Associate FCSI member John Reed assesses the real meaning of handcrafted in today’s foodservice and how consultants can help culinary teams deliver the goods
The concept of handcrafted food is being used as an advertising slogan and has me somewhat confused, especially as the trend in foodservice is for less labor and more efficient equipment. The term implies chefs and artisans, hand-forming, processing and preparing food without the aid of complex tools. It begs the question of what does handcrafted mean in the modern foodservice operation?
Throughout the history of professional cooking we can see an evolution of tools and food processing equipment. These innovations have improved production and created consistency, while improving the quality of the chef’s day-to-day life behind the stove. Chefs have always looked for ways to make things more efficient, from the changing of the chef knife from carbon to stainless steel to the use of silicon for our tart molds. We have moved from single process, fossil-fuel-fired stoves to multitasking combi ovens. Is the use of modern materials or efficient equipment a step away from food cooked from scratch?