Packing heat

Customers’ demand for spicy foods brings a wide variety of chiles to menus.

Published in FSD Update

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Customers like foods hot, and operators are turning to chiles for new ways to deliver the heat. The customers at a Bon Appétit B&I account in Folsom, Calif., love spicy food so much that Matt Kurtz, executive chef, had Sous Chef Bobby Georges create their own hot sauces for the café’s condiment station.

“We took it upon ourselves to get a bunch of different chiles, dried and fresh, and play around with them to make a really good variety of super, super hot sauces,” Kurtz says. “We’ve made sauces that I myself find too uncomfortable [to eat].”

Georges says the most popular sauce is called The Four Horseman, which uses the four hottest chiles the department could source from its produce company: habaneros, ghost chiles, serranos and Thai bird chiles.

“We basically just grind the chiles up in a food processor and add some lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper,” Georges says. “The customers seem to love that one. Another one is called After Burner, and for that we fry habaneros with some onion in the oil. Then we blend it with the fry oil and make a really rich, spiced spread.”

The department has made about six versions of hot sauces and it tries to carry at least two at a time. “We keep these hot sauces in their own little area of the condiment station so they don’t get into the other stuff,” he says. “[Customers] use these sauces on anything from burgers to fries to pizza.”

Elsewhere in the café, Kurtz uses chiles in a few other dishes, including the café’s Drowned Burrito.

“We take our normal burrito and drown it in a red serrano chili,” Kurtz says. “It’s a very interesting chili. We get it from a local farmer. Normally you buy green serranos, but this farm lets them overripen, then they pick them and dry them. It’s got a clean heat, but it’s a little on the sweeter side.” The sauce is made with the chiles, onion, garlic and puréed tomato.

Kurtz says the café also does a lot of moles with chiles. A recent version was made from dried ancho chiles, pumpkin seeds, nuts and chocolate, which was served over tilapia. Because chiles pack dishes with lots of flavor, Kurtz says dishes like this one are great for a station where they don’t use salt.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
sam kass peter romeo

We’ve heard it time and again—millennials are extremely conscious about what they eat. They want to know what is in their food, where it is from, how it was made and more. And, as we’re learning, Gen Zers are even more aware and information-demanding about the food they eat than their older counterparts.

Hitting those higher-quality food standards is no easy feat. But it’s becoming a must, said chef Sam Kass—known for being the White House chef for the Obamas, a senior White House policy advisor on nutrition policy while he cooked, and currently the senior food analyst for NBC News...

Sponsored Content
chicken veggies recipes

From Tyson Food Service.

With operators becoming increasingly strapped for time and labor, it’s a strain to prepare every aspect of a menu item back-of-house or keep the menu populated with a variety of options. While it doesn’t mean they have to cut corners when developing new items, operators can use more versatile items that are simple enough to apply across the menu to save on labor and cost as well as be more efficient.

With versatile proteins, operators can increase menu opportunities without kitchen complexity, and drive new customer traffic or increase the number...

Industry News & Opinion

An audit into Kennesaw State University’s dining services revealed the university accrued roughly $2 million from off-campus students paying for meal plans as part of their semester fees, according to a report by Fox 5 Atlanta .

Meal plans at the Kennesaw, Ga., university are automatically assessed to students whether they live on campus or not. The university does not refund unused meals, draining the pockets of commuter students each semester.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we pay all this tuition and then we’re here paying another big fee,” commuter student Emmanuel...

Industry News & Opinion

As part of a 10-year contract to run Eastern Michigan University’s foodservice, Chartwells will invest $5 million in the Ypsilanti, Mich., university, as well as provide it with $18 million in capital improvements, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press .

The university’s board of regents approved the contract on Tuesday, citing the new revenue as an opportunity to expand and improve campus foodservice. EMU’s website indicates the partnership will allow for more student input as well as the introduction of food trucks and improved technology.

“The primary reason...

FSD Resources