Green Bay Chef Andy Mueller, On Covid 19 Impact on Local Restaurants

Posted on 4-02-2020

Plus, a Bonus Feature: An Easter Recipe from The Chef!

In my thirty-five plus years in the restaurant industry, there has never been an event that has impacted this industry like what we are experiencing now.

Every restaurant, bar, cafe, or any other business in the industry has been dramatically affected, with many hanging on by a thread just to survive.  

 I can’t speak for any other chef or restaurant owner, but the decisions Galley 57 has had to make were nothing short of gut wrenching.  We are allowed to serve take out food delivered curb side or to your home, and some restaurants are able to keep the wolves away, but for how long?

As a chef and Certified Professional Food Manager, my first and foremost responsibility is public safety – everything else (food flavors, presentations, decor, atmosphere, etc.,) comes after.  Every chef and owner must make decisions based on safety first, for our guests and our  employees.  If a restaurant can safely practice social distancing while serving guests curb side, take out, or delivery, more power to them.  Restaurants that have been around a long time can be better prepared to weather this storm with potentially beefier savings vs. a start-up, but that’s not always the case. 

When you factor in the liquor license aspect of an establishment, it’s a whole different story.  Places that do not serve alcohol, price their offerings based on profit from food alone.  It can make sense for curb side or delivery, as you are not relying on liquor sales to factor in the profit margins.  Places that serve dinner and rely on liquor sales, typically rely on those old fashioneds, glasses of wine, and pints of beer to help offset the higher food costs associated with fine cuts of steaks, and fresh seafood.  Bottom line – if you have a liquor license and can’t sell alcohol, it’s very difficult to make enough money to sustain the business. 

We don’t know when the tides will turn and people will get the green light to socialize again.  We know it will happen, and we are all cautiously optimistic about the future. But, in the mean time, restaurants need your help.

Those that offer curb side, please continue to support them while being safe.  For those of us that simply can’t viably sustain operations without liquor sales, you can help in other ways.  Gift cards to your favorite restaurant are always a great way to support them.  A gift card is simply providing restaurants and businesses with cash flow to help pay the bills we must pay.  It can be a great way to invest in the places you normally support in a given year of normalcy, but now, it’s a lifeline to everyone in the industry.

Your support is vital so we can be ready to open and serve you when fair winds and following seas once again paint the horizon of the restaurant industry.

I can’t wait to cook for you again soon – Stay safe, and we all appreciate your support!

~ Chef Andy
Galley 57

p.s. Here’s a little something for your “Stay Home” Easter Celebrations —

Hakuna Frittata – No Worries about Easter Brunch

Borrowing from The Lion King’s “Hakuna Matata”, which loosely translates to “no worries,” or at least no need to worry about what’s out of your control, I hope this recipe reminds you not to worry about what’s beyond your control.

You can, however, control what you eat.  This recipe is a “no worries” frittata that can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and can take on whatever you have in the fridge that needs to be taken care of.

 A frittata is basically a cross between a crustless quiche and an open faced omelet.  It starts on the stove top and is finished in the oven but its creation can be like a canvas to an artist – limited only by the imagination of the painter.

The key to a good frittata is regulating the heat both on the stove and in the oven.  If the heat is too high on the burner, your bottom will be scorched.  If the heat is too low, you’ll have a soupy finished product best served in a circular file.

 I’ve had luck making it in a well seasoned cast iron pan, but I can’t assume everyone has a perfectly seasoned cast iron laying around.  In this case a good nonstick skillet will work just fine.  Keep the heat at medium to medium high and make sure you have a dry towel or hot pad to remove the pan from under the broiler. 

Get creative with this recipe and remember – no worries, especially about this easy dish.

Hakuna Frittata –

Turn your oven to broil at the highest setting – rack should be at the second highest position from the heat. Heat a medium sized nonstick skillet over medium to medium high heat – when pan is hot add:

1 Tblsp. butter
1 Tblsp. canola oil

When the butter is bubbling add:

1 cup diced cooked potatoes
pinch salt and pepper
1/2 cup diced onions
1 cup diced cooked bacon, ham or sausage

Stir ingredients gently until onions start to soften.  In a mixing bowl add:

6 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream

Whisk to blend thoroughly.  Add the egg mixture to the pan.  Move the pan back and forth gently to make sure the egg mixture is evenly distributed.  Top the mixture with grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese then carefully place the pan on the top rack of the oven under the heat with the oven door slightly open.

Pay close attention as the broiler will cook the frittata fairly quickly. 

As soon as the cheese is melted to a light golden brown, turn off the oven and close the door to finish cooking – about 3 to 5 minutes longer.  Using a dry towel or hot pad, carefully remove the pan from the oven and slide the frittata out onto a large plate (may need some coaxing with a rubber spatula) – top it with diced green onions, sour cream,  fresh salsa and chopped fresh cilantro – slice like a pie and serve – No Worries!

Stay safe and God Bless!