Making bacon at Microsoft
In order to add a signature spin to its menu, the team at Microsoft Dining, in Redmond, Wash., has brought home the bacon—its own bacon, that is. “For our Signature Bacon program, we actually developed these recipes ourselves and now have Hempler Smoke House, [a local proprietor], smoke the pork belly for us utilizing local pork from Pendleton, Ore., and Sumner, Ore.,” explains Joshua Scott, executive chef.
The locally cured bacon is delivered to the Microsoft campus, where the dining services team, which is managed by Compass Group, adds more spices and flavors to create seasonally inspired signature bacon creations like Jamaican Maple Ghost Chili Bacon in the winter, Cinnamon Chipotle Bacon in the spring, Honey Habanero Bacon in the summer and Asian 5 Spice & Honey Bacon in the fall. Pepper Bacon is available year-round.
“The advantages of us purchasing our bacon this way, besides the unique flavors, is that it shows up as whole slab bacon so we can slice the bacon as thin or thick as we want it,” Scott explains.
Scott and his team use the bacon varieties in unique ways for regular service and at special events. “We have a small-bite program in one of our espresso cases at Café 31 that features a bacon lollipop utilizing the Asian 5 Spice & Honey Bacon that is rendered in its own fat for an hour and then candied in maple syrup and brown sugar,” he says. He’s also created a bacon and Captain Crunch-crusted chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and roasted garlic, which is deep-fried and served with a local fruit chutney. For special events the team creates bacon cups, including a Cinnamon Chipotle version that holds a beef patty topped with shredded romaine, cilantro cream, pico de gallo and fried tortilla strips. And for dessert? Chocolate-dipped cinnamon chipotle bacon and chocolate-dipped bacon-crusted strawberries.