Culinary Quips

Chef Barlow Interview Cont...

Vietnamese CuisineQ: What is your signature dish you prepare?
A: I don't have a signature dish, right this moment it's all about grilling/smoking with charcoal. I like to put my own twist on it though. I enjoy creating Cuban/Caribbean flavors applied to traditional style BBQ.

Q: What Chef would you most like to have a dinner/conversation with and why?
A: Auguste Escoffier who most see as the father of modern French cuisine, which is considered the basis for all other cuisine (for those of you who don't know). This was a tough one for me, there are so many amazing chefs doing great things right now, but to be able to sit and chat with him about his ideas and culinary focus would be very intriguing. And yes I know he is dead, you didn't stipulate dead or alive.

Q: What are 5 ingredients you couldn't live without and why?
A: kosher salt - seasoning
Wood - cooking flavor and heat source
Olive oil - flavor
Pork - versatility
Flour - flexibility

Q: What is your favorite type of cuisine and why?
A: Vietnamese - Their cuisine is multifaceted, combing bold flavors and variety or fresh ingredients to create the perfect balance of flavors for just about any palate.

Q: What was your favorite menu item to test and what cooking or beverage platforms did you use for the solutions?
A: Frozen Beverages on the Multiplex Blend-In-Cup. This piece of equipment has applications that most people don't even recognize. The flavor combinations are endless whether fresh or supplied product, it allows for the most creative and unconventional flavor profiles. Anything from the standard strawberry to a maple bacon smoothie. What most people don't realize is it can also make things like guacamole and gazpacho very quickly and easily with fresh ingredients.

Q: What is key to the success of building and maintaining client relationships, while assisting them in problem identification and solutions?
A: Customer intimacy is something we talk a lot about here at Manitowoc Foodservice. It's a holistic approach to being a partner, including listening, learning how to serve your customer, doing your research, and qualifying their needs. You learn to identify opportunities and are able to apply your product knowledge in order to solve a problem - big or small. Many times you even find opportunities the client didn't see, which brings a new level to the partnership.

Q: What was the most challenging project you took on for a client, and what was the outcome?
A: There is a large QSR chain that I have been working with recently who is making the transition to Convotherm Combi ovens. Adding a new piece of equipment and implementing it into QSR can create many challenges. Challenges like matching the current gold standard from the traditional convection oven, all while ensuring speed of service remains constant (if not better). Unit implementation and training on the equipment while maintaining the speed of service is another challenge we faced. We have basically created an entirely new preparation system for the chain, which inevitably created a learning curve. But with patience and persistence, the program was successful.

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