Posts Tagged ‘Asian’

Chef Kelly Sasuga of Fresh Origins: Competition with a Daring Dish

April 29, 2013

During last month’s trade show tour, our R&D Chef Kelly Sasuga represented Fresh Origins in one of the toughest, most prestigious culinary competitions in the United States. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) hosted the 2013 Catersource ACF Culinary Challenge, it brought together the nation’s most talented chefs to compete in a variety of cooking, decorating and carving competitions – awarding medals and certifications.

Spoiler alert!

Kelly won her K1-Duck category impressing the judges with her asian style, Miso Glazed Duck Breast, Chinese Hand-pulled Noodle Stir Fry with Veggies, Smoked Duck Egg Roll, Kumquat Chili Gastrique, and Fresh Origins Micro Shiso. She received the ACF-Silver medal accumulating the highest score in her category!

When it came time to cook, the judges and audience watching were really impressed with how Kelly she moved and conducted herself in the kitchen. The judges especially, were astonished to see someone hand-pull noodles during a hot food competition. It was a risky task and the they knew it.


Chef Kelly Makes Practice Perfect with Noodles

Months prior to the competition, Kelly spent hours on hours practicing twice a week at the San Diego Culinary Institute, who sponsors the competition team. On top of that, she was able to commit extra time every day for two months, perfecting the hand-pulled noodle technique at home.

Requiring a certain level of finesse and applied muscle memory, unbraiding hand-pulled noodles is a very old and difficult technique that requires a lot of patience and practice. In the position of having to teach herself, Kelly mimicked videos of other chefs that were experts in executing the chinese art form. She had done her research. She even went to Martin Yan’s restaurant in SF, MY China to watch them make hand pulled noodles, and met the Master Chef himself! He was very friendly and briefly explained to her how the process worked as she watched Executive Chef Tony Wu masterfully pull these wonderful noodles. It’s really an exciting thing to watch.

Along the way, through timed trial and error, she found out what worked for her. She was able exploit the small details needed on her own, things like using the exact ratio of water to flour when creating the consistency of the dough – it needs to be perfect in order to pull noodles from it.

ACF Rules and Culinary Standards

Unlike most competitions where individuals compete against each other, here chefs compete against a strict culinary standard. Each competitor is judged and awarded points not only the taste of their dish but everything they do in the kitchen from: organization, sanitation, creativity, portion size, cooking skills and techniques, how they utilized their time, ingredients, flavors, textures, and presentation. Their allotted time is 15 minutes to setup, 60 minutes to cook, 10 additional minutes for plating and 15 minutes for clean up.

The Final Results

Since her part was over, cooking phases done, kitchen cleaned, and dishes received, the judges gave her an invaluable review. In fact, one of the judges came to shake her hand afterwards, applauded her on the obvious hard work she displayed and praised on her bold decision to use hand-pulled noodles in her dish. A couple of them also offered her a job! The end result was surreal, all Kelly’s feelings of anxiousness and nervousness subsided, she knew that all her hard work had paid off.

Her first time culinary challenge was finally over and with great success, now all she could do was think of what she could do for the next one!

Her next scheduled challenge is the 2013 ACF Culinary Salon Competition at the Le Cordon Bleu in Seattle, Washington on May 4th. We love showing our support to all chefs competing, so if you’re going to be attending or competing in the event, let us know!

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Asian style Herbs & Greens

January 11, 2013

Fresh Origins has a wide variety of Asian style herbs & greens. Great flavor additions for noodles & rice! Float some Petite Thai Basil on Pho to add an intense herb essence. Micro Red & Green Shisos are wonderful when paired with fresh sushi. Seared rare ahi loves to be topped with our Micro Wasabi. Add some Gold Edamame Shoots™ to your stir-fry to add color, crunch and a yummy legume taste. Red Kaiware Shoots™ & Micro Benitade add a stunning color and spicy flavor to Kalbi short ribs or sesame chicken.

What would you do with our Asian products??

Asian Products

Asian Themed MicroGreens

December 1, 2011

Many micro greens and petite greens are Asian in origin and can be used to give an Asian flair to many types of dishes. These Asian themed specialty products can also blend in well with American dishes, providing new and exciting flavors.

With more than 350 productsFresh Origins has all of the Asian micro greens you will need to add zest to your dishes.

Here is just a few that are available. There is Micro Chinese Cabbage, which can be used to spice up lettuce and spinach salads; and Micro Thai Basil which has an unusual licorice flavor that also blends well with Asian or fusion cuisine. 

Pictured: Petite Asian Mix

Micro Red Shiso has dark red, uniquely flavored leaves, and is a great topping for sushi rolls and nigiri.

Micro Tatsoi, first cultivated in Japan, is popular for use in both European and Asian foods. It is dark green in color and a member of the broccoli family. It goes well with salads and sandwiches. It has a taste that echoes that of mustard greens.

Another Asian microgreen is the Daikon Radish, which comes in purple or green. The word Daikon means “large root” in Japanese, and the vegetable has a crisp texture and a spicy flavor and can really perk up salads or side dishes.

Mitsuba, Japanese parsley is another microgreen that is a common in Asian dishes. It has an earthy parsley-like flavor and can make a great addition to salads, and stir fry. Nice for floating on miso soup!

Micro Cilantro is a common element in Thai cooking and can be used in salads, chutneys and salsas. It has a very fresh and strong flavor for such a small herb!

Here’s a recipe using our Asian microgreens!

Kobe Beef and Prawn Udon Soup

with Micro Asian Mix

Ingredients:

Fresh Origins Micro Asian Mix

½ lb Large fresh uncooked prawns

½ lb Kobe beef

1 package Udon noodles

2 stalks of Green Onions

1 clove Garlic

½ Onion

3 Pak Choy leaf stalks

Handful of Enoki Mushrooms

1 cup Chicken Broth

Splash of Hot Sauce

2 tbsp Soy Sauce

Handful of Shitaki Mushrooms

2 tbsp Dried Seaweed

1 tbsp Rice Wine

Handful of Soy Beans

Salt, Pepper

Directions:

In a pot, bring water to a boil, drop in noodles and simmer until cooked. In a separate pot, combine chicken stock, garlic (diced), onions (diced), hot sauce, shitaki mushrooms (diced), soy sauce, seaweed, rice wine, soy beans, salt and pepper and simmer. Slice kobe beef into small thin slices, season with salt and pepper, and sear quickly on both sides in olive oil in a pan. Set aside. Do the same with the shrimp. Set aside. Cook enoki mushrooms in broth.  Blanch Pak Choy quickly in broth until leaves get wilted. Set aside. Serve noodles, add broth, pak choy, green onions, shrimp, and beef.  Garnish with Fresh Origins Micro Asian Mix.

Other examples of Asian-style garnishes!

Mustard Flowers

Shiso Bicolor Leaves

Radish Flowers