Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Author: Robin Schempp

Gastro Grub

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends PHOTO CREDIT: nocredit Classic Belgian pub fare, such as moules-frites (mussels and french fries), is a house specialty at Chicago’s Hopleaf Bar, where the dish makes a worthy accompaniment to Belgian ale. Photo courtesy of grant kessler for hopleaf bar. Gastropubs make the most of a good marriage by combining craft brew with a culinary focus By Robin Schempp Be they brew-centric brasseries or cuisine-centric taprooms, beer-focused restaurants bring together the drinking of good beer and the eating of good food. The combined focus on local, casual food at the bar and the craft-beer...

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How to Say Cheese

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends PHOTO CREDIT: nocredit Delicious on its own or with just a sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper, burrata also adds a luxurious layer to this Roasted Lamb Sandwich with Mint Pesto. Photo courtesy of wisconsin milk marketing board. Perhaps no other ingredient offers such a simple way to add indulgent versatility to a menu By Robin Schempp Want to make a dish more appealing to diners? “Just add cheese” is the old adage — and perhaps rightly so. Americans ate about 31 pounds of cheese per person last year, with the largest share...

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Proof Positive

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends PHOTO CREDIT: nocredit Fruity, herbal notes highlight a low-proof aperitif of vodka and apple/thyme-infused water in mixologist Kathy Casey’s H2O cocktail. A sprig of thyme and green-apple accents emphasize the fresh flavors. Photo courtesy of purity vodka. Develop a list of no- and low-alcohol libations to ensure a drink menu that serves every guest By Robin Schempp About one-third of potential restaurant guests are non-drinkers, and many more are light or “flexitarian” imbibers. Both groups, however, want to enjoy the conviviality and inclusiveness of an adult beverage. They’re looking for a sophisticated drink that...

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Little Bites, Big Payoff

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends PHOTO CREDIT: nocredit Shareable plates like this flatbread pizza, topped with charred scallions, hummus, fresh greens and haloumi cheese, are happy-hour options for patrons of Zaytinya, an Eastern Mediterranean concept in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of zaytinya. Bar snacks let operators upsell happy hour and maximize profits from small plates that satisfy every appetite By Robin Schempp As menu developers, how do we reconcile the seemingly opposing forces of increased culinary adventure on the part of the consumer with an overall industry shift toward casualization? Or the desire for customization along with the demand...

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The Flexibility Factor

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends PHOTO CREDIT: nocredit Selective meat-eaters appreciate top-quality meats used in high-impact ways, like the prosciutto that joins fresh mozzarella and arugula atop Bertucci’s Pizza Verde. Photo courtesy of bertucci’s. A meat-optional approach to menu-making ensures craveable meals for diners of all persuasions By Robin Schempp After decades of culinary limitations brought on by labels like “vegetarian” and “vegan,” the term “flexitarian” seemed like a gustatory godsend when it entered the culinary lexicon and, indeed, even the dictionary in 2004. Not until the end of the decade, however, did the word catch up to a...

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