Putting seasonal produce on your restaurant menu can impress your customers, help you to build a great culinary reputation, and allow your chefs and helpers to learn along the way! Why not take advantage of a local growing season to enhance what you offer in your community?
Five Great Seasonal Produce Plays
Setting the Stage with Root Vegetables
These days, lots of professional chefs are getting into the trend of utilizing hearty root vegetables for all kinds of dishes. Beets and carrots are traditional favorites, but seasoned (and seasonal-minded) chefs are also turning to turnips and parsnips for elevating seasonal cuisine. Check out a borscht or a play on “ensalada russa,” or various cultural dishes that help you to showcase the power of these nutrient- rich root plants – or go traditional with a pumpkin or sweet potato baking idea.
Using Different Parts of the Plant
Another way to highlight the value of local, seasonal produce involves using unusual plant parts that don’t normally make their way to the dinner table.
For example, just check out all of the recipes involving zucchini flowers, and you’ll see that for many of these seasonal crops, the fruit or seed isn’t the only part of the plant that can be eaten.
Garlic for Flavoring
That brings us to another local food trend for seasonal harvests. As an alternative to salt, pepper and various mineral and spice flavorings, garlic as a superfood also imparts its own strong flavor into whatever you’re cooking. Then, if you want to incorporate a novel seasonal plate idea, use garlic scapes, which is another big trend right now. The milder garlic scape is much prized in kitchens with a seasonal and local food strategy, and it’s an easy way to incorporate more fresh produce into your cuisine.
Nothing shows off the value of a local food plate like fresh local butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows.The grass-fed milk, when made into butter, creates its own unique bright yellow natural color, and the taste benefits from the organic method, too.
Then there’s the range of cheeses, yogurts and other dishes that can also elevate your dining fare. It may not be “seasonal” in the same way as some of the produce trends above, but you can pair these local, sustainable items with seasonal produce for a big win.
For more about the best ways to refresh your menu, read more from our expert chefs at Chefs’ Toys and learn about the nuts and bolts of getting the best equipment on-site. Call us at (714) 665-CHEF (2433) with any questions about the gear you need to succeed.