Versatile ingredients allow chefs to riff on classic dishes
March 8, 2018
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This post is sponsored by Jones Dairy Farm.

Chefs are shaking up menus by reinventing tried-and-true dishes with the addition of bold and on-trend flavors. Even comfort food classics like eggs Benedict and macaroni and cheese can be given new life by adding a few unexpected ingredients.

Global flavors are showing up on more US menus as chefs turn to international cuisines including Asian and Latin American for inspiration. Fusion cuisine that blends familiar dishes with global flavors was named a top trend by the majority of chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association for its 2018 What’s Hot culinary forecast. A touch of savory miso or fresh, spicy salsa verde can take a standard American dish in a new direction, while maintaining the qualities of the dish that made it a classic in the first place.

Unexpected salty and sweet combinations are another way to bring interest to dishes. Bacon is a perennial favorite ingredient, according to the NRA’s chef survey, and its salty, smoky flavor can take pastries and desserts to the next level. Jones Dairy Farm offers recipes for dishes that allow foodservice operators to utilize its Dry Aged Hickory Smoked Bacon in innovative ways, including a candied bacon malted milkshake and peanut butter and bacon scones.

We interviewed Philip Jones, president of Jones Dairy Farm, about how chefs and restaurants can offer a fresh take on classic favorites.

Jones Dairy Farm President Philip Jones
Philip Jones

Dishes that put a new twist on a classic appeal to adventurous eaters and those looking for comfort food favorites. What are some ways operators can put these types of creative twists on the menu?

Eggs Benedict comes to mind, since it is both very classic and very versatile. Hollandaise is an amazing carrier of flavor, from ancho chilies to olive tapenade.

What are some of the characteristics of a successful revamped dish?

A successful revamped dish should utilize interesting ingredients without going overboard.

Savory and sweet items are a popular way to menu bacon and other meats in an innovative way. What are some examples of dishes that combine these two flavors?

Bacon is so popular because of its smoky, salty and rich flavor, which makes an excellent complement to something sweet. We braise our bacon slabs and then chill them before slicing into precise cubes and finishing the cubes with caramelized sugar. It makes outstanding hors d'oeuvres.

What Jones Dairy Farm products can best help operators put these types of updated classic dishes on the menu?

Dry aged bacon from Jones is a great way to update classic dishes, whether sweet or savory. We produce the only dry aged bacon on the market which is all about concentrated and balanced flavor. We strive to make bacon that does not clobber the customer with unpleasant heavy smoke flavor. You really want to taste the pork, smoke and cure.

Philip Jones is the president of Jones Dairy Farm, a family-owned and -operated business founded by his great-great grandfather Milo Jones in 1889. Jones worked for more than a decade as a professional chef, and has been actively involved with The Culinary Institute of America since 2004. He is the sixth generation to lead the family business and the third member of the Jones family to be inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

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