Based on a long standing relationship with TIC GUMS, Chef Walter Zuromski was asked to again rise to a creative challenge.
TIC Gums, as a main sponsor of Prepared Food’s Magazine’s New Products Conference, was tasked with presenting and executing the menu for the annual luncheon. The thought was to create a menu that was “gum-centric” where each item would illustrate gum functionality.
Over the past three months, Chef Walter Zuromski worked on this challenge.The challenge was to take these hydrocolloids, which are abundantly used in manufacturing, and centralize a kitchen menu around them.
Following new trends these gums are making their way into restaurant and hotel kitchens via molecular gastronomy but for many culinary professionals they are still a foreign object. The concept of creating a soup thickened with a gum blend instead just seems to different. The current perception of gums in a kitchen lends towards high end dinning where these molecular creations are served but the menu that Chef Walter worked on challenged these perceptions. He created a high quality Florida Autumn themed menu that was familiar yet utilized these gums in basic sauces as well as other components.
Soup and Salad Appetizer
Vertical Tasting of Lobster Cappuccino With Endive and Watercress
Caramel Rare Duck Breast with Burgundy Braised Duck Leg over Apple Cider Savoy Cabbage
with Candied Baby Beets and Yukon Gold Potatoes
Roasted Pumpkin Panna Cotta with a Walnut Compote and Pomegranate Coulis
Chef Walter focused on the functionality of each gum or gum blend and used them to create the textures necessary. The gums chosen replaced reduction and traditional thickeners:
- Carragum 200: this gum is a special blend of natural gums that after being heated provided the lobster bisque with its velvety texture.
- Culinary Foam Stabilizer: this gum blend is the stabilizing system that trapped the bubbles and made it possible for the “cappuccino” foam on the warm lobster bisque to remain intact for each of the guests.
- Ticaloid 102-S2 No Fat Powder:this blend was developed to act as a thickener, stabilizer,emulsifier and a fat-mimetic for low or zero fat products. And that is exactlywhat it provided in the no fat grapefruit dressing that was served on the endive watercress salad.
- Ticaloid Saucier: Ticaloid saucier was used in the grand marnier navel orange sauce as well as the caramel orange glaze during the main course. this gum blend stabilized and enhanced the sauces cling and suspension by providing emulsification and thickening.
- Opti Cellulose Gum 2600: this cellulose gum is designed to deliver viscosity in sugar free syrup applications therefore it was the perfect gum to thicken the balsamic syrup glaze.
- Xanthan Rapid: this gum was used in not only the beet juice glaze during the main course but also during dessert for the pomegranate coulis. this gum is a cold soluble thickener that provides great clarity.
- Colloid 881 M: this gum develops a soft elastic gel that allow the panna cotta, a custard dessert, to have a perfectly creamy mouth feel and texture without the addition of eggs or gelatin.
- Action Gum 1144: the walnut compote utilized this gum blend to provide thickening of the syrup as well as suspension of walnut pieces and spices.
The final menu created included 8 gums throughout the three course lunch, however creating the menu was only the first step.
After formulating all of the components and dishes, the menu underwent the texture mapping processes. Texture mapping is the evaluation of the texture for each component of the menu. The process evaluates the sensory characteristics of each component by using universal terminology and allows for precision in describing the textural attributes throughout the menu. The process groups the attributes into three categories
- Visual attributes
- Mechanical attributes
- Oral attributes
by identifying the textural attributes of each component the menu can be texturally balanced.
After ensuring that the menu was full of flavor and the textures were balanced properly, Chef Walter was ready to move onto the next step of training the kitchen staff.
This year the New Products Conference was held at the Ritz Carlton in West Palm Beach Florida. Knowing that a “Gum-centric” menu would provide challenges, Chef Walter decided to visit the kitchen staff he would be working with the day of the event before hand so that they could do a test run of the “Gum-centric” menu. This first trip allowed Walter to present the gums to the kitchen staff showing them proper technique for working them.
- Scaling: there was a large emphasis on proper scaling since the gums work based on ratios
- Hydration: the gums need to be added while whisking or using high sheer, some are cold water soluble however others must be heated to allow for hydration. Many times the product needs to sit to fully hydrate.
This time was well spent learning experience for the staff as well as the menu. It allowed the staff to become familiar with the gums and for any hiccups in the menu to be sorted out.
The day of the event, September 11 2012, the lunch went off smooth. Thanks to the vast equipment, and the now gum familiar staff comprised of their Banquet Sous Chef Chris Roth, Braden, Ashley, Johnathan and TIC GUMS Sean Choi; Chef Walter was able to present a “Gum – centric” menu that was very well received by the 180 luncheons guests.