Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Rob Corliss
October 18, 2021

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Indulgent, crispy, meaty and melty create a craveable combination for a hearty grilled cheese sandwich. Richly warming and complex, with touches of seasonal ingredients, denote the cooler weather flavors of fall. Infusing a taste of the season into a grilled cheese transforms this iconic sandwich to next-level comfort food. Here, we explore the combination of savory pork and subtle sweetness of fall fruit to maximize the comforts of grilled cheese via seasonal LTOs bursting with textured dimension.

*Each grilled cheese build below has five strategic components:

1. Pork anchors the sandwich as the flavorful protein

2. Fresh or dried fruit provides a soft-textured crunch for a more rounded experience

3. Cheese delivers the expected evocative melt

4. A bold condiment lightly spread on the bread slices delivers an instant pop of the unexpected

5. Thoughtfully paired bread is the complement that pulls the entire sandwich together

“Try This”


Barbecue Pork & Apple Melt: Barbecue carnitas + Granny Smith apple slices + Gouda /Jack + sweet pickle relish aïoli + sourdough

Harvest Pork: Shaved herb roasted pork loin + Honeycrisp apple slices + Swiss/American + spicy brown mustard-cider jam + ciabatta


Smoked Ham & Pear Delight: Smoked ham slices + Bartlett pear slices + goat cheese + green chile slaw + Hawaiian roll

Hot n’ Melty Crispy Pork: Pork schnitzel + Anjou pear slices + raclette + chile crisp + French white bread


Peppered Figgy Piggy: Peppered bacon strips + fig chutney + white cheddar/white American + hot pepper jelly + challah bread

Spicy Jammy Melt: Chorizo + fig-caramelized onion jam + Brie + Malbec-blueberry preserves + brioche bun


Belly Buster: Braised pork belly + whiskey-soaked chopped dried apricots + Havarti/Colby + butternut squash-maple butter + whole grain bread

Mega Meltdown: Bacon and breakfast sausage crumbles + chopped dried apricots + whipped feta/grated mozzarella + brown butter-walnut-sage pesto + Texas toast

FEATURED RECIPE: Braised Pork Belly with Housemade Apple Butter

Braised pork belly gets a seasonal flavor infusion with a housemade apple butter, perfect as an entrée or tucked into a warm handheld.Photo credit: Smithfield Culinary

Braised pork belly gets a seasonal flavor infusion with a housemade apple butter, perfect as an entrée or tucked into a warm handheld.

Get the recipe for Braised Pork Belly with Housemade Apple Butter


About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.