FEJ AWARDS PARTNER INTERVIEW: Carpigiani helps chefs master the art of gelato

Carpigiani

Ice cream and gelato equipment manufacturer Carpigiani has made an unprecedented investment in facilities to help chefs learn specialist techniques that allow them to enhance their menus in the most creative way. Scott Duncan, sales director at Carpigiani, reveals the secret to sweet success.

The clear message from Carpigiani in recent years is that, with the right equipment, ice cream and gelato-based desserts can enhance a menu and deliver strong profit margins. Is there evidence to suggest the message is sinking in?

The increase in the diversity of flavour and texture within dessert menus is very clear to us at Carpigiani – the trend for outstanding menus with exciting concepts, such as multi-sensory ‘Petits Fours’ or miniature ‘Café Gourmand’ creations, is showing that customers are willing to pay more for premium desserts. 

Carpigiani equipment is an integral part of the state-of-the-art professional kitchen at Claire Clark’s new Patisserie Academy in Milton Keynes– students go there to learn how to create contemporary patisserie of the high quality expected of an a la carte menu, including the art of making sorbet and gelato an integral freshly-made ingredient of desserts rather than a bought-in secondary ingredient.

You run an education programme that teaches foodservice professionals how to produce artisan gelato from their kitchens. What kind of companies or chefs have been embracing it so far?

Restaurant and hotel groups and operators seem to have been the most frequent sector to have grasped this opportunity to date. Pastry chefs are the obvious target audience and businesses seem to be reinvesting in pastry teams to develop and improve their dessert/sweet offer. Although chefs made have learned the basics at catering college, having the opportunity to learn about the science of gelato and how gelato works with things like alcohol and infusions seems to be really eye-opening for them.

You now have a specialist Development Centre in London. What can you tell operators about this facility?

Our new state-of-the-art Development Centre in Park Royal, London is hub for our gelato retail courses and our ‘Gelato University – Foodservice Professionals’ programmes – our series of dedicated courses and qualifications teaching the art of gelato to professional chefs from across the world.

Our new London Development Centre was a key investment for us, and a response to our customers’ increasing requests for help with menu development, product innovations and recipe formulation. Michele Stanco, our Training & Development Chef, has years of industry expertise and a great deal of passion for gelato – he uses our centre to teach small groups of professional chefs about key dessert skills. The centre’s facilities and well-equipped kitchen allow Michele to offer theoretical and practical training – modules this year include Gelato with Infusions & Alcohol, Working with Chocolate, Gelato Pastry (combining gelato and traditional pastry), and Gelato on a Plate (multi-textured dessert creation).

You recently introduced your smallest ever soft serve machine. Do you expect that to open doors for operators who never thought frozen desserts were possible?

The new Carpigiani 161 is a game changer – we’ve already had interest from companies that haven’t traditionally had room for any form of frozen dessert equipment.

We are already talking to a number of coffee shop and convenience store chains who recognise the potential profits that can be made from our smallest ever soft serve machine, and they are amazed at the prospect of extending their menus with soft serve ice cream, frozen yoghurt and fresh shakes.

What’s key is that the 161 is just 300mm wide, can be positioned directly next to other appliances and only requires a 13amp connection. It’s also self-pasteurising, which is an incredible innovation for such a compact machine, and ensures it’s efficient and easy to use and maintain.

More operators are dedicating significant parts of their menus to offering innovative homemade desserts using the finest ingredients”

Carpigiani is now the exclusive distributor of IFI display equipment in the UK. How well does that dovetail with your core business?

Our exclusive distribution agreement with IFI felt very much like a natural development for us as a business, as we have worked closely with IFI for a number of years, supplying the very latest display solutions to countless retail and foodservice sites around the UK. IFI’s enduring heritage, and commitment to embracing the latest and best developments in complete countering systems, ties in perfectly with our company’s ethos.

IFI is widely seen as the go to manufacturer of choice for operators across the industry, so we see our new agreement with IFI as the best way for us to add further value and support to our existing and new customers by offering the very best in forward thinking shop-fit, display and design solutions.

Carpigiani’s relationship with IFI is particularly important within the gelato shop and retail sectors as there is no point buying the best production equipment and making amazing product to be let down with a poor display or storage solution. The display case can be your shop window!

When people think of menu innovation, they don’t always automatically think of desserts. But the opportunity to innovate here is actually huge. Do you think chain-based operators are beginning to spend more time on this area of their menu?

Europeans on the continent have been enjoying freshly made sweet treats as part of their daily lives for many years, and in the UK we are beginning to see this influence as more and more operators dedicate significant parts of their menus to offering innovative homemade desserts using the finest ingredients.

There are now many social-media savvy diners who understand the skill involved in creating the best multi-textured on-trend desserts, and won’t be fooled by clever theming or plating techniques alone. Operators are beginning to recognise that the creation of unforgettable desserts requires precise timings, perfect temperatures and pristine ingredient consistency but the potential profits are substantial.

Carpigiani is renowned for innovating in the ice cream and gelato machine space. What’s next in the product pipeline?

The new Carpigiani Freeze&Go model is our latest innovation – it’s just 500mm high but can create five servings of quality gelato or sorbet in just five minutes. This means that professional kitchens can add artisan gelato to their menus with a countertop model that doesn’t use up valuable kitchen space.

Carpigiani is sponsoring the Operator of the Year for Menu Development category at the 2018 FEJ Awards. For more details visit www.carpigiani.co.uk or follow @CarpigianiUK

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