Describe your establishments...
How does turkey fit in with the scheme of your operations?
Our restaurants vary in food and concept, but the one thing they share is SOUL and PASSION.
ESTATE is housed in a historic property close to the Sonoma square. The food is rustic Italian with a twist of Sonoma. We use product from our property as well as from the local farms around us. We handcraft many of our pastas and salumi, and we bake our pizzas in our wood fired oven.
the girl & the fig opened in 1997, I describe the restaurant as “country food with a French passion.” The food is a combination of local product with some French techniques and ingredients, which make it very much like a bistro.
the fig café & winebar is similar to the girl & the fig, but scaled back. It is a neighborhood hot spot with no reservations and no wine corkage.
We like the versatility of turkey. There are so many ways we can go with it and because of the flexibility of our menu regarding seasonality and specials, it is easy to incorporate turkey in our dishes.
How do you currently menu turkey?
Currently ESTATE offers bucatini pasta with sweet turkey sausage, garlic, broccoli rabe and red pepper flakes. We also use the sweet turkey sausage on our pizzas with fontina cheese, olive oil and spinach. We have done a handful of variations on this. We also serve traditional turkey on Thanksgiving weekend at the girl & the fig and we did a turkey roulade for Thanksgiving at ESTATE this year. Our most popular option on our Box Lunch menu in our catering department is our turkey sandwich with apricot fig chutney. the girl & the fig has a daily omelet that occasionally features turkey sausage as well.
What are the compelling points that make turkey adaptable for lunch and dinner dishes?
the girl & the fig runs the same menu all day and night. There is something for everybody at any time. Currently ESTATE is only open at dinner. Pricing on turkey is reasonable. It works great for a lunch item and can be easily dressed up for a more elegant dinner option. Turkey is also very compatible with many other flavors. It is a protein that will go with almost anything. I also love that turkey will pair nicely with both white and red wines. Not many proteins have that advantage.
Why do you think your patrons order these turkey items?
Our guests trust us, so they will order just about anything we put on our menu. Turkey is associated with fond memories for most people. Turkey can sometimes act as a bridge for a dish that is a bit complicated or exotic with unusual ingredients. I think people find turkey as a safe choice, one with which they have history.
From a business perspective, why do you include turkey on your menus (food cost, versatility, consumer demand, etc)?
Turkey is a great option for a menu item because of its reasonable food cost; you can serve a large portion of turkey for the same price as a small amount of rabbit. Eighty-five percent of the guests will go for the familiarity as well as the portion size.
When thinking about other proteins you serve why did you choose turkey for this menu item as opposed to chicken, beef or pork?
We have made sausage using many different proteins as we also hand craft most of our charcuterie and salumi. Turkey works well with the other flavors in the recipe. It does not necessarily take over but works nicely as a team with the other ingredients. Because turkey is much leaner than pork or lamb, we adjust the recipe accordingly to keep the sausage moist.
the girl and the fig boasts “country food with a French passion” and ESTATE is focused on regional Italian cooking. How do these types of menus allow you to cook innovatively with turkey?
We are lucky to have a local turkey source that fits in to all of our restaurant philosophies of using as much local, organic product that we can, when it is in our budget. Turkey has been around for a long time and our guests are comfortable with the protein no matter how we use it.
With the current push in the industry for healthy menu options, how does turkey help you meet this growing consumer demand?
Honestly, we don’t think about the healthy options very often in our menu planning. I firmly believe that everyone needs balance and it is okay to indulge once in a while. I do know that people see turkey as a viable healthy food item so that is just an added bonus to our guests.
How do you use the Web as a tool in your work?
The Web serves me on a daily basis for so many things, I really don’t know what I would do without it. I read a lot of Wednesday’s food sections, recipe sites, restaurant business sites, restaurant reviews and blogs. I probably spend at least two hours a day on the Web.
Do you use the NTF Web site, EatTurkey.com, as a resource?
Not yet, but now that I know it is there I certainly will.
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