Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

On Trends 2017 – Highlights Having tasted 1,197 dishes for the On Trends 2017 research, these were the three dishes that really stood out

Avocado Confit at Destroyer in Los Angeles tops slow-cooked avocado with fried teff and burnt onion powder.

Of the 1,197 dishes tasted during this year’s research for the On Trends 2017 feature, the team’s favorite was the Avocado Confit served by chef Jordan Kahn at his Los Angeles breakfast-and-lunch spot Destroyer. Kahn slow-cooks avocado halves in olive oil, tops them with a crunchy coating of fried teff and burnt onion powder, and serves them in a pool of the cooking oil with toasted bread. While avocado in its natural state is delicate and creamy, this cooking method produces a wonderfully unctuous texture that is close to softened butter.

While we have encountered many meat dishes featuring liquor-based roasting and grilling glazes, Andrew Brochu, executive chef of Chicago’s Roister, takes the concept a step further by creating a glaze made from the Dark & Stormy cocktail. Brochu reduces a combination of dark rum, ginger beer and fresh lime juice and brushes it on braised pork butt, which he serves on a bed of red peas and tops with chopped fried pecans.

BeefBelly, a new fast-casual concept in Chicago, is turning the classic Chicago Italian Beef sandwich on its ear, serving globally mashed-up versions that retain the classic shaved beef/au jus/Italian roll elements but are spiked with flavoring ingredients such as chipotle, sambal oelek, Dijon mustard and red wine demi-glace. All of these variations work wonderfully and could make unique additions to a wide variety of sandwich menus.


BeefBelly in Chicago updates the Italian Beef sandwich with global flavorsGerry Ludwig | Flavor & The Menu

BeefBelly in Chicago updates the Italian Beef sandwich with global flavors


About The Author


Gerry Ludwig is a nationally recognized food writer, speaker and trend tracker, and leads the Culinary R&D department at Gordon Food Service, based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Using a proprietary street-level research method as his exclusive data source, Gerry and his team create trends-based menu solutions that are executed at the operator level by the company’s team of culinary specialists. Gerry is a contributing writer for Flavor & The Menu and conducts seminars and workshops at numerous industry events in both the United States and abroad, and oversees customer-facing restaurant research tours in major cities throughout the United States.