Convenience foods play an increasingly prominent role in the food service industry. Their use has become so important that no student of professional cooking can afford to be without knowledge of them.

A convenience food may be defined as any product that has been partially or completely prepared or processed by a manufacturer. In other words,when you buy a convenience product,you are having the manufacturer do some or all of your preparation for you.

Of course,you must pay for this service,as reflected in the price of the productAl-though buying the convenience product will likely cost you more than buying the raw materials, you save in increased kitchen efficiency. As you remember from Chapter 5, labor costs as well as food costs must be figured into your menu prices.

Processed foods for restaurants and institutions range from partially prepared items that can be used as components in your recipes, such as frozen fish fillets, peeled potatoes, concentrated stock bases, and frozen puff pastry dough, to fully prepared items that need only be reconstituted or served as is, such as frozen prepared entrées and frozen pies and pastries. Some items, like frozen French fries, have wide acceptance, while other more fully prepared foods continue to be resisted by both customer and operator.

Continue reading here: Guidelines for Handling Convenience Foods

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