Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
January 13, 2022

The discovery of a new ingredient or flavor is what helps keeps culinary passions fresh and alive, and in many cases, helps inspire menu ideation. During many months of unpredictability in foodservice kitchens across the country, the continued exploration of flavor drives innovation, keeping culinary brainpower and skills fine-tuned. Here, chefs share the new flavors they’ve recently discovered or have enjoyed working with over the past year.


Passionfruit

Erin Wade

Erin Wade

I’ve long been obsessed with passionfruit. We make a lime-passionfruit curd for our Lime-Avocado Chia Pudding, and we turned it into a Passion Fruit Bar, which is like a lemon bar but with passionfruit-lime zest curd. The passionfruit curd is just so good. I want it on everything!

Erin Wade, Owner/Founder

Modern General {Feed + Seed}, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.


Black lava salt

Mark Boyton

Mark Boyton

One of the many fun and less traditional ingredients I have been experimenting with is black lava salt. This natural-tasting salt provides an eye-catching, ‘volcanic’ look to our Who’s Who of Yuzu cocktail [with Effen Yuzu Vodka, Roku Japanese Gin, lychee purée, lychee garnish and black lava salt].

Mark Boyton, VP Global Food & Beverage

Puttshack, U.S. locations in Atlanta and Chicago


White BBQ sauce

Stephen Parker

Stephen Parker

I recently began playing around with white barbecue sauces. The tangy flavor is kind of like ranch dressing, and just as addictive. It’s also every bit as versatile. There are many different versions of white barbecue sauce, all of which are really flavorful.

Stephen Parker, Corporate Executive Chef

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, based in New York


Togarashi

Quinn Adkins

Quinn Adkins

I’ve become a bit obsessed with togarashi seasoning. Imagine everything bagel seasoning with a Japanese flair. It’s ridiculously versatile and the various ingredients will become more prominent depending on how it’s used.

Quinn Adkins, Director of Menu Development

Culver’s, based in Prairie du Sac, Wis.


Hibiscus

Michael Schenk

Michael Schenk

One of my most recent flavor discoveries is roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). It’s a young hibiscus plant, with its tender leaves offering a pleasant acidic, citrusy flavor. It gives a simple salad a nice citrus burst, and is loaded with health benefits. The grown plant will then sprout the favorable hibiscus flower, which brings even more opportunities for us to use in our dishes.

Michael Schenk, Culinary and F&B Director

Farmer’s Table, based in Boca Raton, Fla.


Carob

Eran Geffen

Eran Geffen

Carob honey is a new ingredient I am starting to use in our menu items. The process is quite unique: Carob pods are soaked in water until softened, and the syrup is sweetened by its natural flavors. A bonus of carob honey is that it’s vegan.

Eran Geffen, Executive Chef

Cafe Landwer, based in Boston

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