Chef Q&A

Asian Bowls

Q: Asian bowls are hot! From ramen, to pho, to rice bowls, produce-packed recipes are being seen on all types of menus. What’s in your favorite bowls?

I love a complex broth and crave perfectly chewy noodles,  so ramen is my go-to Asian bowl. The latest challenge has been to serve a vegetarian/vegan broth that is worthy of the best pork stocks out there. I start with an array of wild mushrooms to give the base plenty of umami—try roasting and mincing before starting for increased flavor. I stew Shiitakes, Porcinis, and white mushrooms with kombu (seaweed), onions, garlic, mirin, and soy sauce until it is a dark, rich color. Once it’s cooked down, I add my noodles (thick or thin, take your pick), and load the top with fried tofu, roasted Kabocha squash, baby bok choy, green onions, and a soft-boiled egg.

Chef: Vic Vegas
Chef Vic Vegas, Nicholas & Company

Winter Salads

Q: Winter salads are heartier and use different ingredients such as ancient grains, root vegetables, and nuts. What is your favorite seasonal salad?

I toss heartier lettuces like romaine, radicchio, or kale with wine and butter-roasted Shiitakes and toasted farro. The lettuce adds crunch, the mushrooms add umami, and the farro gives the salad a toasty, nutty flavor.

Chef: Vic Vegas
Chef Vic Vegas, Nicholas & Company

Using Late Fall Leafy Greens

Q: Late fall leafy greens can add color, nutrients, and bold flavor to a variety of menu items. Which do you use and how?

I’m a fan of root to stem cooking, that’s why I choose beet greens for the fall. I braise chopped tops, while roasting the root veg bottoms until tender. I serve the sliced red and gold beets on top of the greens topped with smoked labneh.

Chef: Vic Vegas
Chef Vic Vegas, Nicholas & Company

Holiday Vegetable Sides

Q: The holiday season is approaching…what are your favorite vegetable side dishes? How do you modernize the classics?

Root squashes are a classic side dish going back to the early days of the Americas. Rather than just roasting with butter and maple, I like to glaze with global flavors such as miso, gochujang, or xo sauce. If it’s a sophisticated meal, I turn squash puree into mini souffles spiced with burnt honey or black garlic.

Chef: Vic Vegas
Chef Vic Vegas, Nicholas & Company

Mushroom Madness!

Q: Mushrooms are the future. These fungi are cutting fat in burgers, adding umami to soups and sauce, and generally tasting delicious on pizzas and in pastas. What’s your favorite way to use mushrooms?

I am a mushroom lover. I eat them sauteed, grilled, boiled, sous vide, in pesto, as a tapenade…the ways of working with them are endless. They add flavor and texture to everything I cook. With so many different varieties, chefs can always have fun with this ingredient.

Chef Stephen Renaud, Gordon Food Service Canada

In-House Condiments

Q: Condiments matter more than ever. From chimichurri, to mole, to sriracha…these toppers are critical to flavor and texture. What are your favorite in-house condiments?

My all-time favorite condiment is chutney. It can be tomato-cilantro, spicy lemon, mango-chile pepper, or honeyed onion. No matter what flavors you choose, chutneys are always the perfect addition to a fantastic meal.

Chef Stephen Renaud, Gordon Food Service Canada

Nutritious Fast Food

Q: Nutritious fast food is gaining momentum. From smoothies, to salads, to healthy vending machines, what are your favorite on-the-go dishes?

My favorite on-the-go dish is mixed vegetables with hummus and fine herbs. This is a very trendy snack that's gaining more and more traction with consumers.

Chef Stephen Renaud, Gordon Food Service Canada

Innovative Potato Dishes

Q: Potatoes are a long-time staple. Aside from the classics like baked, mashed, gratin and French fries, how do you like to serve them?

One of my favorite ways to serve potatoes is in a grilled vegetable-potato salad. I sautee potatoes with fines herbs and olive oil, then toss with grilled vegetables to create a colorful, tasty salad.

Chef Stephen Renaud, Gordon Food Service Canada

Revamped Mexican Food

Q: Mexican food is one of the top cuisines in the U.S. and Canada. What are some newer flavors that chefs can incorporate into their dishes?

Tajin is a salty-sour-fiery seasoning that most people of Mexican descent know well. Mainstream chefs have started using it in fruit salads, cocktails, popsicles, and dips like guacamole.

Chef Patrick Mitchell, Ben E. Keith Foods

Using Beets on Fall Menus

Q: Beets work year-round. How do you incorporate them into fall menus?

Roasted beet salads are always a big seller, especially when paired with leafy greens, crunchy nuts, and a soft cheese. In the fall I like to roast baby beets in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then chop them up. Serve this side dish with crumbled blue cheese and candied pecans.

Chef Patrick Mitchell, Ben E. Keith Foods

On-Trend Room Service Menus

Q: Hello avo toast and coconut water! Hotel room service and mini bars have been transformed. What do you suggest offering on these menus to stay on-trend?

Hotel room service menus are re-inventing themselves to stay current. Many are setting up “Grab & Go” kiosks in the lobby to encourage guests to pick up/take with them either to their rooms or on the way out the door. Most are cold options, but there are some items that can be quickly heated to order, like roasted Brussels sprouts with a balsamic glaze or cauliflower with curried yogurt. Cold dips such as hummus or baba ghanoush are great with sliced vegetables. 

Chef Patrick Mitchell, Ben E. Keith Foods

Using Apples in the Fall

Q: Apples are a sign of the seasonal shift. What is your favorite savory preparation?

I really enjoy cooking with apples. They add a natural sweetness and a certain tartness depending on the variety. They pair well with potatoes and give stuffings a festive feel. I like to dice apples and onions and toss with sweet potatoes or Yukon Golds. Mix with salt, pepper, herbs, and olive oil, then roast until the potatoes are tender yet crispy. Great with chicken, turkey, or pork. I also love to put apples in salads or slaws. Mix with arugula, shredded cabbage, and celery leaves. Toss in a citrus vinaigrette—this salad cuts through the richness of heavy dishes.

Chef Patrick Mitchell, Ben E. Keith Foods

Butternut Squash For the Win!

Q: What is your favorite fall vegetable and how do you like to use it?

Butternut squash is my favorite fall vegetable. I like to simmer it in a pureed soup with sliced Markon First Crop Apples and smoked Cheddar cheese. Another great idea is to roast halved Butternuts with local honey drizzled on top….simplicity is delicious. 

Markon Member Produce Specialist

Eatertainment Menus

Q: Eatertainment has brought a whole new segment into foodservice. Now you can enjoy dinner and a movie in the same spot, as well as great stadium food, gourmet bowling alleys, and racetracks. What produce-focused dishes do suggest for operations such as these?

I think there is a food segment that Eatertainment is missing out on—the healthy, vegan, plant-based segment. With small plates being the "in" thing, these establishments could easily add bowls to the menu such as rice and vegetables, Thai quinoa salad, and Asian salmon and spinach bowls. These dishes are so versatile and any seasonal vegetables work great. Chefs should be taking advantage of the trend, profit, and unlimited possibilities. 

Markon Member Produce Specialist

Vegan BBQ

Q: Vegan BBQ is a growing segment. Aside from classic sides like collard greens and coleslaw, what do you suggest serving for your plant-based customers?

Jackfruit and cauliflower are two ingredients that work well as meat replacements in tacos and barbecue applications. Mushrooms are another ingredient with enough toothsome texture to mimic meats like pulled pork or tender chicken.

Markon Member Produce Specialist

Peganism Diet Foods

Q: Peganism, a cross between vegan and paleo, is fast becoming a diet to watch. What do you suggest offering for these diners?

This hybrid eating style focuses on fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados. It also cuts most sugar, flour, and refined carbs out. My favorite pegan dish is stewed lentils made with vegetable broth. I stir in leafy greens like spinach or collard greens and top with chopped avocados and sunflower seeds. 

Chef: Lou Rice
Markon Member Chef

Using Celtuce

Q: Celtuce is being touted as the new kale…how do you suggest using it?

This Chinese vegetable looks like asparagus with romaine growing at the top. As funny as that is to imagine, it tastes quite delicious. The bitter leafy greens can be mixed into salads. The stems can be peeled and served raw—the texture is much like jicama, but the flavor is mildly nutty, almost smoky. Use it wherever you would use radishes, cucumbers, or celery. To cook, add to stir-fries, roast with other vegetables, add to soups and stews, and even spiralize to make low-carb noodles.

Celtuce low res.jpg

Chef: Lou Rice
Markon Member Chef

West African Dishes

Q: West African dishes are making their mark, especially when these ingredients are incorporated into Southern dishes. What do you suggest?

Fonio, one of the world’s oldest grains, is gluten-free, easy to prepare, and extremely versatile. Try it in salads, stuffings, porridges, and fritters paired with ingredients like cashews, mangoes, citrus, and cilantro. Other dominant ingredients include tilapia, peanuts, chile peppers, cocoa, ginger, tomatoes, plantains, okra, sweet potatoes, and baobab fruit.

Chef: Lou Rice
Markon Member Chef

Frozen Summer Treats

Q: Ice cream, sorbets, gelato…summer is the time for frozen treats. What are your favorites to make in-house?
I am a huge ice cream fan, so house-made ice cream has been a fixture on all of my menus. While a traditionalist at heart with a penchant for house-made peach and strawberry, I think ice cream is the perfect canvas to use to show off other fun ideas. For example, I love avocado ice cream. Poach the avocados in a little sugar syrup to brighten the color, then allow to cool. I like to use half-and-half for my dairy, as too much fat can cloud the taste buds. I make a traditional custard of sugar, eggs, and the half-and-half. I use a little less sugar than needed so I can add in honey at the end. Once the custard is cooked and cooled, I add the avocado and some orange juice and zest. I finish the base with some honey and salt. Once pureed, it goes into the electric ice cream maker and churns until set. This ice cream has a vibrant light green color and a subtle taste that is the perfect finish to any summer meal.
 
Another favorite is sweet corn ice cream. Growing up in Indiana, we ate a lot of corn, so we got to be creative with how we used it. I like fresh corn in this dish as it has the best flavor. Cut the kernels off the cobb and add to half-and-half; gently heat to steep. I also scrape the corn kernels to get the juice out and even add the cobs themselves to the steeping dairy base. Remove the cobs, add in sugar, and cook to thicken. Once the custard is cooked and cooled, I puree, strain, and process. I serve this ice cream with a house-made salted caramel for a frozen caramel corn effect.
Chef: Lou Rice
Markon Member Chef

Global Breakfast Dishes

Q: Breakfast has progressed beyond our borders to include dishes from across the globe. What are your favorite recipes and where are they from?

My favorite breakfast recipe are those that are simple to make, with lots of flavor, and easily changed to fit the mood and ingredients in stock. One of my current favorites is shakshuka, which originated in the Middle East. Traditionally, it’s a dish of tomatoes, onions, and spices with a poached egg. We make several cross-cultural versions including Hispanic and Norwegian interpretations. For the Hispanic flavors we cook onions and Poblano peppers until soft, then add heavy cream and a little lime juice. Eggs are added and slowly cooked until the whites are set. Add crumbled Cotija cheese and shredded pepper jack for a hearty breakfast. I vary the basic recipe to make a Nordic version by simmering dill and lemon juice in cream until slightly thickened then topped with eggs that are cooked until set. Then I add thinly sliced smoked salmon, more fresh dill, salmon roe, and a dollop of sour cream.

Chef: Lou Rice
Markon Member Chef

Delivery Dishes

Q: Delivery is transforming foodservice as we know it. UberEats, Postmates, Door Dash…more than ever, customers want to enjoy their favorite restaurant dishes at home. What dishes transport best and why?

The best foods for transporting are typically salads (leafy greens, healthy grains, or marinated vegetables), and braised or grilled vegetables (especially Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, and radicchio). The main reason salads travel best is because they typically stay cold and are not altered with dressings yet. Braised or grilled produce will also travel well because the preparation method permits longer holding times.

Chef

Modern Burger Makeovers

Q: The traditional burger has been given many modern makeovers. Today’s chefs must offer more than just a beef patty to meet customer expectations. How do you incorporate fresh produce in your burger menu?

When enhancing my beef patty, I love using roasted beets and mushrooms. Not only does it maintain moisture, but it provides layers of flavor and give the dish a wow factor. 

Chef

Pairing Produce with BBQ

Q: It’s BBQ season—what exciting produce side dishes do you pair with the sticky ribs, Nashville hot chicken, and pulled pork that are trending on menus?

I’ve been seeing more grilled and chilled fruits and melons to counter the rich flavors of spicy bbq sauces.

Chef

Summer Veggies

Q: What is your favorite summer vegetable? How do you use it?

I love to cook with Ready-Set-Serveb Brussels Sprouts—either whole or halves. I grill, roast, or pan-fry them, then toss with minced RSS Peeled Garlic and creamy, tangy goat cheese.

Chef: Gary Hill
Gulf Coast Division Chef/Produce Specialist, Ben E. Keith

Markon Essentials Vegetables

Q: Markon Essentials brand focuses on flavor, not appearance. What preparations do you target with this line of vegetables?

The Markon Essentials line of vegetables is perfect for when appearance isn’t a high priority, for example when slicing or chopping into soups or sauces. I love the ugly produce movement—preventing food waste—and these items are a part of that.

Chef: Gary Hill
Gulf Coast Division Chef/Produce Specialist, Ben E. Keith

Produce and Seafood Pairings

Q: With many people eating less meat, seafood has exploded as a category. What produce items do you use to highlight fish and/or shellfish entrees?

I love a medley of Japanese eggplant, baby carrots, zucchini, and squash. The combination of bitter, sweet, and earthy flavors brings contrast to seafood options. The bright colors also add dimension to plate presentation.

Chef: Gary Hill
Gulf Coast Division Chef/Produce Specialist, Ben E. Keith

Pantone 2019 Living Coral-Colored Foods

Q: Living Coral is the Pantone color of 2019; what foods do you serve that are in this shade?

Ingredients such as cantaloupe, mamey sapotes, salmon, peaches, grapefruit, and papayas are naturally vibrant and packed with flavor. 

Chef Chris Cukjati, Ben E. Keith Foods

Using Healthy Fats

Q: Healthy fats are delicious and part of many trending diet plans. What ingredients do you suggest?

Fat is no longer the villain, as long they are the right fats. I like to incorporate plenty of olive oil, avocados, and salmon in my recipes. Nuts and eggs are also good sources to add in smaller amounts.

Chef Chris Cukjati, Ben E. Keith Foods

Reducing Single-Use Plastics

Q: Plastic is the latest villain of sustainability. How can operators use less plastic in their kitchens?

The goal for foodservice operators should be to reduce single use plastics, especially straws and cutlery as well as switch to lower impact packaging made with sustainable materials. Markon is taking the first step by leading the produce industry in plastic reduction. It will be an evolution, but first up is replacing the clamshells for MFC Strawberries with new, recyclable cardboard cartons. 

Chef Chris Cukjati, Ben E. Keith Foods

Fresh Berries for the Win!

Q: Fresh berries add color, texture, and sweetness—how do you use them?

I macerate fresh berries with a fortified wine such as port or madeira, palm sugar, vanilla, and RSS Lemon Juice to bring out their flavor and force the juice from the berries into the maceration. Allow to set for a few hours, strain, take 3/4 of liquid into a hot saucepan with a little sherry vinegar and cook to a gastrique state. With the remaining macerated juice, add some heavy cream and egg yolks then temper over a water bath to make a sabayon. Build parfaits with layers of berries and sabayon with drizzled gastrique throughout the glass. Chill before service. Garnish with halved MFC Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Chef Chris Cukjati, Ben E. Keith Foods

Father's Day Dishes

Q: What veg-centric dishes do you offer to counter traditionally meat-focused Father’s Day menus?

In place of a traditional meat-based burger, I suggest offering marinated MFC Portabella Mushrooms with savory vinegar, high quality olive oil, fresh herbs (such as MFC Basil or MFC Tarragon), lots of ground black pepper, and kosher salt. I roast them in the oven or grill on a charcoal fire. Remove the gills with a spoon to create a type of cup to hold the above ingredients and cook until mushroom centers are tender. Top with aged Provolone cheese and melt under the broiler or on the grill. Slather with pureed peppadew peppers, mayonnaise, and RSS Lemon Juice, then pile high with grilled RSS Sliced Onions, RSS Better Burger Lettuce, and sliced MFC Tomatoes all on toasted brioche buns. 

Chef Chris Cukjati, Ben E. Keith Foods

Craveable Hybrid Dishes

Q: Hybrid dishes, think cronuts, ramen burgers, and sushirittos—are craveable and extremely instagrammable. What hybrid dishes have you seen?

Here are a few hybrid dishes that I have seen recently

  • Sushi tacos are trending; I fill seaweed shells with sticky rice, tempura vegetables, sliced RSS Avocado Halves, pickled ginger, and red onions.
  • The squashleekotao a.k.a a Vegducken combines MFC Zucchini Squash, leeks, and sweet potatoes rolled into a vegetarian masterpiece.
  • A phoritto is a house-made tortilla filled with pho beef, rice noodles, MFC Basil, bean sprouts, chile peppers, and MFC Limes. Don’t forget the dipping sauce!
Chef Michael Viloria, Gordon Food Service Canada

Creative Alcohol-Free Beverages

Q: Alcohol-free beverages made strong in-roads on menus last year and show signs of even more popularity this year. What are your most creative beverage ideas?

Here are my versions of some zero-proof classics

  • Blackberry Mint Tea is a mixture of blackberry shrub, honey lemon tea, and MFC Mint.
  • The Caesar Verde combines roasted tomatillos, clam nectar, coriander, lime salt, pepperoncini, green olives, and MFC Celery.
  • The Rose Water Soda contains edible rose ice cubes, rose water syrup, and ginger beer.
Chef Michael Viloria, Gordon Food Service Canada

Mother's Day Produce Dishes

Q: Mother’s Day is a huge foodservice opportunity—what produce dishes do you suggest for this holiday menu?

Mother’s Day for me means brunch. Here are a few suggestions that I think Mom would like

  • Serve a lobster mushroom benny with poached eggs, buttermilk fingerling potato cakes, burnt butter hollandaise, and parsley salad.
  • Create a summer squash noodle bowl with marinated heirloom tomatoes, fresh MFC Basil, garlic confit, white balsamic, and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Drizzle grilled cabbage wedges with rainbow carrot and ginger dressing, mint yogurt, and garam masala bread crumbs.
  • Offer a fingerling potato salad made with candied onions and sweet & sour mustard sauce.
Chef Michael Viloria, Gordon Food Service Canada

Healthy Carbs

Q: Carbs are back. What healthy carbs do you suggest and how do you like to prepare them?

The variety of textures and flavors in ancient grains makes them interesting to eat and versatile for every meal period. Cook grains like kamut in the low & slow heat method, then mix in caramelized MFC Apples, strained yogurt, salt & pepper, toasted pecans, and rosemary-infused honey. Prepare an ancient grain salad with red quinoa, charred MFC Zucchini Squash, pickled raisins, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, coriander, and harissa vinaigrette. Put a spin on risotto by using bulgur wheat with sugar snap peas, preserved lemon butter, wilted sweet pea tendrils, and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Chef Michael Viloria, Gordon Food Service Canada

Incorporating Ugly Produce to Reduce Waste

Q: The Ugly Produce movement has momentum. What do you suggest to maximize kitchen scraps or use of less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables?

Markon has a line of products specifically for this use: Markon Essentials (ESS). For items like bell peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers, and citrus that are often chopped, juiced, and pureed, appearance isn’t first priority. I also like pickling the odds and ends or extras, like beets, beans, and carrots. And stems that are normally trashed can be used in dips like hummus or added to soups and stocks.

Chef: Jack Bretzke
Member Chef, Ben E. Keith

Using Za'atar

Q: Za’atar is a popular Middle Eastern spice. How do you use it?

This spice mix consists of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. Add the dry mix to house-made bread dough, vegetable sautes, hummus and other dips or use as a poultry and seafood rub. Combine with olive oil and serve with pita!

Chef: Jack Bretzke
Member Chef, Ben E. Keith

Satisfying the Gluten-Free Crowd

Q: Gluten-free foods continue to rank among popular food trends. What veg-forward dishes do you suggest for operators that want to meet the needs of these customers?

It’s important to provide a balanced menu for all customers. Ensuring grain-free dishes packed with plenty of fresh vegetable options will cut back on gluten-oriented ingredients. RSS Cauli Creations is an ideal substitute when making fried rice, pizza crusts, and risotto.

Chef: Jack Bretzke
Member Chef, Ben E. Keith

Inspiring Kids' Menus

Q: What suggestions do you give operator customers for healthy, fun kids’ menu items?

It’s important to increase offerings of fresh vegetables, both as chilled veggie sticks and/or grilled (more flavor) as alternatives to fried options.

Chef: Jack Bretzke
Member Chef, Ben E. Keith

Cabbage the New Cauliflower?

Q: Is cabbage the new cauliflower? What are modern chefs using it for?

To fill the gluten-free niche, I like to wrap enchiladas with cabbage leaves instead of tortillas. The same works for lasagna—substitute large, overlapping leaves for the noodles. Another healthy idea is to bake smaller pieces and use for chips.

CEC Executive Chef, Ben E. Keith Foods

RSS Sweet Baby Broccoli

Q: Sweet baby broccoli is a hot ingredient. How do you serve it?

RSS Sweet Baby Broccoli can be used in the same ways one would prepare asparagus or broccoli. I like to roast it to bring out its inherent sweetness while creating smoky, charred bits. Sauteing with garlic and chopped hazelnuts is also easy and makes a delicious side for poultry and meats.

CEC Executive Chef, Ben E. Keith Foods

Using Texture in Recipes

Q: Texture, especially crunch, is something diners seek. What are your favorite crunchy, produce-centric recipes?

Texture is so important—it can make or break a dish. I especially like when the same vegetable is used to create different textures. For instance, cauliflower can be smoked and left crunchy, pureed with some honey and apples for a sauce, and riced for a couscous texture all on one dish. Charring vegetables is another easy way to bring in added texture. You can char a carrot for smoky flavors, puree it for sweet notes, and use the tops to make a pesto. Produce as the star is going to continue to be the trend, so we must get the most out of every vegetable we are buying. Try dehydrating, roasting, making use of the peels, frying, etc. By getting more from less you create new and unusual/different combinations and textures that will elevate your dishes.

CEC Executive Chef, Ben E. Keith Foods

Mocktails

Q: Alcohol-free beverages continue to gain popularity on menus. What are your most creative beverage ideas?

With warmer weather ahead of us, it’s time to start thinking about lighter drinks and spring time produce. Cucumber water with some fresh mint in it is a light beginning to a meal, but what about adding in some peach or raspberry and making a fantastic mojito mocktail? Use a little simple syrup, a splash of RSS Lime Juice, and top with sparkling water. The most important thing to keep in mind with mocktails is to make sure that you are using the best produce at the best time of year. Don't be afraid to add in some savory ingredients; beets or red bell pepper juice can give a punch to drinks, without being a “bloody Mary” rip off.

CEC Executive Chef, Ben E. Keith Foods

Cost-Effective Soups

Q: Soups are cost-effective menu items that often reduce in-house food waste. Which soups do you see as on-trend this season?

I think that the ever-changing consumer palate is looking for something familiar, but with bold touches. I believe that matzo ball soup will be coming back with modern additions. This is a hearty memory-inducing dish with a flavor profile that generates a love for simplicity done well. Chicken and dumplings is another one of my favorite comfort recipes that could be adapted—say with vegan ingredients or Mexican flavorings.

Chef: Kelli Welby

Vegan Snacks

Q: Vegan snacks are a growing category. What do you suggest serving on bar and/or appetizer menus?

Vegans are a growing part of the foodie community. Eggplant adovada street tacos are by far my favorite vegan dish. It consists of eggplant braised in red chile sauce, then placed in a jicama shell with pickled onions, avocado puree, and topped with micro cilantro. It can satisfy anyone’s palate, vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore. 

Chef: Kelli Welby

Using Ramps

Q: Ramps continue to gain popularity for their bold flavor and limited season. What’s your favorite ramp recipe?
Ramps are an amazing spring produce item that have a unique flavor as well as a dedicated following. I am a big fan of utilizing as much of a product as possible, especially when the season is short and availability is limited. A chimichurri or a pesto that utilizes the entire product (as well as showcasing its beautiful flavor) is the way to go. 
Chef: Kelli Welby

St. Patrick's Day Menus

Q: Irish menus are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. How do you upgrade traditional dishes for modern menus?

My personal favorite updated traditional Irish dish is shredded short rib Shepherd’s pie. I like to braise boneless short ribs overnight, shred them and add demi-glace instead of gravy, with finely chopped celery, carrots, and onions as well as peas. Then I like to top this dish with very cheesy mashed potatoes, baking it until the cheese has formed a yummy, crispy topping. I think these small changes take this very traditional comfort food and transforms it into a dish that will impress.

Chef: Kelli Welby

Seasonal Spring Items

Q: Spring is the season many specific produce items become available. What is your favorite spring item and how do you showcase it?

I really enjoy working with radishes. The radish has a large variety of flavor profiles from mild to spicy and I think using fresh radish as a garnish for salad or tacos is the best way to brighten a spring dish.

Chef: Kelli Welby

MFC Broccoli Crowns

Q: What is your favorite MFC product? How do you prepare/serve it?

I really enjoy working with MFC Broccoli Crowns. I like to roast them for deep color and flavor. I also like to make Gruyere cheesy broccoli gratins—bake them in large ramekins until golden and crispy. This recipe is a profitable side to add to your menu for sure!

Member Corporate Chef

Pump Up the Protein

Q: Protein is listed as something diners want in their meals—how do you pump up the protein in produce-centric dishes?

Utilize beans and legumes in purees and sauces. When incorporating protein in produce-based dishes, it’s important to provide the nine essential amino acids. This is achieved by combining a mix of ingredients: beans, lentils, grains, and plenty of produce.

Member Corporate Chef