nina | November 18th, 2011 - 9:00 am

And, while eight to 24 year olds have varied interests, certain comfort foods, like cookies and candy, are timeless. For example: Oreo Cookies and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bars are each highest ranked in their respective categories, and sweet treat and cookie brands receive some of the highest equity scores among those surveyed.

Category Overview – Food & Beverage.
Sweet Treats: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bars is the highest ranked brand, followed by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses.

Cereals: Cheerios is the highest ranked brand, followed by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Cookies: Oreo Cookies is the highest ranked brand, followed by three Chips Ahoy cookies brands – Chips Ahoy, Chewy Chips Ahoy and Chunky Chips Ahoy.

Sodas: Sprite is the highest ranked brand, followed by Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.

Fruit Juices:  Minute Maid is the highest ranked brand, followed by Tropicana andFlorida’s Natural Refrigerated Orange Juice.

Fruit Flavored Drinks:CapriSun is the highest ranked brand, followed by KoolAid.


nina | November 17th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Saval’s Corporate Chef, Bryan Bernstein participated in this year’s March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction to benefit “Save the Babies” on Monday, November 14, 2011 at the Baltimore Marriott, Waterfront.  This featured more than 35 of the city’s top chefs for an evening of culinary tastings.  The event included a live auction of unique dining […]


nina | November 16th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Chicken ala King

2 cups chicken broth
2 lb skinless boneless chicken breast halves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 each yellow, red and green bell peppers, cut
salt & black pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 lb white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons dry Sherry, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika (not hot)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

– Put broth and chicken in a 2-3 quarter heavy saucepan and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat, uncovered.  Turn chicken over and gently poach at a bare simmer, uncovered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
– Transfer chicken to a cutting board.  Pour broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof 2-cup measure and reserve for sauce. 
– Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-5 quart wide heavy pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook peppers, stirring, until softened (do not brown), 6 to 8 minutes.  Transfer peppers to a bowl and stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
–  Add onion and remaining 3 tablespoons butter to pot and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add flour and remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and reduce heat to low, then cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  Whisk in 3/4 cup broth, then all of cream and mushrooms, and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. 
– Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, Sherry, and paprika in a small bowl.  Whisk in 1/2 cup sauce, then stir mixture back into sauce remaining in pot.  Cook over low heat, stirring (do not simmer, or sauce will curdle), until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and reserve.
– Cut chicken crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices and add along with peppers to sauce, then cook over low heat (do not simmer, or sauce will curdle), stirring occasionally, until chicken and peppers are just heated through.  Add more broth to thin if desired.

Bryan Bernstein, Corporate Chef, Saval Foodservice


nina | November 15th, 2011 - 9:00 am

A typical Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will cost $49.20 this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.  That is 13% more than last year’s $43.47.  The price of a 16-pound turkey increased 22% to $21.57; pumpkin-pie mix is up 15.6%; and whole milk costs 13% more. Source:  ProChef SmartBrief, 11/14/11


nina | November 14th, 2011 - 9:00 am

The North American Meat Processors Association this week took a big step toward creating a new trade association with the National Meat Association.  The NAMP board announced it approved forming the new association on two conditions: the approval of NAMP’s members, and board approval of the legal documents for the new association. NAMP will immediately […]


nina | November 9th, 2011 - 5:30 pm
Restaurants are poised to raise prices as Americans become accustomed to more expensive food at grocery stores.U.S. consumers paid 2.6 percent more at eateries in September than last year, while food prices at supermarkets were 6.2 percent higher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly consumer-price index. Inflation for eating at home has accelerated faster than dining out during the past year, reaching its widest gap since 1990 last month.Restaurants monitor this differential because they don’t want to appear too aggressive with menu pricing relative to the cost of food at home. This gives companies “more credibility” in adjusting prices, particularly as commodity inflation puts pressure on margins.If people go to the supermarket and see that the core items they’re purchasing are on the rise, then they are less likely to be surprised if restaurants are raising prices as well.

Food prices rose at an 8 percent annual pace in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ producer-price data. Commodity costs account for a much larger share of expenses at supermarkets than at eateries, so there’s been a “delayed pass-through” as restaurants absorbed some of the increases.

Following the lead of supermarkets, restaurants have some confidence consumers can afford to pay more because of moderate growth in employment and income. Employers added 103,000 workers in September, the Labor Department reported, more than forecast. Personal income rose at an annual rate of 4.5 percent in August, marking 20 months of consecutive yearly growth, Bureau of Economic Analysis data show.

Companies may take creative approaches to effectively raise prices, such as reducing promotions, offering higher-end specials or emphasizing certain menu items.

Eateries need to “think very deliberately” about making adjustments to avoid driving away their core base of diners.

Fast-food chains may have more success because their prices are closer to food-at-home than full-service restaurants. Given the opportunity cost for employed Americans to prepare meals at home, it “might be a better value” to eat out.

For budget-conscious consumers, the “big bang for the buck” still is eating at home, even if it also costs more. The tradeoff is driven much more by unemployment than any price spread.

The jobless rate, at 9.1 percent in September, has been above 9 percent for 27 of the past 29 months, Labor Department data show. Meanwhile, confidence as measured by the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined in the week ended Oct. 23 to the lowest level in a month.

Grocery stores are having more success in passing along rising food costs because they have less excess supply than dining establishments. 

People are doing smaller things for entertainment, such as eating out as opposed to taking a vacation. Investors are looking for consumer discretionary sectors, like restaurants, where the competitive position is improving.

Source:  Bloomberg.htm; 10/28/11


nina | October 25th, 2011 - 4:00 pm


Healthy Howard is a community-based effort to improve health for those who live, work, learn and play inHoward County.  Launched in 2007 by theCounty Executive and Health Officer, they seek to build a model public health community through the advancement of “healthy” policies at the institutional level.

The Healthy Workplaces Program recognizes Howard County work places that are committed to improving employee health and well-being through six main areas of worksite wellness: Culture of Wellness, Physical Activity, Mental Health, Environmental Health, Nutrition, and Safety.

This accreditation program was developed from a review of evidence-based worksite wellness activities, guidelines from existing efforts by the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society as well as recommendations from the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and the Horizon Foundation.

There are three award designation levels for certified businesses: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  After submitting an application, we were selected and presented a Healthy Howard Award plaque to honor our efforts.

Chef’s Corner – Saval Bistro Steak Sandwich

nina | October 13th, 2011 - 9:00 am


6 oz Teres major, Flattened
1 ea Ciabatta
2 T Onion, diced
2 T Red Pepper, diced
2 oz Hickory Heaven
1 T Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

Season beef with salt and pepper and grill to desired temperature.  Sauté peppers and onion and add Hickory Heaven sauce.  Slice and warm Ciabatta.  Layer steak and pepper- onion mix in Ciabatta and serve.


nina | October 12th, 2011 - 9:00 am


The calendar may say it’s autumn, but the heat is still screaming summer. In fact, the record drought is taking a toll on a classic symbol of fall.

The stage has been set for the celebrations of autumn. If only the weather would follow suit.
The corn mazes are ready to go. So are the geese, goats and the racing pigs. But the biggest draw this time of year is the pumpkins.

It’s been so dry in some parts of the country that farmers didn’t even bother to plant pumpkins this year, instead opting to buy them from farms in other parts of the country.

A lot of farmers had a total loss on their crop. And they’re going to be really hard to find.  They are also going to be 15 percent more expensive, not to mention smaller. Texas production of pumpkins has been cut in half by the drought, and Hurricane Irene took a toll on production in the northeast.

Talk about feast or famine—October accounts for about 75 percent of some farmers annual business.

A lot of people have no intention of buying pumpkins, but they bring small kids out to farms and their families and take a thousand photos and buy Fall produce and food.

After all is said and done, the farms with fall festivities will have truck loads of pumpkins shipped in.  Each load weighs approximately 40,000 pounds with freight charges probably costing more than the pumpkins themselves.

So hug your pumpkin and show your appreciation this Fall season!

Source:  khou.com sept 2011


nina | October 11th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Put a slight spin on satisfying “comfort-food” favorites for an intriguing menu additon.

I don’t have a precise answer, but it seems safe to say that after two bubbles, three recessions, and about 20 years of repeated refreshing and reinvention, the comfort-food trend is not so much a trend at all, but rather a permanent feature of the American culinary landscape.

Times have changed. Our economic downturns seem to be lasting longer. The geopolitical landscape has undergone seismic shifts. But comfort foods remain very much in favor. It’s a cuisine interestingly impervious to the vagaries of foodie fashion, and positively oblivious to modernist trends that would relegate the pot pies and stalwart casseroles of the past to culinary purgatory.

Surveying today’s comfort food, it becomes clear that the secret to finding success with new menu items based on tried-and-true comfort-food favorites lies in taking a familiar offering—say, the grilled-cheese sandwich—upscaling the ingredients just a bit to reflect consumers’ growing fixation on product quality and variety, and tweaking the basic ingredient formula ever so slightly to create a novel twist on the basic form.

The good ideas begin with the menu item itself. Grilled cheese is simple, more than a little decadent, exceedingly familiar, nostalgia inducing, and deeply satisfying.

Perhaps most important of all, every single item within the basic formula (bread, cheese, optional meats and vegetables, and some sort of butter for grilling) is capable of being upscaled, tweaked, or enhanced just a smidge to yield a new variation on the basic theme. There’s endless room for experimentation, and this leeway ultimately challenges the restaurateur’s creativity.

The key is not to venture too far afield of the familiar in the course of crafting new items.

Instead of buttering the bread lightly, you heap it on a little heavier so bread gets a little crunchier under the intense heat of grilling. Instead of commercial white or wheat slices, you hack off a couple slabs of a rosemary-garlic loaf from a local purveyor. Instead of American singles or simple Swiss, you use a sharp cheddar or intensely flavored emmental or gruyère—regional, higher-end variants with much more provocative flavor profiles. And rather than toss in a couple of pieces of standard bacon, you layer on an applewood-smoked variety, or a thin-sliced artisan ham.

You’ve effectively intensified the entire grilled-cheese experience and created a destination-worthy item by changing out three ingredients.

Grilled cheese makes for a great example, but this basic formula has been applied to countless other menu items over the past couple of decades, to the point where the new versions have become mainstream. Saffron-garlic mashed potatoes, truffled macaroni and cheese, duck-fat-fried french fries, gourmet pizzas topped with exotic cheeses, expensive meats, pesto sauces … the list goes on.

In each case, the minds behind the menu items have applied their creativity and vision to a familiar formula and come out with something that resonates with consumers’ centers in a slightly new way.

The bottom line: Don’t for a minute underestimate the synergistic effect of infusing new ideas into familiar comfort foods. The trick is not to venture too far afield of the familiar in the course of crafting new items.

In the end, if it isn’t readily recognizable as a new twist on grilled cheese, a new take on the french fry, or a novel approach to the pot pie, you’ve probably gone too far. But within the basic frameworks, feel free to go wild and reap the rewards.

Source:  qsrmagazine.com, oct 2011

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