Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
October 26, 2020

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Five chefs secured spots as finalists in tomorrow’s “Walnuts@Work Live,” a one-of-a-kind virtual cooking competition themed around plant-based menu development. Their on-trend recipes that won over the judges offer a clear roadmap on how to build flavor and texture in plant-based menu offerings.


Hosted by California Walnuts in partnership with Flavor & The Menu, this live, virtual culinary competition takes place TOMORROW, Oct. 26 at 11AM PDT. Watch these five talented chefs engage in pan-to-pan combat. Vote for your favorite and help decide the winner in this fun, lively and INTERACTIVE event. Register now!


Here’s a quick introduction to the five finalists—who they are and a capture of their flavor approaches in these winning plant-based recipes.

Christian Hallowell

Corporate Chef and Manager of Culinary Strategy, Delta Air Lines

Qualifying Recipe
California Walnut and Kale Rollatini

Why Walnuts?
“I love working with California walnuts as an ingredient. They’re simply a wholesome and NUTritious product from nature that offers so many possibilities.”

Plant-Based Flavor Approach:

  • Infused walnut cream with whole-milk ricotta and Parmesan cheese
  • Flavored walnut crumble with cremini mushrooms and lemon zest

Dustin Hilinski

Director of Culinary/Corporate Executive Chef, Red Lobster

Qualifying Recipe
California Walnut & Vegetable Tamales with Chipotle-Walnut Cream

Why Walnuts?
“I enjoy cooking with walnuts because of how versatile they are and the flavor complexity they add to not only sweet dishes, but savory as well.”

Plant-Based Flavor Approach:

  • Replaced the type of fat typically used in tamale dough with raw walnuts
  • Made a chorizo-style walnut crumble as the filling
  • Boosted flavor to the walnut cream with chipotle and lime juice

Jason Heiselman

Executive Chef, Restaurant Associates

Qualifying Recipe
California Walnut Vegetarian Pot Pie

Why Walnuts?
“I love California Walnuts because of their versatility and health benefits.”

Plant-Based Flavor Approach:

  • Made a spicy Italian-style walnut crumble
  • Used walnut cream to make a plant-based velouté

Tracy On

Culinary Manager, Patagonia, Ventura, Calif.

Qualifying Recipe
Corned California Walnut and Beet Hash

Why Walnuts?
“Walnuts are so satisfying and can be versatile in many applications: perfect for my savory—not sweet—tooth!”

Plant-Based Flavor Approach:

  • Leverage raw walnuts to carry flavors in corned spices and to add textural dimension

Jon Severson

Senior Executive Chef, Levy Restaurants for Levi Stadium

Qualifying Recipe
California Walnut Ceviche with Mariquitas

Why Walnuts?
“During the course of this competition, I’ve discovered how versatile California walnuts are as a heart healthy and omega-3 rich plant-based protein. I am excited to include walnuts more regularly on the menus I write for my clients.”

Plant-Based Flavor Approach:

  • Blanched raw walnuts and “marinated” them ceviche-style

Watch the live event and help decide who wins the competition.

Register today!

Walnuts@Work: 10/28 at 11AM PDT

  • Live virtual cooking competition with 5 chefs from across the U.S.
  • Interactive viewer participation and voting
  • Trend-focused discussions with valuable culinary tips
  • Special appearances by top industry movers and shakers
  • And everything you would ever want to know about cooking with California walnuts

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