20 Feb 2019
High quality bakery products are getting more and more prominent in foodservice restaurant. But many chefs and foodservice operators face challenges in their quest to offer high quality products. To help them overcome these, Puratos launched the Chefs’ Corner. Dirk Decoene, Group Channel Director Foodservice at Puratos, explains how chefs and foodservice operators can benefit from it.
In the last decade, foodservice has become more and more important in the sale of bakery products. Hamburger buns, sweet goods in coffee shops, sandwiches and desserts; bakery products are present everywhere in foodservice.
Because foodservice operators work in different settings and face different challenges, Puratos decided to establish a dedicated foodservice channel. To fully understand the challenges and be able to respond to specific foodservice demands, Puratos also invested in the Chefs’ Corner. In this fully equipped professional kitchen, sandwiches and desserts are the focus applications. Foodservice operators, professional chefs and their marketing teams or industrial suppliers are invited to request a visit. Retailers with a food court (a growing number, in line with the trend of more foodservice points at retail stores) are welcome too.
The key challenge for every baker/chef in foodservice is to serve baked goods of a high quality level. One of the reasons for that is the difference in baking equipment. Bakers wouldn’t consider baking their bread or cake in a booster or combi-steam oven, but that’s the gear many foodservice kitchens depend on.
Besides the equipment, the physical surroundings in kitchens and bakeries are very different from each other. Bakeries are dry environments, whereas in a kitchen much more water is used during food preparations. A third important challenge is that in foodservice, sandwiches are often provided with fillings and refrigerated until they’re sold. Vital for the fillings, but disastrous for the quality of the bread.
To help chefs with these challenges, Puratos opened the Chefs’ Corner in 2017. This dedicated foodservice kitchen is located at the Belgian headquarters and hosted by an in-house chef. It’s a fully equipped professional kitchen, making it possible to thoroughly understand technical reactions between ingredients, equipment and process.
The Chefs’ Corner is meant to serve four key purposes:
Welcome customers and prospects – give demos with hands-on development, including tasting and evaluating final products.
Innovation – developing new sandwiches and desserts, gathering input for new applications and co-create together with customers.
R&D – understanding the interactions between bakery items and their fillings, and understanding the effect of techniques, operational processes and equipment.
Training – both for colleagues and for customers, in how to use products and equipment in a kitchen setting.
In August 2018, chef Sebastien Patte became the dedicated, in-house chef at the Chefs’ Corner. With his extensive experience as a chef – he was born and raised in a restaurant and worked in countries as France, Dubai and Australia – and his love of bread, he integrates his culinary knowledge into the production of both everyday as well as gastronomic sandwiches and desserts. He works full time at the Chefs’ Corner, hosting and training customers and colleagues, testing and analysing variables in the production process and sharing all this with the visiting chefs; with the objective to obtain a higher quality of sandwiches and desserts in foodservice.
Chefs and foodservice operators can benefit in many ways from the Chefs’ Corner. First of all, it’s used for research and development in order to create products that match the needs of the foodservice market better, and in order to discover how the foodservice equipment can be applied in a way that leads to better, more tasteful consumer products.
Secondly, Puratos’ customers and chefs can use the Chefs’ Corner according to their needs. They can request innovation sessions, in which Puratos and the chef or customer work together on improving or co-creating a product. We also invite chefs for demonstrations, tasting sessions and trainings in how to use products and equipment in a kitchen setting. We’ve already welcomed many foodservice customers, but retailers also visit the Chefs’ Corner to get inspiration for their food court selection.
Since its beginnings in 2017, and even more since the arrival of our in-house chef, the Chefs’ Corner has been very successful. Customers and colleagues use this kitchen a lot, and we’ve already selected quite a number of products from the Puratos range that meet the demands of foodservice. An example is O-tentic Tutto Pugliese, which works really well in the chef’s mixers and leads to gastronomic, fresh loaves of bread when baked in combi-steam ovens.
Our first Chefs’ Corner is located at the Puratos headquarters. However, the importance of bakery products in foodservice is growing and so is the number of requests to use the Chefs’ Corner. Therefore, Dirk Decoene and Sebastien Platte are now preparing to open satellite Chefs’ Corners in several Innovation Centers around the globe. This way, we can help to raise the quality of bakery products in foodservice.
Are you a chef or foodservice operator facing challenges in offering delicious bakery and patisserie products? An innovation or training session at the Chefs’ Corner might help you. You may consider this an open invitation to visit our Belgium-based Chefs’ Corner. Come see us, so we can work together to offer your guests delicious sandwiches and desserts.