How to Make Spaetzle

Every country has its own signature style of cuisine. In Germany, you’ll find a lot of meat-focused dishes, like wiener schnitzel and bratwurst. Some German entrees include sauces or gravy that go great with starchy side dishes. One of the most iconic and recognizable German side dishes, spaetzle are little dumplings made from a simple batter of flour, eggs, and milk that are formed into droplets by using a spaetzle maker.

While it’s possible to make spaetzle with a regular colander, a spaetzle maker delivers more consistent and superior results because of its larger holes and flat surface that sits securely over a pot of boiling water. This handy kitchen tool also features a sliding hopper that holds the batter and distributes it evenly among the holes when moved back and forth in an even sliding motion. Though it may be a funny-looking contraption, a spaetzle maker is a must-have item for German restaurants that prepare this dish frequently. It also comes in handy for any establishment that hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Spaetzle Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Directions

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.

2. Combine and mix the dry ingredients.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Pour the milk into the eggs.

4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a whisk. Stir until smooth. You can add more milk if the batter is too thick.

5. Melt the butter in a skillet. You can brown it if you like.

6. When your entree has just a few minutes to go, set your spaetzle maker on top of the pot of boiling water. It should fit securely. Slowly pour your batter into the plastic hopper. The hopper should slide easily back and forth across the holes to distribute the batter evenly as it drops through into the water. You may need to refill the hopper a few times until all the batter has been added to the water.

7. Boil the spaetzle for 3-4 minutes.

8. Use a skimmer to remove and drain the spaetzle. Add them directly to the pan of hot butter. Toss them a few times until they’re fully coated and slightly golden brown in color.

Posted in: Recipes | By Jessica Wieser

6 Fall Flavors that Aren't Pumpkin Spice

Fall is one of the most beloved times of the year for two reasons: beautiful foliage and the start of the holiday food season. But when you think fall, what flavors come to your mind? For many enthusiasts of the season, that flavor is probably pumpkin spice. While the seasoning is just a combination of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, it would seem that there’s been a pumpkin spice explosion since Starbucks introduced the now infamous PSL (“Pumpkin Spice Latte”) back in 2003. Although pumpkin spice is comprised of common cold-weather spices, it’s possible to create delicious fall recipes without them being strictly pumpkin flavored. If you’re experiencing P.S.O. (Pumpkin Spice Overload), check out some other fall flavors that can get customers into the fall spirit, no pumpkin needed.

Apple Cider

1. Apple

Cider or even apple cake are great things to offer during fall months. Because apples are naturally sweeter and more delicious than pumpkins, they're the perfect produce selection for your fall menu.

2. Salted Caramel

Sticky salty goodness. This sweet treat is perfect for customers craving an escape from spice. Caramel candies, cookies, and hot drinks are all good ideas. Caramel lattes have an especially autumnal quality that's comforting on a cold day.

3. Hazelnut

The warm and smooth flavor of hazelnut pairs extremely well with coffee or hot chocolate. This flavor has become an extremely popular flavor in recent years, largely due to the increased popularity of Nutella spread.

4. Maple

Maple-bacon cupcakes, anyone? Maple flavor reminds a lot of people of pancakes on lazy Sunday mornings. The taste makes us picture frost-covered maple trees. What better feeling for fall?

5. Pear

Pear flavor tastes great with a variety of spices, including cinnamon, star anise, and vanilla. Whether you want to make homemade pear butter for biscuits or offer fancy pear tarts, this fall fruit is simply scrumptious.

Ginger Snaps

6. Ginger

Ground ginger can add a kick of flavor to a wide range of foods, but is especially delicious in gingerbread. While gingerbread is associated with Christmastime, gingersnap cookies are a perfect autumn cookie, especially when paired with hot tea.


With so many flavors that make up fall, why stick with the same old pumpkin spice theme? This fall, leave pumpkins where they belong… on your front porch. NOT in your coffee.

Posted in: Menu Tips | Seasonal | By Jessica Wieser

Tap Into the Best Fall Beers of 2017

As the leaves begin to change and autumn is officially underway, it’s time to consider which seasonal beers to add to your lineup. We’ve compiled a list of six favorite fall styles so you can start serving delicious beers today, including flavors as crisp as the leaves on the ground and as warm as your favorite sweater. We're sure you and your customers will be enjoying these all season long!

Amber Ales

These malty beers offer a deep amber color that matches the leaves outside, while boasting a warm flavor that makes them perfect for when sweater season is upon us.

Give These a Try:

  • Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale (Healdsburg, CA), 6.8% ABV
  • AleSmith Evil Dead Red (San Diego, CA), 6.6% ABV
  • Maine Beer Company Zoe (Freeport, ME), 7.2% ABV
  • Pipeworks Blood of the Unicorn (Chicago, IL), 6.5% ABV

Oktoberfests

Oktoberfest Beer

Although the original Oktoberfest was held in celebration of a Bavarian royal wedding in the early 19th century, the birth of the Oktoberfest beer gives us a reason to still celebrate today. This style features a toasted, bready flavor with relatively low hop bitterness. Dirndls and lederhosen optional.

Give These a Try:

  • Great Lakes Oktoberfest (Cleveland, OH), 6.5% ABV
  • Surly Brewing Co. SurlyFest (Brooklyn Center, MN), 6.0% ABV
  • Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen (Aying, Germany), 5.8% ABV
  • New Glarus Staghorn Octoberfest (New Glarus, WI), 6.25% ABV

Wet Hop Beers

Most beer is made with hops that have been harvested, dried, and shipped to the brewery for production. Beer made with wet hops is different and can truly be called seasonal because the hops must be used within 24 hours of harvesting. The result is something earthy, with a nice citrus flavor and floral aroma. Serve this style as soon as possible, as the flavors are best enjoyed fresh.

Give These a Try:

  • Fremont Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop Ale (Seattle, WA), 6.0% ABV
  • Lagunitas Born Yesterday (Petaluma, CA), 7.0% ABV
  • 3 Floyds Broo Doo (Munster, IN), 7.0% ABV
  • The Bruery Humulus Rueuze (Placentia, CA), 6.0% ABV

Stouts & Porters

Stout

When autumn sets in, lighter summer beers are moved aside in favor of darker and more filling options. Stouts and porters offer rich, malty notes that are often complemented by caramel, chocolate, and coffee flavors. Pair them with a hearty fall stew for a comforting seasonal treat.

Give These a Try:

  • Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout (Tadcaster, England), 5.0% ABV
  • Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout (Paso Robles, CA), 5.5% ABV
  • Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter (San Diego, CA), 10.0% ABV
  • Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (Frederick, MD), 9.2% ABV

Big IPAs

As the temperatures continue to fall, the alcohol content of the beers you serve should rise. IPAs that pair piney flavors and floral aromas with a high ABV are sure to warm your customers up and convince them to stay a while.

Give These a Try:

  • The Alchemist Heady Topper (Stowe, VT), 8.0% ABV
  • Dogfish Head Burton Baton (Milton, DE), 10.0% ABV
  • Stone Brewing Company RuinTen Triple IPA (Escondido, CA), 10.8% ABV
  • Russian River Pliny the Elder (Santa Rosa, CA), 8.0% ABV

Pumpkin Beers

Pumpkin Beer

The minute September 1st rolls around, pumpkin domination begins and doesn’t truly end until winter is over. Pumpkin beer is a popular part of this trend, and although not every beer lover is on board, you should offer at least one pumpkin style for those who can’t get enough. With warm spices like cinnamon and vanilla mingling with the quintessential fall gourd, what’s not to love?

Give These a Try:

  • Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Tampa, FL), 8.5% ABV
  • Dogfish Head Punkin (Milton, DE), 7.0% ABV
  • Avery Pump[KY]n (Boulder, CO), 15.0% ABV
  • Schlafly Pumpkin Ale (St. Louis, MO), 8.0% ABV


Give your customers a reason to indulge this year by adding seasonal beers to the lineup at your restaurant or bar. The weather may be getting colder, but luckily, fall beer will be around to keep you warm. For more information on beer styles and serving suggestions, check out our comprehensive beer guide.

Posted in: Seasonal | Bars & Breweries | By Sabrina Bomberger

9 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Chef

The foodservice industry is growing fast, which makes becoming a chef a lucrative and appealing career path for many people. Additionally, the growth of the Food Network and proliferation of YouTube celebrity chefs have glamorized the industry. But, working in the restaurant industry is not like what you see on TV. I spoke to our two in-house chefs, Greg Lieberman and Larry Williams, to get a better idea of what working in a kitchen is really like, and together we compiled this list of 9 things you should consider before becoming a chef.

Potential Downsides to Becoming a Chef

Becoming a Chef

As with most careers, there are downsides to becoming a chef. Here are some drawbacks you may find in a career in foodservice:

1. It's a Physically Demanding Job

Working in a kitchen, you’re going to be standing and moving around for at least 8 hours. You’ll also need to be lifting heavy pots of food, carrying large bags of food, and stocking walk-ins with food, which can put a strain on your body. Greg says that working in kitchens is hot, crowded, and dangerous, especially during breakfast, lunch, and dinner rushes, when cooks will be scurrying around the kitchen to fill orders.

2. Your Social Life Will Suffer

For restaurants, weekends are the busiest time of the week, and, as a result, you’ll almost certainly be working weekends, which makes it difficult to make plans with family and friends. Additionally, the long hours will interfere with your other hobbies and passions. According to Larry, “You’re going to be working when people have off, and you’ll have off when people are working.” To Larry, the hours are one of the biggest negatives of working as a chef.

3. Working in a Kitchen is Stressful

Stress and working in the restaurant industry go hand in hand. When working in a kitchen, there are bound to be times when the tickets start to pile up and you have to rush to put out orders. Some people thrive in this type of setting and others don’t. If you can’t handle stress well, becoming a chef might not be the right option for you.

4. If You Want to Succeed as a Chef, a Culinary School Education is Very Helpful

Becoming a Chef

If you want to work in a fine dining setting, a culinary school degree is a must, says Greg. Experience is helpful, but culinary school opens a lot of doors that wouldn’t be available otherwise. Larry believes that the purpose of a degree is to set a goal for yourself and accomplish it because, regardless of your background, everyone starts in the dishroom or on the line. That being said, both chefs agreed that a candidate with a degree plus experience is more appealing than someone who just has their degree.

5. The Pay Isn't Great, At Least Starting Out

Working as a dishwasher or a line cook, you can expect long hours for roughly $10 an hour, depending on your location. Your pay, after deducting rent, culinary school loan payments, and living expenses, doesn’t leave much. But, fortunately, with experience you can move up the ladder and start earning a more comfortable living. Greg says that you get out of the job what you put into it, and in order to grow and make more as a chef, you need to constantly study and learn.

6. Your Experience Will Change Depending on Where You Work

There are a ton of different jobs in the foodservice industry, ranging from caterer and restaurant owner to food stylist and personal chef. Each of these jobs are radically different, and they all have their own pros and cons. Both Greg and Larry have worked at different types of foodservice establishments, and they have both worked at upscale and casual operations.

Larry says he personally disliked working at banquets and catered events because you tend to spend all of your time working on one dish. He prefers to work on a line, which offers more variety in what you're cooking. On the other hand, Greg enjoyed working in hotels, country clubs, and other fine dining establishments because they provided variety, but in a beautiful and interesting setting.

Benefits to Working as a Chef

Although there are some downsides to becoming a chef, it's still an intensely rewarding and appealing career. Here are some possible benefits to becoming a chef:

7. Working as a Chef Offers Freedom and Creativity

Creativity

Working as a chef gives you more freedom and allows you to be more creative than just about any other career. Cooking also encourages you to make adjustments and create new and interesting flavors. Even recipes are just guidelines, and you can change the ratios and add new ingredients to make a dish your own. In addition to the creativity of the job, Larry enjoys working in foodservice because there’s constant change and every day is different.

8. You Form a Strong Bond with Your Team Members

Being a part of a kitchen team helps create a sense of comradery that’s similar to being on a sports team, according to Greg. To function, the kitchen staff needs to come together and work as a unit. As a result, working in a kitchen on a team is an incredible bonding experience, and you'll eventually grow close with your teammates. The bond created in a kitchen is so strong that Greg invited former co-workers he hadn’t seen in 6 years to his wedding, due to the strength of the relationship made during their time working together.

9. With a Career in Foodservice, You Can Go Anywhere

Foodservice jobs can be found all over the world and in a variety of settings, so if you work in restaurants, your job can take you to all sorts of interesting destinations. For instance, if you've always wanted to live in New York City, you can move there and know there are jobs available to you. Becoming a chef also gives you the freedom to hop around and find the right fit for you. If you don't like working in a fine dining establishment, why not give catering a try? Or find a job at a resort and grill fresh fish for your customers right on the beach. There are many possibilities and options that are open to you when you become a chef, which is something that not many other careers can claim.

Advice from the Chefs

Greg: Before you start a career, you should consider all of the bad points and weigh them with the benefits for you personally. Make sure that you're passionate and dedicated to cooking, because it's going to become a major part of your life.

Larry: What are your personal passions? Because you won't have time to do any of them. Will your personal passions and hobbies compete with your professional passion, and will that be a deciding factor in choosing your career? If you're interested in working in the restaurant industry, you should also get a job in a kitchen for 6 months and try it out. 6 months is a long enough time that any conflicts will come up, and you can decide whether or not it's something you enjoy doing. You can only find out if it's right for you by doing it.


Choosing what career you want to pursue is a difficult decision to make, and it's one that shouldn't be taken lightly. Becoming a chef is an excellent career choice, but, as with every job, it has its ups and downs. The long hours, physical demand, and low starting pay can be a difficult pill to swallow, but if you choose to go into foodservice, you'll be rewarded with a fulfilling job that offers tons of freedom and creativity and is constantly changing.

Posted in: Interviews | Management & Operation | By Richard Traylor
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