Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Mike Kostyo

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Edgar Castro

Inspired by the enduring popularity of birria, Edgar Castro, Executive Chef of Colibrí Mexican Bistro, which specializes in Central Mexican signatures, set out to craft a showcase for the incredible depth of flavor found in simple ingredients. He begins with chamorro de cordero, or lamb shank, seasoning it with salt and pepper before immersing the meat in a sauce made from Muscat wine, chocolate, cocoa and dry chiles. It marinates for a full 24 hours to soak up the rich flavors before being wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a bain-marie for another four hours. It’s served on an open leaf, a thick layer of the sauce spooned over top. Guests pull the tender lamb directly from the shank bone and craft their own tacos.

“It’s a true labor of love,” says Castro of the multi-day endeavor, noting how the flavors of the lamb, chocolate, cocoa and chiles come together in a combination of sweet, heat and bitter that is hard to find. “The authentic flavor and intricate preparation transport guests to Mexico,” he says. “They love it because it’s not something you find on many menus and is a true representation of seemingly simple yet complex Mexican cuisine.”


About The Author

Mike Kostyo

Mike Kostyo is the VP of Menu Matters, a private consultancy that works with foodservice professionals to analyze, understand and leverage food and beverage, industry and consumer trends. Kostyo has been a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on NBC News, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” For over a decade, he was the resident Trendologist and an Associate Director at Datassential, one of the food industry's leading insights companies. Kostyo has a master’s in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production. He is a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu and can be reached at [email protected].