Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

September-October 2018

Magazine > September-October 2018

Sept-Oct 2018 Flavor cover

Street level trends part 2 from Gerry Ludwig, Gen Z, ramen, white bread, cheese trends, coffee cocktails, plant inspiration, and much more including our new Flavor ROI section.

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Stories in this Issue

1.Flavor ROI: Down to Earth

In this case study of King + Duke’s foray into veg-forward flavors, Chef E.J. Hodgkinson centers his menu around the red-hot veg-centric trend. For starters, he developed a comforting Hearth Baked Lasagna combining ground beef and mushrooms in a way that delivers on the flavor promise.

2.Cheese to Please

Chefs across the country are taking something inherently craveable and familiar — cheese — and relying on it to elevate a menu item. Infinitely adaptable and universally loved, cheese offers a sound strategy in modern menu development. Here’s what’s hitting creative menus today.

3.On-trend: Tacos 3.0

With tacos, anything goes today. We’re seeing seriously inventive takes on classic proteins, while on the plant-based side, chefs are moving well beyond the perfunctory veggie taco.

4.Deep Impact

Flavor has always been an imperative on menus, but today the expectations are higher than ever. Chefs are outdoing themselves, raising the bar with creative flavor combinations. Access to the global pantry, along with a joyful experimentation in mash-ups, is raising expectations while making flavor possibilities endless. Here are some menu builds that showcase creative components that pack a significant flavor punch.

5.White Wonderland

Chefs are rediscovering the beauty of white bread—how it offers structure but surrenders to textural elements, like fried chicken, tonkatsu and fried bologna. We bring you 5 modern takes on white bread sandwiches.

6.All The Buzz

Together, coffee and tea carry a lot of good menu juju. The cocktail world is plugging in, rewiring some of that buzz into boozy beverage development.

8.Planting 12 Ideas

The veg-centric movement built the road that led to a world of stunning innovation in vegetable cookery. Here are 12 ways into the trend, all serving up creativity and craveability with every delicious forkful.

9.Signature Flavor: Sundae Shift

Exploring the versatility of the avocado, this Sweet Avocado Surrender Sundae stars avocado-mango ice cream, Mexican hot chocolate sauce and chocolate-chipotle avocado doughnut holes.

10.Flavor Trifecta: Timothy Griffin

Timothy Griffin is the director of culinary innovation at Kona Grill, an upscale casual grill based in Scottsdale, Arizona. We asked him to share a flavor trifecta that demonstrates creative, unexpected flavor play.

11.Ramen Phenomenon

Ramen is on the rise, with ramen menu mentions up 46 percent over the last four years. We bring you ways to play with ramen textures, ramen-inspired cocktails, Ramyun, and global ramen mash-ups to inspire.

12.The Next Generation

What does Gen Z represent for restaurant brands, and how are operators strategizing? We took a snapshot to help better understand these younger dining consumers, coloring in the profile of Gen Z while also outlining a few concepts’ savvy approach in making them loyal customers.

13.2018 Trends Tour - Part 2

Gerry Ludwig and his team visited 113 restaurants and tasted 1,107 dishes on their annual street-level trends tour, finding actionable insights that can translate onto today's menus. Here's part two in our series, delivering even more on-trend takeaways.

16.Flavor Find: Grilled Cheese

At San Francisco’s Bluestem Brasserie, the Grilled Cheese and Honey is the ultimate comfort food.

18.Flavor Playlist: Jonathan Rohland

Jonathan Rohland is the culinary director of Bartaco, a “beach-culture inspired” restaurant brand based in Norwalk, Conn., with 15 locations mostly on the East Coast. He shares five flavors that inspire his culinary creativity.

19.2018: The Flavor Experience

The trends, flavors, people, insights, examples, samples, data, tools, ideations, options, opportunities, deep-dives, panels, takeaways and inspirations at this year's Flavor Experience show.