December 4, 2012 | 7:32am
Sysco. The name is reviled by many in the culinary industry. It conjures images of frozen chicken tenders, packaged salad dressings, and soggy potato skins. Not exactly the finer points of going out to eat. While you may think you know a Sysco product on sight, you might be surprised.
Clean Plate Charlie caught up with one of our local Sysco delivery guys to find out the dirt about the real ingredients that make up your local restaurant's dishes. More after the jump.
Homemade Soup: Not So Much
Are you absolutely in love with your local Irish pub's potato soup? What about your favorite casual seafood place's lobster bisque? Have you had a craving for your New England restaurant's fresh clam chowder? Guess what? Good chance it's from Sysco! Loster bisque, chicken noodle.. It may even have come from a bag! And that clam chowder. Did you really think you would find the authentic stuff down here? But the Sysco version? Even though you're a food snob, some of these soup bases really aren't that bad, though we know you hate to admit it!
Freshly Made Salad Dressing: Nice Try
Does your favorite seared tuna salad have a refreshing cucumber wasabi dressing? Nice and fresh, with a little bit of that wasabi bite? Yeah, about that. Known to Sysco as Kusabi, it is actually part of the Sysco line of products--no other companies can make it--and it's one of the company's most popular products. What about that deliciously thick, eggy caesar salad. The verdict could be out on this one, but let's be honest, caesar dressing is no walk in the park. If you're not in a high-end restaurant and you're loving your caesar, there's a good chance it's the Sysco special caesar dressing with egg. If you're not at a chef-driven restaurant, and you want the real thing, you better make it yourself.
Authentic Bimini Bread: We Don't Think So
That pillowy sweet bread, referred to as Bimini bread, is available not just in Bimini but all over the Bahamas. Despite its authentic-sounding name, the 'Bimini bread' you're picking up at your local barbecue joint or small seafood shack is not as homemade as you thought. It's most likely made from Sysco frozen bread dough. However, you, are most likely not Bahamian and until we told the Sysco secret, you didn't even know there was a difference, did you? Don't worry, we won't judge you if you continue to eat up.
Beautifully Prepared Pastries: Seriously?
In France, pastry chefs are almost held in higher esteem than Julia Child herself. It takes years of training to make those perfect little desserts with their intricate designs, beautiful tuile, chocolate lace, and shiny sugar candy garnish. If you order a dessert and it comes out looking like an amazingly fancy individual delicacy, and you're not at Cafe Boulud, chances are... Sysco.