Maple Leaf Foodservice

A new spin on the old sandwich

Behold the catered sandwich tray. If you’ve ever been to an average weekday lunch ‘n’ learn or board meeting, you know that tray quite well. It houses some soft bread, a few pieces of meat or cheese, and if you’re lucky, some mayonnaise and a carrot stick.

In their respective roles as Nutrition Manager and Assistant Catering Manager for the three University Health Network (UHN) sites, Laura Boos and Miriam Lipton knew it was time to shake things up a bit and quash sandwich boredom, especially for people who order often. They wanted to offer their clients a variety of modern, upscale sandwiches at an affordable price.

Enter Maple Leaf’s Think Food Innovation Centre. Armed with the UHN wish list, Chef Tom Penna was able to create an array of tasty, unique but recognizable sandwich offerings to spice up the catering menu and add enthusiasm back to the lunchtime meal.

The wish list? Boos and Lipton wanted to extinguish menu fatigue with fun, new sandwich offerings, but stay within budget. They also wanted to make use of on-hand items and products from existing vendors so there would be no issues sourcing new ingredients. To help with this, Leslie Perry, their Sysco Account Executive, was also in attendance at the Think Food event.

In the end, Maple Leaf created six new sandwiches that exceeded UHN’s expectations. The combinations include:

  • Focaccia with Italian sliced meats, sundried tomato pesto, provolone and grilled vegetables
  • Ciabatta with smoked turkey, pears, sprouts and honey mustard
  • Tortilla wrap with multigrain chicken fingers, roasted red pepper pesto, lettuce, corn and tomatoes
  • Panini with chicken, goat cheese, rice, pesto, chopped spinach and grilled red peppers
  • Marble rye with Montreal-Style corned beef, onion strings, Dijon mustard and coleslaw
  • Focaccia with roast beef, Swiss cheese, grilled vegetables and wasabi aioli

All of the sandwiches have tested well, with both the corned beef offering and turkey-pear combination taking top honours from clients. Vegetarian sandwiches will also be created using some of the grilled vegetable and cheese ingredients listed above.

Boos and Lipton were very impressed with the VIP service and attentiveness from the Maple Leaf staff: “They were terrific in terms of how well they fulfilled our wish list” said Lipton. “Using items we already had on hand made it easier for us from a purchasing perspective. The new menu is based on what we already carry, but is has so many new twists.”

They were equally impressed with the exceptional creativity and product knowledge of the Maple Leaf team. “They have lots of access to market research, so they know what’s “in” and what will sell. They had definitely done their homework” says Lipton.

In the end, the Maple Leaf Think Food team was able to create unique and delicious sandwiches that met the UHN price point. And UHN’s catering clients are excited by mouth-watering offerings that perk up their lunchtime meetings and their taste buds.

If your menu needs an infusion of freshness or you want to add some new twists, talk to your Maple Leaf salesperson about your wish list. Think Food’s doors are open and the possibilities are limitless.

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