Otherwise titled, 'an obvious thought.'
We are slowly reaching a point when powders like xanthan, lecithin, versawhip, etc. will be at home in every commercial kitchen along with the usual array of spices on the rack. As more and more chefs use these to create avant-garde cuisine and push the limits of tradition, I have been thinking of using them to create stability. If chefs in positions such as 'banquet chef' in a hotel operation became educated on such products, they could ultimately save time and create a more banquet-stable food product. Their is no more abusive environment to food than the banquet operation... hence the stigmas about banquet food. You have to 'fire' and plate foods early on due to high volume. Finished foods sit in hot boxes or salads sit dressed far longer than they would a la carte. Chafing dishes unleash brutal heat on foods during the long course of a buffet and its preset. So, why not use alternate thickening agents like carrageenans to give a stable and semi-heat resistant viscosity to creamed sauces? Why not incorporate xanthan and lecithin to prevent cold sauces and dressings from separating? What about specialty products like TIC Gums Dairy Blend to keep whipped creams standing tall through the night (especially when a dessert display needs to be set early in the banquet and no one touches them for an hour and a half? You get my point. It seems like an obvious thing and a step back towards the industrial uses of these ingredients. At this time, the only chefs studying these things are the ones who want to create freaky foods... not plate a banquet for 350 people. These people are more commonly drawn by a paycheck, and not a desire to study food. Not to say that there isn't a sense of pride in their work, but there is a difference. Executive chefs, this is your duty! Learn how to use these products and pass on the information!
There is no better time to take advantage of banquet improvements than the holidays. As I needed to make 12 deboned turkey roulades (to bad there isn't an enzyme that will dissolve bones and connective tissue) for a banquet-style Christmas menu, I took an alternate route to trussing birds... Activa RM from Ajinomoto. We have used this 'meat glue' in the past to fuse meats together, strengthen gelatines, and create skinless sausages of any protein that could be sliced into clean medallions. Why not just fuse turkey to turkey?
Using an old empty spice shaker, I made a seasoned blend of the transglutanimase with a little salt and some basic seasonings. This was sprinkled onto plastic wrap and then all over the boneless turkey.
Afterwards, a quick roll up and tightening seals the bird. By tomorrow, they will be glued in this formation by the miracle of protein-binding enzymes. I will inject a light brine into them with my cajun injector, and we will probably steam them a while to cook them, and finish them in the oven.
The best part will be the consistent rondelles of boneless turkey when slicing them. There will be fewer pieces unrolling and less waste. I basically have here a huge raw turkey sausage waiting to be cooked, sliced, and served. The injected brine will help to keep the bird juicier through holding periods. This method is simple and takes less time than traditional ways. How could a banquet chef not love that?
It can also greatly off-set the high cost and bulk buying of these ingredients if you can divert some of the cost towards your high revenue banquet sales... banquets does pay the bills.