Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
March 15, 2023

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No need to re-invent the culinary wheel when working with mustard, as it’s a true superhero ingredient. Mustard applications have vast menu potential, especially considering the range of mild to strong flavors to work with when creating on-trend recipes.

Menu developers can straddle the line between tried-and-true favorites and new-fangled creations. Timber Kitchen and Bar in Bangor, Maine, demonstrates the irresistibility of classics with their brunch Sunday Roast of carved bourbon-glazed baked ham with maple mustard. The Bindery in Denver pushes boundaries and dials up the unexpected with a brunch Dutch baby pancake called the Bad Baby. It delights expectations with Gruyère, ham and mustard gelato.

Here are two approaches that offer menu-ready flavor discovery leveraging mustard.


The interplay of mustard with other ingredients can tweak flavor profiles in exciting ways. Simple yet bold one-ingredient mustard additions create a clean flavor dynamic that pulls a dish together and grabs menu attention. Create a signature statement with mustard kicked up with a strategic flavor partner, whether it’s a mainstream or emerging flavor.


  • Chiles, hot sauces, pastes or powders
  • Tequila or mezcal
  • Chimichurri (green or red)


  • Double Cut Berkshire Pork Chop: Kohlrabi slaw, Asian pear, soy mustard —Southbound, Charleston, S.C.
  • Blondette Burger: Smoked cheddar, duck fat, tarragon mustard, brioche — Blondette, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Pigs In A Blanket with violet whole grain mustard — Roshambo, Atlanta
  • Deluxe Chop-Chop: Chopped chicken breast, lettuce and tomatoes served over yellow rice, mutard and curry signature sauce — Chicken Kitchen, Miami


Mustard offers an easy pathway to the sweet-heat trend. Honey mustard and maple mustard stand the test of time, providing a beautiful complement to savory and spicy flavors. Utilize both to ground contemporary tastes in a familiar feeling.


  • Date syrup
  • Okinawan black sugar, crushed
  • Apple or roasted sweet potato butter


  • BBQ Brisket On a Pretzel Roll: 14-hour barbecue beef brisket with sweet chile hickory glaze, slaw, banana peppers, spicy honey mustard barbecue sauce on a locally made pretzel bun — The Stand, based in Encino, Calif.
  • French Onion Grilled Cheese: Caramelized onion, Gruyère cheese, maple mustard, add bacon — Insula, Ely, Minn.
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich: Two buttermilk-marinated chicken breasts with pepper-Jack cheese, jalapeño-honey mustard, lettuce and tomato — Good Friend, Dallas
  • Sodduk Skewer (Korean street food): Flash-fried rice cake with pork sausage smothered with gochujang sauce and honey mustard drizzle — The Bite Of Korea, Tucker, Ga.


Photo Credit: Smithfield Culinary

These Reuben Egg Rolls are paired with a memorable dipping sauce, made simply by combining Chinese hot mustard with yellow mustard.


About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.