Move over, pumpkin … squash stars on fall menus

Last year, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup and pumpkin doughnuts dominated chain menus as LTOs and seasonal offerings. This year, it’s all about squash.


The state of the center of the plate

As 2013 winds down, 2014 trend predictions proliferate, reaching a critical mass sometime around New Year’s Day. A few preliminary reports are in and here’s what some reliable industry sources are predicting about what meats and other proteins will fill the entrée portion of the plate.

Sunchokes are beginning to shine on menus in a variety of applications—as a pureè, roasted for a side dish and as the main ingredient in a rich, warming soup.

With a Filipino mother and Thai father, it would seem that Chef King Phojanakong is the ideal chef to bring Southeast Asian cooking to a wider audience.

Baked pastas have stood the test of time at the 217-unit Fazoli’s, the Italian quickservice chain based in Lexington, Ky. This fall, Darren Gray, director of culinary innovation, tweaked the formula to create a new LTO: Primo Pizza Baked Sacchetti.

A versatile leafy green, chicory is sometimes referred to as “curly endive” and is used as a salad ingredient, cooked as a vegetable and even roasted and ground as a coffee addition or substitute.

Carson’s has been a Chicago destination for baby back ribs since 1977. How did the restaurant—which now numbers four locations with its recent expansion to Milwaukee—develop a menu item that’s been a best seller since day one?

Menu applications evolve and change, but one thing is sure to stay the same: How we taste and enjoy those applications.

Matthew Rice, pastry chef at Girl & the Goat, celebrity chef and co-owner Stephanie Izard’s inventive small-plates concept in Chicago, knows that customers like a mix of flavors, textures and temperatures in plated desserts and gives us a sneak peek at his creative late-summer menu addition.

Often the main ingredient in pancakes and biscuits, due to the rise of consumer interest in fermented foods and bolder flavors, buttermilk is being revived and reintroduced in several new and interesting culinary applications.