web analytics
May 21, 2010
Mango Guacamole
  • 3 Ripe Avocados
  • 1 Mango, Peeled and Diced
  • 1/2 Large Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Plum Tomatoes, Seeded and Diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Finely Chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1 Lime
  • Salt to Taste
  • Tortilla Chips

Peel and pit the avocados into a large bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the avocados. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the avocados and lime juice. Gently stir in the diced mango, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro. Add salt to taste. Scoop guacamole into a serving bowl, garnish with a sprig of cilantro, and serve with tortilla chips.

Read More
No Comment 0
Don Beckendorf
May 7, 2010
Waste Studies – Found Money?

Shared by:  Don Beckendorf, Senior Associate
Los Angeles Office

Well maybe but let’s start at the beginning to make some sense of the question.

With the growing emphasis on LEED in the built environment, all parties have gained a better understanding of the “green” values that can work effectively in programming, designing and building.  This is great, but only recently have we seen a shift in focus from building and renovation to control of waste.  After all, it’s the people living and working within the buildings who must have a desire AND an ability to control waste – reduce, recycle and reuse.

The first phase of the LEED process – programming to best understand the desired result, the road to get that result and the bumps along the road – is crucial to defining the best scope for all the parties involved.  So it is with Waste Studies. 

What is a Waste Study? 

To put it simply, it is looking at the programming done by the developer or architect and using that information to quantify the types and amounts of waste that will be generated and what can be done with these materials.  With projects running the course from mixed use developments; to sports and theme parks; to high rise office buildings, hotels and condominiums and to resorts and convention centers, the types of waste materials generated can vary greatly in type and quantity. 

Once the initial information is corralled, then a closer look must be taken to determine, in concert with the overall construction and design, where the waste will be generated and where it must end up.  The challenge becomes how the materials get from point A to point B and what is needed at point B to best handle the material.  A couple of examples might be:

  •  Kitchen and dining room waste – what is done with food waste, paper waste, plastic waste, grease and oil?  What is, or can be, reused or recycled and how will that be done?  What are the capabilities of the waste infrastructure in the local neighborhood, city, county?
  • High-rise condominium – what is done with the daily waste from the individual units?  Can there be efficient use of a waste system to separate the various types of waste?  What can be recycled?  Will the local waste hauler be able to accept all these streams of waste?

 Can the Waste Study save Money?

 Absolutely, and let’s look at a few ways it will.

  •  In design, an accurate waste study will allow the base building plans to insure the correct spacing is allowed for all of the components needed to handle the materials.  This step alone saves monies spent regularly in time, meetings and printing that too often occur if a waste study becomes an afterthought and redesign becomes necessary.
  • In construction, the most cost effective methods can be utilized to best fit the waste system from the generation point to the end point of collection and hauling. 
  • In construction, the correct equipment to accomplish the goals of the waste system is specified and is easily incorporated into the build out of the site.
  • In use, the system is sized correctly to accommodate the quantities of waste generated and retrofitting or construction changes are avoided.
  • In use, the study clearly demonstrates choices available to reduce, reuse or recycle the various streams of waste within the parameters of the local infrastructure.

 Above all – with a Waste Study it is true – Dollars shouldn’t be Wasted!

Read More
No Comment 0
Kerry Bowden
April 22, 2010
Earth Day 2010

Shared by:  Kerry Bowden, Senior Associate
Los Angeles Office 

I was surprised to find that Earth Day started as part of a speech by Senator Gaylord Nelson to a conservation group in Seattle (of course) way back in 1969!

Wow – I had no idea.

So I decided to take a look at some things that we could do in our home and office that would be easy to execute – and with a little prodding, might become permanent changes that really could have a big impact on the environment.

Water is scarce in Southern California. Practically every summer we have water shortages. But that is a hard concept for many people to understand when you can turn the faucet on and get as much water as you want, any time you want it. Even in a water shortage. And recently I noticed that one of my roommates was taking 20 minute showers.

So today – for Earth Day – I asked all my roommates to try to limit their showers to just three minutes. Not just for today but from now on. Actually – three minutes of running water – they can stay in the shower as long as they want.

I know it can be done because I used to live in St Thomas where water is REALLY scarce, and all permanent residents of the island will tell you, any shower longer than two minutes is a luxury. Trust me – you get used to it. You adapt.

Everyone should now be aware of the fact that most tap water is as good if not better than any bottled water – and we as a country throw away a mountain of plastic each day of the year.  So I have asked my roommates to not purchase and bring any bottled water into the house. Yes, you can do it too. Go to the store and get a stainless steel water bottle.

Actually, I asked them to not buy anything in plastic containers if possible – especially products such as yogurt – which is actually a sugar laden concoction disguised as a “healthy” product. Same goes for soft drinks or energy drinks. Doesn’t it make more sense to take a long walk in the evening after dinner – or lunch – instead of that Red Bull or Caramel Macchiato??

This one might be a stretch – but we might start making our own laundry detergent at home. If not, we will all buy environmentally friendlier products at Whole Foods. No more Tide with “Afternoon in an English Garden” scent.

Even though we run a fairly “Green” office at work (we became essentially  “paperless”  a couple of years ago) we still have a wall full of plastic-based catalogs that not only spew tons of pollutants into the atmosphere when they are made, and then accumulate in our landfills, but use valuable resources for delivery – including man-hours. We will phase out the catalogs starting today, and ask our reps to not bring in any printed materials.

 I ride a motorcycle, and I know that not using a car saves a lot of money, but today I started thinking about the “Earth Day” aspects of riding a motorcycle, and I was surprised.

 I have not owned a car since I have lived in the Los Angeles area (which most people will tell you is impossible) and aside from when I am out with my girlfriend – I ride my motorcycle exclusively – or use the Metro.

 By my calculations I have saved nearly 2600 gallons of gasoline in the past four and a half years (think – an extra $7000 in the bank).

But it’s not just the money I am saving; think about the overall impact on the environment:

Motorcycles have much smaller batteries to dispose of, as well as only two tires to manufacture and throw away. And no antifreeze to find its way into our ocean (OK – some bikes do use liquid coolant – but not mine).

The bikes I ride have about 95% less plastic than the average car – and take a much smaller assembly line and facility to manufacture.

Just imagine the savings if a million more people switched to motorcycles or bicycles over the next decade! If you don’t think it is feasible, just go to an average small town in South America – say, Tarapoto, Peru – where probably 80% of the population ride motorcycles. Including grandmothers. Or drive by a large office building in Munich – or practically anywhere in Europe – and look at the thousands of bicycles parked outside.

Yeah, sure – I might get flattened by a guy in a Hummer someday – but that carton of yogurt or soda is just as deadly in the long run – and riding a motorcycle is much more exhilarating than a strawberry-banana yogurt.

Read More
No Comment 0
April 15, 2010
Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Shared by:  Kathleen Held
Director of Marketing & Business Development
Washington, DC Office

  • 1-package yellow cake mix
  • 1- 3.9 ounce package instant chocolate pudding
  • 1/2-cup sugar
  • 3/4-cup oil
  • 3/4-cup water
  • 4-eggs
  • 1-small package mini chocolate chips
  • 8-ounces sour cream
  • 1-teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour bundt pan.
  3. Combine all ingredients in order, mix thoroughly and pour into the bundt pan.
  4. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Read More
No Comment 0
Pamela Eaton
April 9, 2010
'That’ll get you a LEED point'

By Pamela Eaton, LEED AP
Senior Associate
Washington, DC Office

How often have you heard that in relation to a foodservice item only to find out that it’s not quite that easy?  Unfortunately, there is no “bike rack” option for food & bev.  Can your kitchen be more “green”?  Absolutely!  Can your equipment be more “sustainable”?  Definitely!  Will you see a return on investment and significant reduction in utility usage?  Unquestionably!  But a LEED point?  Probably not.  Although that is really a question of how hard do the engineers on the project want to work for it…

I was asked when LEED first came on the scene what effect I thought it would have on kitchen design and how much I thought kitchens would contribute to points.  I responded back then, and feel the answer is still valid today, that food & beverage people don’t need the carrot of a LEED point to understand the value of energy efficient equipment – they see the $$$ on their bottom line every month.  A 30% reduction in gas, water or electricity usage is a no-brainer for operators.  Commercial equipment companies have seen efficiency as a way of differentiating their products, so when they update a piece of equipment, they tend to make them more efficient. 

Because of that, I felt that the USGBC had gone after other low hanging fruit that was easier to quantify – things like office lighting energy usage, toxic chemicals in products, water usage in public restrooms, etc.  Items that are not quite so, or quickly obvious, to the bottom line.

Currently the only way in the NC or CI Tracks for kitchen equipment/design or a food and beverage operational item to get a LEED credit by itself is through the use of one of the Innovation & Design Process points.  My experience is that these are snapped up pretty quickly by the architect with items they know they will get credits for.  If there is one available, reduction of energy use through substantial use of Energy Star rated equipment, reduction of energy for refrigeration, or reduction of waste through composting programs and recycling programs have all been successful in the past in getting ID points.

There are two categories where kitchen equipment can potentially contribute to the team’s reduction in process energy usage; Energy and Atmosphere (EA) and Water Efficiency (WE).  The caveat is that it also depends on the Track the building is taking. 

For projects pursuing the Commercial Interiors track there are requirements for foodservice equipment within the performance criteria for tenant space systems.  EA Prerequisite 2 and EA Credit 1.4 set minimums and optimized goals for Energy Star Equipment usage by rated power and include commercial foodservice equipment.  WE Prerequisite 1 sets flow rates for pre-rinse faucets, but considers the remaining equipment outside of the scope of water use reductions.

For projects pursuing the New Construction track the points are more difficult.  EA Credit 1 considers kitchen cooking and refrigeration process energy, so it can be assumed to be 25% of the total energy cost and process loads must be identical for both baseline building performance and proposed building performance rating.  If they want to consider reductions in process load (and potentially get additional points), the team has to follow the exceptional calculations method.  Kitchen hood exhaust is not considered process load, and so does have minimum requirements to be met within EA Prerequisite 2.  As with CI, WE Prerequisite 1 sets flow rates for pre-rinse faucets, but considers the remaining equipment outside of the scope of water use reductions.  In some cases, WE pr1 has been interpreted to include flow reduction for hand sinks within the kitchen facilities as required. 

For projects pursuing LEED for Schools, there are points that foodservice can get on their own!  (if there are no disposers or water chilling units that utilize potable water anywhere else on the project).  WE Credit 4 sets maximum water usage for dishwashers, ice machines, food steamers and pre-rinse spray valves.  LEED for Schools follows NC for the other EA and WE credits (described above).

All that said, the argument for energy efficient designs in kitchens is a strong one and one that can be addressed successfully in a myriad of ways.  Equipment in categories that do not have an Energy Star review yet can be selected based on their scoring by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and the California Energy Commission (CEC).  Hoods can be designed with cfm reducing panels and specified with demand control to reduce run time during low equipment usage times.  Rack refrigeration units and large dishwashing machines can incorporate heat recovery methods for pre-heating of domestic hot water.  Low flow faucets can be utilized on sinks where water is used for rinsing (not for filling sinks like pot sinks).  Pulpers will reduce the volume of waste to be disposed of and operational programs incorporating composting and recycling reduce waste overall. 

I would also encourage you to expand beyond the LEED point discussion and look to other programs designed to enhance your project and reduce its environmental footprint.  One program worth a look is GreenSeal, based on ANSI Standard 46 and offering certifications which reduce a foodservice operation’s environmental footprint by 75% or more.

LEED is the pioneer of bringing sustainability and energy efficient buildings to the forefront of the design world. Foodservice, at this time continues to be the energy consuming monster that the USGBC has not yet faced. The foodservice equipment industry is making improvements very quickly that can provide significant contributions to an energy efficient and sustainable facility. Incorporating these features into your project may not get you a certificate but it will give something to deposit into the bank.  What more can you ask for as you strive to do well by doing good?

Read More
1 Comment 0
March 31, 2010
Easter Glazed Ham

Shared by:  Ted Farrand, FMP – President & COO
Washington, DC Office

  • ½ Smoked Ham
  • ¼ cup Whole dried cloves

 For the Glaze:

  • ½ cup   Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup   Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup   Apple Cider or Apple Juice
  • 2 tbls.   Dijon Mustard
  1. Score the ham in diagonal pattern, aprox. ½ inch deep
  2. Push whole cloves into the diamonds
  3. Mix ingredients for the glaze
  4. Bake the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees F, covered tightly in foil,
  5. With a small amount of water in bottom of pan
  6. Uncover, brush glaze over top and sides of ham,
  7. Return to oven for 20 minutes or until glaze is bubbly
Read More
No Comment 0
Kerry Bowden
March 25, 2010
Value Engineering Up-Front with the Right Energy Efficient Equipment!

By Kerry Bowden, Senior Associate
Los Angeles Office

Let’s take a look at the definition of value engineering as defined by Wikipedia:

Value engineering (VE) is a systematic method to improve the “value” of goods or products and services by using an examination of function. Value, as defined, is the ratio of function to cost.  Value can therefore be increased by either improving the function or reducing the cost. It is a primary tenet of value engineering that basic functions be preserved and not be reduced as a consequence of pursuing value improvements.

Hmmm…. to me this doesn’t sound like value engineering in actual practice today. More often than not the VE exercise is a reaction to budgetary constraints and too often the up-front cost dominates with too little consideration placed on the long term operating savings.

As foodservice design consultants, we can begin VE – up-front – by examining function and selecting energy efficient equipment to increase the ROI for our clients through lowering energy consumption.

California leads the country in energy conservation, so it is no surprise that here in California we are always expected to provide the best solutions for energy efficiency in our designs – and we see a trend that this is becoming the norm in projects, not only around the rest of the country, but around the globe as well.

Our standard approach when designing new facilities, or in projects with existing facilities, is to steer towards possible savings in energy/water usage.  Primary areas of focus include ventilation, ware washing, refrigeration systems equipment specification, and even lighting. These big-ticket items can become big energy savers … or wasters if not thoughtfully specified or operated.

A good source of reference is the Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a research and educational resource sponsored by the local utility company Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). California energy users fund FSTC; everyone pays a small surtax on energy use on each monthly bill to fund the California Energy Commission which in turn encourages and supports energy savings in many critical areas, including foodservice. This program sets standards, enacts equipment rebate programs, and most importantly, acts to stimulate the green economy and encourage energy efficiency and growth in California.

Together with the Energy Commission, the PG&E FSTC has developed educational resources and useful tools for restaurant designers and consultants. Lists of tested, energy efficient equipment by category are available on the FSTC website: www.fishnick.com. Also available on the website are sample energy calculators to allow straightforward comparison of various equipment items. FSTC hosts specialized seminars on topics such as kitchen ventilation systems, restaurant energy audits, restaurant lighting and more. Individualized consultation is also available, including review of design plans and specifications, which has been a marvelous added benefit to our clients.

Using EPA rated Energy Star appliances for reach-in refrigerators as well as heated holding cabinets is now the law in California.  The current Energy Star levels for commercial reach-in refrigerators and freezers will be the National standard this year. Many states, particularly in the South Eastern US do not currently have any such Energy Star requirements, nor do they have the opportunity to benefit from the equipment rebate programs.

Of course, another area of focus in design is on correct sizing of equipment for the application, which is extremely important in energy use. When unnecessary preheat times, idling energy usage, and increased ventilation requirements are considered, oversized equipment can be a huge energy drain. Thus it is essential for designers and operators to size the productive capacity to match the production demands.

In any foodservice design there are many other very simple low cost opportunities for savings such as waste reducing systems, replacing pre-rinse faucets with low flow units, suggesting LED or CFL lighting, etc. 

While foodservice equipment is only one part of VE, it is a high-ticket area.  By showing our clients how their up-front investment in the right energy efficient equipment, yields faster ROI, it’s clear that the long term savings far outweigh the up-front costs. From front to back of house, whenever we can, we are offering this added value to our clients

Read More
No Comment 0
March 17, 2010

Shared By:  Ted Farrand, FMP – Vice President
Washington, DC Office

  • 3 lbs  Potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 sticks (16 oz.)   Butter, unsalted
  • 1 ¼ cups  Hot Milk
  • To taste  Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 head Cabbage, green, cored and finely shredded
  • 1 lb piece Ham or bacon,
  • 2 each Green Onions, finely chopped
  •  ¼ cup Parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. Put ham or bacon in large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until tender.  Drain.  Remove any excess fat and chop into small pieces.  Keep warm or reheat when doing final assembly.
  2. Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes.  Peel them using a sharp knife and fork.  Mash thoroughly to remove all lumps.  Add 1 stick (8 oz.) of butter in pieces, and gradually add hot milk, stirring continuously.  Season with black pepper.
  3. Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color.  Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it.  Cover with lid for 2 minutes.  Drain throughout before returning it to the pan.  Chop into small pieces.
  4.  Combine cabbage, green onions, ham or bacon pieces and mashed potatoes, stirring gently.
  5.  Serve in individual soup plates with a tablespoon of butter placed on an indentation on the top.  Sprinkle with parsley.
Read More
No Comment 0
March 11, 2010
College Meal Plans: Mirroring the Real World

by Bernadette Ventura, FMP
Senior Associate
Washington, DC Office

Long gone (I hope) are the days of college meal plans with cafeteria tray lines – and all that they conjure up like meatloaf, instant mashed potatoes, overcooked peas and cubed Jell-O.  Campus dining has come a long way to match the real-world expectations of the consumer-savvy student of today.  The traditional board plan with its “all-you-care-to-eat” dining halls still exists, but in many cases resides alongside standalone retail outlets and food courts.

Colleges have had to look at ways in which students could partake in these popular food courts within the confines of the traditional board plan.  Many board plans now include some amount of “flex dollars” or “equivalency value,” both of which can be used at dining outlets other than the board dining rooms and sometimes even in c-stores and other retail outlets.

Consumers have a way of pushing the envelope with their desires driving new concepts, and college students are no different.  In the college environment, which naturally fosters a communal, sharing atmosphere, students want the ability to be with friends and classmates in the dining destination of their choice.  So where will this push the college meal plan next?

I was recently asked to think about solutions for a client that wants to combine the typical board dining hall and the more contemporary food court in the same space – with no delineation!   This is exactly the paradigm shift needed to allow full interaction of all students, with no boundaries caused by meal plans.  I bounced a few ideas around with colleagues as to how this might work, and here’s what I think is the most simple and streamlined solution:  A stored value system where everything is priced à-la-carte (including “meal deals”) in both traditional dining halls and food courts – no matter where the meal comes from.  Incentives such as discounts (%) or “bonus dollars” could be applied based on the amount deposited on the stored value device (card, FOB, etc.) or by some other method.

What are some of the implications of such a departure from traditional thinking on the topic?  From the operator perspective, it could be argued that the revenue stream will be adversely impacted in that the missed meal factor would no longer exist.  However, this would be a good challenge (opportunity) for operators to continuously improve on food quality and choices.  Further, It could be said that the missed meal plan balances may have a positive impact in that the elimination of the traditional “all-you-care-to-eat” program will reduce “overtaking” or “overeating” for one price (including taking food out to eat later or feed friends).

For the college itself, such a program could also impact the revenue stream.  There are solutions for this too, though. For example, the college could retain a certain percent of the stored value, or simply be paid a commission on dining service sales.  In some cases, colleges are already paid a commission from dining services if they are contractor-operated.  In those situations, the commission program could be reevaluated and redefined to include an additional percent on stored value program sales.

For the student, this might mean balancing their food budgets and food intake, but shouldn’t part of the college experience be to ready young adults to function in the real world?  Still, even this is not an insurmountable issue.  A daily or weekly spending limit could be placed on stored value cards to help train the student to budget.

Finally, if I were a parent sending my child to college, and if all other things were equal, I would choose the educational institution that defined a dining program in the stored value fashion, particularly those that offered incentives.  Meal plans are typically expensive for the parent/student and are oftentimes underused (missed meal factor) and a stored value program would tell me that the college cares about providing value to me in all areas.

The technology is out there and the possibilities are endless.  Perhaps it’s time to take the college meal plans to the next level. In my research, I came across one University that follows a similar model in dining services.  It seems to me that this will be the shape of the future of higher education meal plans – student satisfaction, variety, and control, creating a real-world system, while eliminating abuse and waste.

Read More
No Comment 0
March 3, 2010
Statler Chicken with Herb Pesto Sauce

Shared by our client :  Massachusetts General Hospital – Boston
Lorraine M. Allen, MBA, RD, LDN
Assistant Director, Food Production, Quality & Safety

  • 8 Statler Chicken Breasts -8-10 ounces each
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Thyme-finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon fresh Rosemary-finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon fresh Chives-finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  1. Chop the herbs and mix them with ½ of the oil and garlic.
  2. Season the chicken and sear in the second half of the oil.
  3. Spread the herb mixture evenly over the chicken breast.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Read More
No Comment 0