Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

All Grown Up Best of Flavor 2017

Chile-Coffee Rubbed Lamb with roasted carrots, puréed potatoes and mint gastrique
Chris Hammond

Chris Hammond

“Parents can only take so many chicken tenders,” says Chris Hammond, Corporate Food & Beverage Director of Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park and mecca for families, with locations across 13 states.

And although the family-friendly resort has always offered more grown-up fare, like a Cuban sandwich and a wood-fired New York strip steak, dishes like the Chile-Coffee Rubbed Lamb demonstrate an “aging up,” he says.

The lamb dish stars a half rack of Colorado lamb, rubbed with a blend of ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, ground coffee and smoked tomato powder. It’s then wood-grilled and served with roasted carrots, potato purée and finished with a mint gastrique.

“It’s a play on the homey meat and potatoes, but jazzed up a bit,” says Hammond. “The smoked tomato powder balances out the bitterness of the coffee, and adds this great umami element.”

The dish is currently featured at Great Wolf Lodge’s more upscale concept, Barnwood, in the Colorado Springs, Colo., location. Hammond says Barnwood is scheduled to go into the new properties (in Minneapolis and Atlanta). “It’s a farm-to-fork concept with a big focus on local and organic, but still family friendly,” he says.

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