Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

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5 Ways To Modernize Salad  Incorporating unusual ingredients and combinations

In the salad space, you win by either sprucing up the old in creative and enticing new ways, or you win by actively searching for something boldly new. The “same old” will simply not work. Incorporating unusual ingredients or ingredient combinations are important considerations to woo younger customers looking for something different and enticing.

  1. Focus on vinaigrettes that either incorporate interesting vinegars or other acidic ingredients like citrus juices or pomegranate juice.
  2. If creamy dressings are a must, try Greek yogurt or puréed soft tofu—both ingredients have a health glow around them. 
  3. Incorporate other health-focused ingredients into the salads, including: grains, tofu, tempeh, fruits and vegetables.
  4. Consider cooking produce additions (like potatoes, beets, carrots, cauliflower) ahead of time in ways that optimize and intensify their flavors (smoking, grilling, roasting, etc.).
  5. Don’t shy away from intense flavors and ingredients.  Explore new combinations that potentially cross international boundaries.


About The Author


CHRIS KOETKE, CEC, CCE, HAAC, was the Executive Chef at Les Nomades in Chicago for five years and also worked at the famed Le Francais restaurant in Wheeling, Ill. He formerly served as the Executive Director of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago and VP of Culinary Arts for Laureate International Universities, where he was responsible for strategic leadership of culinary arts programs at 48 campuses in 12 countries. Chris is a well-known expert on culinary matters, especially given his global travels experimenting with ingredients and flavors worldwide and his knowledge of amino acids as flavor elements. In 2010, he was given the inaugural Chefs Collaborative Pathfinder Award for his work in making sustainability mainstream within both foodservice operations and education, and he serves as chair of the Feed the Planet Committee of Worldchefs. Chris has an MBA from Dominican University and a BA in French literature from Valparaiso University. He has hosted his own national TV cooking show on the Live Well Network, written for prominent newspapers and trade publications, and authored a well-known culinary textbook, “The Culinary Professional.” He is currently Corporate Executive Chef at Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc. [email protected]