Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Mike Kostyo


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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

Katie Ayoub serves as managing editor of Flavor & The Menu and content strategist for the Flavor Experience, an annual conference geared toward chain operators. She is president of Katie Ayoub & Associates, serving up menu trends expertise, content creation and food & beverage consultancy. Based in Chicago, Katie has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 20 years and part of the Flavor team since 2006. [email protected]