Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
July 6, 2020

Farley Kaiser photo

FARLEY KAISER
Corporate Executive Chef
Wawa

Kitchen Collaborative is a recipe-development initiative formed by Summit F&B and Flavor & The Menu. To fuel flavor innovation, a group of talented chefs partnered with sponsor brands and commodity boards to create recipes that showcase the passion and potential of our industry.

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: FARLEY KAISER

Farley Kaiser, Corporate Executive Chef of Wawa, the East Coast-based convenience store chain, went in two distinct directions with her two recipes, aiming at warming comfort with one and showcasing global ingredient combinations with another. Both evoke powerful food descriptors that promise a memorable flavor experience for diners. She describes the former, a Hatch Green Chile and Bush’s Hominy Gratin, as creamy, nutty, cheesy and earthy. And when talking through her approach to the Indonesian Spicy Mango Pork Skewers, she uses descriptors like aromatic, tangy, toasted and tropical.

Hatch Green Chile and Bush’s Hominy Gratin

Hatch Green Chile and Bushs Hominy GratinPhotography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

Gratins, of course, conjure up comfort. Kaiser chooses hominy as the foundation for her gratin, then builds flavor with roasted Hatch green chile and sautéed garlic. She adds flour, making a roux, and continues with chicken stock and whole milk. After combining the roux with Monterey Jack, she pours it over the hominy, adds more cheese and bakes until bubbly and brown. “When roasted, the Hatch green chile has a smoky, up-front flavor with a perfect balance of flame-roasted caramelization and spice,” says Kaiser. “Hatch was the ideal partner for the nutty and earthy flavor of the Bush’s hominy and the indulgence of the melted cheese.” Gratins like this one, she says, are well suited for takeout. “It is the ideal dish for delivery because the ingredients baked into a cheesy crust hold in the heat and maintain the texture of hominy for longer periods of time,” she says. “It remains creamy without drying out over time.”

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Indonesian Spicy Mango Pork Skewers

Indonesian Spicy Mango Pork Skewers photoPhotography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

So many flavors are at play in Kaiser’s Indonesian-inspired marinade for pork loin in this recipe: lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, sambal, peanuts, coriander, nutmeg, turmeric and scallions—rounded out with melted butter. “Tradition and culture are very much a part of Indonesian cuisine with practices of combining spice mixes to develop intricate flavors highlighting historical influences from many surrounding geographical areas,” she says. “Turmeric is often paired with a warm spice such as toasted coriander, as it is in this dish, to bring out its mildly aromatic fragrance and bitter flavor. The sambal has the perfect amount of heat and tanginess to balance with the sweet mango featured in the skewers. Peanuts are not only a salty topical addition for flavor, but the crunchy texture adds a level of depth to each bite.” The grilled skewers feature pork, ripe mango, multi-colored bell pepper and red onion. “Mangos, at their perfect ripeness, offer more than just a sweet addition to this dish,” says Kaiser. “They have a floral taste that is reminiscent of tropical flavors and the texture is almost creamy rather than crunchy.” She suggests a few alternate profiles for this ingredient combination. “The skewers could easily be transformed into a rice or grain bowl feature, topped with pickled red onion and cilantro,” she says. “The ingredients could also be scooped into fresh lettuce leaves and secured into foil for a portable wrap.”

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Project Management: Summit F&B
Photography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

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