Great Italian Food Trade inaugurates a new column, RestaurAzione. Dedicated to a sector where the work is frenetic, the fierce competition from free licenses and web services, the conditions of employment innovated by and home services. In search of quality paradigms, possibly inspired by the values ofhomo sapiens sapiens instead of algorithms.
Capital Catering, focus raw material and semi-finished products
The investigation starts from Rome Capital, undisputed destination for travel and tourism as well asmelting pot'of cultures and peoples, Italic or otherwise. The initial objective is to try to understand the criteria adopted in mid-range restaurants for the choice and supply of raw materials and semi-finished products.
Orders are often carried out online, relying on the catalogs of the distribution companies. Which focus on the quality of the delivery service and on commercial offers that reflect the trends market. And in turn they stimulate the inclusion of new dishes that tend to recur, in the face of a discreet but not very large offer.
To make purchases, in the most organized realities, they are not chefs or restaurant owners but employees with commercial skills, somehow similar to buyer of the GDO (Large Organized Distribution). Which, inevitably linked to numbers, tend to pursue savings rather than recognize the value that quality supplies can reflect on the exercise itself.
Quality catering instead, it relies directly on specialized producers. Which provide extraordinary selections of raw and semi-finished materials, in an almost individualized service logic that is aimed at chefs. A necessary choice when you want to keep different dishes on the menu, without having access to large aid teams or giving up the exclusivity of the courses.
RestaurAzione, certified supply chains and values
The origin of the products and the certifications of the DOP, IGP supply chains today undoubtedly represent a asset OF RESTAURANTS IN ITALY. Taking into account both the large number of certified supply chains (there are now almost 300, unparalleled in Italy), and their appreciation by the patrons. And so, the easy 'putting to value'.
The restaurateurs and cooks more motivated ones rely on specialist producers precisely because they alone invest in the quality of the supply chain and are able to share its value, which can also be transmitted to the final consumer.
We cannot limit ourselves to resume the messages of sterile technical data sheets, in short, if you want to propose the value of raw materials in support of quality in modern catering. Instead, we need the narration of the territories, the microclimates and the hardships behind the characteristic ingredient.
The narrationafter all, it can no longer rely only on the words of the host but must instead leave a trace. On the menus and perhaps even with more modern tools, without inhibition towards smartphones where everyone now consult everything, for theidentikit of the reality that surrounds it.
The origin of the meat it is also one of the most serious information gaps. We can boast one excellent animal husbandry and nevertheless, in the restaurant business, we continue to play to the downside. Until this information becomes mandatory, as it has already been in France since 2002 and we ourselves ask, alongside the Consorzio Italia Zootecnica.
RestaurAzione, the 'veg' waiting for the bio
Vegetarian and vegan are now inevitable in the menus. Understandably, in the face of a growing 'herbivorous' attitude, albeit not exclusive, of Italian and international consumers. Not only 'veg'but'flexitarian', as they say in the jargon.
The choice to alternate vegetable protein sources to those of animal origin is associated with the search for relatively new products, in terms of composition and format. Popular and macrobiotic traditions, from pasta and chickpeas to slices of seitan, thus give way to 'citizen'vegetables and other marked novelties'veg'.
The organic instead - in spite of one growth continues in double-digit sales - still struggling to emerge on the menus. A real shame, an unexpressed opportunity, considering that:
- the organic supply chain better than any other, it contributes to the protection of natural habitats and biodiversity, our real treasures. What ifthe vegetables from the garden have a different flavor'it is largely due to respect for its nature, not offended by agrotoxicants.
'Gluten free', with caution
The product market 'gluten free'in turn is experiencing exponential growth.
10% of the population European follows a gluten-free diet, although celiac disease and allergies to various cereals that contain it affect on average only 1% of individuals.
The phenomenon 'gluten free'therefore it should not be attributed not to the increase in the diagnosis of celiac disease, but to the spread of a reckless fashion, stirred up by the misinformation of those who speculate on it. A fashion that is moreover dangerous, for those who are not forced to do so by health needs.
Declare 'gluten-free' however, it entails a specific responsibility on the part of the restaurateur. Which must actually be able to guarantee that the food presented as such is completely free from contamination. (1)
Hygiene and safety, information on allergens and frozen, animal welfare
Hygiene and safety are the basis of the responsibilities of restaurateurs. We have already offered some the ABC, highlighting on several occasions how crucial it is to provide written and detailed information on each allergen present in each dish. (2) Written information, by the way, is also mandatory on defrosted products.
Administrative sanctions for the lack of written information on allergens can reach € 24.000, unless the fact constitutes a crime. The offense often occurs also in cases of defrosted foods presented as fresh (the 'Cannavacciuolo case') or 'shot down'.
Animal welfarefinally, it is of interest to restaurateurs when it comes to preserving live crustaceans. Live in the pan is fine, but not in the fridge.
On Restauration, in short, we will have some news and reflections to share.
(1) NB: consumers sensitive to gluten who consume even minimal quantities due to cross-contamination can suffer serious adverse reactions, even lethal. In these averted hypotheses, the owner of the public establishment may incur responsibility for the crimes of injury or homicide, culpably or even maliciously.
(2) See in this regard the circular Min. Ps. 6.2.15 and the European Commission guidelines