Chefs Trim Costs By Getting Creative

Chefs Trim Costs By Getting Creative

Food & Drink

Chefs Trim Costs By Getting Creative


By Cari Martens

Lean times call for greater creativity in the restaurant industry, and chefs across the country are finding clever ways to keep customers happy while they keep costs down.

Sous vide, anyone? How about a hanger steak?

Cheaper cuts of meat and lesser-known seafood are finding their way on to menus, and alternate cooking methods are being employed to make these dishes as tasty as they are thrifty.

Helen Schwab, writing for the Charlotte Observer, lists several things you can expect to see more of during the tough economy of 2009.

Slow cooking – From braises to sous vide, chefs will be utilizing this prep method to develop depth of flavor in tougher cuts of meat. Sous vide (pronounced ‘soo veed’) is a French cooking style in which food is vacuum-packed in plastic, then submerged in very hot water for long periods. Expect to see dishes such as beef short ribs, coq au vin, osso bucco and beef bourguignon as ‘specials’ on the menu.

Alternative cuts of beef – Hanger steak is one example. This diagonally-grained piece of meat hangs below the ribs and is renowned for intense flavor. Other cuts making a comeback include petite tenders, ranch steaks, and flat iron steaks.

Less famous fish – In addition to the usual salmon and swordfish, restaurants will try to hook you up with black bass, triggerfish and beeliner. Expect to see more fish that’s caught locally.

Fancy garnishes – Restaurateurs will dress up dishes with things like poached eggs on top of burgers, and lots of bacon.We’ll see smaller portions of meat with larger side dishes.

Be on the lookout for these tricks of the trade and perhaps you can bring some of them to into your kitchen.

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