During the AKFCF Annual Convention (USA) show in Austin, Texas, Winston Foodservice received two amazing awards. The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association and the Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association both awarded Vendor of the Year to Winston. Wow, what a treat! Two Vendor of the Year awards in a single year. I’m tooting our own company’s horn, that is pretty AWESOME! Thank you Great Lakes and Upper Midwest KFC for the partnership! The Winston team is thankful for the partnership and commitment to your business.
The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association consists of KFC franchise owners in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, portions of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association was formed in 1974 and is comprised of owners in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and portions of Illinois.
Winter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.
Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it, and the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.
We brined in the fridge overnight using a simple 6 % brine. If you want to learn everything you need to know about brining go to our friend’s site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header). We lightly dusted the chicken with our seasoned flour, and thendipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.
Then we tossed lightly again in our breading mix, giving us a light double breaded chicken. Double breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried. Properly prepped, it was ready for the Collectramatic fryer.
The chicken was open-fried for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After draining excess oil, we painted with the spicy special sauce using a pastry brush. It was as good as we had hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.
This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap holding cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.
Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).
Nashville Hot Chicken
- 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
- 1 gallon of 6% brine
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
- 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
- If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer; pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
- Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces registers 185°F and 165F white meat. This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn for a total cook time of 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
- Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.
I had just finished planning a three-course dinner for some visiting customers. My goal was to demonstrate CVap versatility with contemporary applications and menu trends. I had settled on a menu that included the following:
First Course – Southern fried chicken boa with Kim Chi
Second Course – Moroccan grilled lamb loin with Tzatziki and quinoa tabouleh
Dessert – molten chocolate cake with Chantilly cream
I was quite pleased with the ethnic diversity represented by the meal as well as the variety of CVap and Collectramatic applications. With menu in hand I began to create my ingredient list and production schedule. About 30 minutes into my planning and two days before the meal, I received a note that one of our guests was vegan. What?! How was I going to make the above menu vegan? I certainly wasn’t going to offer only salad and tofu! So I set my mental wheels in motion and this is what I came up with:
Southern fried cauliflower bao with Kim chi
Moroccan grilled beets with quinoa tabouleh and silken tofu Tzatziki
Vegan double chocolate pistachio cake with whipped spiced coconut cream
But first, there were several hurdles to overcome:
Making the Kim Chi without fish sauce, where do you get the Umami?
Get cauliflower to emulate the look and feel of a fried chicken thigh!
How to get tender beets without turning them to mush…
Whipped coconut cream?!
With a little help from Alex Talbot and J Kenji Lopez-Alt and a lot of help from CVap I think we did pretty well. Here are a few pictures from our luncheon and the recipe for the Southern Fried Cauliflower. If you’d like the rest of the recipes send me a note and I’d be glad to share.
Brine Recipe for Cauliflower:
- 3 liters cold water
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup bourbon barrel soy
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
- ½ small sweet onion sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic smashed
- 4 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 10 cloves
- 1 liter of ice
Directions: Place all ingredients but ice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add ice. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to use.
- 2 heads cauliflower, cut into 2-inch thick steaks and then quartered
- 1/2 cup savory brine
- 1 teaspoon bourbon barrel soy sauce
Directions: Place cauliflower pieces in sous vide bags, cover with prepared brine, add soy, and vacuum seal. Place in CVap set on Constant Cook at 185F food doneness and 0 level browning. Cook for one hour. Place immediately in water bath to cool and then place in refrigerator until you are ready to fry the cauliflower.
Breading and Frying:
- 2 cups of your favorite breading
- ½ cup brine
Dust cauliflower with breading, dip in brine, then bread lightly with breading mix. Drop into a Collectramatic fryer set on open fry 350F for 3 and half minutes. Voila! Vegan fried “chicken”!
Thanksgiving may be the time for tradition, but for us we decided it was time to shake things up! This year, we not only roasted and fried turkeys, but we also cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that is a turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!
Let us warn you, this isn’t a task you take on unless you are fully committed. Time and patience are your friends during the time you are preparing the most delicious turducken.
1. Debone all meat – turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save some time on the day of. Depending on your expertise, this should take about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
2. Make stuffing to place in-between each layer of meat. This is the list of ingredients we used, but feel free to put your own spin on this favorite. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.
- Stuffing mix of your choice, we used corn bread
- Chicken Broth (or Vegetable broth)
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Sage
- Minced Garlic
Now for the turducken!
- Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper
- Lay turkey out ready for the stuffing
- First layer of stuffing on turkey
- Chicken thighs placed on top of turkey, and chicken breast on lower half of turkey
- Second layer of stuffing
- Duck placed in middle of stuffing layer
- Last layer of stuffing
- Begin to pull up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers
- Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper
The other turkey was cooked on high yield at 170 doneness and 4 level browning for 6 hours then held overnight for 8 hours at 150 doneness and 1 level browning.
One turkey was staged at 165 and 0 browning over night for 14 hours and then finished in the Collectramatic fryer for 3 minutes.
Roasted turkey – 82% yield
Staged & fried turkey – 84% yield
The Collectramatic Open Fryer OF59C uses FilterFry technology to cook chicken and other foods to golden perfection. Its patented cold zone prevents cracklings from scorching and tainting your shortening. The OF59C is an open fryer with 18 lb (8.2 kg) capacity and an 8-channel programmable control.
Collectramatic Open Fryer OF49C is a time-tested model. It uses FilterFry technology to cook foods to golden perfection. Its patented cold zone prevents cracklings from scorching and tainting your shortening. The OF49C is an open fryer with 12 lb. (5.4 kg) capacity and an 8-channel programmable control.
The Collectramatic High Efficiency Fryer LP56 operates at a fraction of the pressure of high pressure fryers. This means longer shortening life, less wear on the equipment, and a better kitchen environment. The LP56 is a high efficiency pressure fryer with 18 lb. (8.2 kg) capacity and an 8-channel programmable control.
The Collectramatic High Efficiency Fryer LP46 operates at a fraction of the pressure of high pressure fryers. This means longer shortening life, less wear on the equipment, and a better kitchen environment. The LP46 is a high efficiency pressure fryer with 12 lb. (5.4 kg) capacity, and an 8-channel programmable control.
The Winston Shortening Filter F662T has a 90 lb. (41 kg.) tank capacity. Includes a heavy-duty pump and motor speeds with a filtering time of three gallons per minute. Portable design allows for the filtering of one or multiple fryers. Quick disconnect provides safe operation.
The Winston Shortening Filter F552A8 with 82.5 lb. (37.1 kg.) tank capacity saves space by storing underneath our four-head fryers when not in use. Its portable design enables you to filter one or multiple fryers. Heavy-duty pump and motor speeds filtering time to three gallons per minute. Quick disconnect provides safe operation.
The Winston Shortening Filter F662A9 with 90 lb. (41 kg.) tank capacity is available for quick ship. Heavy-duty pump and motor speeds filtering time to three gallons per minute. Portable design allows for the filtering of one or multiple fryers. Quick disconnect provides safe operation.
When I’m home, I do most of the cooking. I can’t say I’m a great cook but I am much better than my wife (Shhh, Don’t tell her I said that). My Maple Glazed Pork Chops and “Made from Scratch” Wild Blackberry Pies are our favorites, but that’s not really what this blog is about.
We recently held our annual Winston CVap® and Collectramatic® Cooking Competition. Every year we split our sales and marketing group into three teams who each prepare a four-course meal. All the groups receive two common ingredients for each of the four dishes they must prepare, along with a cooking style. This year my group chose Gastropub. (Yes, our Tom Ford has a PhD in Hops)
We know all of the ingredients beforehand, but there’s always a twist. This year we received a list of “mystery ingredients” at the very last minute to include in each dish. Our “delicious” mystery ingredients included Cactus, Dried Cherries, Dried Asian Fish and Salt & Vinegar Chips! (I am fully convinced “someone” at Winston loves to punish us)
Fortunately, I had five amazing people on my team to help pull this off. The task was going to require a lot of creativity and experience to get a win and we knew we had just the right amount of both to come home first place. Taste, Speed of Service, Creativity, Cleanliness, Food Safety, Budget, Teamwork and the Best Use of CVap and Collectramatic all scored points in the event (It’s not just about who made the best grilled cheese sandwich, but how they made it).
Step into the horror for a moment.
Starter: Base ingredients were Pork Shoulder and Fennel with the Dried Cherries mystery ingredient.
Entrée: Base ingredients were Beef Short Ribs and Sweet Potatoes with the Dried Asian Fish mystery ingredient.
Dessert: Nutella and Pink Peppercorns with the Salt & Vinegar Chips mystery ingredient.
Our team leader, Chad Lunsford chose the team he thought would win, myself, Judette Baylon, Tom Ford, Tony Martino and Barry Yates. However, the day before the competition, Chad fell ill with the flu adding to the chaos exponentially. It was a huge blow to our team, but his invaluable leadership leading up to the event armed us with the “right stuff” to meet the challenge head-on.
Here’s what we prepared:
Amuse Bouche: CVap Staged Cook & Hold Seared Scallops and Collectramatic Panko Crusted Cactus Chips with Yuzu Sauce, topped with Collectramatic Pork Casing Dust.
Starter: Collectramatic Pork Fries (held in a CVap Holding Cabinet) with Dried Cherry Mustardo and Fennel Slaw.
Entrée: CVap Staged Cook & Hold Pre-Seared Beef Short Rib/Pork Shoulder/Bacon Hamburger with Havarti Cheese on a CVap Thermalizer Baked Pretzel Bun, a Dried Asian Fish Aoli and Collectramatic Shredded Sweet Potatoes.
Dessert: Chai Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream rolled in a Salt & Vinegar Chip Yummy Crumb, topped with a CVap Thermalizer Nutella and Chocolate Chip Crisp.
Since this is a blog and not a novel I’ll get to the point.
We executed our plan with only a few “minor hiccups” and after what seemed like days in the kitchen, we prepared to be judged.
I am, at my core, the air guitar player who loves music but lacks the talent to play. Having a great team of Winston culinarians around me (and CVap & Collectramatic equipment to use) gave me the opportunity to be on the winning team again.
Again? Yes indeed! A real three-peat! That’s a culinary competition win in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for yours truly!
Each year every team has created amazing dishes, but I have been immensely fortunate to have an entire team of talented sales and marketing culinarians (and the right equipment) to help me. Over the past 3 years, this competition has not only been fun and educational, but has equipped me with the knowledge and ability to now impress my friends with confidence.
A Huge Thank You to: Chad, Judette, Tom, Tony, Barry, Shaun, Nick, Christine, Corey, Spencer, Gary, Pam, J.J., Priscillia, Donald, Angie and Melissa.
Whether it’s good for the body, soothing for the soul, or transports you to a nostalgic happy place from your childhood, there’s something deeply satisfying about chicken noodle soup that resonates with most people.
It can also be an eloquent expression of different techniques. In this case, we utilized both CVap and Collectramatic equipment to create a chicken soup with a robust flavor profile and a broad range of textures.
For the broth, we combined chicken carcasses, aromatics including carrots, onions, celery, thyme, sage, parsley, and rosemary, and slowly reduced it in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven set at 180 + 30 for 8 hours with Constant Cook ON.
Chicken thighs were vacuum-sealed with olive oil and salt and CVap-poached at 165 + 2 for 2 hours with Constant Cook ON. The result was a confit with an almost buttery texture.
The skin was removed from the CVap-poached chicken and open fried in a Collectramatic fryer at 350°F for four minutes.
Celery, carrots, and onions were steamed in a CVap at 200 + 0 for one hour and added to the stock and held until it was time to assemble the plates.
We purchased fresh noodles from whole foods and steamed them at the same settings as the vegetables.
For plating, we started with the steamed noodles and topped them with the vegetables, followed by pulled confit of chicken.
We then poured hot stock over the bowls and garnished with fresh herbs and the fried chicken skin crisps.
It just doesn’t get more satiating than that!