Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Author: Monica Kass Rogers

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends Chef Sean Brock reclaims lost ingredients and celebrates local foods at Husk in Charleston, S.C. His marinated cucumber and tomato salad features Charleston blue crab and fresh-from-the-garden radishes. Photo courtesy of husk. Drawing on classic recipes and heritage ingredients, a new breed of chefs reinvigorate regional-American cuisine By Monica Kass Rogers Jonathan Justus left the restaurant he was running in the south of France a few years back to champion local Midwestern cuisine near Kansas City, Mo., where his family’s roots go back 170 years. Working hard to build a small farm, run a...

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Sweet Deals

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends The Palm, marking its 85th anniversary, revitalized desserts to be shareable and fun while retaining old-style flair. These made-to-order mini donuts are tossed and shaken with cinnamon sugar tableside. Photo courtesy of the palm. Whether shareable, seasonal or smaller in size, fun and creative dessert-sales strategies abound By Monica Kass Rogers A server steps up to the table, smartly outfitted in a new version of the original suits worn by The Palm waiters when the concept first opened in New York 85 years ago. With a flourish, he sets down a long white platter...

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The Never-Ending Daypart

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends The new “Triple Happiness” happy hour menu at P.F. Chang’s includes small-plate offerings like Korean street-style tacos with beef, pork and shrimp, providing customers a light meal option and the concept a testing ground for new flavors. Photo courtesy of p.f. Chang’s china bistro. Instead of building lives around mealtimes, consumers are fitting meals around lives in off-peak hours By Monica Kass Rogers A culinary tour of Asian cities has left chef Eric Justice’s mind and mouth full of flavor memories of street snacks available to anyone and everyone late into the night. Hot...

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Classics Reimagined

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends Bistro Niko’s updated Baba au Rhum is made with rum-syrup-soaked brioche instead of the traditional savarin cake and is molded in little timbales rather than a ring. Photo courtesy of bistro niko/buckhead life restaurant group. Favorite desserts never leave the menu; they just reappear in fresh, new forms By Monica Kass Rogers Chefs may get creative with vegetables, crafty with small plates and serious with meat, but for all-out, no-holds-barred play, it’s dessert all the way. Desserts are supposed to be fun, whimsical, wonderful and memorable. They are recess in an increasingly stressful work-a-day...

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Protein Makes Big Plays

Best of FlavorTop 10 Trends Thin-sliced, medium-rare, premium beef is the foundation of the hugely successful Angus Three-Cheese-and-Bacon LTO at Arby’s. Photo courtesy of arby’s. Removing fat, sodium and additives while adding flavor brings a healthy glow to the center of the plate By Monica Kass Rogers As America rebounds from the recession, center-of-the-plate innovation projects that were on hold are now back on chain-restaurant test-kitchen calendars. It’s an exciting time, developmentally. Chicken remains top of the roost, but turkey’s up and coming. Premium-beef burgers with a pedigree haven’t waned, but no-name commodity meats have. Oysters are hot; so...

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