Fall Harvest Cooking At Café Services
Fresh, local autumn foods inspire creativity at corporate dining company in Massachusetts, Connecticut and greater northeast.
When the fall chill sets in, Café Services chefs get busy finding creative and tasteful ways to make the most of the autumn harvest.
A leading corporate dining company serving businesses in Massachusetts and the greater northeast, Café Services is near the ocean, lakes and many local farms. This puts a variety of fresh local produce, proteins and dairy products in close reach of Café Services chefs throughout the region.
How do Café Services chefs use fresh, local foods in fall menus? Teams from three Café Services sites share their stories.
Steve has direct access to a smorgasbord of local food from over forty New England farmers. Chef/manager at Verizon in Massachusetts, he prepares a variety of creative, seasonal dishes with delicacies like wild salmon, delivered same day from the Atlantic; and pasture-raised beef, chicken, lamb and pork from Blackbird Farm in Rhode Island.
One of Steve’s fall specialties is an apple and cranberry stuffed pork loin with butternut squash and red cabbage slaw. The abundance of local autumn root vegetables also inspires Steve to get creative in the salad bar. On a typical day, he’ll serve a selection of red and golden beets—boiled, chilled and sliced—along with turnips roasted and sliced on the bias, and grilled rosemary-garlic sweet potatoes.
With fresh vegetables, Steve uses seasonings sparingly. “Too many seasons and blends detract from the natural flavor,” he says.
Charlotte and Vera, who run the Café Services dining room at GE Connecticut, both drive by farm stands every day on the way to work.
What’s in season? “Lots of squash and apples,” says Charlotte, the chef/manager. “I use squash in every way, shape and form”, she says. That includes soups, stir-fries and entrees like Spaghetti squash with broccoli rabe. For GE diners with ethnic tastes, there’s Mumbai spinach soup and Thai squash soup.
A new fall favorite at GE is fat-free apple spice dip. A smooth blend of apple cider, Greek yogurt and cinnamon, the dip is served as a healthy snack at catered meetings. Says Charlotte, “It suits the season and GE nutrition standards.”
Chef/manager at Insight Technologies in New Hampshire, Steve visits local farmers’ markets every week to stock up on squashes, apples and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
Steve says his butternut squash and apple bisque is a big hit with diners, and that he uses a lot of pumpkins. “I prepare pumpkins every way I can,” says Steve. “I put them in pancakes, pies and soups. Pumpkin soup and pumpkin corn chowder are staples. And diners love our pumpkin whoopie pie, which we wrap to go.”
Steve also enjoys barbequing all year long, and his barbequed beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs are employee favorites. This time of year, he serves it with sweet potato mash or sweet potato fries.
“I spend a lot of time thinking up different, creative ways to use the same ingredient, especially when it’s so abundant,” says Steve. “It’s a passion I share with a lot of my Café Services peers. And it keeps customers coming back.”