Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
March 3, 2020

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Using the familiarity of fries as a foundation opens the door to flavors south of the border, as well as those that are far-flung and more exotic. Rob Corliss, founder of All Things Epicurean (ATE), a consulting firm based in Nixa, Mo., suggests five ways to tap into the flavors of global hotspots using fries as the platform.

1 Mexican

This well-established cuisine is a perennial menu favorite. Its flagship ingredients move easily into a loaded fries platform. Opportunity is particularly rich when looking at street food forms and slow-cooked meats.

Elote & Carnitas Fries: Steak cut fries + carnitas + charred chipotle corn kernels + queso fresco crumbles + warm salsa verde + fresh pico + cilantro-lime aïoli.

2 Eastern Med

The vast appeal of this region is influencing all aspects of menus. Applying its bold and bright flavors to loaded fries creates intrigue and craveability, targeted at sparking the interest of adventurous palates.

Loaded Za’atar Fries: Za’atar-dusted sweet potato fries + crispy pita strips + feta + roasted eggplant + pomegranate seeds + harissa ketchup + tahini drizzle.

3 Balkan

Benefiting from its close proximity to the Eastern Med, this emerging regional cuisine is primed for successful menu integrations. Heighten the satiating qualities of loaded fries with the rustic craveability of Balkan culinary stars, like kajmak (creamy cheese), ajvar (red pepper condiment) and cevapi (grilled sausage).

Balkan Fries: Waffle fries seasoned with sea salt, dried savory and sweet paprika + chunks of braised beef stew + caramelized onions + dollops of kajmak + ajvar.

4 Japanese

The culinary buzz generated around the upcoming Summer Olympic Games will have guests Googling top-trending Japanese foods. Leverage this curiosity for welcome menu differentiation. A safe bet is okonomiyaki, that savory cabbage pancake already garnering attention on menus here.

Okonomiyaki Fries: Thin-cut fries tossed with bonito flakes and sesame seeds + pork belly + fried egg + shredded, seared napa cabbage + nori strips + okonomiyaki sauce + Kewpie mayo + sweet soy glaze.

5 Aussie

The casual culture of up-and-coming Australian fare evokes a sense of fun and adventure that can be easily translated in the comfort of loaded fries. Position this playfulness via a brunch feature that transports guests with a lavish feast of “beach cookout” flavors.

Aussie Fries: Salted beer-battered fries + lamb sausage slices + garlic-butter prawns + griddled halloumi + bits of avocado + cherry tomato relish.

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.