What’s in your kitchen?

Chefs share the trends that are driving their kitchen decisions.

Published in FSD Update

quinoa-salad

Patterson also favors Job’s tears, a Southeast Asian grain that contains about 18% protein. It is also known as hato mugi or Chinese pearl barley.

“The cooked product swells and closely resembles hominy,” he explains. “The flavor is pleasantly nutty and can be used as a side dish or treated like barley and incorporated into a soup.”

Patterson, at Wexner Medical Center, is another chef who believes quinoa is fading. But he agrees that there are plenty of other grains to take its place.

“I think there will be a push for new and exciting unknown grains,” he says. “We’re using bulgur and farro on our new menu, and I think the more we put them in front of customers the more they become normal. I like how most of the grains have a deep, earthy flavor and more texture. They are more filling and satisfying than, say, a pasta.”

Patterson adds that he mixes the grains with berries, mint, cilantro and citrus “to give them a cool visual appeal and a different flavor than people have had before.”

Although Dolan and Patterson may think quinoa is played out, other chefs see a starring role for the Andean grain on their menus.

“We’re focused on quinoa right now,” says Jay Perry, chef de cuisine at Oregon State University, in Corvallis. “We’re incorporating ancient grains into one of our Latin concepts. It is a bowl concept where students have a choice of options, but the bowls are built heavily on vegetables and dried or fresh, seasonal fruit. The bowls have great flavors, great colors, and the vegetables make the grain stand out.”

At Baylor Medical Center of Frisco, in Texas, quinoa also is becoming a grain of choice. Executive Chef Carl Hall says he already uses quinoa in one of his most popular dishes, Quinoa Crusted Crab Cakes, and plans to incorporate the grain into more menu items. “Our biggest challenge will be educating the consumer about the what it is,” Hall says.

Todd Daigneault, executive chef at Overlook Hospital, in Summit, N.J., says quinoa is also his favorite, along with farro.

“Creating stealth health items with these grains is the next exciting food trend, to me,” Daigneault says. “We are incorporating these grains into everyday recipes that people are accustomed to. For example, we do a typical chicken Marsala with a couscous and quinoa blend, and people are introduced to an ancient grain.”

Morrison’s Kraft also is a big fan of farro. “It is wonderful in seasonal salads and is a great addition to salad bars, made-to-order salad applications and grab-and-go offerings,” he says. “We’re also using farro in center-of-the-plate applications, and it is a great grain to use in risotto-type dishes.”

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