Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Mike Kostyo


Kyle Toland, Director of Operations, Spark, Oklahoma City

“An ingredient I’ve been surprised by is our candied jalapeños. I thought that the sugar would overpower the jalapeño flavor or take away from their heat, but they’re surprisingly well balanced. Candied jalapeños provide the perfect sweet-heat component.”

Toland uses candied jalapeños in two distinct menu items. The Shaka Spark Burger features a 4-oz. beef patty, Swiss cheese, spiced pineapple, lettuce and candied jalapeños, with a “Hang Loose” sauce similar to a teriyaki barbecue sauce. He also features the candied jalapeños (essentially pickled jalapeños sweetened with simple syrup) in the Spark Power Bowl, where a base of quinoa and couscous is tossed in lemon juice and topped with crispy chickpeas, red onion, tomato, almonds, chia seeds and a dollop of avocado hummus.


About The Author


Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.