Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Moments of Flavor Tapping nostalgia to create a remarkable flavor experience

Flavor exploration is driven by a thirst for living. Most people push their boundaries at some point in hopes of achieving a remarkable experience. As a food and beverage professional, I believe it is my responsibility to assist in the journey of deliciousness however possible. This is not a time to dictate a customer’s experience, yet, enhance it through observations of what they truly desire. Creating a great flavor experience can be met by perfect pairings of food and beverage but is exponentially elevated by the moment surrounding the experience.

When working with a customer on their food and beverage selections, I think it is important to get to know what they enjoy. Their desires allow me to develop a menu experience by combining what I know of them, what Chef can produce and what wonderful wines I have in inventory. I take this approach in planning large events or simply working the floor in the dining room.

While planning an in home dinner for a charity event, the client mentioned her guests for that evening were great friends that first became acquainted during an outing in Sonoma. She recounted them enjoying copious amounts of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon and discovering small craft cheeses produced locally. They marveled at the quality of beautifully made American cheese and wine. Both categories, to them, being superior when from Europe.

Nearly 20 years after their trip, I entered the event with a wide catalog of vintage Jordan Cabernet Sauvignons and several of my favorite domestic cheese pairs for the wines. For a moment, the room stood still. They all realized they were reliving an updated version of a cherished memory. The energy was electric, the event a success and flavor had caused elation.


About The Author

Nick Philp

Nick Philp has turned the Chicago Columbia Yacht Club into a dining destination that has become one of the city’s signature spots for special events. As general manager of the club he is responsible for all of the club’s food and beverage venues and their catering business. For the club's members, he is part general manager, chef, sommelier, mixologist and cruise director. He is also a gifted mentor for the staff which rarely turns over. He has worked in everything from quick service to fine dining, loves the food business and knows how to delight customers and energize a service team.