Asian food can go far beyond the foldable takeout boxes and chopsticks so often associated with Chinese food delivery. Asian gourmet is being spotted on more and more restaurant menus, as the culinary world and consumers become aware of the intense, complex flavors it offers. Asian food or Asian-inspired dishes can have a place on restaurant menus at almost any type of venue. It’s not only the typical Chinese and Japanese dishes that America has come to know so well, but Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian cuisines are becoming front and center as well. Many of the dishes lend themselves to beautiful plating too, being composed of ingredients with varying textures, colors, and aromas.
Building Asian Gourmet Dishes
Though staples of Chinese food delivery such as eggrolls can be a great place to start when building an Asian gourmet menu, or even simply one dish, chefs should not limit themselves and should expand their culinary knowledge of Asian ingredients. Asian food usually includes components that satisfy the five tastes, stimulating every type of taste bud. Sour rice vinegar and lime, sweet mirin and brown sugar, salty soy sauce
It’s not good to drink on an empty stomach. This mantra has been repeated over and over again, most likely to every person exposed to alcohol in any way. For bars, this rule is a great reason to offer food in addition to wine, beer, cocktails, and other beverages. Bar food can be a great platform of experimentation for chefs, and a great way to raise profits for businesses. In order to maximize sales, bar businesses should draft the menus in a different way than typical restaurant menus. If the venue is mainly a bar, smaller dishes will complement the different types of beverages, while drawing customers’ eyes with the tapas-style concept.
Complementing the Beverages
Bar food is usually salty, playing on the idea that if customers consume salty foods along with alcohol, they will be thirsty, and order more drinks. There tends to be a stereotype that bite-sized, fried, carbohydrate-heavy foods are the best kinds to serve in bars. Though this may not always be the best approach, there is no doubt that savory food is usually more closely associated with bar food than sweets. Including dishes that can be complemented by the drinks offered on the bar menu, will help improve sales of bar food. For example, having a cheese and fruit plate may be attractive to some as an accompaniment to a glass of wine. Dehydrated chicken skin chips or bite-sized popcorn chicken, on the other hand, will be a great snack to go alongside a mug of beer. Cocktails can go great with layered salads or soups served in small glasses, or bite-sized gourmet sandwiches. Think about complementing the flavors and mouth-feel of the drinks with the bar food, to make the best pairing available on the menu. By offering bar food for every type of customer and every kind of drink on the menu, bars can increase their sales.
Food and drink pairings are subjects of debates, culinary experiments,
Cauliflower is probably not the first vegetable that comes to mind when thinking of gourmet meals. Some people will cringe at the idea of having cauliflower in their meals at all. Various volatile flavor compounds are to blame for the sometimes sulfuric smell that cauliflower has during cooking. However, for those whole like cauliflower, this vegetable can be incorporated gracefully into elegant dishes, while adding positive health benefits. Cauliflower has almost no fat and cholesterol, is low in calories, and contains vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals. It is also considered an anti-inflammatory. Such health benefits, along with its many flavors and textures based on cooking techniques used to prepare it, make cauliflower a great vegetable for incorporating into restaurant menus.
Cooking Cauliflower for Restaurant Menus
Believe it or not, cauliflower can have a place on even the most gourmet restaurant menus. Not only is pureed cauliflower with roasted garlic a delicious, unique replacement for mashed potatoes, it also has health benefits which place the dish in line with current culinary trends of healthy eating. Even Alinea found a place for cauliflower on its menu, with a cauliflower velouté garnished with five pieces of cauliflower each covered with a
Comfort foods will always be popular. Even in today’s world, with an emphasis on gourmet and an increasing amount of consumers developing sophisticated palettes, comfort foods are guaranteed to sell. Converting comfort foods into gourmet dishes takes plating skills and a bit of imagination. Changes, small or big, can be made to reconstruct these dishes into modern masterpieces.
The Importance of Food Presentation
Food presentation is the key to making food seem fancy and gourmet, no matter the ingredients. Of course, flavor is a defining factor in a dish’s success, but the presentation can have a huge effect on the diner’s impression of a dish as well. A study in Appetite, an international research journal, concluded that neater presentation of food hinted at more care and effort put into the dish by the preparer, as well as a higher quality venue. In addition, the study showed that people were willing to pay more for those dishes, when compared to a messy plating style. Turning food into an artistic masterpiece is something any restaurant can achieve, but requires large time investments for planning the plate construction. Inspiration can be obtained by dining at other venues or browsing cookbooks and websites. Careful food presentation may also require purchasing unique plates to complement the dishes, as well as extended training of new staff to ensure the dishes on the restaurant menus can be prepared and plated at a
Consumers are going nuts over health fads and nutrition-related culinary trends. As the public’s awareness of healthy foods pulls away from low-fat trends towards super-foods with health benefits, nuts are gaining favor. Nuts are typically high in unsaturated fats and essential omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins, minerals, and protein. They have been shown to reduce LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, which is linked to cardiovascular disease and other health complications. Beyond that, though, nuts are prized in the culinary world for their richness and versatility, making them a culinary trend we can expect to see growing on restaurant menus.
How to Incorporate Nuts
Restaurants with healthy foods may choose to incorporate nuts, along with other healthy fats, into restaurant menus, because of their rich taste and ability to satisfy hunger. Healthy fats have been associated with higher satiety levels in diners, according to numerous studies. Therefore, adding nuts to salads can make healthy food more satisfying for customers. Nuts can be added to salads, blended into sauces and marinades to thicken, and used in desserts, among other applications. Pesto, pecan pie, and salad with blue cheese, poached pears, and caramelized nuts, are some of the most famous dishes which use nuts. However, creative chefs and cooks can find a multitude of other uses for wholesale nuts.
Fitting Nuts Into the Budget
Nuts can be very pricey, for a variety of reasons, including the required growth conditions and processing to make them edible. Some nut varieties are highly dangerous to health without proper processing. For example, fresh almonds contain traces of cyanide, a deadly poison. California provides about 80% of the world’s almonds. However, drought and the bee crisis are making almonds harder to come by and afford. The strict environmental requirements, along with
2014 has seen a significant increase in food prices so far, affecting both the home consumer and food businesses. Drought in California has affected farmers as well as cattle herders, leading to food prices rising across the country. Raising cattle has become more expensive as water and grain prices rise. The higher prices of raising cattle have made it extremely difficult to buy meat at the price it once was. A recent article from CNN claims that beef prices have risen 56% since 2010. Such drastic changes in the numbers have a direct effect on food businesses, who must respond by finding beef alternatives or raising prices. Quite a few businesses have already found creative solutions designed to keep profits up, while keeping customers satisfied.
Balancing Beef Options on Restaurant Menus
The most obvious solution to the rising beef price per pound is to replace some of the beef options on restaurant menus. Since beef is a consumer staple, restaurants should be wary about completely eliminating it from the menu. However, adding more alternative protein options such as vegetarian entrées, or other meats such as chicken, can lower the overall menu food costs. Reducing portion sizes of beef dishes is another cost-shaving option. However, in this case, businesses must ensure that customers are not disappointed with smaller amounts of food on the plate. Adding creative, gourmet, homemade side dishes containing more affordable ingredients can fill in the gap where extra beef had been. For example,
Menu innovation is the best way to improve the reputation of a venue, keep cooks interested in their jobs, and create restaurant menu ideas that will become the next bestsellers. Whether inspired by the latest culinary trends, or unusual flavor combinations, unique flavors on restaurant menus are daring additions which can lead to high rewards. Food business owners must have full confidence in their kitchen staff in order to allow them to freely go with their creative cooking ideas. However, by seasonally drafting new restaurant menus inspired by fresh produce, with unique flavors and food presentation in mind, businesses can create interesting meals that will make their venue stand out.
Finding Creative Cooking Ideas
Inspiration for restaurant menu ideas can come from a variety of sources. Putting twists on culinary trends, creating unusual flavor combinations from local ingredients, and reinventing ideas learned from other chefs, can create roots for dishes that can be improved and developed into bestselling menu items. The most unique restaurants around the world are famous either for their restaurant concept or innovative menus, proving the importance of investing time and energy into planning the best menu possible. Of course, businesses know the typical dishes that are popular in their
Sourdough starter is the key to how to make sourdough bread. The sour flavor of sourdough bread varies from bakery to bakery, thanks to the starter. Making sourdough starter takes little time commitment and has the potential to expand the fresh baked section of a restaurant or bakery with interesting flavors, unique to the venue. The flavor of the starter will depend on the environment in which the business is found, as well as the sourdough starter recipe. Though some bread baking enthusiasts are disappointed, at first, by the flavor of fresh baked bread made with their sourdough starter, by experimenting with different sourdough starter recipes and storage conditions, most can create delicious bread.
The Right Sourdough Starter Recipe
The right sourdough starter recipe will depend on the taste preferences of cooks and customers and environment of the place it is being prepared. Sometimes it can take a lot of experimentation for a cook to come up with his/her ideal sourdough starter recipe. A sourdough starter recipe always includes flour and water as the basic ingredients. Flour and water, and even air, can be sources of yeast for starters. Starters rise because of the presence of yeast, microorganisms which break down the flour as a source of energy and produce carbon dioxide which causes dough and starters to rise, along with lactic and acetic acid which give the dough its
Pesto sauce and caprese salad are probably the foods that come to mind most often when one thinks of basil. However, the applications for basil leaves in the kitchen are unlimited. Basil can be easily grown in a restaurant garden and added to dishes to provide unusual flavor combinations and health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Basil
Basil is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, essential minerals such as iron and manganese, and plenty of antioxidant compounds. Like most herbs, it is also low in calories and fat, making it attractive to health-conscious diners. Aside from the health benefits of basil, it’s relatively easy to grow as well, boosting the restaurant garden as well as the menu.
Growing a Basil Plant
Growing herbs can be challenging and time consuming, depending on the size of the restaurant garden and the types of herbs being grown. However, the basil plant is relatively resistant to weather and watering conditions, making it easier to grow than many other types of herbs. Additionally, since it repels bugs, it can greatly improve the customer dining experience during outdoor dining. Some flowers, herbs, and trees attract insects. This not only makes the restaurant garden dining experience less pleasant, but also makes growing herbs and other plants aesthetically, very difficult. Growing basil can help repel insects in the area, making it
There is nothing like a hot, fresh baked brioche in the morning. Morning is arguably the busiest selling time for fresh baked pastries, making it crucial for cafés, bakeries, and other venues to make sure they have a supply available for purchase at opening time. Inconveniently for bakers, artisan foods such as pastries tend to stale relatively quickly compared to industrial brand pastries. Their lack of preservatives and other stabilizing ingredients make them susceptible to the wear of time. However, difference in quality between homemade food and industrially-bought foods is usually recognizable. Therefore, it is usually very worthwhile for businesses, whether a bakery or just a restaurant bakery, to find a way to make fresh baked pastries available at their venue at all times.
Pre-made Pastry Dough
The process for how to make pastry dough is often long and time-consuming, depending on the type of pastry. While breads usually require short rising times, products like crepes usually rest for a few hours before frying, and croissants require refrigeration and rest times between each step of folding in butter. If the cooks at a venue do not know how to make pastry dough, the result of all the time investment may not even be presentable for sale. However, for hotels, restaurant bakeries, and other bakery venues with employees who know how to make pastry dough, having fresh baked pastries for sale can lead to a significant boost in morning sales. These venues can prepare the pastry dough in advance and store it in the freezer, baking fresh pastries as needed. By having a supply of pastries in the freezer, if sales are high, the cooks or bakers can easily defrost some more for baking and sale later in the day. Other venues may choose to purchase the pastries already shaped and frozen, requiring baking only.