Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Rob Corliss
October 16, 2020

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The soup category is a broad platform open to an array of enticing flavors throughout the year. This creates opportunities for chefs to apply their skillful artistry, pairing the inherent comfort aspects of soup with approachable premium cues of fermentation. Much like how many soups benefit from a pop of sour notes, utilize fermented/pickled ingredients to heighten bright, savory or earthy tastes. Operators can capitalize on both fermented and plant-based trends, and upsell soup with these complementary flavors and textures.

Our “try-this” inspiration focuses on elevating familiar soup offerings by maximizing three trending fermented/pickled ingredient categories: miso; yogurt/kefir sour cream; and pickled fruit/vegetables.



  • Miso Egg Drop Soup: Red miso broth swirled with whisked egg, then loaded with bites of tofu, wakame and sliced scallion
  • Japanese Onion Soup: Classic French onion soup (with ½ beef broth/red miso broth), topped with toasted milk bread and melted Gruyère cheese with a sprinkling of togarashi
  • Ground Chicken Noodle Miso Soup: White miso chicken broth, seared ground chicken crumbles, egg noodles with bites of celery, carrots and onion
  • Detox Minestrone: White miso-tomato broth loaded with white beans, red quinoa, shredded kale, butternut squash and crisped pancetta, topped with shaved Asiago cheese


  • Mulligatawny Soup: Masala-spiced yellow lentil and apple soup topped with a swirl of salted yogurt (Greek yogurt/buttermilk/sea salt)
  • Roasted Vegetable Soup: A silky-smooth blend of roasted tomato and roasted root vegetables, topped with a swirl of sumac yogurt
  • Mushroom Bisque: Sautéed cremini and shiitake mushrooms, onions/garlic, seasonings and cream topped with a dollop of herbed kefir sour cream and crispy shallots
  • Borscht: Light and savory shredded roasted beet and cabbage/carrot soup topped with a swirl of kefir sour cream and fresh dill


  • Summer Gazpacho: Chilled yellow and green tomato gazpacho with avocado and pickled watermelon, topped with lump crabmeat
  • Holiday Soup: Gingered sweet potato soup topped with preserved lemon slivers and pickled pears
  • Tortilla Soup: Chicken bone broth topped with crispy tortilla strips, chunks of roasted chicken, black beans, fresh cilantro leaves, Jack cheese crumbles and pickled chile trio
  • Cauliflower Bisque: Creamy cauliflower/celeriac bisque topped with crunchy ciabatta croutons and pickled celery slices


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.