RC Associates Limited - RC Catering Consultants

Management Advisory Services

  • Client assistance in project development including tender bids and evaluations
  • Drafting technical specifications and tenders
  • Selection of suppliers in general
  • Assistance with terms and conditions of contracts
  • Assistance with tender evaluations
  • Creation of studies evaluating "value for money" in various areas of foodservice operations
  • Food and beverage control evaluations and advice on creating improved profitability
  • Advice on labour schedules and costs in relation to sales
  • Hygiene and Health & Safety audit controls
  • Creation of studies to evaluate outsourcing both Foodservice Operation (Contract Caterers) and/or Commodities
  • Project Management and Contract Monitoring service

Operations and Overviews

  • Feasibility Studies, Personnel
  • Training Programmes
  • Quality Control and HACCP Control Implementation
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Operational Briefs and Appraisals
  • Specific Training Programmes involving practical implementation of systems within foodservice operations

Design & Planning and Contract Management

Scheme Design

  • Design Brief development
  • Initial space requirements
  • Space relationship drawings (CAD generated)
  • Schematic layouts (CAD generated)
  • Full colour perspective drawings (artists' impressions)
  • Interior design schemes
  • Materials sample boards
  • Briefing documents for Architects
  • Briefing documents for Building Services Engineers
  • Preliminary schedules of services
  • Preliminary schedules of finishes
  • Budget costs Liaison with Building Control
  • Liaison with Environmental Health Officers
  • Liaison with Fire Officers

Detailed Design

  • General arrangement drawings (CAD generated)
  • Cut sheets
  • Building services termination drawings (CAD generated)
  • Builders' work requirement drawings (CAD generated)
  • Shopfitting drawings (CAD generated)
  • Catering equipment specifications
  • Builders' work and finishes specifications
  • Signage and graphic design
  • Furniture schedules
  • Contract documentation
  • Competitive tendering

Tender analysis Construction

  • Project management
  • Drawing approvals
  • Payment application certification
  • Site inspections

Defects surveys Post Contract

  • Project monitoring
  • Diagnosis and ongoing operational advice

Operational and Systems Training

  • Test Kitchen training and equipment assessment
  • Theory and Practical training
  • HACCP systems implementation

Sous-Vide Systems

We use 2 different cooking methods in the kitchen… the traditional prepared meal process and another less familiar method called sous-vide.

The following information explains what exactly sous-vide is and what its benefits are.

Sous-vide literally means under-vacuum.

It was developed in the mid 70s by Georges Pralus for the restaurant Troisgros in Roanne, France. Originally developed for Foie Gras, the process reduced cooking loss from 30% to 5% and led to a better texture and appearance.

The simplest explanation of the process is that food is cooked in airtight pouches placed in hot water around 60°C.

The other pioneer of sous-vide is Bruno Goussault, Chief Scientist at Cuisine Solutions (USA) who has developed the parameters of cooking times and temperatures for different foods (also called cryovacking in the USA).

How does sous-vide differ from standard prepared meal production?

Sous-vide cooking

  • Cooking time/temp is controlled so the ingredients are cooked to perfection.
  • All ingredients for each portion are in the sous-vide pouch.
  • Start to finish, the dish is in the pouch ensuring all flavours remain intact.

The benefits of outsourced sous-vide to the customer

  • Minimal wastage/improved cost control by controlled portions
    • Several meals can be reheated in the same bath (starters, mains and desserts) without cross-contamination
    • Minimal training/skill required
    • Garnishing of plates etc. can take place while a dish is reheating
    • Extra long refrigerated defrosted shelf life means no wastage vs. fresh proteins – no additives or preservatives required
    • Less freezer space required
    • Reduced no of deliveries to the pub/restaurant/store
    • Can be held hot longer with no evaporation or spoiling
    • Less power/fuel used to produce meals. Cheaper cuts of meat can be used as sous-vide technology improves tenderness
    • Minimal loss during cooking and • Consistent results every time

The benefits of sous-vide to the consumer

  • Flavours and aromas are enhanced/preserved
  • Colours are retained
  • Little or no salt is required
  • Nutrients are preserved (highest retention of vitamins vs. steaming and boiling)
  • Little additional fat is required
  • Enhanced textures and meat tenderness

Vacuum Packing

Vacuum packing is a method whereby food (or other product) is packed and then sealed in an airless environment, usually in air-tight pouches, to prevent the chemical process known as oxidation and in the case of food, growth of harmful micro-organisms.

Unlike normal atmospheric conditions (1000 mbar), a vacuum environment has little or no oxygen, and can be held at as low as 0.5 mbar (in other words a 99% vacuum) by many but not all vacuum packing machines using vacuum pouches. 

Indeed food held in an airless environment is protected from spoiling by limiting the growth of what are called aerobic bacteria i.e. bacteria that grows in oxygen, as well as mould, fungi and yeast.  In addition an air-tight pouch also prevents both the evaporation of ingredients and the cross-contamination of flavours, aromas, moisture and bacteria from one piece of food to another.

How long food will remain durable after vacuum packing depends on more than just the degree of reduced oxygen.  Factors such as temperature, pH, nutritive content, degree of oxygen reduction, time (age and condition) and moisture content also control the speed and level of food deterioration.  However, it is a well established fact that vacuum packed food kept in the fridge at 3° C can keep food fresh for up three to five times longer than afforded by refrigeration alone.  In addition, cold frozen vacuum packed food does not suffer the effects of freezer burn.

It is little wonder then that the vacuum packer has become an essential piece of kitchen equipment for many chefs and caterers.  The reasons for this are not only for extended shelf life and better food preservation but also other elevated food quality and operational benefits, as follows:

Food Benefits

Operational Benefits

Portion Control

Advanced preparation

Reduced Wastage

Spread the workload

Safer Storage

Sous vide (or water bath cooking)

A very high standard of hygiene

 

How does it work?

  • “When you cook at home you get a lot of flavour in your kitchen, when you cook sous-vide, all that flavour is inside the bag” (Goussault).
  • Food is cooked at relatively low temperatures (well below boiling point - e.g. 70°C) for extended periods of time that maintain the integrity of the ingredients.
  • The sous-vide pouch works as a hermetic seal, keeping in both juices and aroma; and by cooking in water, you get better heat transfer than you would in an oven.
  1. NEW EU LEGISLATION AFFECTING THE FOOD SERVICE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN IN FORCE SINCE 2006
  2. The new regulations for the EU including the UK came into effect on 1st January 2006
  3. One of the biggest changes is the need for all food businesses to have a working HACCP system
  4. The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system (HACCP) MUST be based on the requirements of the Codex Alimentarius Commission of the EU/WHO
  5. Caterers who do not know about this legislation and do nothing are not complying with the law and as such are working without due diligence
  6. What should be done? Provide knowledge in the following formats:-

Priorities:

  1. Create awareness through the industry media in form of interview exchange.
  2. This will promote the RC Associates initiative as the KEY
  3. Organise the possibility for company visits to explain the legislation and offer consultancy – for a fee!
  4. Provide Seminars on a Regional basis in conjunction with Hotel groups and Industrial/Institutional Caterers.
  5. Combine the legislation with the existing company operational guidelines so that they work as a practical guide for Caterers in combination with each other.
  6. Create a simple method of HACCP introduction as a first step to comprehension and implementation by all Caterers.
  7. Establish a method of consultation for independent companies.
  8. Establish a Helpline to provide advice and guidance in relation to consultancy and/Equipment use that can complies with the legislation.

Confused?    We can help!

RC Associates – can provide you with all you need to comply.

RC Associates Ltd was started by Robert Croft in March 1984 in response to a growing need for a distinctly professional and creative consultancy service specialising in the foodservice industry. Robert Croft has established an international reputation for management and design consultancy services throughout all sectors of the foodservice and hospitality industries.

The company has grown steadily from its founding, having identified a demand for a more individual and personal consultancy service. We have developed international practice in Germany, Scandinavia, and Iceland, all of which operate under the control of RC Associates Ltd.

Our approach to individual projects, taking full responsibility for all aspects of the project, balances this personal attention with the support of a multi-disciplinary team which is assembled for that particular project, bringing together the mix of speciality skills it requires. Even when only one discipline is involved directly, the resource of a team, all of whom have practical operational and management experience, allows a broader yet deeper perspective to be gained of the client's needs and the implications.

We offer our clients on all projects, irrespective of size:

  • Professionalism: To develop a relationship of mutual respect

  • Diversity: A wide range of skills and experience available to all clients

  • Objectivity: To develop practical solutions based upon sound, objective analysis

  • Innovation: To develop creative solutions, not just as an initiator but also as a catalyst

  • Accountability: We are fully accountable for our recommendations and will assist with implementing them where called upon.

RC Associates Ltd is independent and pledges to comply with the following code of practice:

  • RC Associates will provide the Client with the very best possible service.

  • They will provide the services required in a professional manner to inspire the confidence, respect and trust of their Clients and of the public.

  • RC Associates will undertake only that work which we are competent to perform by reason of training, education, experience or association with other professionals.

  • RC Associates will safeguard confidential information and data whether supplied by a Client or prepared by client associates.

  • RC Associates will protect the good name of the Company.

  • RC Associates are paid solely from his Client by fee, salary or royalty.

  • No remuneration, monetary or otherwise, comes from suppliers or others who deal with the Client. Charges are based upon the work involved in the project and are not to be refundable or deductible from equipment, material or supply purchases.

  • RC Associates will refrain from any significant financial or other interest, or accept any contribution or gift, if these could compromise the consultants' professional judgment or prevent members from serving the best interest of their Clients.

  • RC Associates will issue no publicity with regard to the project work without full clearance from the Client.