Center of the Plate Blog

Industry Musings

Archive for July, 2009


Wholesale Food Distributor Has Many Experts

For those of you who don’t know, I’m the PR guy at AGAR. I’m not an expert and I don’t claim to be an expert. While I did spend 16 years in the restaurant business doing everything from washing dishes to owning my own small restaurant near Boston, I don’t possess the expertise that many here at AGAR have. It’s not me that keeps customers loyal to AGAR; it’s the incredible talent that lies between these walls here. AGAR has some of the best in the industry when it comes to being a wholesale food distributor. From the buyers that ultimately keep the costs low to the independent restaurant operator to the other people that add value to a partnership with AGAR.

You have to realize that it’s not just about that truck that pulls up with all your food and other supplies in it. It’s about the true value of doing business with AGAR. From the team that watches the commodities markets, and there are many as you might imagine. This team watches everything from all the proteins customers buy, meat, poultry, fish etc…

Then there’s Chef Merry who also Blogs here. If you’re a customer of AGAR, you can book time with Chef Merry in the Test Kitchen and have him go through just about every detail of your menu and offer suggestions for not only building more traffic to your restaurant but how to increase your overall profitability, something that’s on the minds of many operators.

There are the seafood experts in the building. They have very stringent specifications on what they will put the AGAR and the Nautifish name on. They monitor temperature, quality, and consistency and if anything falls below their level of acceptance, they send it back.

So, if you’re wondering who I was, that’s me, a PR guy who loves to tell the story of AGAR and it’s experts.

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Nautifish Pulls out the Checkbook

Well we hit a milestone this past week as Nautifish pulled out the checkbook. As we have made commitment to Massachusetts- based Ocean Alliance and their mission, a check for $1608.01 was presented to Jeffrey Kunz, of Ocean Alliance on July 16, 2009.  This is the first quarterly check that will be provided to Ocean Alliance as part of the proceeds from the sale of the Nautifish line of seafood. 

For every pound of Nautifish sold, we will donate money to this fine organization. The sustainability issues that Ocean Alliance is focused on are a big part of the overall brand of Nautifish and many customers already are embracing the brand and it’s second mission. More about the brand can be found on our YouTube site at;

Currently Ocean Alliance is renovating the Paint Factory in Gloucester, partially funded by grants for clean up from the EPA as well as private funding and other grants.  A capital campaign is underway and their operation will function out of this factory when it is complete.  You can find out more about this great organization on their website. As a wholesale food distributor near Boston, we have made a commitment both here in Massachusetts and with Ocean Alliance who is well-known across the country for their great work.

As you can see from the photo, Nautifish was on hand for the ceremony as was Gary Lanoue our seafood category manager. Mr. Kunz came down to take a brief tour of the facility and spend some time with Nautifish.

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Summer Salad Ideas

OK, I know it rained for a month and maybe no one was interested in salads, but now, I think the sun has come out and we are on track to have a pretty good, and I might say, temperature-appropriate summer. What better way to enjoy the summer and get those customers coming back to your place than with a great new salad idea. Here’s the first one; I call it Asian Steak and Noodle Salad; A hit with salad enthusiasts and the steak lover. It weaves many tastes that complement each other to truly make this a hit with anyone looking for a new twist on salad and protein. As a Boston wholesale food distributor, we talk to many customers who want a few extra seasonal ideas to help them put more people in the seats. This one is sure to do just that.

Ingredients                                               Amount


Asian Fish Sauce                                          1/4 cup

Chopped Fresh Ginger                                  2 Tbl

Chopped Garlic                                             2 cloves

Soy Sauce                                                        2 Tbl

Sugar                                                              2 Tbl

Black Canyon Angus Choice Flapmeat        6 oz

Salad Dressing                                         

Fresh Lime Juice                                         1/2 cup

Water                                                            6 Tbl

Sugar                                                            6 Tbl

Asian Fish Sauce                                         6 Tbl

Shallots                                                         2 each

Red Pepper Flakes                                      1 1/2 tsp

Rice Stick Noodles, cooked                       1/2 cup

Granny Smith apples                                   1/2

Salad Mix                                                      1/2 cup

Fresh Mint Leaves / ripped up                   1/8 cup

Preparation Instructions:

·         Marinade: Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl until sugar dissolves.

·         Place steak in shallow dish and cover with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, turning steak 2-3 times.

·         Dressing: Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl until sugar dissolves.

·         Assembly:  Place noodles on plate. (toss in 1/4 cup of dressing, first).  Take greens, apples and mint place in bowl and toss with reaming dressing. Place onto of noodles.  Take cooked steak, slice across the  grain and layer on top on greens

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Recent Restaurant Trends, Take Out:

At a wholesale food distributor like AGAR, we see a lot of trends. We serve thousands of independent restaurants, retail establishments and other food service providers so we have a pretty good pulse on what’s happening in the food business when it comes to trends. It was no surprise to us that a recent article on food trends cited that more sit-down restaurants are seeing a big increase in the amount of takeout orders.  As our main customer is that small independent restaurant or pizza shop which happens to be AGAR’s specialty, we have always seen the take out business be a big part of our customer’s business.

Many of us associate takeout food with pizza, Chinese food and other sub-type shops but more and more people in this economy are taking home an upper scale meal to have at their home. AGAR has been advising customers for some time to stock up on items such as take out plates and others things to help them boost their takeout business. In fact, many restaurants are actively marketing more takeout and delivery to keep profits coming in. You can read the full article published by Reuters here.

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