Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Big Ideas For Condiments Rob Corliss, chef/founder of the consulting firm All Things Epicurean, offers menu strategies on how to leverage a few of today’s trending flavor themes using America’s favorite condiments.

Mustard Mania

  • Add simple yet complementary additions to mustard, like crumbles of creamy cheese or assertive flavors like garlic, charred radicchio or watermelon radish.
  • Use mustard to make the signature Italian specialty called mostarda (preserved fruit with mustard and seasonings) and toss with chicken wings or serve with meats. It’s sweet, spicy and savory all in one, and can be puréed or served rustic and chunky.
  • Combine mustard with toasted bread crumbs and fresh herbs, then rub on steak, pork chops, chicken breast or salmon fillets during grilling or roasting for a warm undertone of flavor.
Hot Honey
  • Blend “hot honey” into a Pommeray grain mustard to create a “hot honey mustard” and use as a spread on breakfast biscuits or cornbread.
Floral Flavor
  • Blend floral notes of lavender, honeysuckle or lychee into your favorite mustard to create an elegant depth of flavor.

Ketchup is King

  • Mix ground red miso and a touch of tamari into traditional ketchup and use as a basting glaze on meats.
Modern Burger
  • Mix ketchup with a housemade stout beer-bacon jam to create a craveworthy burger topping.
  • Blend chaga mushrooms into ketchup to give additional depth to burgers. This plays into the blended burger trend, where equal parts of ground beef and cooked ground mushrooms are blended and formed into patties. Use that equity in ketchup on a 100 percent beef burger, blended burger or plant-based burger.
Loaded Fries
  • Mix ketchup with Madras curry powder, ground turmeric, pink peppercorns, mango powder, red pepper flakes and caramelized onions and use as a drizzle on sauce over fries.

Mayo Magic

  • Feature smoked mayonnaise as a signature spread on burger buns, sandwiches, tacos and more. Add smoked paprika (or other smoked spices or herbs) to mayonnaise to achieve the effect.
Seaweed & Algae
  • Blend ground spirulina and pickled ginger into mayonnaise, then use as a dip for a tempura vegetables appetizer.
  • Use a mayonnaise based, high-flavored sauce (like a mayo and red miso mixture) as a creamy finishing drizzle over fresh poke to add a contrasting depth and richness to the bright and light flavors.
  • Using flavored mayonnaise (with cilantro and lime juice) is a must when executing grilled corn on the cob. Slather the flavored mayonnaise on grilled or charred corn on the cob, then roll in queso fresco crumbles and sprinkle with a chile salt.

Beautiful Butters

  • Blend fresh and/or dried fruits or fruit preserves into whipped unsalted butter and use as a flavoring for pancakes, waffles and signature breakfast or brunch items.
Bold Flavor
  • Mix melted butter with mustard, horseradish, grilled lemon juice, garlic, smoked paprika and scallions and serve as a dipping sauce for steak or grilled meats, or toss with chicken wings.
  • Mix cacao nibs, fine coffee grounds and cracked peppercorns into unsalted butter and use as a flavoring for steak.
Brown Butter
  • Use browned butter to cook fried eggs to be used on burgers, sandwiches and tacos for depth and character.
  • Use browned or flavored butter (mixed with spices) to make crispy whole chickpeas for a crunchy bar snack.
  • Use a browned or flavored butter heated with capers, tomatoes and herbs for an easy pasta sauce.


From the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.


About The Author


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.