Author: PreGel

HR Corner: What’s Behind That Smile?

Written by guest blogger, Lynne Lee, human resources manager, PreGel America.  Published for Mental Health Awareness Month. 

 

Most people are familiar with clowns – comical, mime-like performers who dress up in colorful, elaborate costumes and wigs, oftentimes with a huge smile painted on their made-up faces in effort to bring other people joy. How many times have we, or someone we know, employed the “clown” mentality of smiling although something just wasn’t right? And how severe is the “something” that is not right?

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people suffer from depression—the leading cause of disability—globally, with many of this group also suffering from symptoms of anxiety. And with so many people silently suffering, why are these cases not reported more often? Stigma.

 

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist

 

Most employees are afraid to discuss their illnesses with colleagues and employers due to fear of job loss, damaged relationships, or the ability to find future employment, which is why approximately 85% of mental health conditions in the workplace are untreated. This silence lends itself to expensive results for employers, as according to Life, the blog published by www.huffpost.com, mental health conditions cost employers more than $100 billion and 217 million lost workdays each year.

 

However, as business leaders, you can help. Web resource www.mentalhealthamerica.net suggests some of following examples to consider:

  • Provide access to Employee Assistance Programs that deal with stress-related, emotional, and psychiatric pressures
  • Provide adequate mental health coverage
  • Create a comfortable environment where mental health concerns can be discussed without fear

 

The “clown” mentality in the workplace doesn’t have to be a commonality when resources are available to help make those smiles authentic.

Uncommon Herbs: Peppermint Is Out, Lemon Balm Is In

Written by guest blogger, Christiane Carter, Marketing Support Specialist, PreGel America,  just in time for spring!

 

It’s not unheard of for culinary artists to branch out and try new, adventurous ingredients when they create show-stopping recipes. Nowadays, the race to discover new herbs and their culinary uses is trending, and I’ve listed a few uncommon herbs for you to try in your next gelato recipe below.

 

Green Shiso:

Perilla Frutescens, more famously known as Green Shiso, is an herb with two other famous siblings (Red Shiso and Korean Shiso) and is indigenous to the Asian continent. Green Shiso is best known as an accompaniment to classic Japanese sashimi, as it has a sterilizing property and a flavor that pairs well with fresh fish.

It packs a subtle peppery punch similar to mint with a complex undertone of crisp apple. Try muddling a few bright green leaves with raw sugar, and sprinkle it atop your finest creamy coconut gelato to add a lively menthol kick to an otherwise overlooked classic flavor.

Pineapple Coriander Bloom Sorbetto

Lemon Balm:

Other than its zesty bite and slightly minty flavor, one of the most interesting things about lemon balm is that it’s common for beekeepers to plant them in strategic areas in their gardens close to their bee colonies in order to attract more bees and boost honey production. That’s why its genus name is Melissa Officinalis – “Melissa” is Greek for “Honey Bee”.

How fascinating… and inspiring! Try infusing the lemon balm in honey to drizzle or fold into a creamy Fior di Latte Gelato and dust it with crunchy pistachio pieces to experience the purest form of flavor. You can also add muddled leaves to your strawberry sorbet before you spin it to give the berries a more intense flavor with a refreshing after affect.

 

Violet:

Viola Odorata, otherwise known as Sweet Violets, are better known for the bejeweling qualities they provide to classic English gardens, but their floral and slightly sweet flavor is becoming popular in restaurants and pastry shops around the world. Most chefs add the flowers to spring salads paired with a drizzle of citrus-y vinaigrette, and pastry chefs like to coat them in sugar before decorating cupcakes, petit gateaux, and eclairs. Coating violet blossoms in sugar not only intensifies the flavor, but they prolong the beautiful features of the bloom.

 

PreGel Five Star Chef Pannacrema Violet Pastry Compound

 

PreGel featured this flavor at the 2018 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago paired with yogurt gelato to make a delicious duo. The pan was a swirl of fragrant sweetness and creamy tartness that was a pleasant interruption to the traditional and classic flavors that were available for the thousands of attendees that attended the trade show.

 

Elderflower:

Sambucus Nigra is the genus name of the elegant and fragrant Elderflower and is the blossom that proceeds the berries (elderberries) on the elder tree. Elderflowers have been used for centuries as a remedy for respiratory sickness and achy joints. It has also been discovered to act like insulin and lower blood sugar, which is perfect for anyone who has a problem overindulging in desserts, like me.

 

Pear and Violet Sorbetto

 

The blooms and the berries have very distinct and similar flavors. While the berries are juicy, tart, and sweet, the sprigs carry a heady Muscat grape fragrance and pairs beautifully with tart fruits like rhubarb, raspberries, and even granny smith apples. While more commonly used with pastries, you can still experiment with these bunches in your sorbetto flavors. Whip up an elderflower simple syrup that you can add to a Prosecco and Pear Sorbet.  Or you can make a refreshing sorbet by pairing it with cucumber and gin.

Boutique Style Petit Gateaux with Chef Amaury Guichon

In his return to the PreGel America 5-Star Pastry Series®, Chef Amaury Guichon, international pastry instructor, wowed chefs from all over the world with his out-of-the-box techniques and imaginative style. He demonstrated an array of boutique style petit gateaux, each inspired by day to day items such as mushrooms, coconuts, and much more.

 

The “Boutique Style Petit Gateaux” demonstration began by jumping directly into the heart of the desserts. The attendees watched closely as Chef Guichon moved quickly, making each layer to the petit gateaux, starting with the inside and working his way out. He brought individual molds for each item including 3-D printed components he custom made to bring each of his visions to life.

 

Chef Guichon talked about the importance of using everything in multiple ways from incorporating vanilla bean pods in their entirety in his old school praline, to using the underside of a silicon mold for the face of his Scaphandre.

Attendees’ eyes were opened to all the possibilities that he created as well as small tricks to ensure their products came out perfect every time. Chef Guichon demonstrated his knowledge for chocolate work by creating décor in front of the attendees and guiding them to work together to build the flower decoration for the beloved Fiona cake.

The chefs arrived from all over the United States including countries as far as Russia, Brazil, Trinidad, and Canada; representing restaurants, universities, hotels, bakeries,  and private yachts. The 3-day class finished with a large buffet of all the petit gateaux made over the duration of the three-day class.

 

The class ended with everyone toasting to a wonderful experience and indulging in all the delicious desserts that were created. Overall, the attendees learned multiple new techniques and left with a newfound pastry community to continue their growth in the industry with the knowledge they gained from Chef Guichon.

 

Student Testimonials

 

“The PreGel America class with Amaury Guichon has been an unforgettable experience that anyone within the world of pastry could learn from. From seasoned professionals to the pastry novice, everyone will walk away gaining something special.”  – Michael Santos, executive pastry chef, Anne Arundel Community College

 

“It was a very interesting and informative  masterclass. I will be glad to visit again!” – Ugleva Viktoriia, chef, Mousse Pastry Shop

 

Thank you very much for the opportunity to attend a class of such a high class chef. The organization was amazing. Looking forward to coming back for some other class.” – Vera Arbatskaya, chef, Candice NY

 

“This has been an amazing class! We’ve been taught new techniques as well as new ways to do established processes.” Christine DiGiorgio, owner, Sweet Sugars Cookies

 

“Incredible experience! Nothing but good things to say about your 5-Star program. This is my second 5-Star program and I would recommend this highly to the chefs who are looking for ongoing inspiration and learning.” – Regina Lee, owner, Gaia Kitchen

 

“Wonderful, inspirational experience! The class taught many new techniques and skills that I can’t wait to use. I would love to come back!” Hailee McDonald, chef de partie-pastry, JW Marriott – Nashville

 

“As always, great opportunity to learn from the best in the industry. The class was very interesting and we learned so much. Amaury is incredible. His attention to detail is beyond normal understanding. Thanks to PreGel products for helping to create the best experiences for our guests!” – Gregory Arrendell, pastry chef, Hyatt Regency, Trinidad

 

“This class was perfect. I learned many techniques from the chef, and the organization at PreGel was excellent.” – Jefferson Francisco, sous chef, private yacht

 

“Loved every minute of these classes. I learned so much. Also, the staff at PreGel was so kind and helpful.” Johna L. Mason, owner, Momma Johna’s Cakes & Coffee

 

“Great class! I’ve learned new techniques that I look forward to trying out.” –  Ashley F. Cutrona, pastry chef de partie, JW Marriott – Nashville

 

“This was an amazing class! Lots of techniques, lots of information, fantastic chef! All the organization was just perfect!” – Yuliya Skokava, owner, Tasty Academy

 

“Chef Guichon teaches with ease, knowledge, experience, and a considerable amount of wit. PreGel feels like home and all the staff is incredibly welcoming. The ingenuity of the various finishing techniques really inspire me to rethink both old and new ideas.” – Elizabeth Zylka, chef, private yacht

 

“Great class. A class to remember. Thank you so much to the PreGel team. You  guys do an excellent job.” – Carlos Sierra, Dolce Cafe

 

“It was a wonderful experience to attend this class. The creativity was beyond my expectations! It was something I didn’t even imagine. Thoroughly enjoyed the class.” Rosie Herbert, co-owner, Momma Johna’s Cakes & Coffee

 

 

The Trade Show Whirlwind

Written by guest blogger, Christiane Carter, Events & Marketing Specialist, PreGel America

If you get the chance to attend an industry trade show, you’ll be given countless opportunities to learn new techniques, discover new technology, and encounter new trends in your industry… but watch out. If you go unprepared, trade shows that aim to create exciting and energetic environments can also overwhelm and confuse you.

 

Once you’ve decided which trade shows you’ll attend, create a strategy of how you’ll navigate the whirlwind of activities, educational sessions, and crowded exhibition halls in order to receive the kind of enriching experience you want.

 

Before you head to the registration desk to pick up your attendee badge, here are three simple things you should do to prepare:

 

  1. Verify that your current vendors are attending and what new products or services they’ll feature. Who knows? You might cook up a new concept, or realize that a new goal is within easy reach just by continuing a tried-and-true business relationship.
  2. Research trends that you want to incorporate into your concept and create a list of items to track down at the show. When you’re there, keep it at the forefront of your mind; that way you’ll be harder to distract when irrelevant vendors try to gain your attention and time.
  3. Check the schedule of educational sessions and match it up with short or long term goals you’re hoping to achieve in your business. Most trade shows do a fabulous job of booking experts in their fields who are motivational as well as instructive.