I&J Double Crunch Prawns cut down preparation time with no compromise on quality
At BUSTLING BRIDGE ROAD’S MOUNT VIEW HOTEL in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Richmond, Head Chef Chris Weir and his team of five have their work cut out for them.
The busy sports bar is located smack in the middle of ‘sports central’ – surrounded by the iconic venues of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, AAMI Park and Rod Laver Arena.
Chris has been at the bar since 2007, and from the outset his food philosophy has focused on delivering quality pub grub that looks and tastes great but, most importantly, can be made fast.
“The quality and consistency is very important, but speed is of the essence. We get hordes of people through our doors whenever there’s a big game, event or music concert and they want to be fed in ten to fifteen minutes. They order, they eat and they’re gone within half an hour, and then we brace ourselves for the next wave.
“It can get really busy – last week we had one of the biggest football games of the year and we were inundated with people. Over the course of a couple of hours before and after the game we did over 400 covers.”
This need for speed is the reason that Chris is always on the lookout for great tasting products that will cut down on preparation time and labour without compromising on quality.
“I always like to sample and trial everything that’s new on the market whenever I can – you always want to be the first out there to find that golden product that everybody loves,” he affirms.
Chris’ latest discovery is I&J Double Crunch Salt and Pepper Prawns from Simplot Australia, which he says are a terrifically versatile menu item that tick all his boxes. Pre-coated in a tasty ‘double crunch’ crumb, they’re premium quality, taste great and are quick and simple to prepare.
“One of our reps brought them in for me to try and I was really struck by how easy they are to use,” Chris says. “In kitchens today everyone is time-poor and that makes Double Crunch Prawns the perfect choice. We don’t have time during a busy rush period to be peeling and battering prawns – we need something that we can take straight out of the freezer, put into the fryer and then plate up and send out. Otherwise the customer is waiting around and the more they order the longer the meal will take. But with I&J Double Crunch Prawns, I can have them out of the freezer and onto the plate within five minutes. They’re one of the simplest products to use, they’re high quality and they cook beautifully. The flavour and crunch is always consistent and is a big selling point – they always come out looking golden and tasting great, what more can you ask for?”
The fact that I&J Double Crunch Prawns are individually quick frozen means Chris and his team have them on hand 24/7. “We use them in a sharing salad which can be prepared very fast, which suits our customers who are in a hurry. We also serve them in prawn tacos, which takes a little more preparation but is still quick to produce. And thanks to the fact that the prawns are individually frozen, we can use as few or as many as we need – so we grab seven per salad and three per taco.”
To make the prawn tacos, Chris sources tortillas from La Tortilleria, the only authentic Mexican tortilleria in Melbourne – “they use all Australian corn, soak it overnight and grind it with a volcanic stone to give that authentic Mexican texture, and we fill the tacos with the Double Crunch prawns on a bed on cabbage slaw, corn and black beans and add chopped avocado and drizzle with sriracha – it’s a bit of a fusion dish and customers love it! There’s usually nothing that comes back on the plate – they’ll eat everything from the crunch to the tail.
“I think I&J Double Crunch Prawns are a terrific product and versatile enough to use in so many different cuisines from Mexican to Asian, in a salad or a seafood basket – the only real limit is the chef’s imagination.”
You can find more details on the I&J Double Crunch Prawns plus other fantastic seafood products from Simplot Australia by visiting www.simplotfoodservice.com.au.