You Might Know These Sauces?

Worcestershire Sauce

A dark brown liquid made from anchovies, soy sauce, tamarinds, onions, garlic, salt, spices, sugar, and vinegar, Worcestershire sauce also contains secret ingredients that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is available for the table in various size shaker-style bottles, generally ranging from five to seven ounces, and in individual single-portion packs. There are also larger packs available for kitchen use.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Steak sauce is a single name covering a variety of preparations. All steak sauces, however, are dark reddish brown, thick sauces that generally contain soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, malt, tomatoes, fruits, salt, and spices. Even more than Worcestershire sauce, the formula of each steak sauce is a secret that is well guarded by each manufacturer.

Steak sauces are packed in tall, narrow-necked bottles that range from 5 to 15 ounces. The item is also available from manufacturers in single-service packs.

Chili Sauce

Chili sauce is most popular through the Sunbelt. Unlike its name, it is not a “hot” sauce. Instead, it is a mildly spiced-up version of ketchup. It is generally of coarser texture than ketchup, from the use of diced tomato and sometimes chopped green and red peppers and onions. It also uses garlic to provide flavor enhancement.

Chili sauce is red, comes in a tall, but wider-necked bottle than ketchup, and is used for flavoring much the same foods as ketchup. It is commonly packed in 12-to-14-ounce bottles, and in individual portion packs.

Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue Sauce

There are almost as many formulas for barbecue sauce as there are manufacturers, just as there is no standard size or shape packaging.

Most barbecue sauces are smooth, thin sauces that are poured from a narrow-necked bottle. They may range from a light brown to dark red in color, and may contain tomatoes, sugar, molasses, honey, vinegar, salt, onion, garlic, herbs, spices, and any of a dozen other flavoring ingredients. Some contain “smoke” extract, to give them smoky barbecue grilled flavor. The main characteristic, whether there is a smoky background flavor or not, is one of sweet/sour.

Bottles range in size from 6 to 12 ounces, although other capacities, as well as portion packs, may also be available.

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is made of chili peppers and vinegar, and other “secret” ingredients. Some call it chili-pepper sauce, but hot sauce has been gaining acceptance as the generic designation. It is a bright red liquid in a shaker bottle when used as a table condiment.

Bottle size and shape vary widely, although most are packaged in a tall, thin-necked shaker bottle. Common sizes range from two to five ounces, plus portion packs.


Horseradish Sauce

The most common is white horseradish, but red (purple) horseradish is popular with some ethnic groups. It is made by adding a little beet juice to the sauce.

Horseradish is packed in bulk jars, tabletop jars, small tall bottles, and individual portion packs. Many operators serve it in condiment jars at the table, refilling them from a bulk pack in the kitchen.

Horseradish sauce is horseradish blended with a “cream” type sauce, similar to mayonnaise or hollandaise, to make a pourable, less pungent accompaniment for meat dishes.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a salty, dark brown liquid made from fermented soy beans. There are almost as many soy sauce variations available to operators as there are soy sauce manufacturers producing the item.

American processors generally produce a milder, sweet sauce that is less salty. Chinese soy sauce comes in light and dark, with light sauce very mild and dark sauce very strong. Japanese soy sauce falls somewhere between the flavors of the available Chinese varieties.

Although Chinese operators will insist upon both light and dark Chinese soys for cooking, most of them have come to the conclusion that Americans prefer the Japanese style, and provide that for tabletop or portion pack use. It is commonly sold in four-to-ten-ounce long-necked bottles and individual portion packs.

Plum Sauce

Plum Sauce

Plum (or duck) sauce is the condiment that accompanies mustard in most Chinese restaurants. Originally made from plums, sugar, vinegar, soy, and spices, plums are no longer an essential ingredient, often being replaced by apricots or other fruits, even though the sauce may be labeled plum.

Plum sauce is generally packed in No. 10 or larger cans, glass or plastic gallon jars, and individual portion packs.

Taco Sauce

Taco sauce is a thin, reddish liquid made from chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. There is a wide range of hotness,” from a mild, slightly tangy version to one that is similar in bite to hot chili sauce. The milder versions will generally be used by taco stands and other operations catering to the American palate. Hotter versions will be found in operations along the Mexican border. Moderately hot types are in demand with ethnic operators in other parts of the country.

Taco sauce is packed in long-necked shaker bottles holding from two to ten ounces, and in individual packs.

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Making Your Own Food Bars

There are probably as many types of food bars as there are types of operations. Food bars can range from a simple salad bar to those offering a choice of ethnic foods. All types of operations are prospects for a food bar. Fast-food operators, family restaurants, upscale white tablecloth operations have all installed food bars.

food bars

There are several advantages to a food bar, particularly for operations facing a relatively short, high-volume lunch period. Service is rapid, and turnover is speeded. In fact, lunch is the meal period in which food bars predominate.

  • From the operator’s standpoint, one of the big benefits of installing a food bar is the reduced service personnel needs, since customers serve themselves. Labor is reduced in both the dining area and kitchen. Preparing food in bulk, instead of to order, cuts a kitchen staff considerably.
  • From the customer’s standpoint, the benefits are seeing what you are getting, serving yourself (thus controlling the size of portion), and, for most food bars, the opportunity to return for extra servings.

Heathy Breakfast

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner

Food bars are found at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as the increasingly popular Sunday brunch buffet. The variety of foods offered has proliferated as steadily. While the salad bar is still the cornerstone, there are now soup, sandwich, fruit, entree, ethnic, and dessert bars, as well. No matter the type of food, there’s a food bar configuration for it. There are all-heated bars, refrigerated bars, and bars with no heating or refrigeration. There are also combinations of any or all of those types in one unit. Refrigeration can be mechanical or ice. Some manufacturers provide ice-cooled units with a refrigerated well that keeps ice from melting quickly.

Most heated food bars use electricity, but there are gas-heated models available. Natural gas is generally confined to fixed bars, but propane tanks are available for many mobile units. And many operators use chafers heated with conventional jellied fuel. When you add all of the different serving accessories, from soup insets to meat carving blocks, heat lamps, taco assembly racks, beverage dispensers, dispensers for ice, and dispensers for toppings for ice cream sundaes, you multiply the types of food-bar combinations possible.

Don’t forget other accessories like guards, which may be required by law. Tray rails help patrons handle trays. And some type of dispensing for plates, bowls, glasses, and cups is essential. Lighting can be the key to making the food look appealing. In some operations, room light levels may be high enough. In most dining areas, however, the food bar will benefit from additional lighting, whether from spotlights at ceiling level or lighting on the bars themselves, generally concealed under the sneeze guard support structure. To all these choices, add choices of size. Food bars are available in portable, mobile, and fixed installation models. Modular units have the advantage of permitting the operator to start out with a smaller display to see how it is received. The initial food bar can be expanded to the limits of available space without major disruption. There’s a large choice of food-bar decor as well. Most manufacturers provide a number of different surface treatments. Some models are available with replaceable panels that can be covered or painted in a texture and color scheme to match the room decor. Stainless steel top surfaces stand wear and abuse better than other surface treatments, and are easily cleaned.

Layout Is Important

In today’s cafeteria, the originally all-manned service from behind the counter has been replaced in part by self service by patrons. There are usually reach-in sandwich, salad, and dessert cases, and self-serve beverage, condiment, and flatware stations. Cafeteria operators have found that the most effective setup follows the natural meal progression: from soup to salad to appetizer to entree to dessert.

However, most operators with food bars have found that separating the dessert bar from the rest of the lineup pays off in plate-waste reduction. On the other hand, some recent studies show 17 to 23 percent of a food bar’s customers will not take a dessert when the dessert bar is separated from the main line.

Bread Food-Bar

There are other variations in the lineup. Some operators place soup after the salad so the danger of the soup spilling is reduced during the stop and start salad serving. Breads may be placed before or after entrees. For entree sections, many operators prefer to place vegetables before entrees as a cost control. The patron is less likely to pile up meat, poultry, or seafood if the plate is already partially filled with vegetables and potatoes.

Essential Equipment for a Great bar Operation

There are three main types of equipment required for a food bar operation: basic serving unit(s), beverage station(s), and support units. The basic serving unit, or a combination of two or more in a large food-bar setup, is central to most operations. Work with the operator to determine the need for refrigeration, heating, and plain surfaces.

Don’t forget to explore the prospect’s need for proper storage. One of the big advantages of the food bar over skirted tables is that plain, heated, or refrigerated storage may be built into the unit’s base. For many operations, where the kitchen is some distance from the food bar, it makes sense to have heated and/or refrigerated food storage space so items may be quickly replenished without repeated trips to the kitchen.

Refrigerated Storage

Beverage stations may be segregated by type of beverage service (hot, cold, water) or may have them combined on one unit. Hot-beverage stations usually offer brewed coffee, both regular and decaffeinated, as well as hot water for tea. Cold beverage stations generally have a carbonated dispenser and often have one or more noncarbonated dispensers for juices and milk. Support units generally consist of plate, bowl, cup and glass dispensers. There may also be flatware and napkin dispensers, and condiment stands.

Do You Know How Dispensers Work?

Basically, pre-mix beverage dispensers are containers with faucets. The container (bowl), usually made of a clear plastic, contains the liquid beverage. The faucet (spigot or contact lever valve) allows the beverage to be dispensed into the serving container.

There’s a method of chilling the beverage. Dispensers which employ ice for chilling are primarily used in locations where electricity may not be available, such as sports catering and picnics. The most common method of ice chilling is a central plastic column inside the beverage bowl. This can be fired from the top with crushed ice. Because the ice is separated from the beverage, there’s no dilution. However, the liquid beverage remains in contact with the ice-chilled column and stays cold. Unless the beverage is pre-chilled, this type of unit must be filled with ice and beverage for an hour or so before dispensing starts for the beverage to be chilled properly.

Pre-Mix Beverage Dispensers

Another Method of Ice Cooling – The Cold Plate

This is a metal plate which contains tubing for the beverage to flow through on its way to the dispensing valve or faucet. Ice is placed in a compartment with the cold plate to provide the cooling.

The cold plate principle is sometimes used with mechanical refrigeration. In order to build a cooling “reserve” against peak hours, the refrigeration system freezes the cold plate in a layer of ice during slack periods when dispensing is light. The ice then provides a cooling reserve for peak periods when constant dispensing might overwhelm the capacity of the small mechanical refrigeration unit. The most common method of chilling a display dispenser is a mechanical refrigeration unit built into the base. In early models, such refrigeration compressors were quite noisy. Today’s units are often so quiet it’s difficult in a dining area of normal noise levels to determine when the compressor is running.

Cold Plate

Because the pre-mixed beverage will often tend to separate if it isn’t kept in continual agitation, agitation is a feature of almost all non- carbonated display dispensers. There are two basic types of agitation. One utilizes an arm or paddle revolving slowly through the beverage to keep it mixed and aerated. The other uses a pump to spray the beverage to the top of the display container.

Advocates of the spray say this aerates the beverage more thoroughly, for a fresher flavor, and provides a better selling image. They also point out that with agitation and no spray there are “high water” marks on the bowl as the beverage level goes down. Such marks are especially visible when the beverage contains solids or pulp.

Advocates of the paddle say that it works better with thicker drinks and juices, which often slow or clog spray pumps. They also point out that spray systems promote oxidation, particularly affecting citrus juice flavors. Other beverages foam when sprayed.

You should determine whether the manufacturer of the beverage the operator plans to dispense from the unit recommends a particular type of dispenser. An additional feature offered on some units is a “foaming chamber” or “foaming head” where the beverage is vigorously agitated during actual dispensing. This whipping or spraying action causes the beverage to foam as its dispensed. Foaming produces a more attractive drink, gives it the semblance of being thicker, and highly aerates the liquid to enhance flavor. Dispensing in the typical pre-mix display unit is by gravity flow. The faucet or dispensing valve is at the bottom of the display bowl. The beverage simply flows by gravity from the bowl when the valve is opened.

Post-Mix Units Involve a Different Type of Dispensing

They use mechanical refrigeration to keep the beverage concentrate or base at the proper temperature. The concentrated juice or juice base is held in a refrigerated reservoir as a thick liquid. When the dispenser tap is opened, the dispenser combines the proper amount of beverage with a metered amount of water to produce the desired strength. The incoming water is also refrigerated by flowing through a mechanically refrigerated coil or cold plate.

Post-mix dispensers can be adjusted for the proportion of beverage/water mix. Manufacturers usually place this adjustment in a location where the casual employee cannot make changes. In some models, a special tool must be used to make the change.

This ability to change the mix is especially important in dispensers that can be used for frozen juice concentrates and frozen soft drink bases. The proper dilution ratio may vary from one type of juice or drink to another. For example, the dilution rate for lemonade concentrate is generally different from that of orange juice concentrate.

Some post-mix dispensers use a pressure-feed system. The pressure medium is usually compressed air. The air pushes the beverage through the system to the dispensing valve. This is particularly useful when the dispenser mechanism must be located below or away from the dispensing valve.

Change the Heat, Change the Dishes’ Flavor

Steamers are becoming standard equipment for all types of kitchens. Once found only in institutions, steamers, with their wide range of sizes and types, have moved into delis, coffee shops, family restaurants, white tablecloth operations, hotels, schools, colleges, and hospitals.

There are many options for the operator who wishes to use steam to cook or heat food: high-pressure steamers, low-pressure steamers, pressureless steamers, and combination units of various types. Sizes range from small countertop units suitable for a deli or small restaurant to large models that hold several full-sized steam table pans at one time. Operators like to use steam because it’s quick; preserves flavor, texture, and color better than most other methods; and reduces shrinkage from cooking. In addition, it preserves nutrients better than most forms of cooking. And it’s energy efficient.

Since steam cooking is moist cooking, it doesn’t strip away moisture from food. That keeps yield high. The American Gas Association says the yield is five to six percent more than other cooking methods, across a broad range of foods. Because moisture stays in the food, so do vitamins and minerals. These characteristics contrast with boiling, where a large portion of those nutrients are discarded with the cooking water.

How Steam Cooks

Steam Cook

Steam is quicker and more energy efficient than most cooking methods because of the way it works. Steam contains more heat than water of the same temperature. As a result, there’s more heat released when steam turns back into water.

It’s when the steam hits the food that you actually get the efficiency of all that heat being generated. The heat is released when the steam contacts a surface cool enough to make the vapor condense back to water. The greater the difference in temperature between the food cooking and the resultant steam, the faster the heat is released. Air is a problem in steaming. When air is mixed with the steam, it forms an insulating layer around the food that interferes with the transfer of heat from the steam.

There are two methods for eliminating this air layer, both employed in foodservice steamers: using steam under pressure and stripping the air layer away with convection currents. When steam is pressurized, it gets hotter, so pressurized steam cooks faster than unpressurized steam without any extra cost in energy.

Types of Steamers

There are five basic types of steamers: high pressure, low pressure, pressureless, combination pressure/pressureless, and combination oven/steamers.

Combination Steamers

  1. High-pressure steamers are extremely fast and are found where quick cooking is needed. They are smaller units, generally used for smaller batches of foods, especially vegetables, and for reheating frozen prepared foods.

These steamers gain their speed from three factors. One is the greater heat generated by placing steam under pressure. There is little air in the steam, so a cool layer does not form around the food. And the steam does not condense out into a cool water layer on the surface of food and insulate it from the heat in the chamber.

  1. Low-pressure steamers are found primarily in institutions, although a number of hotel kitchens and caterers use them. Low-pressure units are generally larger pieces of equipment, holding as much as four full-sized steam table type trays.

Although low-pressure steamers are not as fast as the high-pressure type, since they hold more they are able to turn out greater volumes of food. Although food that would take eight minutes in a high-pressure steamer might take 15 or 16 minutes to cook in a low-pressure unit, the larger volumes of the latter can quickly make up the difference in high production.

  1. Pressureless steamers have been gaining popularity. They can be opened and food removed at any point during the cooking cycle, unlike pressurized steamers, which must have the pressure relieved before the doors can be opened.

Pressureless steamers are fast because they are convection to strip away cool layers of air and moisture from the food. They obtain that convection in one of two ways. Some manufacturers use a fan to force the steam around the cooking compartment, just as in a convection steamer. Others use the placement of steam jets so they create a similar effect.

  1. A pressureless steamer must have a vent to permit steam to flow out of the unit. In some types, the steam passes through a condenser which turns most of it back to water. In others, the steam is exhausted directly into the air around the unit, and it should be placed under a ventilation hood to reduce steam and heat in the kitchen.

The ability to open the steamer door at any time in the cooking cycle makes the pressureless steamer the most versatile. Several foods with different cooking times may be placed in the steamer. Because steam is continually exhausting from the steamer, there is no intermingling of odors or flavors. Food may be added at any point in the cycle.

However, the pressureless steamer is not as energy efficient as units using pressure since more steam must be generated. Pressure steamers generate steam only to maintain the heat and pressure in the cooking chamber. Pressureless steamers must generate heat continuously to replace that lost by venting to the outside.

  1. The newest steamer is the combination pressureless steamer and convection oven. Although this European concept took off slowly in this country, more operations are adding such a unit to their kitchens. It permits straight convection steaming, straight roasting or baking, or baking or roasting in moist heat.