Camp Business magazine is dedicated to bringing you the very best tools to help you in all aspects of your operation. In this issue Camp Business introduces Scott Gilbert, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Certified Executive Chef and a member of the American Academy of Chefs.
Chef Gilbert has managed five-star foodservice in fine hotels and catering operations in Michigan, Florida, Texas, New York and New Hampshire.
Chef Gilbert will offer suggestions to such topics as recipe resources, nutrition and best practices to help your foodservice operation. Send any questions or comments to us c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
I grew up in New Hampshire and enjoyed attending summer and sports camps. Those are some of my best childhood memories. I recall how we looked forward to the daily meals. They not only satisfied our need for basic food, but without knowing it, I was learning and sharing with kids from different walks of life during mealtime.
The wholesome daily meals at camp became my first mini life lesson in a fun, safe environment. Meal times at camp are the gathering point and consistency in days filled with great programs and interesting experiences where campers learn and grow physically and spiritually every day.
Food managers are charged with providing wholesome, nutritious menus. Those menus also have to be efficient and cost-effective.
Where do you turn to keep this straight?
In the past we learned our skills by working with masters at their craft who were not always willing to share their techniques or recipes. Today, with the modem and Internet, every computer is now a wonderful resource of quality recipe information at your fingertips.
I have used many of the on-line recipe Web sites; they can be an excellent tool to help you plan efficient and exciting menus for your campers.
There are many quality culinary sites that make every camp manager just a click away from the knowledge of the finest chefs worldwide.
There are thousands of good recipe sites that cater to the home cook but are not geared to foodservice-volume type cooking. A few quality sites I have found that provide quality professional foodservice recipes are recipesource.com , recipeland.com and epicurious.com.
Each of these sites offers classic comfort foods and ethnic diversity in easy-to-use categories. These three sites alone offer almost 90,000 recipes (recipesource.com over 55,000 recipes, recipeland.com over 25,000 recipes, epicurious.com over 9,000 recipes).
recipesource.com is an incredible site I have used for years (originally called S.O.A.R., Searchable Online Archive of Recipes). This site's content grows better each year and has the most diverse variety of recipes in two main categories -- Ethnic Cuisine by Region and Recipes by Type of Dish.
Under the Recipe by Dish heading you find a listing of menu categories. Each of those has several subgroups that cover the total gamut from A to Z. Your toughest job will be limiting your selections from all the great recipes and ideas offered.
RecipeLand.com : This site is a bit more difficult to get around as the recipes are listed in A-Z categories, rather than in menu parts. However, this site has a few great resources, such as a place for you to create your own recipe box, a listing of reviews, offers, and so on.
Epicurious.com: This is another alternate site that is fantastic for a home user or home gourmet. It has such categories as Home, Eat, Drink, Learn, Shop, Recipes, Restaurant Reviews, Bon Appetite, Gourmet, TV and Forums. I have found some great ideas on Trends and international cuisine. The Learn tab has food and wine dictionaries, technical videos, how-to slide shows, and more. There are product reviews and a celebrity chefs section. This has a lot of great support information.
Whatever you use I am sure you will find something useful for your unique operation and the Campers don't have to know you didn't spend hours developing and testing recipes. Find a great recipe and put your touch to it making it special for your diners.
Meals are the occasion in all camps where everyone gathers and shares in a wholesome environment. We hope you check out how these Web sites can be a partner in your kitchen's success. Using recipe Web tools is a great way to enhance and expand your dining services. Keeping your campers happy at the dinner table is just one more reason to keep them coming back for more.
Scott Gilbert is a corporate chef for Nestle Food Services Inc., and lives in Medina, Ohio.