Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Mac Daddy 5 ways to make your mac and cheese stand out

The enduring popularity of mac & cheese makes it a prime menu item for experimentation in different flavors and formats, like these mac & cheese pies

Ric Scicchitano of Food & Drink Resources

Noodles and cheese provide the ultimate canvas for experimentation with trend-forward ingredients, bold flavors and lots of texture. Consider playing up global-inspired riffs, translating a winning flavor system through this familiar platform, or making it into a snack-worthy bite at the bar.

Get inspired with these five innovative mac and cheese menu ideas from managing partner Ric Scicchitano of Food & Drink Resources, a Centennial, Colo.-based consulting agency.

Layered Southern Mac and Cheese Bowl

Mesquite smoked bacon topped with mac and cheese, cooked greens and spicy buttermilk fried onions

Why it works: “It provides a complete Southern comfort meal in a bowl: creamy mac, smoky bacon, bitter greens and a sweet-savory crunch for texture.”

Lump Crab Four-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Sweet lump crab folded into a four-cheese mac topped with Old Bay butter crumbs

Why it works: “Move over lobster mac. Use four cheeses to balance sharpness, creaminess, saltiness and tartness of the lump crab and add Old Bay for a slight crunchy of texture.

Shawarma Mac and Cheese

Lamb shawarma in a creamy yogurt-based mac and cheese topped with za’atar

Why it works: “It combines global comfort foods, taking the heavily spiced shawarma and creamy neutral yogurt-based mac and cheese, topping it with the toasted, tangy flavors of za’atar.”

Mac and Cheese for Octoberfest

Baked creamy mac and cheese with Gruyère, mustard and pretzel crumbs

Why it works: “Combines the common regional flavors of Bavaria with the crunch and color of rustic pretzel croutons, the zing of a stout German mustard, and complements the flavor of Gruyère while cutting into the creaminess of the mac and cheese.”

Breakfast Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese with American cheese, scrambled eggs, crispy julienned bacon and green chiles

Why it works: “This is for the Millennial that was out late, walking down the street to work, eating out of a paper to-go cup. Perfect to combat a night of IPAs or bourbon—fatty, yummy, crunchy and spicy.”

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About The Author


Carly Fisher is an award-winning Brooklyn, N.Y.-based journalist and author whose work has been featured in GQ, CNN, Fodor’s Travel, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur and NBC. She is currently working on her first book through The Countryman Press, due out in 2019. [email protected]