Pitco Fry Guy Focus: Introducing Gabriel Samano

Juggling multiple pans and making sure to have the right tools to get things done correctly is something Gabriel Samano is used to. As the Vice President of Sales & Marketing and also one of the chefs at Preferred Marketing Group in Chatsworth, California, Gabriel has a touchpoint on many aspects of the foodservice industry. With plenty of knowledge from his grandmother and his own experiences, he’s seen a lot in the realm of frying. We sat down with Gabriel, who is this month’s Pitco Fry Guy, to get his thoughts on why filtering oil is so important, where he sees the industry headed, and what he really thinks about churros.

How did you land in foodservice? Give us some background and fun facts about yourself.

I grew up in the kitchen with my grandmother, who was a chef her whole career and ran restaurants all over Mexico and California. I ended up attending the California Culinary Academy (an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu) right out of high school.

Where do you think the industry is headed?

From where we are standing at this very moment, and with the lack of resources and talent, automation will be a vital tool for establishments to be able to survive effectively.

What is the most common question you get about fryers?

Why are there so many options and what is the cheapest and most reliable?

Let’s talk oil. Why do you think operators think oil filtration is a waste and how will looking for the cheapest option affect them?

Owning and operating a food operation is very costly. Operators are always looking for ways to save money. I do not think that they see it as a waste, because oil is considered “liquid gold” and is very expensive. Smart operators know that they need to filter their oil to extend the life of that high ticket item, but they also need to save on upfront expenses, and sometimes, unfortunately, filtration does not fit in the budget.

What’s the disconnect between throwing away oil constantly and the option to filter and reuse?

Most operators are living in the now and trying to survive the day-to-day. They’re not thinking of the long-term costs of not filtering, and it’s not until you do the math and show them that filtering can almost double the life of your oil over time, that they really see the benefits.

What is the best piece of advice you would give someone who wants to add fried food to a menu?

Know what menu items work best. Is your food being eaten right away or is it being transported for takeout, and will it still taste good when delivered? Also, make your own scratch items and avoid frozen products as often as you can. People can tell the difference. FILTER YOUR OIL OFTEN. Customers can taste when old oil has been used.

What are the most important accessories to have for fryers?

If filtering, make sure you have the proper safety gear. It’s always safety first. I’ve seen too many accidents happen in my career. My suggestions are having filter powder/polish, using baskets that are not broken and beat up, and owning a pot scrub brush and both basic and fine mesh skimmers.

What are common frying mistakes that you see?

Not frying at proper temps, not filtering and using nasty tasting, old oil, and not filtering often enough.

How would you recommend fixing those mistakes?

    • Proper Training
    • Filter Often
    • Have the right menu mix of items

What is the best fried food you ever had?

I am a sucker for a freshly fried, from scratch, churro.

What are your three best pieces of advice for a restaurant trying to make more money with fried food?

    1. Proper training in frying foods and filtering is key.
    2. Simplify your menu mix and do it well.

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Topics: Fryers, Oil