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2020 Menu Prep: Working smart…

The beginning of the year is always a tricky one. It’s peak time for January diets, detoxes and a vast number of gluten-free, vegetarian and non-dairy diet choices. Most of which are doomed to fail, yet wreak havoc for those of us planning menus. This is made particularly difficult as we come straight out of a six week Christmas run that largely consists of turkeys, pigs in blankets and stuffing. Menu prep is something best done well in advance in this industry, getting that formula in place and dishes dialled in.

So as we edge into 2020, a new decade no less, it can be a sensible idea to get a jump on the major events of the year. Valentine’s Day is a perfect case in point, a lucrative date in the calendar that is likely to get booked out very soon. Set menus play into this romantic date very well with some big ticket items like lobster, and large sharing steaks likely to draw in the crowds. However, with the rise of plant-based diet trends, it’s probably going to be a god idea to bear this in mind with your menu planning. Butternut squash, sage and ricotta are going to play into pasta dishes quite well, while robust veggie lasagnes are a crowd-pleasing winner every day of the week.

The Fresh Direct prep kitchen can deliver a huge saving in kitchen time, literally slicing hours from your morning routines. From fine julienne, to hard nosed brunoise, we get precise mirepoix and beyond to you so you can get a jump on the day ahead. It also facilitates bringing in these set menus with little impact to your a la carte service.

Hot on the heels of Valentine’s is Mother’s Day, a date even the most dutiful of offspring overlook. Here, expect to see an interest in brunch, lunch and afternoon tea service. For the most part, we’re talking pampering here. Think the fresh flavours of spring, lighter dishes, seafood and be sure to include a show-stopping dessert selection – we think running the gamut from lavender panna cotta, through to your chocolate lava cake to cover all sweet tooth bases.

While it might seem a dot on the horizon right now, Easter is likely to come looming into view before you know it. This also marks the end of the bleak section of the calendar as far as seasonal produce goes, and sees an influx of ingredients from fresh asparagus spears to tart stems of rhubarb. It’s around this time that we begin to see delicious New Potatoes too, along with morels, spring onions and a diverse array of early season greens.
While you no doubt have dishes up your sleeve for this time of year, the time saving advantages of the Fresh Direct prep kitchen can put you ahead of the competition when it comes to fast paced service. From both a convenience and kitchen efficiency standpoint, this service can liberate line cooks, or allow small, fledgling food businesses to dig their toes in and start streamlining their operations.

It’s a never ending succession of events, occasions and faddy new diet trends in this game, and strong organisation can keep you nimble enough to keep in front. So while you muscle through the Christmas rush, be sure to rear your head to plan for what lies ahead in 2020.


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