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roasting vegetables in coconut oil further develops flavor.

Commodity boards harness the momentum of the bowl trend

Crispy Pork Belly rubbed with salt, sugar, cumin and coriander, and roasted until the pork insanely crispy and layered with a Salsa Negra. Blistered guajillo, roasted poblanos, roasted garlic, cumin, coriander, allspice, salt and cider vinegar come together in this salsa.

On-trend menu builds that stand out with rich flavor stories

Carolina BBQ Olga - Barbecue smoked pork, cheddar, pickle, onion straws

Olga’s Kitchen offers Carolina BBQ Olga - Barbecue smoked pork, cheddar, pickle, onion straws

In Washington, D.C., Espita Mezcaleria invites diners to try new flavors—such as a selection of adventurous salsas—and to dive into shareable dishes, a hallmark of the Millennial generation.

The priorities of a generation continue to shape our industry in profound ways

Citrus appetizers, like whipped goat cheese with preserved lemons and Marcona almonds, wake the palate with bright, tart flavors.

A dozen ways to leverage the fresh zing of citrus across the menu

Bold flavors, signature ingredients and add-ins define the classic margarita. New interpretations riff on the traditional version.

The coolest cocktail explores new flavor frontiers. Ten ways to re-invent the Margarita.

Tracking the evolution of menu language that resonates with diners

At Oregon State University, Job’s tears, also known as Chinese pearl barley, are cooked in dashi broth with shoyu pork, pickled mushroom, green chickpeas and poached egg.

Forward-thinking culinary directors are pioneering new landscape and impacting the mindset, sophistication and expectation of younger consumers

Watermelon Salad - Compressed watermelon, mozzarella, baby heirloom tomatoes, fennel, cucumbers, basil, lemon-curd vinaigrette

Hen Quarter's Watermelon Salad - compressed watermelon, mozzarella, baby heirloom tomatoes, fennel, cucumbers, basil, lemon-curd vinaigrette.

Sweet Ambassador: Custom Deluxe | Biddeford, Maine

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in New York added signature barbecue bowls to the menu, presenting a flavor forward, easy-to-eat meal.

New York-based Dinosaur Bar-B-Que recently added two signature barbecue bowls to its menu

This “Magical” Cheese Soup from Hearthstone Bistro Bar & Grill in Muskegon, Mich., is garnished with cheese popcorn.

Generic tomato soup and clam chowder will probably never go away, but creative innovation can help elevate soups to signature. Here are 10 upgrades, from creative garnishes to edgy, global mash-ups, that could give chicken noodle a run for your profits.

Staplehouse in Atlanta typifies the New American restaurant: honest food, a casual vibe, and a menu that unabashedly pulls from whatever global pantry it fancies—as long as it helps tell a good flavor story.

Boasting butter’s flavor- carrying virtues (clockwise from top left): beet butter, whole-grain mustard butter, Sriracha butter, olive and sun-dried tomato butter, and roasted poblano butter.

Bad Hunter in Chicago demonstrates aguachile’s versatility, moving its bright combination of chile, lime, cilantro and onion into a Hominy Aguachile.

Twelve ways to satiate diners’ never-ending appetite for heat

Lazy Dog’s customers request more vegetable options, like these shareable Street Corn Wheels with lime-garlic sauce, topped with queso blanco and fresh cilantro.

Savvy menu-makers are front-loading menus with produce-driven bar bites, appetizers and small plates that entice diners

Classic cocktails like the Negroni are celebrated anew. They’re a perfect match for the revival of the steakhouse, like this one served at Diplomat Prime in Hollywood, Fla.

An interesting progression emerges in cocktail trends

Chefs are finding new ways to tap into versatile flavor profiles from around the world, applying them to protein, including vadouvan, pho, chicken tikka masala, chile colorado and ragout.

Global protein treatments with on-trend opportunity and complex, craveable flavor

Chef Jason Alley of Comfort and Pasture in Richmond, Va., changes up the Reuben with his “Reubenesque,” housemade pork pastrami and Thousand Island dressing spiked with fermented red-chile paste, served on an Asiago roll.

What’s not to like? Favorite deli flavors go beyond tradition.

At Tasty n Sons in Portland, Ore., both a pickled egg and a sunny-side-up egg upgrade the Burmese Red Pork Stew.

Leverage the insights and data that commodity boards offer up for strategic menu development

With something as inherently popular as cheesecake, it’s easy to augment the appeal. Anything from a decorative sauce to an unexpected crust generates added interest.

Cheesecake offers a rich canvas for fun, modern flavor innovation

Irresistibly crispy, the chickpea fries at David Burke Fabrick in New York get a dusting of fennel pollen and are served with complementary dips, like harissa mayonnaise or chipotle aïoli.

Propelled by the interest in plant-based proteins, the veg-centric trend and Middle Eastern fare, the chickpea is stealing the spotlight. From bar bites of roasted chickpeas to the next wave of hummus and the explosion of falafel, they promise wholesome adventure.

Brown Bag Seafood Co.’s Curry Fish Cakes with ginger-lime sauce are a big hit on the menu at its new Revival Food Hall location in Chicago. “We sell out faster than we can make them,” says Donna Lee, founder.

This trend sees seafood boldly stepping out of its traditional confines and embracing big flavor combinations and casual presentations. Chefs are menuing seafood in thrilling ways, underpinning the dishes with an approachable, but meaningful message of sustainability.

A medley of heat and comfort, the Braised Pork Cheeks at Motto in Durham, N.C., are nestled in green chile grits and guajillo broth—just one example of the new ways that guajillo is showing up on menus.

Chile varietals are always on trend, giving diners the heat and excitement they yearn for. Guajillo is capturing chefs’ attention because of its depth of character, offering flavorful heat plus a cool regional Mexican hook.

The menu opportunity here comes from fresh, transparent, handcrafted cues that modern non-alcoholic beverages deliver so perfectly.

With the growing interest in soda alternatives plus innovation in the cocktail space, creative non-alcoholic offerings are vying for menu space. Fast casuals are leading the way with fresh-pressed juices; hand-crafted sodas; flavor-forward lemonades and iced teas; iced coffees and more.

Nachos are an ideal platform for introducing new flavor systems. In Nashville, Tenn., they serve as a base for Party Fowl’s signature Hot Chicken, with a topping of white beans, cheese, avocado, jalapeños, green onion, lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream.

America’s favorite shareable is getting a serious makeover from chefs who are mindfully constructing layers of textures and flavors. Speaking to modern flavor trends, today’s nachos extend a restaurant brand’s playfulness and creativity while delivering big time on craveability.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea added the Coconut Black Tie as a summer LTO, made with coconut-infused simple syrup. Based on the equally successful coffee-based Black Tie (sweetened condensed milk, cold-brew coffee and chicory syrup), the drink was such a hit that the chain plans more seasonal variations.

Thanks to younger consumers—raised with single-varietal coffees, a rainbow of black, green, white and red tea shades, and curious about anything that smacks of the new—innovative methods, like cold-brew have found little customer resistance.

 Incorporating unusual ingredients and combinations

Rethink your salad menu strategy. Go with two to three core salads on your menu that have longevity year-round, then implement a robust salad LTO cycle that features a new seasonal salad offering every two months.

A conscientious approach means looking at flavor-forward dishes in a holistic way. Modern Market’s “Homestyle Plates” invite diners to pick their protein and two signature sides.

This overarching trend speaks to a menu strategy that appeals to today’s modern diners. Thoughtfulness of intent, transparency in sourcing and a mindfulness around flavor-building all give this trend long legs.

Newk’s Eatery thoroughly tested two new dishes—a Shrimp and Avocado Salad and an Ahi Tuna Salad (pictured)—before debuting them on the menu. Both salads stayed on the menu beyond Lent.

Spreading the excitement well beyond Lent, boosting sales and creating new dining preferences all year long

It's an art where all five senses take place as one

A fun way to have poke: on wonton chips and topped with three different sauces. Yard House’s Carlito Jocson was inspired to create this seafood snack after a visit to Hawaii.

Newer menu development around seafood is edgier, more global, and often sees bolder flavor combinations.

Clockwise from top left: Vegan Carolina “pork” barbecue using green jackfruit; chawanmushi egg custard at Cassia in Santa Monica, Calif.; LocoL’s cheeseburger with Jack-scallion relish and “awesome sauce,” and assorted paratha “tacos” from Goa Taco.

Grilled cheese finds unconventional applications that showcase its texture, such as these bread and cheese kabobs with balsamic dressing. Juustoleipa, a Scandinavian pressed curd cheese, lends itself to grilling or frying.

Parmesan crisps are sheer umami on their own, but sprinkle savory furikake seasoning over top and the flavor effect is exponential.

Chefs are exploring the menu potential of furikake and togarashi, two high-impact finishes

A Chicken Pesto sandwich at Which Wich gets additional texture and freshness from an olive salad, with a range of other vegetable add-ins for customization.

The success of the banh mi has demonstrated the importance of high-impact produce in sandwiches

Korean Fried Broccoli at Dirt Candy in New York takes the no-fail appeal of deep-fried, battered broccoli florets and makes them more craveable with a sweet and garlicky Korean barbecue-style sauce.

Extend the flavor stories behind some of the most craveable and successful profiles today

Gnocchi Carbonara Housemade gnocchi, pancetta, peas, cream, egg yolk, black pepper

Lago's Gnocchi Carbonara offers housemade gnocchi, pancetta, peas, cream, egg yolk, black pepper

Garam Masala Pork Belly at Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville consists of smaller portions of the rich meat prepared with an intensely flavored dry rub of garam masala and brown sugar.

The shifting plate makeup is putting a renewed emphasis on quality protein with flavor at the forefront

Follow our new weekly column for unique perspectives on flavor

Flavor: an indication of the essential character of something

When we strip every conversation away from our food experiences, it all comes down to Flavor.

Who says a Shepherd's Pie has to be a pie? Why not a savory tart instead.

Maximize the rich, craveable flavor system of French onion soup with a whole baked potato.

A new take on eggs Benedict, with salmon and crisp fried potato leek cakes.

Achieving a remarkable flavor experience

New Trends Outside the Big Easy

The dramatic presentation combined with umami-laden truffles turns a baked potato into a flavor knockout.


A hearty hash made with cubed Idaho® Potatoes, braised short ribs and eggs. A delicious dish that will really stick to your customers’ ribs.
Pig out on these golden fried Idaho® Potatoes topped with mouthwatering carnitas, chorizo and bacon. Makes for a delicious starter dish or sharable plate.
Hand-made Idaho® Potato dough is formed, boiled and browned with a savory wild mushroom melange.



Cornmeal + Blackberries + Texas Pete® Honey Mustard Sauce
Quinn Adkins uses this go-to trifecta in a soft polenta or in a polenta cake, or as a signature crouton for salads or soups
Clockwise from top left: Guests enjoyed inspired cuisine at the culinary center’s opening reception; host chefs Mark Garcia and Kent Rathbun; the versatile facility will serve as a hands-on culinary center and also as AVO University beginning in January; AFM President Alvaro Luque kicked off the celebration
Avocados From Mexico opens new state-of-the-art Culinary Center which will serve to further education and culinary innovation.
Smoked Pineapple Gimlet And Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita - Made With Monin
Beverage specialists at Monin have tapped into two major trends that hold big opportunity in the incredibly dynamic universe of modern cocktails
Umami Tuna Poke with sambal, garlic, Umami Concentrated Flavor and toasted sesame seeds
In his Umami Tuna Poke, Chad Lance finds that balance by replacing soy sauce with Monin® Umami Concentrated Flavor


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Tonkatsu that nails craveability with insanely crispy breading & deeply satisfying bbq and Kewpie sauce. Sliced for…