1 week ago

March 2018 Digital Issue


LOOKING BACK TH ANNIVERSARY THE GOOD FIGHT As the industry has evolved, some key challenges have been hard to shake BY DANIELLE SCHALK 1970s 1976 LABOUR SHORTAGES have plagued the hospitality sector for decades and continue to do so today. Over the years, a variety of articles addressing this issue have appeared in F&H. In 1979, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA, now Restaurants Canada) predicted approximately 25,000 new foodservice workers would be needed each year. Keeping abreast of technology is a neverending struggle in the industry. Though innovation hasn’t always moved at the same breakneck speed, a 1976 story on trends shaping the industry noted new electronic equipment presented “serious new problems,” as maintenance and repair knowledge lagged. “ From the technical point of view, the industry is outrunning the ability of the operator to service his own equipment when a single nut, or screw, or solder joint that comes loose can close down a key piece of equipment ” — F&H June ’76 1979 LATE ’70s Though strides have been made, gender parity and equal representation are still issues being wrestled with in the industry. Desire for a more-unified, country-wide approach to liquor laws has been chronicled in F&H since its inception as CRA Magazine. Though the laws impacting licensees have continued to evolve in the last 50 years, each province still has its own distinct set of regulations. 1983 New sources of competition entering the foodservice sphere continue to put pressure on traditional foodservice operations. Today it’s “grocerants,” but in 1983, convenience stores represented a growing source of competition for QSRs. 1980s “ You’d be foolish to ignore us if you’re a fast-food restaurateur. There’s only so much quick snack business and we’re scrambling to get a bigger share of the action — PHILIP COX ” iSTOCK.COM/PONGASN68 [SCREWS]; iSTOCK.COM/REPORTMAN1985 [VINTAGE MICROWAVE]; iSTOCK.COM/T-KINOKO [REPAIR MAN]; iSTOCK.COM/ELENABS [PROFESSIONAL CHEFS]; iSTOCK.COM/OLGA_MALLARI [ALCOHOL GLASSES] 12 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2018 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

GO LOCAL iSTOCK.COM/MARIANVEJCIK [FARMER CARRYING ASPARAGUS] TEAM EFFORT Supplier/chef partnerships are key to planning local, seasonal menus BY AMY BOSTOCK Corporate executive chef Ted Corrado of The Drake Hotel in Toronto is a long-time advocate for local ingredient sourcing and has built the menus at the Drake around seasonality and his belief in supporting local farmers. “Local food and seasonality go hand and hand and have become the foundation of how I built the menus at the Drake,” he says. “I look at what’s around me and what my suppliers have on hand — it’s very easy to build my menus that way.” Corrado’s first phone call of the day comes from his suppliers touching base about what they have available. “I’ve been fortunate to forge these relationships over the years and [my suppliers] know how excited I get about having the first crack at things and being as hyper-seasonal as possible.” The challenge, Corrado says, is that some purveyors are so small, they don’t have access to cities such as Toronto. “They make the stuff and sell it there…we aren’t talking industrial farming — it’s small farmers who maybe have a100 acres to grow on and they aren’t driving things into the city two or three times a week. I’ve turned that around and I go to them and bring ingredients back myself. It gives me access to something unique and special.” But not all chefs are that lucky. According to Genrys Goodchild, Marketing and Communications manager at 100km Foods Inc., there has long been a massive barrier to chefs ordering local food. In response, 100km Foods Inc. was formed 10 years ago. “Even though agriculture is a gigantic part of Ontario’s GDP, chefs were having a hard time accessing that and there was a real need to connect farms with chefs. So we collaborated with farms and chefs to determine how best to serve both their needs.” In its first year, the company did a few hundred thousand in sales. In 2017, it logged approximately $6 million in sales, worked with more than 85 farms and had more than 250 active restaurant accounts. “There is a gap to be filled by suppliers who act as bridge between farmers and restaurants and 100km Food is helping fill that gap,” says Corrado. “But there is still more room.” Goodchild agrees. “There’s still a lot of room to do more regional programs and inter-regional trading. There’s a move to strengthen regional imports and exports so that we can maximize the percentage of local food we’re consuming and distributing in Ontario.” FH WHAT’S IN SEASON? March is an interesting time for chefs, says corporate executive chef Ted Corrado of The Drake Hotel. “We’re starting the thaw in Ontario, so we’ll be transitioning out of root vegetables, cabbage and onions and moving into that amazing time of year where ramps are starting to come in and asparagus is available.” But, he says, spring is also tricky because fiddleheads, for example, are short-lived so chefs have to be creative about getting it on the menu. “It’s something that’s always tough,” he says. “You want to put something on your menu that’s so short-lived so you’re constantly reprinting menus and there are costs that go into that. When you’re four or five properties deep, to change one ingredient on a menu is the most cost-effective.” The approach he’s taking this year is to focus on “things I know are long-living, such as rhubarb, I can carry [them] through for a few months. Something like fiddleheads or ramps, we’ll do cross-property seasonal-feature menus so we don’t miss out. We’ll have ramp week and fiddlehead week and whatever mushrooms start popping out in early spring.” He says if chefs want to support local, they need to be forward thinking. For example, chefs can meet with farmers ahead of time to plan crops. At 100km Foods, the team updates local offerings week-to-week and also offers a tool on its website for chefs to look up by farm or by time of year what will be available so they can potentially plan a full-year’s menu based on what’s ready. “For restaurants that have the capacity to do this, we’re shifting towards working with farms to grow things specifically for them. It guarantees they will use it on their menus and also guarantees the farm can sell everything they’re going to seed,” says Genrys Goodchild, Marketing and Communications manager. Right now, she says chefs are excited about wild leeks. “That’s the real marker of the season actually starting to take off. Green garlic gets a lot of traction and, in May, we’ll start to see some asparagus, depending the weather.” FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM MARCH 2018 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 13