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Eat Well; Be Happy!

This is the motto of Chef Paul Tseng, who has recently joined the Willy West Deli as our own in-house Cook. I know you might be asking, “You’re a deli, and he’s your only cook? Huh?” Allow me to explain. The way the Co-op is structured, we have our own HAACP Certified off-site Production Kitchen that produces, daily, much of the food that you enjoy from our Delis. This includes all of the baked goods, most of the prepared salads and most of the hot entrée selections. This food gets delivered to us daily, according to orders that we in the Deli place in advance. So, in the Deli itself, we don’t do a lot of volume food preparation, at least not to the extent that it would require to fill all the merchandising space that we have. This has been the model for about six years, and it really works great as it allows us to efficiently produce large amounts of the products you love, using primarily organic and local ingredients, and still keep the prices competitive.

Recently, however, we noticed that there is the opportunity to take advantage of some things unique to the Willy West Deli, such as our full-sized Meat Department and our enormous hot bar. To address these opportunities, we’ve created a position that can provide us with a dynamic source of food production. Chef Paul is accountable for making great food, responding to seasonal availability, and utilizing products from the other departments right here in the store. He is also taking on the planning of the hot bar menus. There are many items available everyday on our hot bar, and a portion of these are now being produced right in the Deli by Paul and other staff. Things like Beef Brisket, Scallion Pancakes, and a Friday Fish Fry have been in regular rotation. In the Deli cold case, you can often find Chef Paul’s Baked Cod and Garlic Green Beans, his Five-Spice Pork Ribs, and his Fresh Mozzarella Tomato Salad. Really, this is just the beginning for us and we are all excited to be entering into our fantastic Wisconsin growing season and look forward to the possibilities that brings with an expanded selection of local produce.

I asked Paul recently why he accepted this position and why he chose to be a cook. He said that, “Before I went to cooking school, I took food for granted. I just put it in my mouth. Going to school opened up a whole world of food for me. It had me start my own garden and really look at the relationship between human beings and food. That’s why I like cooking. Food is really the show; I’m just the facilitator.” Additionally, he says it’s important for him to be here cooking for all of you, because he really wants to encourage people with his cooking to be mindful of what they eat.

Chef Paul is also in the process of creating cooking classes to be held in the Willy West Community Room, with its state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen! If cooking isn’t your thing, or you just want to get a new perspective or a fresh idea, consider using Paul and his classes as a resource. He really is committed to making food and accessible, and he’s a fun guy! Please see the Community Room Calenders for more information on pages 5–7.

The last bit I’d like to leave you with in regard to Chef Paul and our hot bar offerings at Willy West is this: let us know what works for you! If we’re making something you just can’t get enough of, let us know. If we’re not making something that you’re looking for, let us know that too. We may not be able to fulfill all requests, but we we always value our Owners’ input on how to expand our offerings. Grab a Customer Comment form from the Customer Service Desk or at the Deli sandwich counter!

Speaking of sandwich counter, we have a new menu at Willy West! We invite you to come try some of our made-to-order specialties like our pulled-pork Cuban Sandwich with Chili Lime Mayo, our Braised Short Rib and Grilled Cheese, McKinley’s Artichoke, Fresh Mozzarella and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich, and Renee’s Chicken or Tofu Fajita Wrap. In addition to those, and all the rest of our regular selections, we are also offering daily sandwich and grill specials that recently have included things like steak sandwiches, southwestern quesadillas, and brats! We are toying and experimenting with the idea of made-to-order omelets, pancakes, and breakfast home fries on our flat-top grill. If there are any old favorites, like the Falafel Wrap, the Hummus Pita, or the Veggie Sandwich that you are craving, just ask! Most likely we will have everything on hand to make these for you still. It is our intention to change this menu seasonally, so again, it is a great opportunity to supply your input. Let us know what’s working.

Lastly, I really want to thank you, as Co-op shoppers and Owners, for choosing to shop with us and interact with us and giving us the opportunity to provide some of the best and most responsibly sourced foods to you and your families and loved ones. We understand your commitment to them and their well-being, and it is a distinct privilege tomake available the food that fulfills that commitment. As Paul says, eat well—be happy!

I Scream for the Willy West Juice Bar by Ty clough
Summer has arrived, and I am very pleased to announce the arrival of the ice cream cone at the Willy West Juice Bar. We will be serving single and double scoops of delicious Sassy Cow ice cream in cones or in a dish. Flavors we will offer include milk chocolate, vanilla, green tea and a featured flavor of the month. The ice cream is superb and it’s no surprise coming from this local Columbus farm; they have already built a reputation for high quality dairy products.

We will also be serving the amazing Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss. This will be our vegan alternative for beating the heat. Behold, this stuff is so good and it’s soy- and gluten-free too! We will carry the Vanilla Island and Dark Chocolate flavors and either may be substituted in a smoothie to make your own one-of-a-kind creation.

So if you’re in the neighborhood, we can help you chill out with a tasty ice cream cone, cold drink or smoothie. Thanks to all of you who have come out to support the Willy West Juice Bar.

Willy West Cheese News by Michelle Schinker
For those of you out there that have experienced the pleasure of authentic Indian cuisine, chances are you’ve come across paneer. Paneer is a fresh cheese that originates from India. To prepare it, an acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) is added to hot milk in order to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then gently ladled into a cheesecloth-lined sieve where they are further drained and then pressed. The result is an unsalted, dense cheese ideal for slicing or cubing and perfect for cooking. The fact that there is no rennet used in the preparation of paneer makes it lacto-vegetarian; thus, a great source of protein for any non-meat eaters!

We here at the coop realize that not everyone is afforded the luxury of the extra time in a day it takes to prepare fresh cheese, and here at Willy West, we are pleased to provide you with a locally sourced alternative. Bharatama Paneer is produced by Specialty Cheese Company from Reeseville. There, they have a pool of small Wisconsin family farmers that supply the milk needed to make this delicious and authentic paneer. At less than $5.00 for nearly a pound of cheese, anyone can afford to dip their toes into the exciting culinary waters of India.

Willy East Cheese News by Stuart Mammel
On April 16th, Wisconsin Cheese Originals hosted a cheese tasting event at Olbrich Gardens called The Top 25 Cheeses of Wisconsin.  We were unfortunately unable to attend, but we’re happy to announce that fifteen of the cheeses selected are available for purchase out of our cheese case!  Here is a convenient list for you to explore:

  • BelGioioso Sharp Provolone
  • Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar
  • Carr Valley Cocoa Cardona
  • Cesar’s Oaxacan String Cheese
  • Chalet Cooperative Deppeler Baby Swiss
  • Crave Brothers Petit Freres
  • Edelweiss Emmenthaler
  • Roth Kase Grand Cru Gruyere Surchoix
  • Hidden Springs Driftless Sheep Cheese
  • Holland’s Family Farms Marieke Fenugreek Gouda
  • LaClare Farms Evalon Goat Cheese
  • Sartori Sarvecchio Parmesan
  • Saxon Creamery Big Ed’s Gouda
  • Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve
  • Widmer’s Brick Cheese

We apologize for not selling all 26 cheeses that were served at the gala event, but we hope to carry all of them in the near future.