Flavor has long taken the starring role in beloved restaurants. And as consumers continue to participate in the quest for the next great meal, we are met with the challenge to surprise them again. But often, it’s not always the newest fad flavor combination that creates a winning meal—it’s the trusted cooking techniques that develop flavor in the cooking process to create fans.
Much of the discovery that fuels today’s consumer interest in food lies in the experience. As we know, the story of the ingredients tends to take the lead, but the technique used isn’t far behind. For instance, at Ekstedt, Chef Niklas Ekstedt is sharing his love for open flame cooking. At his restaurant in Sweden, gas ovens, grills or deep fryers will not be found. Everything that comes out of the kitchen is prepared using live flames in a fire pit. “We wanted to create a place where the emphasis was as much on the process as the end product.” Others are sharing their love through favorite techniques. Chef Dave Swanson of Braise in Milwaukee, prefers braising to create a fall-off-the bone tender cut of meat, regarding it as “a pillar of the culinary world.”
From smoking and braising to pan searing and aging or curing, nothing is off limits. According to Technomic, nearly 25% of consumers say they’re eating cuts of beef that they didn’t eat a year ago, and three in 10 diners say the same of pork cuts. This is in part the result of cooking techniques like slow smoking, braising and Sous Vide that tenderizes tough cuts that are often loaded with natural flavor. The chefs are pulling flavor from the protein, changing texture or adding subtle complexities to the protein.
“When I dine out, I want to indulge on the items that I’m not able to recreate at home.”
The Art & Science
of Great Flavor
Technique brings flavor, romance and indulgence that is the platform for complimentary Flavor Systems.
“I love to try new flavors and cuisines with my friends – the experience is as important as the food.”
Chef Samin Nosrat, of acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant Chez Panisse, has stepped away from the kitchen to bring a cookbook to the masses focused on the art of seasoning properly. In Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, a simple checklist for guiding a dish to a good place is offered. Written for the home chef, the recommended path to a balanced meal starts with proper seasoning and technique.
BBQ is a good example of how technique pairs perfectly with flavor delivered in rubs, sauces and sides. Praised barbecue pitmaster John Lewis knows a thing or two about technique and storytelling. Moving beyond his barbecue roots, Lewis is bringing Tex-Mex to Charleston. Inspired by his childhood in El Paso, Lewis brings his perfected technique for nixtamalizing corn for masa to the menu at Juan Luis.
Capitalizing on the harvest of the season through preserving can lead to an abundance of unique flavors for the menus ahead. Paul Virant, chef/owner of Vie and Vistro outside of Chicago and a partner of Perennial Virant, utilizes canning to turn eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers into relishes to serve alongside cheeses and charcuterie. He also looks to smoking as a step in the creation of his Smoked Apple Butter which he recommends as an ingredient in a smoky aioli or as an addition to a bourbon cocktail.
Today’s consumer seeks flavor. Often that flavor can be added through tried-and-true techniques and seasonings. Get inspired and creative on your menu by checking out our flavor-forward recipe ideas.