Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Author: Flavor & The Menu Staff

Swapping for Salmon Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute & Wandering Table | Spokane, Wash.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff Adam Hegsted, Chef/Owner of Wandering Table at Kendall Yards in Spokane, Wash., won first place in the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s “Swap Meat for Alaska Seafood” contest with his Salmon Osso Buco recipe. In it, he subs in wild Alaska sockeye salmon for veal. “The idea is built around classic osso buco. Obviously, salmon can’t be cooked as long, but it can really stand up to some of the same bold flavors,” says Hegsted. “There are many flavor nuances at work in the dish. First you have the flavorfulness of the salmon...

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Gochujang as a Go-To Houlihan’s | Based in Leawood, Kan.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff With modern innovation around fried chicken pushing craveability and creativity to new heights, the challenge is finding the right balance of adventure and familiarity with your customer base. “Our Korean Chicken is a unique take on emerging flavor trends delivered in an approachable, low-risk way,” says Michael Slavin, newly appointed Culinary Director for Houlihan’s, Inc. “It has appeal with our loyal guests, who are always up for trying something new, but it also appeals to new guests who are just discovering Houlihan’s. The best part for me is taking the cult following...

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Upping the Avocado Ante Avocados from Mexico

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff Guacamole is one of those versatile menu items that appeals to a broad base of diners. Chefs today are capitalizing on its popularity and giving it creative, craveable touches. At a recent Avocados from Mexico (AFM) tour and culinary immersion highlighting the year-round growing season in Mexico, Chef Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo restaurant in Austin, Texas, developed a guacamole that Mark Garcia, AFM’s Director of Foodservice Marketing, calls out as a favorite, representing a model for innovation. “This was a rough-chopped guacamole, which adds differentiation and texture,” he says....

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Uptown Funk Salt & Straw | based in Portland, Ore.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff Salt & Straw can best be described as an ice-cream think tank, known for its funky-yet-genius flavor combinations. But the Palm Sugar Ice Cream with Fish Sauce Caramel stands out for Tyler Malek, head ice-cream maker, as the “best execution I’ve ever had when it comes to that holy trinity of salty-sweet-bitter.” It all started with the fish sauce caramel, which Malek and his team makes by carefully burning molasses, soy sauce, lime juice, coconut cream and fish sauce together. “We spent a long time building the perfect ice cream to feature...

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Southwest Sizzle Pearl’s Oyster Bar | based in Oklahoma City

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff Bold, herb-based sauces and spices take fish to a new level, boosting flavor while keeping the health halo intact. Pearl’s Wild Hawaiian Red Chile Seared Mahi Mahi starts out with Southwest seasonings before being seared. It’s served on a bed of white rice mixed with a chimichurri sauce, lending a distinct cilantro aroma—but it keeps going. Executive Chef Scott Snow’s charred green chile beurre blanc (lemon beurre blanc and verde sauce consisting of roasted tomatillo, roasted green chiles, cumin, jalapeños, garlic, lime and cilantro) is drizzled over the fish, and a topping...

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