Nels Storm is the senior culinary director for AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest theatrical exhibitor with more than 1,000 theaters in 16 countries worldwide. He’s charged with delivering innovative food and beverage offerings in a foodservice landscape that’s becoming more competitive in this segment. Standout dishes include the Market Board, with andouille, prosciutto, salami, Jack, Brie, cheddar, fig jam, pretzel crackers and more. Here, Storm shares the flavors and ingredients that provide inspiration in his kitchen.
It’s core to who we are as a company, and such a fun and whimsical ingredient to leverage. We play with this as much as possible, in so many ways. Popcorn ice cream anyone?
Smoke – used responsibly
A well-executed hardwood smoked brisket would be my last meal. The history of smoking meat, which is a core technique in charcuterie, goes back to the cavemen. I thoroughly enjoy the flavor imparted by smoke in the right ways, in long, slow application. Along those lines, a cup of Lapsang souchong will instantly take you back to your first camping trip.
All Things Pig
Big respect for the humble pig. Some of my go-to favorites include, and are certainly not limited to: bacon (American streaky, Canadian peameal, Irish back rasher—I don’t discriminate; all are welcome), speck, guanciale, prosciutto, ’nduja (just now hitting the big time and it is so much fun to work with). It is nigh impossible to replace the salty, fatty richness pork brings—I love everything about it.
Classic French Flavors and Ingredients
With training centered in classic French technique, when I’m looking to throw down, more often than not I mine the annals of gastronomic lore. Along those lines, I’m proud to say our 10-year-old son recently created what may be the best crème brûlée my wife and I have ever had. Hearing him talk about “tempering” and “creating the crème” was unreal. I couldn’t have asked for a more touching moment.
Northern Wild Rice
From the Ojibwe, “manoomin” translates to “food that grows on the water.” My roots in northern Minnesota’s boreal forest made this seed from the North American long-grain marsh grass a mainstay in our kitchen. That’s right: Wild “rice” is actually a marsh grass seed—gluten-free, high in fiber and slightly higher in protein than most true whole grains. It’s versatile, and the rich, earthy notes cannot be beat.