Bayer is doing lunch ... for 110,000

On Tuesday, June 18, Bayer will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a celebratory meal for employees -- the same menu, served to all 110,000 employees at Bayer locations all over the world.

Pittsburgh's Chef Jeff Sinciline, who works for Bayer Pittsburgh's contract food service company, Parkhurst Dining, was one of five Bayer chefs selected to create the menu. The other chefs are from Germany, China, France and Mexico.

It wasn't easy for the group to concoct a menu that would please palates worldwide. The group started work way back in January, Mr. Sinciline said. The chefs tried to stick with dishes that would incorporate ingredients that are available globally, and they tried to avoid dishes that would be too spicy for some taste buds.

What they ended up with is a recipe book from which each Bayer location is free to choose items. The requirement is that each employee be served a three-course meal that day, but chefs can mix and match entrees, sides and desserts from the recipe book.

The roughly 3,000 Bayer Pittsburgh employees can expect to be served Couscous Salad with Cinnamon Almonds and Mint-Kissed Strawberry Lemonade (see recipes), which were Mr. Sinciline's contributions to the recipe book, along with Orange Salmon with Ratatouille, Kung Pao Chicken and Fresh Fruit with Raspberry Coulis and Dark Chocolate.

In Pittsburgh, more than half of the ingredients for the anniversary meal will come from local suppliers, with "local" defined as farms within 150 miles of Allegheny County.

Worldwide, the menu adds up to a lot of food. Mr. Sinciline estimates that Bayer employees that day will consume:

• 24,000 pounds of cooked couscous.

• 2,400 whole salmon.

• 41,500 pounds of fresh chicken.

• 51,000 pounds of fresh pineapple, melon and berries for fruit skewers, which if placed end-to-end would stretch for more than 21 miles.

• 10,300 gallons of mint-kissed strawberry lemonade, or enough to fill a 12-by-24-foot pool that is 5 feet deep.

Mint-kissed strawberry lemonade

  • 1 bunch fresh mint

  • 1/2 to 1 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of strawberries

  • 1/2 gallon hot water

  • 4 cups strawberry puree

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

  • 20 strawberry slices, for garnish

Wash mint and remove a few sprigs or leaves for garnish.

Place remaining mint in mixing bowl with sugar. Mix with paddle attachment for 5 minutes.

Pour in hot water and mix until sugar is dissolved.

Add strawberry puree and lemon juice. Mix and refrigerate overnight.

Strain mixture and serve over ice with fresh mint sprigs and strawberry slices for garnish.

Makes 10 10-ounce servings.

-- Chef Jeff Sinciline

Couscous Salad with Cinnamon Almonds

For couscous

  • 1 quart vegetable stock, with a little turmeric added for color

  • 1 pound Israeli or pearl couscous

  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup diced red and green bell peppers, lightly sautéed

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For almond topping

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

For pastry

  • Melted butter or cooking spray

  • 1 sheet puff pastry

For couscous

In a large pot, bring vegetable stock to a simmer. Add couscous. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender.

Place couscous in a warm bowl and toss with parsley, cinnamon, rice wine vinegar and olive oil. Add sauteed peppers. Season with salt and pepper place in refrigerator.

For almond topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss all ingredients together and toast on a baking sheet for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and cool to room temperature.

For pastry

Thaw pastry sheets in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pastry sheets in 3-inch triangles, then spray with cooking spray or lightly brush with butter. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking pan to cool, but do not refrigerate.

Assembly: Place a piece of pastry on dish. Spoon couscous mixture over half of the pastry and sprinkle with the toasted almond mixture. Serves 10.

-- Chef Jeff Sinciline

Rebecca Sodergren: or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.


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