Do you want to know what it takes to startup your own restaurant? Well then, meet Bradley Sanchez, he went to school for art, worked on Broadway Street, and started his first restaurant, The Salad Shop, by the age of 25.
I had the opportunity to sit down with him at his place, in Baton Rouge, to talk about what it takes to start your own restaurant in a highly saturated market.
Are you one who reads the back side of food products to see what’s in it — the Ingredients list? How many times have you seen the word Natural Flavor(s) on the list? Try me: look at the next 3 packaged food/drink products you see, I’ll bet you’ll see “Natural Flavor” on the back.
One would assume that because it’s in natural health food store and it says Natural Flavors, that it must be good for you — it’s natural right? Sure, but then again so is a beaver’s ass — which is technically defined as Natural Flavors and it can be found all your favorite vanilla and strawberry products on the shelf. Continue reading The Not-so-Natural Truth of “Natural Flavors”→
I make salad dressing. The taste of it should remain perfect from bottling it to pouring it on a salad. I also sell our salad dressing to restaurants and grocery stores (for the salad bar) by the gallon. Unlike consumers, the food service could care less about the packaging and more so on the size, they want the biggest container I can put it in.
Last week I was filling our sample bottles, “Minis”, to hand-out for an event and I noticed that the taste was a little off. It was a little flat and I couldn’t figure out why, it was made fresh, sealed imminently with minimal air (about 2 months ago), and stored in a dark climate controlled environment — these are the perfect conditions to maintain freshness. It turns out not all plastics are created equal, you would ‘think’ purchasing something at the grocery store should be considered safe for consuming — think again. Continue reading Food Plastics: How they can Alter your Food, Brain, & Sex Drive→
When I first bottled my salad dressing, I noticed that after a few days of bottling it, the ingredients started to separate. With the amount of cheese that is used in Sensation salad dressing, it looks really ugly after a few days.
I was proud of it at first, it definitely was a conversation starter, I was promoting it as all natural and separation is ok. Further more, I realized that when you pour it on a salad, the cheese stays on the top and the oil drops to the bottom of the bowl. At the end of that day, I realized what it is — a salad dressing, and if the taste profile isn’t what it should be, it’s not going to work.
I researched the most popular types of bonding agents/stabilizers and browsed through the isles of natural salad dressings to see what they use. By far, the most common bonding agent in salad dressings is xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is an all-purpose thickener/stabilizer for dressing, gravies, sauces, and an ideal substitute for gluten in baking.
Ok, I thought — let’s try it. I bounce the idea off a food scientist and he said xanthan gum would be a perfect fit, he gave me the recommend .5% xanthan gum per bottle. So, without testing it, I made a batch of 600+ bottles, and it was so thick we could barely sir the batch. It was unbelievable, some customers called it yogurt. Note this, xanthan gum is EXTREMELY potent and when combined with thick oils (EVOO) and a lot of cheese, it will turn your salad dressing into mayo. After doing small-batch testing, the amount I ended up using is about .13% per bottle — a little goes a long way. Continue reading Why I’m keeping Xanthan Gum in my salad dressing→