nina | January 24th, 2014 - 9:00 am

The run-up to this year’s National ProStart Invitational in May has officially begun, with high-school students from around the country prepping to compete in the culinary and management competition where winners will secure educational scholarships and pursue careers in the restaurant industry, officials of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation said. Participants  will vie for a […]


nina | January 23rd, 2014 - 9:00 am

Record rainfall may help the Florida Panhandle’s ailing oyster industry recover from several years of wide-reaching droughts.

Florida, South Carolina and parts of Georgia saw near-record rainfall in the last six months of 2012 and throughout 2013.

Researchers have blamed the 2012 decline of the oyster population in the Apalachicola Bay on persistent droughts from 2009 through 2012 throughout the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin. Oyster harvest landings declined 60 percent over the last year, resulting in a 44 percent drop in revenue.

They’ve had an unusual amount of rainfall in the drainage basin. So it certainly will be beneficial to the recovery of the estuaries and the oyster fishery.

The rebound really started in December 2012 as North America came out of a La Nina weather pattern that cast dry, cooler air over the Southeast and continued through the past summer, at the headwaters of the basin, which drains down to the Apalachicola Bay, had more than 101 inches of rain last year.

Water flows through the Jim Woodruff Dam into the Apalachicola River have been rising dramatically, even prompting flood warnings from the National Weather Service during the first week of this year.

The rising freshwater flows are a promising sign, but the oyster industry still needs more efforts to recover. The re-shelling of more than 1,000 acres of the bay floor over the next five years is needed to rebuild oyster bars destroyed by hurricanes and predators that thrive when freshwater is lacking and saline levels soar.

Illegal harvesting also has strained the bay’s oyster population. An increasing number of undersized oysters have been harvested, and in some cases 90 percent of the catch was undersized.

Source:, 1/13/2014


nina | January 22nd, 2014 - 9:00 am
Foodservice operators had a surprisingly good year in 2013. Yes, growth slowed to 3% in current dollars, down from 4% in 2012, according to Technomic Inc. The forecast for 2013 real growth is now 1% vs. 1.9% the year before. That was the best year for foodservice-operator sales since 2007.

But 2013 could have been so much worse. First there was the “fiscal cliff” standoff at the end of 2012. Then the payroll-tax holiday—a 2% reduction put in place during the depths of the Great Recession—expired, taking hundreds of dollars per household from consumers’ pockets. Then gas prices spiked in January and the federal budget sequester kicked in. Operators got socked with big snows and cold in January and February, in comparison with an unusually mild winter the year before. And everyone was afraid food prices would soar, as the drought of 2012 led to spiking prices for animal feedstock.

So did the market tank? Well, not exactly. The first quarter was the toughest of the year with flat traffic and shrinking same-store sales, but things popped back nicely in the second quarter and held most of the gains in the third. Preliminary eating-and-drinking-place sales data from the U.S. Department of Commerce show restaurant sales hit a record in October, in spite of the government shutdown and debt-ceiling fight.

The threatened food-price spikes never really materialized, though wholesale food prices are running about half a point ahead of the gain in 2012. Gasoline prices moderated over the spring and fell nearly all fall. While consumer confidence has declined since the government shutdown (and that might undercut foodservice sales somewhat in the fourth quarter), what is apparent as we write this in late November is how well foodservice did in spite of all of the challenges.

Somewhat Stronger Growth Forecast For 2013
So what’s the outlook for 2014? Modestly better. All of the key macroeconomic drivers of foodservice are expected to improve in 2014. Blue Chip Economic Indicators forecasts real disposable personal income will grow by 2.5% in 2014, a nearly two-point improvement over 2013. Employment trends finally look more positive. Gas- and food-price increases are forecast to be moderate. While lower income households were a bit more fearful after the government shutdown, the mood of wealthier Americans, who buy the most foodservice, is upbeat thanks to record equities market prices.

Technomic’s latest forecast for total foodservice, revised last August, calls for 3.8% nominal growth, with real growth of 1.3%. Menu-price inflation is predicted to increase only slightly to 2.5% in ’14 from 2% in ’13. On the restaurant side, The NPD Group is looking at a 1% increase in traffic next year, after a year of little or no gains in visits in 2013.

With regard to foodservice in 2014, we don’t expect any watershed moments. The industry is expected to continue its path of slow growth, as it has seen over the past two to three years.

NPD’s noted. While consumers’ mindset for cautious, controlled spending is expected to remain in place for some time, NPD’s forecast of traffic and dollar growth for 2014 shows improved performance compared to 2013. The group is forecasting a 2% gain in consumer spending on restaurants, which, with the forecast traffic increase, would add up to 3% growth.

Among the segments expected to drive growth in 2014 are fast-casual chains, sub-sandwich shops, gourmet coffee and donut concepts, supermarkets and healthcare foodservice. Technomic earlier reported that fast-casual concepts now account for 8% of all restaurant sales, up from only 2% five years ago.

It is expected that more operators to incorporate new technologies into their restaurants. He notes that nearly two-thirds of consumers recently have used technology, such as smart phones or tablets, to order takeout.

When it comes to what consumers will order with that new technology, locally sourced items, environmental sustainability and healthful kids’ meals will continue to be the top menu trends for the year.

For those who sell equipment and supplies, a better year for operators should translate into a better year for the E&S market, too.

Source:, 1-13-2014



nina | January 21st, 2014 - 9:00 am

American adults are consuming fewer calories from fat and saturated fat, eating less cholesterol, making better use of nutritional information and eating at home more often, the USDA’s Economic Research Service said.

The study, titled “Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010”, analyzed individual dietary intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collects data from a sample of 9,839 individuals that’s designed to be nationally representative.

Between 2005 and 2010, daily caloric intake dropped by 78 calories. This included a 3.3-percent drop in calories from total fat, a 5.9-percent drop in calories from saturated fat, and a 7.9-percent drop in cholesterol intake. It is also shows that people are using calorie counting programs such as the one found on These help people track their calories by inputing the different things they eat during the day, the program makes and estimate and reports back.

Overall fiber intake rose by 1.2 grams a day, or 7.5 percent; her data doesn’t show if the increased fiber intake is due to consumption of more fruits and vegetables.  This will take further research.

Consumers are also using nutritional information more often, with 42 percent of working-age adults and 57 percent of older adults reporting that they use the nutrition facts panel most or all of the time when they make food choices. The Food and Drug Administration plans to propose a new nutrition facts panel soon.

Some 76 percent of working-age adults said they would use nutrition information posted in restaurants if it were available.

Dining out
Consumers are dining out less frequently. During the five year period, food away from the home (FAFH) dropped from 35 percent of daily calories to 30 percent. Todd’s analysis found that reduced consumption of FAFH accounted for less than 20 perfect of the improvements in diet quality. (For the purposes of this study, “at-home foods” included foods purchased at a grocery store or via mail order as well as foods grown or caught by the individual or someone he or she knows. All other foods are classified as “food away from the home.”)

The study measures fast food as a subset of FAFH; daily fast food calories fell by 53 over the course of the study.

As the recession fades, it is expected that consumption of FAFH will rise again. It meets a need in peoples’ busy lives. However, because consumers are focusing on nutrition information more, diet quality will rebound or become worse to the same degree.

Overall impact
These are encouraging findings, noting that both the public and private sectors have launched initiatives related to improving the American diet. While the habits of most Americans fall short of the recommendations of the dietary guidelines…there seems to be progress.

This study is yet another indication that there is a major shift underway in this country about how American families are eating. Efforts all over the country are having a real and measurable impact. Families are eating more at home. They’re using the nutrition facts panel. They’re making, ultimately, better choices.

Source:, 1/17/2014


nina | January 20th, 2014 - 9:00 am

How to Roast a Chicken.

Whether you’re looking for delicious and nutritious comfort food to feed your family or something elegant and understated to serve at a dinner party or romantic candle-lit meal, when you know how to roast chicken, you’ve got a go-to entree for almost any occasion. Chicken is the most popular type of meat eaten in the United States, and it’s no wonder–it’s relatively inexpensive, is extremely versatile and is a good source of protein.Roasting is a slow-cooking method that uses dry, indirect heat. It’s perfect for chicken or other poultry because the meat cooks evenly and stays tender. And you can preserve the moisture of the meat by basting–either with butter, oil or juices from the pan–while it cooks. Serve your roasted chicken with whatever fresh vegetables are in season, and be prepared to serve up second helpings.Tips:
1.  Roasting: Very cold meat won’t roast evenly. Place it on the counter while preheating the oven.
2.  Durable cotton kitchen string is sold at kitchenware stores, most gourmet markets and large supermarkets. Do not use sewing thread or yarn, which may contain inedible dyes or unsavory chemicals.
3.  A heavy-duty, high-sided roasting pan is essential for conducting heat evenly. Never substitute a cookie sheet. A broiler pan will work in a pinch, but the roast will inevitably be somewhat chewier.
4.  Give it a rest. A roast’s internal temperature will rise about 10 degrees while resting. The natural juices will also reincorporate into the meat’s fibers and the skin or crust will dry out slightly for a more toothsome yet more succulent dinner.Items you will need:
1   small onion, peeled and quartered
3   cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
3   sprigs fresh tarragon
3   sprigs fresh thyme
1  5  pound   chicken, giblets removed
2   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1   teaspoon kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place onion, garlic, tarragon and thyme into the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, mostly closing the cavity opening. Pull the wings so the tips overlap on top of the breast; tie in place with kitchen string. Rub the chicken with oil, salt and pepper. Set in a roasting pan, breast-side down.
Roast the chicken for 25 minutes. Turn breast-side up and continue roasting, basting occasionally with pan juices, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, without touching bone, registers 175 degrees F, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the string before carving.Enjoy!


nina | January 16th, 2014 - 9:00 am

This is the year to lower your cholesterol and live a longer, healthier life doing the things you love.  Getting started today can be as easy as adding foods to your diet that have been shown to help with cholesterol, such as whole grains.  Here are 5 tasty whole grain picks to start lowering your blood cholesterol level now:

– This is one of the most well-known grains, especially for lowering cholesterol.  Try old-fashioned, quick-cooking or steel-cut for a healthy, warming breakfast, or think outside the box to incorporate this grain.

Barley – This ancient grain isn’t hard to find and has been shown to help reduce cholesterol.  Barley also happens to be the whole grain with the highest fiber.  Opt for hulled barley instead of pearl barley to get the most health benefits.

– This grain is actually wheat kernels that have been boiled, dried, cracked, and then sorted by size.  You may recognize it from many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes.  For an easy recipe that can be pulled together quickly, thanks to bulgur’s quick “cooking time,” try a Tabbouleh Salad.

Millet – This traditional grain isn’t just a good ingredient for lowering cholesterol; it is also a good option for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet.  Perhaps a  Millet Apple Raisin Cake for a sweet and easy recipe for your health.

Amaranth – If this grain is new to you, you’re going to want to get to know it.  According to the Whole Grains Council, “Amaranth has shown potential as a cholesterol-lowing whole grain in several studies conducted over the past 14 years.  There are many recipes out there using this unusual grain.
Find these and more whole grains to help lower cholesterol and boost heart health on


nina | January 10th, 2014 - 9:00 am

Are you slightly intimidated by the cheese counter?

When it comes to cooking with cheese, you can be overwhelmed by the possibilities. On top of that, good cheese isn’t cheap, so even when you cook with a small wedge, you’d like to be able to anticipate how it will behave.

We all know how to crumble a blue on greens or shave Parmesan over pasta, but it would be great to integrate cheese into daily cooking more often. 

Suppose you divide cheeses into six families — fresh, bloomy rind, washed rind, pressed, cooked and blue — each with its own appearance, aroma, flavor and texture. (There is no set number of families, and cheesemongers may define them slightly differently.) Once you absorb the basics of the six families, you can use cheeses from the same family interchangeably in a recipe with good results.

First which ones work well for smearing versus grating or shaving, melting and crumbling.  Cheeses like Brie, from the bloomy rind family (so-called because of the soft mold or yeast rind that “blooms” on the cheeses’ exterior), are ideal for smearing. They are also the best for emulsions, like salad dressings or dips, since the flavorful rind won’t gum up the final silken texture.

Firm pressed cheeses are good for grating or shaving, but you don’t have to limit them to garnishes. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about which cheeses melt well, like the notion that Cheddar is a good melter. In fact, Cheddar’s higher acidity (the reason for its so-called “sharp” flavor) means that it yields oily nubbins rather than the gooey smoothness we all desire. And sheep’s milk cheese may seem as if it might be good for melting, thanks to its semisoft or firm texture, but with twice the fat of cow or goat milk, it softens into a greasy slab when exposed to heat.

Then there are the fresh cheeses, often crumbled on salads. We decided to replace the cream in a sweet and spicy tomato bisque with a classic crumbler like Vermont Creamery’s fresh goat cheese. Mere topping no more, the cheese was swirled into the bisque just before serving, with the hope that it would enrich the soup while preserving the occasional lemony crumb. Ta-da, it worked.

So go and use cheese with confidence. Moving it to center stage can prove remarkably successful, not to mention unexpected and delicious.

Source:, 1-7-2014


nina | January 9th, 2014 - 8:00 am

A look at the culinary food trends in the new year.

Cauliflower is the new kale, salt is the new pepper and doughnuts and burgers are going gangbusters.

Food trend watchers are bidding adieu to sliders, those small sandwiches made of beef, chicken, pulled pork or fish, cupcakes are waning while quinoa, now that everyone has learned to pronounce it, has gone mainstream.

There are oodles of noodles, from ramen to pho, while salted caramels, flavored waters and roast chicken are taking off.

Coconut, too, is exploding this year, prepared sweet and savory. Look for it in sugar, flour and vinegar.

Vegetables continue to be center of the plate, edging out meat.

Some predict Swiss chard will take over from kale. For those who don’t know what to do with it, some say ‘treat it like spinach,’ and then they’re OK.

Which will make a bigger hit in 2014 – Swiss chard or cauliflower?  Cauliflower probably has a bigger chance of being a rival for kale than other veggies.

Cauliflower can be mashed, grilled, broiled or cut in steaks and barbecued, served on its own or in salad or tossed with herbs, vinegars and oils.

Could salt be the new pepper? When at food shows and when looking at restaurant menus and even grocery shelves, the number of flavored salts continue to grow. It’s overtaking the pepper category.

Salt can be infused with almost any ingredient, ranging from citrus, jalapeno, banana peppers, balsamic, apple cider, edible flowers, onion or garlic.

People are learning different flavored salts help different dishes along better and they’re not afraid to use it in small portions to our own discretion and, wow, what a flavor burst those different salt flavors can actually give you.

Salt falls into another trend–customization–which is particularly strong.

 Let customers put their own twists on foods. That can happen in a restaurant setting, or in a grocery retail setting depending on the products that gives you options when you purchase it and it can certainly happen in the home setting.”

Creativity and innovation extend to burgers too.

They’re becoming more healthful and more local. Some chefs and burger restaurants are grinding their meat in-house and making house-made condiments for on top. They’re giving the consumer all the customization with a choice of toppings and sides, like sweet potato fries, rice pilaf or grilled vegetables.

Some restaurants bake their own buns and brand them with little irons.

Sliders are not exactly on the way out, but fresh burgers are definitely on the increase. Burgers are competitive too, with people arguing over who has the best one.

The whole burger gourmet thing, is interesting not necessarily just because people are responding to it and they want to pay more for burgers, but it’s also the way that the quick service restaurant side of the business is flourishing and why that middle section of the restaurant business is dying.

Cupcakes, beloved by trend watchers a few years ago, have plateaued. They’re here for the foreseeable forever. People just kind of count on them the same way they count on being able to get a muffin or a cookie.

Doughnuts, meanwhile, are still very popular, with shops devoted to the sweet treats mushrooming.

We’re going to see a huge explosion of interest in what we would call weeds or just foods around us that we’ve forgotten about and I think it speaks directly to our confidence in our cuisine.

Using local suppliers, hopes consumers will be more aware of where their food comes from, which will help them make informed decisions about where they buy their fish and meat.

Salted caramels are exploding, with the flavor infused into doughnuts, crepes and ice cream, into any sort of glaze or sauce for pound cakes or angel food cakes or melted and drizzled over any desserts.

Source:  Canadian, 12-31-13


nina | January 8th, 2014 - 9:00 am

U.S. Cattle prices jumped to a record Friday, January 3, 2014, setting up a fresh hit of sticker shock for consumers at the grocer’s meat counter.

Meatpackers paid the highest cash prices on record for live, slaughter-ready cattle in the major producing states of Kansas, Nebraska and Texas this past week.  This led traders to bid up future prices, which have already been rising due to beef purchases for the holidays and the meat industry dealing with tight cattle supplies after prolonged drought in part of the U.S. Great Plains.

Analysis expect the higher cattle prices to be passed along to U.S. consumers in the next few months.   That would boost fresh-beef prices at retail to an all time record of $5.014/# in November, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   This is a 26% increase over five years ago.

Higher beef prices could further effect the consumption of the red meat, which has slumped 25% in the past three decades as Americans turned to less costly meats or avoided animal protein completely for health/personal reasons.

The USDA estimates retail beef prices will climb 2.5% to 3.5% this year.  That would be up from about 2% last year but below some earlier increases, including a 10.2% jump in retail beef prices in 2011.

U.S. Cattle owner’s are commanding higher prices because supplies have shrunk after roughly three years of drought in parts of Texas, Kansas and other big cattle-producing states.  Many ranchers reduced their herds in recent years as the searing heat and lack of rain parched pastures and increased the cost of feed, including hay and corn.

Some believe it could be four to five years before we see a big increase in the amount of feeder cattle out there.  We have got to rebuild numbers due to the droughts we’ve had over the last 10 years.

A big U.S. corn crop in 2013 has cut the cost of the grain roughly 40% in the past year.  For now, that is further reducing the cattle supply, because the lower costs make it more affordable for ranchers to hold on to cows and breed more calves to try to take advantage of higher prices for feeder cattle.

The nation’s cattle herd was the smallest in six decades at the start of 2013, the most recent data available, according to the USDA.

A big question for cattle traders, meatpackers and grocery chains is whether U.S. consumers will be willing to pay higher prices for beef.  Last year, some consumers pushed back at the higher beef costs.

Beef sales volumes fell 0.7% from a year earlier while pork volumes grew 3.6% and chicken volumes rose 0.8%.

Strip steaks, rib-eyes and other prime cuts of beef have become “luxury items”. 

Chicken prices have been coming down, which will help offset higher beef prices. 

Analysts said beef prices will stay high for several more years because of the time it takes to bring cattle to market.  Calves take about nine months to deliver and then are fed for 12 to 18 months before slaughter.

Many are waiting on the sidelines to bet on futures.  How many retailers, who buy large volumes of beef, will react to the increase in costs.

Source:  The Wall Street Journal, 1/4-5/2014


nina | January 7th, 2014 - 9:00 am

During 2013, Saval Foodservice raised and donated $1,006.23 this year to the WBAL Kids Campaign.

Saval Foodservice presented their donation on WBAL Radio Christmas Eve, December 24th at 6:30am at Valley View Farms in Baltimore, Maryland.  Dave Durian mentioned Saval Foodservice on the Radio and the generous donation.  Paul Saval, President; Michael Gabriel, Regional Sales Manager; and Ledia Hill, People Manager presented the donation.

WBAL Kids Mission:
The WBAL Radio Kids Campaign seeks to promote, foster, encourage, support and sponsor various activities for the general educational, vocational, recreational, civic and social improvement and betterment of young, economically deprived boys and girls in the WBAL Radio listening area, without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin.

How to Contribute: 
Mail your contributions to:
The WBAL Radio Kids Campaign
3800 Hooper Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21211

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