We’re Eating. Again…

When I meet people who work in a cubicle, they envy my job.  I have a great view out of my office window, not to mention the fact that I go to a golf course every day.  That is many people’s dream come true.  The people who come to the golf course are happy.  They are here to have fun!  Although we work long hours, it is a fun job.  I gotta tell you, though, all of those things I just listed aren’t really the best part of my job.  The best part of my job is that we get to sacrifice our beach bodies to taste and sample foods that we’d like to sell at the golf course.  This, my friends, is the best part of the job!  Tasting food at Sysco.

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We have been to Sysco several times in the last year at their vendor fairs.  These are kind of like a huge tasting where all of the vendors who distribute product through Sysco come to let us sample their foods.  On a cold day in November, four of us went to Sysco’s test kitchen to have our own private tasting with Sysco’s chef.

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Before we got started, we adorned security vests and toured the warehouse.  Sysco is located in Ankeny and has an incredible operation.  The tour guide told us about how the pickers grab product to prepare the semi trucks.  There are many things involved that you don’t think about at first.  Product rotation is vital as well as food handling to make sure the food supply is safe.  They had many aisles filled with food that was packaged on pallets and stacked up to the ceiling.  They also covered many things that suppliers are doing to help prevent waste.  Many of them use reuseable belts to hold the product on the pallets rather than the plastic shrink wrap.  It’s the little things that add up to making a big difference.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures in the warehouse.  You’ll just have to trust me that is was cool, both literally and figuratively.

Once the tour was complete, we headed over to the test kitchen where the Sysco chef was getting ready to prepare us several meals which included skirt steak.  That came by my mom’s request as she had been reading about this cut of meat and wanted some ideas on how to use it.  For this tasting, we decided to focus on hors d’oeuvres for our wedding guide as well as graduation open houses menu guide.  We wanted to see some fun options.  As soon as we sat down, the chef threw a couple of steaks on the grill.

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He began his tasting with bite size quiche.  Not surprisingly, they were delicious.

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Next up, he offered us bacon wrapped scallops.  I’m not a fan of anything that comes from the ocean.  I wish I liked fish because I know it’s good for me, but I just can’t do it.  Since this was a tasting, I decided to try it anyway.  Seriously, it was wrapped in bacon, so it how could it possibly taste badly?  I was so proud of myself.  I actually liked it!

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Chef pulled the steak off the grill and began slicing it into thin strips.  He showed us how he made this delicious Remoulade.

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Its key ingredient was this Chipotle flavor enhancer.  Let me tell you!  This sauce would have tasted good on a piece of mud.  It was so good.

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Here’s the skirt steak sandwich.  He had used the remoulade on the shredded cabbage.  There was so much flavor in this sandwich that it had my mouth singing.  Those were the two main ingredients which were placed on a toasted bun.

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Next up, he used the same skirt steak to create some tacos.  These tacos had that same chipotle sauce on them, but also included a pica de gallo.  They were served on a corn shell.

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Our new best friend, the Sysco chef, then took some liberty to show us some other options that he thought we might enjoy using for our wedding menu.  He served us some seasoned small potatoes over a demi sauce.  While we oooed and ahhhed, I let a notch out of my belt.

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In addition to the potatoes, he also had made a stuffed pork loin.  This thing was fabulous and was very easy to prepare.  The best thing was that it didn’t take long to cook.  It’s no easy task to cook for several hundred people and keep all of the food hot and fresh.  This was a great option for us!

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Because we were still sitting up and able to speak, he also served us a meatball sandwich that he had created.  It was made from a meatball that he had cut in half.

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It, too, was amazing.  The four of us waddled out of the Sysco test kitchen with plenty of great ideas, recipes, and excitement to tackle some new items on our event menu.  Sadly, we all had to go home to our families to prepare them supper.  None of us felt like looking at food after sampling all those great meals!

We’d like to thank Sysco again for treating us so well and serving us a wide array of fabulous recipes.  They told us that they hold about two private tastings with businesses every day!  That’s a lot of cooking!

Post by Allison

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