Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
November 27, 2022

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As more consumers move into alternative “seafood” adoption, foodservice operations can entice them with new menu additions. Plant-based crabcakes, flaky white fish fillets and patties, fish cakes, fish burgers and fish sticks are an emerging area for menu development focus, ideal for dialing up consumer curiosity in such offerings. Boasting outstanding flavor cues, many of these products mimic a real fish experience.

The opportunity lies in implementing menu features in enlivened ways that guests already enjoy traditional fish. Modern sandwiches are an ideal platform for flavor engagement. Appetizers offer impactful avenues for upping the menu ante, and brunch Benedicts provide a flavor-building opportunity for introducing a dynamic “fishless” twist on this classic.

Here are nine menu ideas meant to inspire culinary creativity and transform plant-based fish into everyday eats that patrons will crave.



  • Pub Catch: Beer-battered and fried plant-based fish fillet + leaf lettuce + tartar sauce + pretzel sub roll
  • Fire “Fish” Burger: Pan-seared plant-based fish burger + white American cheese + roasted Serrano and habanero chiles + roasted red pepper aïoli + kaiser bun
  • Caribbean “Crabcake” Sandwich: Pan-fried plant-based crabcake + pickled mango + jerk aïoli + brioche bun



  • Mock Crabcake Soup: Roasted yellow tomato soup + sautéed mini plant-based crabcake + basil oil drizzle
  • Crunch “Fish” Enchilada Roll: Fried plant-based crunchy fish finger + white corn tortilla + sour cream sauce + ranchera sauce + Cotija cheese
  • Green Chile-Queso “Crab” Dippers: Pan-seared mini breaded crabcake bites + fire-roasted green chile queso



  • Mini Georgia Peach “Crabcake” Benedict: Buttermilk biscuit + shaved ham + pan-roasted plant-based crabcake + poached egg + peach hollandaise
  • Cali “Fish” Benedict: Fried plant-based breaded fish patty + fresh avocado slices + poached eggs + smoked tomato chutney + classic hollandaise + micro greens
  • Tokyo “Fish” Cake Benedict: Griddled plant-based sesame fish cake + fresh spinach + fried goat cheese medallions + poached eggs + pickled ginger hollandaise + nori chips


Photo Credit: Smithfield Culinary

For a craveable sandwich ideal for morning hours, this Breakfast Burger serves as a meaty counterpoint, offering up brisket, bacon and ham.

GET THE RECIPE FOR Breakfast Burger



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.