Thanks to advancements in foodservice technology, club chefs can provide members with quality frozen products year-round.
The frozen food industry is rapidly advancing to the point where many frozen products are as good as if not better in some cases than fresh ones. There is still a stigma around using frozen foods in a restaurant setting, however, most members are unaware that frozen foods come with a number of advantages.
Some of the most useful frozen products for a club to use are be fruit, vegetables, seafood, pastries and desserts, hors d’oeuvres, and pre-baked breads. Most frozen items might be more about convenience and reducing labor in the kitchen, but surprisingly others are to provide a better quality product. However, not all frozen foods are created equal. Chefs much prefer for their frozen items to be frozen by the method of Individual Quick Frozen.
The IQF method of freezing is special because of its ability to individually freeze all its components and keep them separate from each other and not clumped together. The great thing about IQF food is that it generates smaller ice crystals than a slow freeze, preserving food more effectively. Large ice crystals damage cells and fibers, causing a mushy texture when food is thawed. By quickly freezing the product, the cells within the food are undamaged and preserved so that a higher quality result is acquired every time.
Aside from the convenience, extended shelf life, decreased food waste, sustainability, and, often times, lower price, freezing products also helps to preserve vitamins and minerals. Without using synthetic modifiers or additives, freezing foods will maintain their nutrients and natural flavors. Freezing food is basically hitting the “pause” button on food’s natural aging process. When fruits and vegetables are flash-frozen during their peak ripeness—within a few hours after harvest—their essential vitamins and minerals are locked in. The process prevents spoilage and preserves the crops’ nutritional value as well as their taste when they are prepared and enjoyed later.
There is still a bit of guilt associated with buying frozen products, especially in a club setting where member’s expectations are high. However, the best way to utilize frozen products in a club’s F&B operations is to offer premium quality frozen food that has a natural appearance and better convenience than fresh ones.