Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
April 5, 2020

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Mo L’Esperance tends to lean toward Mexican, Mediterranean and American flavor influences when working with seafood. “Because seafood is a part of so many cultures, it is hard to narrow down favorite flavors,” she says. But both seafood and “place” are recurring themes in her creative culinary process. For example, the northern California coast serves as the muse for a new scallop dish paired with lentils, chanterelles, escarole and a caviar beurre blanc. “I live in one of the most beautiful places in California, with redwood forests lining the coast. The inspiration for this dish is essentially bringing those two elements together on the plate.”

Simplicity is key to her approach with seafood. “We try to highlight the natural nuances of the fish and not mask it. When we take the time to vet the producers, the product is able to speak for itself,” she says. A chef on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, L’Esperance only sources from fisheries and farmers that “care as much as we care about how products are handled in our kitchen.” She encourages all chefs to use the platform provided by their culinary position to take action, educating themselves, their staff and their guests to understand how seafood is sourced and best practices for both farmed and wild-caught producers. “Your dollars go a long way in ensuring underwater ecosystems have a chance to revive and thrive.”

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