Food Trends and Questions on Salads

74
19
Joined May 3, 2015
I have several questions and wanted some suggestions and advice on current food trends for salads especially that are coming from 3 categories. Fruits, Vegetarians or Grain or Pasta.
I currently work for a fine dining catering company serving a big client in California, an auto industry car manufacturer. Nowadays, I see a lot of salads that are healthy, nutritious and recipes coming from different countries and cuisines like Korean, Asia, Thai, American casual, etcetera.
1. I am beginning to understand how this works since I weigh a lot of vegetables, fruits, and other food items that I use for every item we use for the salad bar. Then preparing them and serving them cold in the salad bar.
Questions:
2. What are the current food trends of 2018 on salads?
3. If I were to serve more than 1000 employees of salads, what would be the yield or the portion size for each side salad portion? Every Monday to Thursday, I feed 400 employees and refill them 2 - 3 times during a 3-hour lunch service. On Friday, it is much slower because of half of the workforce work from home. It is a self-service salad bar.
4. What are common cooking methods you use when dealing with roasting, baking and steaming vegetables especially with squash (butternut, delicata, acorn, etcetera), potatoes, parsnips, etcetera? At work, there are 6 Hobart Convection ovens at work. I also have 2 pressure steamers, gas stovetop, grill, flat iron and 2 deep fryers.
5. Any guidelines on making composed salads in 3 categories: Fruit, Vegetarian and Grain/ Pasta? How about mixing different textures and complementary flavors?
6. How do you make bacon bits? From cooking to making bacon bits?
7. When making fruit composed salads, am I getting too far going for a cold fruit dessert? I was thinking of making a deconstructed cannoli with a vanilla pastry cream on the bottom, with 3 berries lined up on top (blueberries, raspberries & strawberries), then you have some deep fried cannoli strips on the side topped with toasted pistachios. Is this going way too overboard at a salad bar?
8. Here's another, remember Clifton's Cafeteria in LA where they have this Jell-O Whipped Cream salad, is this considered as a fruit dessert?
9. I have learned using the RoboCoupe saved me so much time preparing some of my vegetables like making julienne, grating cheese, slicing vegetables very thinly, and other cuts. This is a time saver which can last for 1- to 15 minutes. Time and organization are keys making an organized workplace and station. I am learning more every day as I become a better chef and pantry cook in the salad bar. I am really new to this and wanted to excel at what I do here. Any professional advice, help, and suggestions are much appreciated.
 
2,238
516
Joined Feb 17, 2010
First off good for you landing this type of job early on in your career, this type of experience will help further your career as a cook working your way up to chef.
I'm not going to comment on trends, as I have been out of the professional kitchen for several years, but I would suggest that you start collecting books on salads. There is lots of material out there. Google composed salad books. Look through magazines like men's health, healthy cooking, cooking lite, etc.
For bacon bits, I used ends and pieces ground course like chili grind.
Cook in the oven in a heavy rondo, needs to be
stirred from time to time and watched closely as it nears completion. The oil will be foaming at this point. Remember that they will continue cooking a bit after you pull them. Strain through a China cap and let drain well. Spread out on a sheet pan lined with clean towels or paper towels.
Sounds like you might have a great opportunity to advance up to the hot side in the future. Just remember, be like a sponge and absorbe as much as you can.

Another thing that I'll add is go to some of the high end markets that have salad bars or sell composed salads like Whole Foods, Gelsons, Bristol Farms, Mrs Gooches, etc.
you can get some inspiration from there.
 
Last edited:
74
19
Joined May 3, 2015
First off good for you landing this type of job early on in your career, this type of experience will help further your career as a cook working your way up to chef.
I'm not going to comment on trends, as I have been out of the professional kitchen for several years, but I would suggest that you start collecting books on salads. There is lots of material out there. Google composed salad books. Look through magazines like men's health, healthy cooking, cooking lite, etc.
For bacon bits, I used ends and pieces ground course like chili grind.
Cook in the oven in a heavy rondo, needs to be
stirred from time to time and watched closely as it nears completion. The oil will be foaming at this point. Remember that they will continue cooking a bit after you pull them. Strain through a China cap and let drain well. Spread out on a sheet pan lined with clean towels or paper towels.
Sounds like you might have a great opportunity to advance up to the hot side in the future. Just remember, be like a sponge and absorbe as much as you can.

Another thing that I'll add is go to some of the high end markets that have salad bars or sell composed salads like Whole Foods, Gelsons, Bristol Farms, Mrs Gooches, etc.
you can get some inspiration from there.
Thanks ChefBuba. It really helps. I will google more composed salads ideas.
 
112
38
Joined Mar 8, 2015
First off good for you landing this type of job early on in your career, this type of experience will help further your career as a cook working your way up to chef.
I'm not going to comment on trends, as I have been out of the professional kitchen for several years, but I would suggest that you start collecting books on salads. There is lots of material out there. Google composed salad books. Look through magazines like men's health, healthy cooking, cooking lite, etc.
For bacon bits, I used ends and pieces ground course like chili grind.
Cook in the oven in a heavy rondo, needs to be
stirred from time to time and watched closely as it nears completion. The oil will be foaming at this point. Remember that they will continue cooking a bit after you pull them. Strain through a China cap and let drain well. Spread out on a sheet pan lined with clean towels or paper towels.
Sounds like you might have a great opportunity to advance up to the hot side in the future. Just remember, be like a sponge and absorbe as much as you can.

Another thing that I'll add is go to some of the high end markets that have salad bars or sell composed salads like Whole Foods, Gelsons, Bristol Farms, Mrs Gooches, etc.
you can get some inspiration from there.

I agree that going to those high end markets will bring ideas. I live in LA. The center of the healthy food trends. Things here are all about choices that offer. Organic, Cage Free eggs, Free Range meats, Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, Keto, I am not an expert on the last two but the internet is a good resource. The grains in salads are wheatberry, farro, bulgar wheat, couscous, quinoa. Dressings should be made from scratch, and produce from local preferable Farmers market vendors. Oven roasted veggies on salads are delicious.
The LA food scene is a tough one. But if you are good and get great branding, then peeps here are willing to pay for it. Quality and good service go a long way with foodies. good luck
 
74
19
Joined May 3, 2015
Thanks Granola Girl and ChefBuba for the replies. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area- noticed that the food trends are also healthy food trends like cage-free eggs, organic produce, farm to fork (or I should say farm to table), gluten-free, vegan, paleo. A lot of our customers want something that is healthy, light but filling. I work as a pantry cook specializing in the salad bar department at one of the major catering companies for a big client. So I prepare a lot of vegetables, and fruits, plan the menu on 3 composed salads, mostly oven-roast my vegetables and fruits on salads to have max flavor and are delicious, and we make all of our dressings made from scratch.
Once worked for an organic grocery chain in Portland called New Seasons Market that nurtures those values - I have been introduced to unusual fruits and vegetables, higher quality and better selection of food items sold in there too.
 
2,238
516
Joined Feb 17, 2010
I thought you lived in LA, therefore the suggestion for those markets. I haven't lived in the Bay Area for 30 years so I can't give any specifics, but you get the idea. You can get a lot of inspiration from these type of markets, try some different things then try to recreate with your spin on it. You will do good, sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders.
 

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