Culinary Expertise by the Sea
“I’ve always enjoyed being on the water here,” says Chef Britten. “I’m an avid offshore fisherman; I’ve caught just about everything I’ve cooked.” Britten came up during the 1980s and ’90s, when New American Cooking was on the rise. “At that time, we began to see more fresh and local product instead of processed foods,” says Britten. “The cuisine became healthier and lighter.”
Since arriving at Sysco Northern New England 13 years ago, Britten has come to appreciate the comprehensive way in which he can influence his customers’ businesses. “When I was an operator and my guests enjoyed the food, that was terrific,” he says. “But here [working at Sysco], we get to impact our customers’ business, their profitability, and build a true partnership. For example, I use my experience to bring our customers insight on how to create or optimize a specific menu item that will attract new patrons and increase profit.” The satisfaction is even greater when Britten sees a restaurant menu and recognizes a dish he created for the owners.
When someone says, ‘You prepared this dish for me, and now it’s our house special,’ that’s an amazing feeling.
Chef Patrick Britten
Northern NewEngland is known for its fresh seafood, but the area is also home to small farms growing a wide variety of produce, including organic mushrooms and lettuces. Every week, according to Britten, the operation company publishes a list of all available local products. This part of New England has also become a destination where chefs come to open small, sophisticated restaurants. Britten’s team has made a connection with many chefs in the area. “I think we’ve proven that the quality is here, the fresh and local products are here, and that we have all these services to offer,” says Britten. “We’ve developed some great partnerships.”
Business Reviews are tailored to each client. “I will give the customer a call to talk about what they’re looking for,” Britten says. “‘What are your points of pain? What keeps you up at night?’” He and his team then create a presentation based on that data. Sometimes a team will go out on-site to a restaurant to observe and report. This includes analyzing the service, logistics, ergonomics—anything that could improve the operation. “I will go and observe a meal period in action,” says Britten. “Then I write up my notes and make suggestions for improving their systems.”