Test Kitchen

Reimagining the Hot Dog

Some of today’s hot dogs still suffer from mystery-meat syndrome in an era when consumers are leery of processed food and demand to know (and pronounce) the ingredients in what they eat. But it’s not time to count out the famous comfort food of Americana. Today’s top dogs answer the call with sustainable and ethical ingredients, minimal processing, elimination of ...

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The Magnificent Meatball Sandwich

While its origins are unknown, the ubiquitous meatball itself is not. At one time, simply a cost-effective way to stretch certain cuts of meat, the humble meatball is now a menu focal point and top-trending ingredient. Meatball sandwiches began showing up on submarine-shaped buns in the Northeastern U.S., while regionally popular ethnic varieties crossed cultural boundaries to reach new palates. ...

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Chicken Sandwich Craze

To some consumers, a chicken sandwich is comfort food. To others, it’s health food. But for operators, it’s high profitability potential and creative opportunity. Inventive takes on chicken sandwiches appear in several popular New York restaurants like Marcus Samuelsson’s Streetbird Rotisserie and David Chang’s Momofuku. Samuelsson’s Crispy Bird Sandwich showcases chicken marinated in coconut milk, ginger, and an Ethiopian spice ...

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Trends: Purple Power & Street-Food Inspired Dishes

Purple Power As vegetable-centered meals continue to gain popularity, chefs are focusing on unique produce, particularly purple vegetables. Purple is the new green as a wide variety of purple produce provides diners with nutrients and antioxidants as well as bright and tasty options. Prepare oven-roasted slices of purple eggplant and serve over white beans with a lemon caper sauce. Offer ...

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Octopus: The New Calamari?


Octopus has been spotted on many food trend list predictions for this year, including Pinterest’s top 2017 emerging trends. Calamari is already a staple at many restaurants, making octopus a logical next tier item when considering innovative seafood dishes to keep your menu fresh. Part of the cephalopod family that also includes squid, octopus has meaty, tender flesh with great ...

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Lobster: The Maine Event


With its firm, white meat packed with rich, sweet flavor, lobster has a high value as a premium protein. More chefs are featuring this versatile shellfish on menus across the board, from fast-casual restaurants to fine dining. Lobster also has allure for health-conscious clientele due to the crustacean’s lower caloric content, saturated fat, and cholesterol. If you want your dishes ...

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Seafood Stews

By Chef Eamon Lee, CEC Seafood stew makes sense for your menu, both from a customer demand and food cost perspective. It’s an opportunity to showcase a myriad of seafood and get creative while maximizing value through full product utilization. And, with a nod toward classical cooking techniques, everything from fish bones to shrimp shells can be used when creating ...

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Fare with Flair: Hispanic-Inspired Seafood Dishes

According to the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot report, ethnic food and global cuisine is one of the top trends of 2017. Under global flavor trends, Latin American flavors weighed in at No. 5. Adventurous, younger diners are driving this interest and customers are more worldly and sophisticated in general. Street food, especially Mexican-inspired, is also attractive to diners looking ...

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Poke Bowl Proliferation

Poke is to Hawaiian regional cuisine what hamburgers are to traditional American fare. If you want to offer a sense of the Pacific Islands, ahi-studded poke bowls are a good starting point. Besides, poke bowls are trending, consumers are interested, and with a better-for-you halo, the raw-fish dish is a versatile menu offering as an appetizer, salad, or entrée. Poke ...

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