Repurposing Leftover Idaho Potatoes Boosts Creativity and Profitability

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Eagle, Idaho, June 5, 2013—As a menu staple, it’s a given that leftover potatoes are found in most foodservice kitchens. To prove the opportunity for profit from yesterday’s entrée and side dish, the Idaho Potato Commission asked Chef-Instructor Richard Nickless of the Culinary Institute of Charleston to calculate the cost of producing popular entrees from items stored in the reach-in. In his presentation to American Culinary Federation chefs, Chef Nickless demonstrated how cost-effective and versatile Idaho® Potatoes continue to generate savings with each successive use.

As his leading example, Chef Nickless chose Shepherd’s Pie, a hearty winter dish that utilizes leftover cooked meat (chopped or ground) and roasted root vegetables bound with beef gravy and topped with mashed potatoes before baking. Costing out the various components (note: basic costs can vary by region), Chef Nickless computed a basic food cost per serving of $2.22. With food costs ideally maintained at 30% of operating expenses, Nickless projected a break-even cost of $7.32 and a menu/selling price of $9.50, giving him a 100% profit on his original ingredient investment.

IPC Shepherd's Pie

Wasting food is an expense few operators can afford in an industry where food cost margins are already slim. To learn more about optimizing ingredient profitability, download Chef Nickless’ presentation “Turning Leftovers into Profit Using Idaho Potatoes” at While on the site, browse the Idaho Potato Commission foodservice recipe database or download the Idaho Potato Commission Foodservice Toolkit. To order the newest “Passionate About Potatoes” chef recipe set, email the Idaho Potato Commission at, or call 208-334-2350.

About the Idaho Potato Commission
Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho®” seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho's ideal growing conditions, including rich, volcanic soil, climate and irrigation, differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

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