switzerland: World leader in the manufacturing of luxury watches, Switzerland is also known for Zurcher Geschnetzelte, a veal dish containing veal liver and mushrooms that is served over a cream sauce and potato pancakes.
  • Ceviche - Ecuador Ecuador: Named after the equator that runs through the country, Ecuador is home to the popular citrusy seafood dish known as ceviche!
  • France: The birthplace of modern-day culinary technique, France is known for its excellence in the culinary arts. With elegant and flavorful dishes, its no wonder that France is known for this artform. Their well-known coq au vin, or chicken marinated and cooked in wine, is an irresistible classic.
  • Italy: Between the beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, and breathtaking views, Italy is an incredible destination for travelers and foodies alike. Their cuisine is a worldwide favorite, and Bucatini al’ Amatriciana, or Bucatini pasta with pork in a robust tomato sauce, is a national favorite.
  • Honduras: Home of the Platano Forest, which has been nominated as one of the Wonders of the World, Honduras also boasts another delicious wonder: Baleada! These flour tortillas are folded and then filled with refried beans, cheese, and sour cream.
  • Carbonada - ArgentinaArgentina: The birthplace of the tango, Argentina is a land full of culture. Their famous carbonada dish, stew with potatoes, meat, pumpkins, and corn is incredibly delicious.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: These Euopean nations are home to sarma – stuffed cabbage rolls filled with meat and rice.
  • Iran: This Middle Eastern nation, where people eat meals on carpets instead of tables, features fesenjoon, a stew made of pomegranate, walnuts, and chicken.
  • Nigeria: Nigeria, the most populated country on the African continent, is home to jollof rice, a mouth-watering chicken and rice dish.
  • Germany: Dominating this year’s world cup with impressive wins over both the US and Brazil, Germany also succeeds at making delicious dishes! Their schnitzel is thin, boneless meat that is coated in breadcrumbs and often served with slices of lemon for flavor.
  • Portugal: A nation of seafood lovers, portugals notable dish is bacalhau con natas, or salted cod with cream.
  • Ghana: This African country is known for its hkatenkwan, a groundnut stew!
  • USA: We don’t need to tell you how great America is. Aside from being the first country to land on the moon, we are also the first country to perfect the delicious, highly-fattening bacon cheeseburger!
  • Belgium: Home of castles and delicious waffles, Belgium is known for, well…its Belgian waffles! These homemade, battered waffles are served best with fruit and powdered sugar!
  • Mechoui - AlgeriaAlgeria: With the Saharan desert covering 80% of Algeria, it’s amazing how these people find the energy to cook! Their mechoui, or roasted leg of lamb, is a popular choice.
  • Russia: The largest country in the world, Russia proudly makes beef stroganoff, a world-famous dish featuring noodles and pieces of sautéed beef in a hardy, savory sauce.
  • South Korea: Technology oriented South Korea is the home of kimchi, a specialty dish made by fermenting cabbage in a bed of pepper, garlic, ginger, and scallion!

Even though Germany has won the FIFA World Cup this year, who do you think deserves to win the Food World Cup?

Using the Right Grill and Tools to serve up a great 4th of July feast!

yumIt’s no surprise that on the 4th of July, the grill is king. Although Independence Day celebrates the day that our great nation was born in 1776, we all know that grilling (and fireworks) are iconic symbols and activities celebrated on this fun, outdoorsy day. Whether you’re cooking hotdogs, hamburgers, grilled veggies, or anything in between, your grill will be your best friend on the 4th. So, it is important that your grill is working properly so you can do your food, and this great holiday, some justice.

Here are some tips/reminders to ensure that your 4th is a delicious one.

  • Show off your grill skills by using the zone technique. With warm and hot zones, your grilling will be even and efficient, allowing you to cook multiple types of food at once without having to worry about over or undercooking – a problem that arises when the grill is set to just one temperature. In the warm zone, set your grill to 100-150 F for indirect heat. In contrast, your hot zone will be at 500 F for direct heat.
  • Plain and simple: Do not constantly flip your burgers and hot dogs! Although it is fun and undeniably looks cool, this causes the meat to lose its flavorful juices, leaving it dry and boring.
  • Let the meat rest for a few minutes before serving! Remember, the cooking process does not end once you take the meat off the grill!
  • Use the classic “finger test” to check the temperatures of your meat! Index finger to tip of the thumb feel signals rare; middle finger to thumb signals medium rare; ring finger to thumb signals medium; and pinky finger to thumb signals well done.tools

Having a great grill is just as important as having a great chef use the grill. If your grill is outdated and giving you more problems than you have time to deal with, invest in a new grill. The Delta Heat 32-Inch Model, running off of propane gas, is as top-of-the line as it gets. Featuring a double door cabinet, this grill has a high and even heat output. In addition, it has a full rotisserie system so you can enjoy succulent, evenly-cooked meats! Made in the United States, the Delta Enterprise has a sleek design that makes grilling elegant while ensuring quality.grill

Whatever your grill or techniques may be, we hope that you have a happy and safe 4th of July! We know that your grill specialties will be a huge hit!

 

Are 2014’s Culinary Trends taking effect in full force?

2014 culinary trendsThe most noticeable themes amongst 2014’s culinary trends all fall under the umbrella term “healthy eating.” Emphasizing locally grown foods, sustainable options and whole grains, chefs are now focusing on creating flavorful cuisines that please both the palate and the conscience. Creativity and sustainability play a part in the development of cookery, perfecting the balance between what tastes good and what is actually good for you without compromising either. A major factor to consider when choosing ingredients and producers is the value that comes with selecting locally sourced produce and meats. These trends signify that consumers are starting to realize that the impact of their culinary choices affect more than what ends up on their plates. With these trends in play throughout the 2014 culinary year, chefs and restaurateurs alike are finding the balance between delicious food and food that is good for you without compromising either.

Given this information, it is important to notice what a role that sustainable practices play in the restaurant industry – a factor that affects the customer’s decision to dine at a venue even before they set foot in the establishment. The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Program known for “serving up sustainability” provides statistics on these trends. In the 18-34 year old age demographic, 43% said that environmentally safe food is an important factor in making a dining choice. In addition, 55% of consumers would be more prone to select a restaurant if their menu items were produced in an organic or environmentally-friendly way.

Restaurant.org’s “Top 20 Trends” list further details these trends mentioned above:

1 . Locally sourced meats and seafood

2. Locally grown produce

3. Environmental sustainability

4. Healthful kids’ meals

5. Gluten-free cuisine

6. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)

7. Children’s nutrition

8. Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)

9. Sustainable seafood

10. Farm/estate branded items

11. Nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking (e.g. reduce food waste by using entire animal/plant)

12. Whole grain items in kids’ mealslocally produced food

13. Health/nutrition

14. New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, tri-tip)

15. Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth)

16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. Asian-flavored syrups, Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)

17. Grazing (e.g. small-plate sharing/snacking instead of traditional meals)

18. Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)

19. Fruit/vegetable children’s side items

20. Half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price

Our Chefs of the Month can testify to these popular trends taking the American culinary landscape by storm. Chef Anish Rana (June’s Chef of the Month) of popular Ft. Lauderdale restaurant Bistro Mezzeluna has noticed the popularity of healthy foods, small plates, gluten-free options, and kid’s meals in 2014. February’s Chef of the Month, Ron Duprat (made famous for competing on season 6 of Bravo’s Top Chef) said this of 2014’s culinary trends: “I see a few dining trends occurring in 2014 including incorporating locally sourced meat and seafood, locally grown produce, environmentally sustainable food products, healthy food options that are also kid-friendly, gluten-free cuisines, and the new Haitian cuisine.”

As we are halfway through the 2014 year, ChefUniforms.com would like to hear your thoughts on this year’s culinary trends and if these predictions ring true!

healthy eating

 

Eating Healthy During the Super Bowl: Mission Impossible?

Have you ever thought about the amount of calories one consumes during Super Bowl Festivities? As the Super Bowl has grown into one of the biggest events of the year, so has the menu for the parties. But with all of the fried foods and other unhealthy dishes around, is it even possible to eat healthy and still enjoy yourself?

Here’s a fun calculation according to the Calorie Control Council: “If 111 million Americans watch the Super Bowl this year, this breaks down to 20.8 million pounds of potato chips and 20.8 million pounds of tortilla chips -and it includes fan favorites like pizza, beer, nachos, dips, sodas, pigs in a blanket and other party staples.  That totals to a nationwide consumption of about 64 million pounds of fat, or the equivalent of 214,082 National Football League (NFL) offensive linemen at 300 pounds each.”

YIKES!!

While it is great to pig out and have the usual chips and wings, how about a compromise this year? Try serving some “skinny” along with all that fat!

Here’s a breakdown of a sample Super Bowl party menu by portions:

SB Party Menu

Here are some great tips and suggestions for eating healthy during the big game:

  1. Don’t hang out in the same room where your food is being set up to be served. You’ll be less likely to snack before the guests even arrive.
  2. Stay occupied. Focus on the game or your guests, instead of the munchies in front of you.
  3. Consume some low calorie beers and hydrate with water, if you don’t want to be out of commission on Monday.
  4. Serve more veggies and fruit as fillers rather than potato chips and dip.
  5. Be a support group to each other – spread the word to everyone to bring low calorie drinks and dishes. Yes, there will be a lot of food but do you really have to eat all of it?
  6. Get your exercise on – when your team scores a touchdown, you are mandated to jump up and down, run around the house and get some jumping jacks in while you are at it!

 Here are some healthier options for your Super Bowl Snacks.

 Salsa, Hummus, Bean Dip, or Spinach-Artichoke Dip. As long as it’s made right, you can’t go wrong.

SB Dips

 

Salad on a Stick. A healthy way to snack on the go!

Salad on a Stick

Spicy  Papaya Guacamole. Pretend you’re on a tropical island while freezing your toes off this winter.

Spicy  Papaya Guacamole

Grilled Shrimp with Orange-Habanero Mojo. Can you say DELICIOUS?!

Grilled Shrimp with Orange-Habanero Mojo

Mini Turkey Burgers with Gorgonzola. Little burger, BIG taste!

Mini Turkey Burgers with Gorgonzola

HAVE A FUN AND SAFE TIME FROM US HERE AT CHEFUNIFORMS.COM!

 May the best team win! Who are you rooting for? Do you have any other suggestions on staying healthy during the Super Bowl? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Holiday Cookie Exchange 2013

Ahh the holidays… the time of the year where tripling your daily intake of sugars, carbs, and fats are expected, especially if they come in the form of cookies! It is so hard to resist the sprinkles, peanuts, and frosting on top of holiday treats. To get in the spirit this holiday season, our Chef Uniforms corporate office gathered their best cookie recipes for our very first cookie exchange!

Anyone who wanted to participated had to bring in 3 dozen of their favorite cookies… homemade, of course (no store-bought cookies allowed)! Participants set all of the cookies in the break room and were told to grab whatever they wanted. Typical cookie exchanges have order and allow each participant to take home the equal amount of cookies… but at the sight of the fabulous spread, all the rules went out the window!

Hands were flying, crumbs were spilling, and mouths were being stuffed with delicious cookies to decadent holiday treats. Plates and Ziploc bags were filled to the brim and everyone left the break room with big grins on their faces. As tummies filled, it became clear that this amazing event should be an annual tradition – one more way to celebrate every holiday season!

Even though the holiday season is coming to an end and it’s time to say goodbye to all of the holiday treats, that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to holiday chef apparel. You can still feel festive in several of our colored chef coats, such as our Men’s Raglan ¾ Sleeve Chef Coat with Snap Front Closure (Style 491759), or our Women’s Contrast Raglan ¾ Sleeve Chef Coat with Snap Front Closure and Fine Line Twill.

Do you have traditions at your work place that are new this year, or something you do annually? Do you wear Holiday inspired chef wear during your cookie exchange? Share with us your holiday traditions, pictures, and especially recipes. We would love to hear from you!

Cookie1 Cookie2 Cookie3 Cookie4 Cookie5 Cookie6 Cookie7 Cookie8

Halloween Festivities 2013

Happy Halloween! We thought you might like to see some of the amazing works of culinary art (from people who aren’t chefs what-so-ever) that made the scene today at ChefUniforms corporate office.

Pretzel Mummy Sticks

Pretzel Mummy Sticks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graveyard Cakes

Graveyard Cake 1Graveyard Cake 2

Tombstone Banana Bread

Tombstone Banana Bread

Halloween Cake

Halloween Cake

Red Velvet Glass Cupcakes

Red Velvet Glass Cupcakes

And for the pumpkin decorating contest…

Pumpkin ContestBling Pumpkin Adam West Pumpkin Candy Corn Fish Pumpkin Dr Pumpkin Spider Pumpkin

We’ll be posting some pictures of the costume contest soon, so be sure to check back!

Did your office or restaurant do anything fun for Halloween? Send us some pictures or tell us below!

Decorations, Dishes and Dress for the 4th of July

July 4th is less than a week away! It’s time to start thinking about our plans for the holiday, how we should decorate, what we should cook, and of course… what we should wear! The 4th of July is a celebration of our independence as a nation; a time to spend with family, friends and loved ones. Therefore, it’s important on this day to be as patriotic as possible, so that your guests can share in the festive spirit as well. In that light, we’ve come up with some festive ideas to make your holiday gathering a patriotic masterpiece.

A good chef knows that presentation can be just as important as the meal itself. So, with that in mind, here are some ideas for some great, easy decorations for the 4th of July.

July 4th Table Decorations

When choosing what to cook for a special occasion, you have to decide whether or not you want a theme. In this instance, the theme is Red, White and Blue, but you can still get creative with what you make. Of course, the go-to is burgers and hot dogs, but what about some festive treats to go with them?

July 4th TreatsDeciding on the perfect look for your July 4th get-together, you should stick to your theme, but also try to have a little fun with it. Try ChefUniforms.com Style # 63515, a traditional chef coat in white with red piping, accompanied by a pair of blue jeans to complete the look. Not only will you look festive, but your outfit will also be practical, providing you protection from the harsh flames of the grill. It’s form and function at its best!

July 4th Chef Coat

Do you have some ideas of your own? Post them in the comments below!

National Dine Out Day: Help Make a Difference

National Dine Out Day

Today is National Dine Out Day, a day dedicated to Hurricane Sandy Relief in New Jersey. Across the country, restaurants are donating a percentage of today’s sales to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which supports recovery and rebuilding efforts in communities that have been impacted by the storm.

Homes, businesses, attractions and more were washed away by the storm, leaving countless people still feeling the sting of this disaster today. How can you help? Simply dine out tonight at a participating restaurant, and a portion of your tab will be donated to relief efforts. Help make a difference in someone’s life today.

Some of the participating restaurants include Benihana, Ra Sushi, Aunti Anne’s, Panera Bread, Firebirds and Haru, as well as many others. For more information, to donate to the cause, or to view the restaurant list to find a participating location near you, visit http://www.nationaldineoutday.com/.

The 2013 NRA Show in a Nut Shell

It’s finally here! The National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Illinois stars tomorrow, May 18th, and goes on until Tuesday, May 21st. If you’ve never been to one of these shows before, imagine a giant convention all about food. Recipes, products, demonstrations, innovations, you name it. What could be better, right? This year, expect to see over 1,800 suppliers and tens of thousands of buyers all gathering for the event of the season. And speaking of seasoning…

Get ready to see demonstrations from some of your favorite celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, connect with exhibitors and learn about new processes in the industry, listen to presentations from some of the top people in the hospitality field, check out some cool food sculptures, and of course, even sample some delicious dishes.

Two years ago, a certain celebrity came over to visit our booth from a T.V. show that will remain nameless (though it does go well with dip), and ended up wearing our chef coat all day!

Eric Estrada with the ChefUniforms.com Sales Team

Are you going to the show this year? If so, be sure to stop by the ChefUniforms.com booth, # 514.

For more information on the show and a list of attendees, visit show.restaurant.org/Home.

St. Patty’s Day Around the World

Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone! While many people would tell you that this holiday is about going out and being festive, it’s important to note that it’s about more than just drinking green beer and partying. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th every year on the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish observe today as a religious holiday, as it falls during the Christian season of Lent. So, Irish families would traditionally go to church in the morning and celebrate afterward with dancing, drinking and feasting. The customary meal for this holiday is Irish bacon and cabbage.

Up until recently in Ireland, the law mandated that all of the pubs be closed on March 17th. However, in 1995, in a campaign to drive tourism to the country, the Irish government decided to hold a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater and fireworks.

In the United States, we celebrate this holiday a bit Chicago Riverdifferently. The Chicago River is dyed green in celebration of the day – a creative way to bring the spirit of the season to its residents. This started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used vegetable dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges. They then realized that this dye produced a very festive side-effect: it turned the river green!

This day has evolved from a religious holiday to one of Irish patriotism around the world. Whether you are Irish or not, you have undoubtedly sampled a green beer, or at least tasted one of these traditional Irish dishes:

  • Irish Bacon and Cabbage
  • Corned Beef and Cabbage
  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Stuffed Cabbage
  • Potato Cakes

Whether you’re eating one of these tasty dishes or cooking it, don’t forget to wear your green chef coat for the occasion! Don’t have one? Pick one up at ChefUniforms.com, and shop till you drop! Green Chef Coat

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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