December 20, 2010

Foodservice Rises to the Next Level

A nursing home administrator recently joked that he served Sushi at a birthday party for a 100-year old patient. Sushi in a nursing home? Distributors are quietly whispering that even foodservice clients are demanding some of the new gourmet and upscale kosher products. A Yeshiva looking to replace a cook who had taken ill asked if I knew of a “quality chef” that could do the cooking for his boys school. A chef in a Yeshiva kitchen? In Boys Town Jerusalem, the “cook” is a master chef with 17 years of experience with the Dan Hotels in Israel. He even takes the time to teach some of the boys to cook.

It certainly seems that times are changing in that the menus at many institutions are going a notch or two higher than the traditional foods. In a Long Island nursing home, at least one meal a week includes foods that are grilled over an open fire. The chef used a variety of upscale sauces to douse the meats. There is most certainly a move to upgrade the foods served at institutions, which means that Foodservice distributors should take notice, and apparently they have. I can certainly see Sushi heading for some of the summer camps as youngsters today are amongst the major fans of Sushi. Israeli products like couscous and, of course, mini-mandels are now a basic staple at many institutions. Even hospitals are stepping up to the plate with more variety in their cafeterias for staff and even some new items for patients who do not have a restricted diet. At New York’s Citifield, the fare is also much improved including kebabs prepared over a grill. Kosher has most certainly leap-frogged into a new era of more exotic and upscale items. But who would have believed that even foodservice would not be too far behind.