Foodservice > Chef's Table
You could say that Chef Dolores Montecino was raised in foodservice. A San Francisco Bay Area native and daughter of a chef, she started with Guckenheimer Enterprises, a contract-management firm with 3600 employees in 19 states, right out of high school. After an 8-year stint with Guckenheimer's cafeteria at Charles Schwab in San Francisco, Chef Montecino returned to her roots at the Levi's Plaza Café, where she manages a staff of 19.
The Levi's Plaza Café serves 1500 customers a day and about 500 entrees, to employees of Levi-Strauss and Williams-Sonoma. It's a young, hip, food-savvy crowd, who expect a lot of variety and are open to many ethnic cuisines. Chef Montecino finds Kikkoman is helpful in more than just Asian dishes. Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a part of her beef stew, for instance, as a way to add salt with added depth and color. Her kitchen uses about 6 gallons of Kikkoman Soy Sauce a week, in marinades, stir-fries, soups, stews and dressings. Her balsamic-feta-soy dressing, for example, is a mainstay at the salad bar. In it, she uses Kikkoman Soy Sauce to tame and cut the acidity of the balsamic vinegar. In most cases, Kikkoman is the "secret ingredient" that boosts flavor without overpowering the dish. On the floor, however, it's no secret: "Our customers respond to having brand-name products out on the condiment counters. Kikkoman has a label that's known and trusted as a quality product," Chef Montecino notes.
A quick look around Chef Montecino's kitchen reveals other Kikkoman products as well, notably Tempura and Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce. Chef Montecino reports, "Although we try to make everything from scratch, Kikkoman's Teriyaki comes in handy for the fast pace of the grill station. When used as an overnight marinade, it saves labor, and gives good flavor penetration and coloring even with a quick cooking time."