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Premium on a budget proteins
by Steven Scherer
Mindful planning and smart bulk purchasing keep premium events profitable
Chef Steven Scherer began working in restaurants at the age of 15, starting off in the pantry and working his way through every position all the way up to executive chef. Born and raised in Berkeley, Mich., he trained at Oakland Technical Center under chef Paul Terrezano. During his three years of training, he simultaneously worked in multiple restaurants in the Detroit culinary scene. In 2004 he moved out to Southern California to advance his culinary knowledge. He attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena while continuing to work in catering. While in school, he made friends with chef Michael Kay Keshishian. Six years later, after many conversations and a lot of planning, they partnered up to create Kitchen 12000, which is mastering the L.A. catering scene. will go for. When people go to a wedding or any other high-class event, they will usually go for the higher-end pro-
tein. It just seems like its human nature to want the best. Also, planning out the preparation and plating schedule is a key
factor in bringing down labor costs and time. This smart buying, along with a skillful crew, will take down costs all around.
love getting to make 500 of the same dish. It’s a good challenge and gives me a chance to hone my skill and accuracy to make the perfect plate every time. Making premium plated proteins profitable is easier than it sounds. There are three main tools to utilize in this process. All you need is great staff, great purveyors and talented leadership. With all the advances in purchasing in bulk and portions, it’s simple to be precise with weights and amounts of all proteins. This includes fish, beef, chicken and veal. I will do a tasting for my clients before any event so I can match entrées to their palate profile. As soon as I know what they like, it gets easier to make a list and go shopping. Getting an RSVP from guests with their entrée preference also makes it simple to estimate how much of what you will need. Making sure numbers are close when it comes to the protein-to-guest ratio is important for budgeting and profiting. By spending a little more time and taking more care in your search for sourcing proteins, you can get the best cuts for the best prices. Whether an event has 100 guests or 1,000, there will usually be a price break when buying in bulk. Even when you don’t get specified RSVPs, an experienced chef can guesstimate what most of those attending
42 | Chef
steven scherer, Kitchen 12000, Los angeles, www.kitchen12000.com; wine pairing by Marlene Rossman Yield: 2 servings 4 russet potatoes 1/4 c. milk 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream 3 t. butter salt and pepper, to taste 2 6-oz. portions filet mignon 3 t. vegetable oil 2 shallots 1 clove of garlic 2 oz. maitake mushrooms 1/2 bottle of Cabernet sauvignon 2 c. veal stock 2 bunches fresh watercress, for garnish
Filet mignon over Pommes Purée, Braised shallots & maitake mushrooms
Method (1) Peel russet potatoes. add to pot of boiling, salted water and cook until fork-tender. Drain potatoes, and press through a food mill or china cap. Blend milk and heavy whipping cream, and add to potatoes. add butter to potatoes. Whisk together while adding salt and pepper. (2) Bring steaks to room temperature, and season with salt and pepper. add oil to a large sauté pan, and bring to high heat. Pan sear the steaks on both sides. Remove steaks from pan, and place on baking sheet. (3) in the same pan, sauté shallots and garlic whole. add maitake mushrooms. Caramelize all. add wine to pan, and reduce by half. (4) at this time, place steaks in 350˚F oven, and let cook for 10 minutes. (5) add stock to sauté pan, and cook for 15 minutes. (6) to serve, pool some sauce in a deep plate, top with about half the potatoes and vegetables and the filet. garnish each plate with a bunch of watercress. Wine pairing: Amapola Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) is a ripe, velvety Cab with flavors of blackberries, mocha and asian spice to balance the richness of the mushrooms, cream and wine in the steak sauce.