IF EARLY indicators prove correct, the 1980s may well be unprededented years of change for American restaurants and their customers. Already emerging is a radical departure from familiar convenience foods, chemical additives and expensive imports. Gaining popularity are more creative uses of fresh and natural ingredients, less costly domestic products (such as our versions of French cheeses and wines) and homemade menu items.
The food service industry will be implementing plentiful, but as yet not well-marketed new food resources -- shark and skate, for example (both delicious fish!) -- and we'll become accustomed to eating more entrees at room temperature as eating places show greater concern about kitchen energy conservation. Continued emphasis will be placed on lighter food preparations and casual service. We'll be seeing a widespread emphasis on such basics as wholesome food, good service and fair value, according to food service industry forecasters.
In the vanguard of those causing this encouraging forecast is the business-oriented faculty at Florida International University's School of Hospitality Management in Miami, a progressive training ground for tomorrow's management in the hotel-food-travel industry. This fledgling 8-year-old management school already has gained a fine international reputation. Students from around the world are attracted to it because of its prestigious faculty, strong industry orientation, small student-professor ratio, excellentintern work opportunities and a curriculum emphasizing food handling in the classic European tradition. "Ten years ago Europe was way ahead of us; now the opposite is true," says assistant professor Peter Claudio, Martini, an Australian of Italian heritage.
The hospitality school here has taken wings much like the planes that used to rise above the old Tamiami Airport, site of today's FIU campus.
"Before the university opened, I was operating out of a trailer on the runway for 1 1/2 years," remembers Dean Gerald W. Lattin, the man principally credited with founding educational character of this institution.
A 23-year veteran of Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., Lattin left as assistant dean of the School of Hotel Administration to start this school in a resort area. He insists his faculty has the usual academic credentials plus executive industry experience, and encourges professors to travel and keep their hands on industry's pulse.
"One day in fall 1972, we were sitting here and there were no students. The next day, 5,000-plus students started -- the biggest single entering class in the history of American education!"
Enrollment is more than double that now, with 650 students in the hospitality school alone. A bonus for enrollees in this upper-level and instructors -- a United Nations microcosm of sorts. There's no on-campus housing. Most students work. Because they've completed their first half of college elsewhere, they can concentrate on career education.
Over in the modern FIU lab, Peter Martini is taking an espresso break between classes and commenting: "In the '80s, diners will be making more intelligent decisions. Inflation may encourage them to eat out less frequently, but they will be far more selective. Convenience foods have lost their luster. The trend is definitely toward honest, creative food." He glances at the curried shrimp-pineapple salad and stuffed provencale bread just completed in one of his classes. "Ordinary meat and potatoes can be cooked at home," he adds. "The medium-priced steak-and-potato places are struggling already. They may have to diversify."
Martini's British colleague, assistant professor John Kevin Robeson, reasons that because of this inflationary problem, "it's becoming increasingly crucial that restaurateurs pay specific attention to time and energy" -- all concerns being transmitted to the pupils.
Continuing on the cost-trimming them, Robson explains: "Our students go out in teams to evaluate restaurants. One area they examine is where skilled people commanding high salaries are doing jobs of casual labor. Another is food preparation and cooking, which will need rethinking according to energy consumption.
"In the '83s, we'll also see far more dishes served at room temperture to conserve cooling fuel -- perhaps more cold items and more raw, especially in vegetables and fruits. People are frightened of chemicals, they're looking toward fresh. There's great emphasis on natural foods -- more whole grains and produce."
John C. Hofer, an industry consultant, believes that fast food operators must give consumers something they can't buy in the store and find difficult to prepare. As he sees it, one trend building momentum will be take-home service from more expensive restaurants.
"You have to lick one industry's main problems," Martini said, managers not understanding the kitchen. Here we train potential management to appreciate culinary skills, not necessarily to master them. We don't train chefs.But at least our graduates can determine whether a chef can cook."
Students here get plenty of opportunity for practical experience. In the volume feeding course, they plan, prepare and serve weekly showcase luncheons to about 40 paying members of the university community. Here, they exhibit their best talents and disverse cultural backgrounds.
Jim Beley from New York is a 27-year-old third-quarter junior in Hotel Management who selected FIU over his home state Cornell's highly regarded hotel training program. "Being in this resort area gives me greater opportunities to work while attending school. I can't afford Cornell or training in Europe. But I don't consider this second-rate -- it's tops!"
The following recipes are form FIU's food lab. The handsome provencale appetizer was made at FIU with country bread carved by Ken Robson. The loaf is also attractive without carving. Select a Coberg-style round loaf, preferably hearth-baked with a strong crust to maintain shape. Use crumbs from enter for other use. Oysters (fresh or canned, drained) or scallops might be substituted for part or all of the shrimp and/or escargots. Appetizer may be served with or without bread, which gets crusty after baking. aIf served, cut into wedges. BREAD LOAF WITH SNAILS AND SHRIMPS PROVENCALE 2 tablespoons butter 4 medium shallots, finely chopped 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped 4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1 1/2-pounds (12-inch diameter) round, country-style hearth-baked bread 1 1/2 pounds (about 24) large shrimp, shelled, deveined 24 escargots or 2 (7 1/2 ounce) cans super giant escargots, drained. 1 tablespoon dry white wine 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley Lemon wedges
Melt butter in small skillet. Saute shallots and garlic. Add tomatoes and thyme; simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut a lid from bread; remove center crumbs. Arrange raw shrimp in hollowed loaf; place snails (escargots) over shrimp. Sprinkle with wine, cover with tomato sauce; sprinkle with parsley. Replace lid. Bake on baking sheet or directly on oven rack in preheated 300-degree oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until filling is hot, and shrimp are cooked.To serve, remove lid, mix filling lightly; serve 3 snails and 3 shrimp per person with lemon wedges. Or cut bread into 8 wedges.
About 24 whole oysters, drained, may be substituted for shrimp or escargots; scallops also may be substituted.
Although strawberries and orange segments were used in the original salad, fresh peach or nectarine slices, melon chunks and grapes might be substituted in attractive color combinations. CURRIED SHRIMP-PINEAPPLE SALAD (6 servings) 1 large pineapple with leaves, quartered lengthwise 12 large (about six ounces) cooked peeled, deveined shrimp, chilled 1 orange, pelled, segmented 6 fresh strawberries, halved 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mayonnaise 1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste 2 tablespoons pineapple juice 2 tablespoons mango chutney, (chopped if large chunks) 1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy is best)
With pineapple knife or curved serrated knife, remove core from each pineapple quarter. Cut fruit away fromouter rind in one piece. Cut each wedge into several crosswise slices. Arrange 3 cold shrimp, 2 orange segments and berry half on each section. Hold with frilled picks if necessary. Mix remaining ingredients well. Chill at least 1 hour for flavors to blend. Garnish with remaining strawberry halves. Serve as dressing or as dip. Makes 1 1/4 cup dressing.
Note: This salad serves 4 as first course or light luncheon, or 6 if served over lettuce.
The Florida Torte is made of a genoise, layered with pastry cream, coated with apricot coating and slivered almonds, topped with fresh summer fruits and glazed. The several hours of preparation for a special occasion is well worth it. FLORIDA TORTE (12 servings) Genoise cake (recipe follows) Fruit glaze (recipe follows) Pastry cream (recipe follows) Coating (recipe follows) Toasted Slivered Almonds Fresh fruits: peach or pineapple slices (thin); blueberries, raspberries or strawberry halves; banana slices; halved grapes (seedless) Whipped cream (garnish)
While cake is cooling, prepare fruit glaze; refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white.
Prepare Pastry Cream. Cut cooled cake into three horizontal layers; brush off excess crumbs. Arrange bottom layer, cut-side up, on platter; spread with half the hot pastry cream; top with middle layer, spread with remaining half pastry cream; add top layer.
Refrigerate, covered with waxed paper and a smooth, level light weight (cake pan filled with beans or rice) to firm layers. When cold, in about 3 hours, coat top and side evenly with coating. Garnish side liberally with toasted slivered almonds. Decorate top with fruits arranged in colorful pattern. Immediately, brush about half fruit glaze over fruits. Refrigerate until set; reglaze with remaining glaze. Just before serving, decorate top border with whipped cream piped through pastry bag. Genoise (Vanilla Sponge) 1 cup (4 ounces) unsifted cake flour 1/3 teaspoon baking powder (optional) 4 large eggs 2/4 cup (4 ounces) fine granulated sugar
Mix flour and baking powder; sift onto waxed paper. Place eggs and sugar into large mixer bowl; warm in bain-marie to raise temperature to about 100 degrees (lukewarm). Beat to a thick, creamy light-colored sponge on high speed of mixer, about 6 to 8 minutes. Gently fold in flour with whisk, lifting through egg mixture.Pour into prepared 9-inch layer cake pan, which has been greased, bottom lined with greased parchment paper and entire inside dusted with flour. Bake in preheated, 375-degree over 20 to 30 minutes, until cake springs back when center is pressed gently with finger. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; loosen edges and turn out, right-side-up, on wire rack, cool. Fruit Glaze 1/4 envelope unflavored gelatin 1/4 cup low-acid fruit juice (peach, apricot)
Dissolve gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water. Bring juice to boil in small saucepan; stir in gelatin. Chill until thick as unbeaten egg white. Pastry Cream 1 pint (2 cups) half and half 2 large eggs 3/4 cup (4 ounces) sugar 1/2 cup (2 ounces) all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier (about)
Bring half and half just to the boil. Meanwhile, beat eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until light-colored and creamy textured, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add hot cream gradually; mix thoroughly. Clean pan; return mixture to it. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until mixture thickens and is of spreading consistency, or until drops in sheets from whisk. Add orange liqueur; stil well. Coating 1 (8 ounce) jar apricot jelly 3 tablespoons sugar 1/4 cup water 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix all ingredients except lemon juice together in small saucepan; bring to boil; simmer 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until thickened. Test by placing a few drops on waxed paper; if coating sets to rubbery consistency, it's ready. Cool; sitr in lemon juice.