In memory of Chef Steve Bergman. His first post for RSA 17 years ago.

Posted on May 13th, 2022

Culinary Corner
By Steve Bergman CEC
First published October 2005 by Ruck-Shockey Associates, Inc. (RSA)


Welcome to Culinary Corner. As a chef, I always try to use the freshest seasonal ingredients at my disposal. Using quality ingredients, prepared with proper techniques, and combined sensibly in a recipe always results in excellent food.


Autumn is…a chill in the air, a new school year, shades of brown, orange, gold…sweaters. The world seems to be awakening from the doldrums of summer. Here is a hearty breakfast treat on a cool fall morning. Your customers will be coming back for more:


Granola-crusted French Toast (serves 20)


5 cups whole eggs

2½ cups whole milk

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk together until well blended.
40 ½-inch thick slices of bread (Texas toast or Challah) Soak bread in egg wash until absorbed, turning once.
8 cups crunchy granola, slightly crumbled (no large lumps) Coat both sides of bread with granola. Place on sheet pans until ready to griddle. Separate layers with parchment.
Clarified butter (for griddling) Griddle on medium heat, turning once until both sides are golden brown.
Pure maple syrup (condiment) Serve with pure maple syrup.


Of course, pure maple syrup is somewhat of a luxury, especially to those of us watching our food cost – and who is not? As a culinarian, however, I present it as the ingredient of choice. This dish will do fine with commercial pancake syrup. For your “special” functions…administrators, doctors, professors, board of directors…impress them with the best. This segues perfectly into my informational segment…about Pure Maple Syrup:


Did you know?

It requires 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup. A maple tree is not large enough to tap until it is 40 years of age. It takes 4-5 taps to produce enough sap (40 gallons) for a gallon of syrup. Maple sap forms only when the spring thaw begins to turn the starches in the trees into sugars through a natural enzymatic process. The sap flows only when weather conditions provide freezing nights and warmer days. The sap is then collected and transported to the sugarhouse, where it is transformed into maple syrup. Fancy (light amber) maple syrup is wonderful, especially when adding a subtle flavor to soups, sauces, salad dressings, etc., but the medium amber syrup is more readily available, and it is what I recommend for commercial operators.


Try this amazing homemade Bacon Ranch salad dressing with a baby spinach salad:


Buttermilk and Applewood-smoked Bacon Dressing


12 thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, sliced crosswise 1/4″ Cook bacon over medium heat in a frying pan until crisp. Drain and pat with paper towels. Cool and reserve.
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons scallion tops, diag. sliced 1/8″
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 dashes Tabasco
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. You can then mix in the diced bacon or, as I do, dress the salads and then sprinkle the bacon on top as a garnish.


Steve Bergman CEC was a nationally recognized expert in culinary arts, culinary training, HACCP and food safety, and large food production systems including conventional and cook-chill systems. He was the founder and principal of CEC Culinary Consulting. Chef Bergman contributed to and was a professional affiliate of RSA for over 17 years.  We are sad to lose Chef Bergman so quickly and wanted to pay tribute to his work, his partnership, and his passion for all things service, culinary, and people.  Thank you, Chef, we will miss you.  Georgie Shockey, Carolyn Ruck, and the entire RSA family.