May 2018 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Mocha vs. Espresso Coffee

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    different espresso beverages


    For many people, the day hasn’t started until they’ve had their hot beverage of choice. While coffee is the traditional option, drinks like espressos, cappuccino, mochas, and lattes are winning over more fans by the day. Although these are four distinct drinks, you’ll need an espresso machine to make any of them. This post will explore the differences between the four delicious beverages and how to make the steamed milk that some of them require.




    espresso shot


    Served as a 1.5 oz. shot rather in a cup, espresso packs an energy punch and is perfect for people who don’t want to carry around a cup of coffee. The shot is topped off with a layer of foam that many deem the best part. Even though an espresso shot is relatively small compared to a cup of coffee, it still boasts 60-70% of the caffeine. Espresso’s strong taste is not for the faint of the heart, but those who like their coffee dark will love it.






    A latte is simply a shot of espresso mixed in steamed milk and topped off with a layer of milk foam. It’s basically a larger, milkier version of an espresso. Although about 2/3 of the drink is traditionally steamed milk, it’s common for customers to request double shots of espresso to give the latte an extra kick.  






    Made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk, a cappuccino is perfect for customers who find the bold taste of an espresso shot a bit overwhelming. There’s also a dry cappuccino, which leaves out the steamed milk and strikes a nice balance between a classic espresso shot and an ordinary cup of cappuccino.






    If there’s a drink on this list for chocolate lovers, the mocha is it. Combining espresso, milk, and a dab of chocolate flavoring, mochas are sweet treats that can be enjoyed early in the morning or during dessert. The chocolate taste is usually achieved by use of either hot chocolate or chocolate syrup. And while there is such thing as a Mocha bean, it usually isn’t used in a mocha recipe.


    How to Steam Milk


    how to steam milk


    Properly steaming milk is essential when it comes to properly making these espresso-based beverages. The best way to do so is by filling a restaurant creamer with milk and exposing that milk to the high-pressure steam emitted by your espresso machine. There’s an art to this process and also a bit of a learning curve, so don’t be discouraged if you make a few mistakes.

    Best Podcasts for Restaurant Marketing

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    Operating a restaurant is far more of an art than a science. While first-hand experience in the foodservice industry is irreplaceable when it comes to running a restaurant, there are certainly other ways owners and managers can put themselves in the best positions to succeed. One of these ways is through education. From books to videos to blogs, there are nearly endless resources that restauranteurs can learn from. One increasingly popular form of media that can broaden your scope of knowledge is a podcast. These free-flowing conversations usually feature a host and a revolving door of guests who are well-versed in specific topics like restaurant marketing and foodservice etiquette. And the best part about podcasts is how easy they are to consume. You can be driving, cooking, or even working out and still listen to a podcast. The following list includes 4 of the best podcasts for restauranteurs.  


    Social Restaurant Podcast – Hosted by Nate Riggs


    social restaurant podcast nate riggs


    The Social Restaurant Podcast covers recent topics, trends, and innovations that impact the restaurant industry. Releasing a 30-60 minute episode each week, marketing guru Nate Riggs hosts the podcast and is joined by an executive, operator, owner, or chef who’s on the forefront of the evolving foodservice industry. While Riggs doesn’t quite have extensive experience when it comes to operating restaurants, he helped Bob Evans Restaurants grow by way of his innovative marketing strategies.

    Topics covered by the Social Restaurant Podcast include “Restaurant Service Tips from an Expert,” “Hot Fast Casual Restaurant Trends,” “Local Store Marketing for Restaurants,” and much more. Although not every podcast will appeal to each restauranteur’s specific needs, there is certainly plenty of knowledge to gain from Riggs’ guests.


    Profitable Hospitality – Hosted by Ken Burgin


    profitable hospitality with ken burgin


    Having recorded upwards of 300 podcasts since 2012, Ken Burgin has over 25 years of experience in hospitality. He is an expert on topics like staff, cost control, marketing, menu development, social media, and more. Ken’s pleasant Australian accent makes his Profitable Hospitality podcast a joy to listen to, and his guests specialize in subjects like marketing, management, and business development. For restauranteurs who are looking for advice on how to handle issues outside the kitchen, Profitable Hospitality is a great choice.


    The Sporkful – Hosted by Dan Pashman


    the sporkful with Dan Pashman


    Author and three-time James Bead Award-nominated Dan Pashman hosts this podcast and fosters in-depth discussions that touch on topics like food, culture, body image, and more. Winner of the 2017 Webby Award for Best Lifestyle Podcast, The Sporkful features a guest list that includes chefs, food lovers, and even comedians. The one thing these guests have in common is their fascinating human interest stories. Compared to other podcasts on this list, Dan Pashman takes a more-laid back approach and focuses on entertainment more than education. While there’s still plenty to learn from The Sporkful, the podcast likely isn’t as beneficial to restauranteurs who are solely on a mission for knowledge.


    Restaurant Unstoppable – Hosted by Eric Cacciatore


    restaurant unstoppable with eric cacciatore


    With nearly 500 podcast episodes now under his belt, Eric Cacciatore initially launched Restaurant Unstoppable to fill a void in the podcast universe. He yearned for a podcast that was motivational, and focused on restaurant professionals. After he got tired of waiting for it, Eric decided to make it himself.

    Restaurant Unstoppable strives to provide restaurateurs with everything they need to operate a successful foodservice. On top of keeping listeners inspired, the podcast features guest appearances from chefs, owners, managers, and a litany of other foodservice professionals. It also touches on how to lead, manage, raise capital, recruit good employees, and become more efficient. Since there are so many episodes archived, there’s nearly no end to the ground Eric has already covered. Perhaps even more impressive, the host shows no signs of stopping.

    What is Sous Vide Cooking?

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    sous vide vs. traditional steak


    Great chefs do everything in their power to create delicious meals. Whether it’s using new ingredients, changing cooking temperatures, or exploring alternate cooking methods, there are nearly infinite ways for chefs to subtly alter the taste of a dish. One way in particular that chefs are pushing culinary boundaries is by using sous vide cooking methods. French for “under vacuum,” sous vide cooking consistently churn outs entrées that are tender and succulent. The method is commonly utilized when cooking chicken, steak, beef, lamb, pork, seafood, and even vegetables.


    What Is It?


    sous vide cooking


    Traditional sous vide cooking entails first placing food in a vacuum-sealed bag. The bag is then placed in a temperature-controlled water bath, which uses an immersion circulator to ensure its water temperature is exactly what it needs to be. Drawing water in from the tub, heating it, and then releasing it back into circulation, an immersion circulator is essential to sous vide cooking.  

    You might be wondering what you need to make a water bath, and the answer’s likely simpler than you think. Plastic food storage containers excel at the job so long as they’re large enough to hold all the water, and plastic is a great insulator of heat. Ideal size of the storage container will depend on how much food you want to cook. The more food you’re planning to make, the larger the bath will need to be.


    The Finishing Touches


    Using sous vide cooking helps ensure meat will be thoroughly cooked from end to end according to your precise preferences. But while the distinct texture and tenderness of meat cooked sous vide is undeniable, some diners might find the dish lacks a certain X-factor. Consequently, it’s common chef practice for cooked meat to be seared atop a cast-iron skillet prior to serving. The process takes very little time and helps add more crusted flavor to your meat.


    Sink to the Bottom


    sous vide cooking bottom of the bath


    When it comes to the actual cooking process, there are several important things to keep in mind. The vacuum-sealed bag with food in it should always be at the bottom of your water bath. One way to ensure this is by clamping a binder clip to the bottom of your bag then putting an item that will weigh down the bag in-between the bag and clip. This is highly advised because floating bags can potentially lead to improperly cooked food that poses a safety risk.


    Patience is a Virtue


    Also keep in mind that cooking sous vide can take significantly longer than alternate methods. For example, a slab of meat that takes 8 hours to cook on an outdoor smoker can take a whole day when cooked sous vide. On the bright side, sous vide cooking is an almost entirely hands-off endeavor, which frees up kitchen staff to focus on other important tasks. And since the food takes so long to cook, it’s nearly impossible to accidentally undercook or overcook a dish.


    Evaporation is the Enemy


    sous vide ping pong balls


    Over the several hours or even days it takes to cook sous vide, it’s possible for the bath’s water to evaporate. Luckily, there are measurements you can take to prevent such an inconvenience. Ping-pong balls are the gold standard for ensuring steam always drips back down into the water bath. Simply make a pile of balls atop the water and let them do their work. If you don’t do this, there’s a chance you’ll need to refill your water bath during the cooking process.


    Season with Caution


    Seasoning meats is a bit of an art when it comes to sous vide cooking. Since the dishes take so long to cook, herbs and spices infuse especially strong flavors when they’re inside your vacuum-sealed bag. As a result, seasoning meats after sous vide cooking has finished but before searing is an easier and less risky proposition. If you insist on cooking with the seasoning, do a bit of experimenting to see exactly how much is necessary.