Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

 

 

 

By Katie Ayoub
December 10, 2020

 

Chefs continue to explore menu opportunities that leverage the popularity of artisanal toast. Today, that opportunity includes the versatility of a menu item that can make a seamless transition from an in-restaurant experience to one at home. “In off-premise, toasts provide customers with an interactive build-your-own experience,” says chef Adam Moore on behalf of the California Table Grape Commission.

Toasts remain on trend, thanks to a steady stream of innovation and an inviting, familiar composition—from the ever-popular avocado toast and its many iterations to the influx of Aussie-inspired all-day breakfast toast. Moore worked up three beautiful offerings inspired by Danish smørrebrød, each with a distinct menu narrative that demonstrates modern flavor building.

Fresh grapes provide the through line in the trio, without serving up a repetitive profile. “By modifying the prep of the grapes, you provide diners with wonderful pops of flavor and texture,” says Moore. “Grapes can complement or contrast just about any sweet or savory ingredient combination.”

BLUE CHEESE & PICKLED GRAPE JAM TOAST
Features a jam that sees a base of dark fruit preserves combined with black grapes pickled in apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. “The sweet-tart pickled grapes and the flavors of the stewed fruit provide an excellent counterbalance to the cheese that makes your mouth water, yet isn’t overbearingly sweet,” he says.

WAGYU BRISKET & SMOKED GRAPES TOAST
Features brioche topped with pimento, chunks of brisket, braised leeks and mirepoix, and finished with smoked and blistered grapes.

CRAB & CALIFORNIA GRAPE SALSA TOAST
Uses rye as a foundation, topping that with an umami-rich black garlic rémoulade, lump crab, grape salsa, lemon zest and micro greens. “The salsa is sweet, salty, spicy, hot, smoky, bright and colorful,” he says. “The gentle sweetness of the green and red grapes are a perfect pairing with the spiciness of the tomatillo salsa.”

 

About The Author

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Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.