The category of snacks, shareables and bar bites has grown exponentially on menus in recent decades. So what’s the new opportunity for chefs today?
Gordon Food Service Corporate Consulting Chef Gerry Ludwig, CEC, found great examples during research that took his team to restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. They tasted more than 1,000 dishes and found seven opportunities ripe for menu translation.
1. Dips & spreads
Chefs are getting creative with hummus, using different toppings, from pickled vegetables to braised meats. Ludwig’s team also spotted taramasalata, a Greek meze made from cod roe mixed with either mayonnaise or aïoli, often thickened with mashed potato or breadcrumbs.
2. Fried vegetables
Vegetables have asserted themselves in the shareables and snacks category with aggressive cooking techniques and umami-rich accents, like crispy pork or bagna càuda.
3. Fried rounds
Whether it’s a croquette, beignet or arancini, flavor combinations (smoked trout, cheeses) and dipping sauces (caraway or garlic aioli) are raising the popularity of deep-fried spheres.
4. Meat-based snacks
From puffed beef tendon, prepared the same as pork skin for chicharron, to steak-cut bacon, meat-based snacks are a big opportunity.
5. Ants on a log
Trend-forward chefs are updating this kid classic (celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins). Examples can include celery filled with creme fraîche and black caviar or celery topped with duck liver-peanut butter mousse and bourbon cherries.
6. Sea devils
Think deviled eggs with a seafood twist, such as marinated salmon roe, crab Louie or trout roe.
7. Unique signatures
A few treasures don’t fit into singular categories, but are worth noting—put your own spin on Japanese cucumbers, adding garlic soy, sesame salt and chili flakes. Or wow guests with potato foccacia pinwheels, dressed with pesto, Parmigiano fonduta and black pepper.
Ask your Gordon Food Service Sales Representative for recipe ideas to enhance your snacks/shareables offering.