Pack Your Plates for a Flavor Adventure

Steak and veggies on a plate with sauce

Millenial and Gen Z customers are turning to restaurants for a taste of excitement. Creating memorable experiences through unique and new-to-them flavors doesn’t need to mean overhauling your menu. We spoke with three accomplished chefs who are sharing their inspirations, strategies and guidance for transporting customers through achievable and rich flavors. 

Global Flavors Done Simply

“The beef from Sterling Silver® Premium Meats is such a great canvas from which to season. It takes well to just about any desired flavor,” says Chef Bradley Borchardt, Cargill Senior Corporate Chef, Innovation & Strategy. Borchardt, a classically trained chef who has studied at six different culinary schools across the globe, adjusts the spice application to elevate the cut of meat. Sterling Silver cuts adapt seamlessly to various culinary concepts, allowing chefs to experiment with different spice profiles to create innovative and memorable dishes.

Chef Bradley Borchardt uses cinnamon, oregano, black pepper, cumin and salt to season the beef in this Cuban-style prep, which is topped with a salsa of green olives, roasted peppers, golden raisins, sugar and red wine vinegar.

Borchardt’s approach to Southeast Asian curry showcases one of his favorite flavor systems. “I’ll braise a chuck roll, creating a spice paste with flavors that complement the ingredients in the curry – garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chiles with a bit of coconut oil. The ingredients are pounded into a paste using a mortar and pestle, and the meat is then marinated overnight. The result is a Thai curry with wonderful layers of flavor,” he says.

Borchardt notes that North African flavors and ingredients are becoming more mainstream, like the sweet-spiced tagines from Morocco and Egyptian dukkah, a blend of nuts, seeds and spices used to crust to steak.

“The full-flavor Sterling Silver top blade steak (also menued as a flat iron) works perfectly with any global concept you desire,” he adds. To tap into the younger generation’s desire for rice bowls, Borchardt suggests simple prep options for global variations. For example, consider thinly slicing the meat and seasoning with teriyaki for a Japanese rice bowl or dicing the meat, mixing it with adobo, and serving over cilantro rice for a Mexican-inspired version.

Season Beyond Spices

Sterling Silver Signature Chef Alan Ferrer likes to think outside the box regarding spices and seasonings. Ferrer, the Executive Corporate Chef Regional Director for Aburi Restaurants Canada, strives to achieve the perfect balance of flavor, texture, presentation and technique in every dish while continually highlighting seasonal ingredients alongside his protein.

Chef Alan Ferrer gives this Sterling Silver flat iron a multi-dimensional boost of flavor, starting with a rub of smoked paprika, sesame, mustard, garlic and onion, and topping it with a brightly flavored chimichurri, with wasabi pickles, parsley, shallots, honey, yuzu, rice vinegar, olive oil, cayenne and pickled ginger sprouts.

“For me, a complete plate must always have the balance of salt, sweet, spice, acid and something refreshing,” says Ferrer. His menu prep for a Japanese concept fuses global flavors with traditional ingredients and cooking methods. Two of his go-to ingredients are sake kasu, the byproduct of sake production, and shio koji, a traditional rice ferment. These work as natural tenderizers that are packed with umami and take the protein’s natural flavors to another level. 

Ferrer envisions the fusion of sweet and spicy notes in fried and grilled meats while also emphasizing the significance of simpler spice combinations for bowl builds, popular among Gen Z diners.

Global Spices Help Beef Shine

Timothy Baran, Corporate Executive Chef for Griffith Foods, finds inspiration from the global spice cabinet. He can often be seen reaching for cayenne or chilies that can be found in Latin cuisine as well as garam masala from India, giving his meats complex yet warm flavor. “I also think of spices like rosemary, thyme, garlic and black pepper as fantastic for enhancing the flavor of various cuts of Sterling Silver Premium Meats,” says Baran, a National Champion Official Apprentice for the ACF Culinary Team USA. “These are classical flavors that stand the test of time. A hearty cut of beef, such as Sterling Silver ribeye, could benefit from a rosemary and garlic rub that is slightly smoky and spicy.”

Baran suggests spice applications that highlight and complement the beef, offering a blend of bold and customizable options that resonate with younger patrons. “Popular choices are bowl or skewer applications that feature marinated meats with vibrant and tangy spice blends,” he says. “Consider flavor profiles like Korean-inspired barbecue bowls with gochujang sauce or skewers featuring Mediterranean-inspired spices like za’atar and sumac. These approaches provide a mix of familiar and bold flavors that resonate with younger palates.” The rich colors of these spices also make for engaging social media posts, helping spread the word about any new flavors Baran might be trying. 

Chef Timothy Baran uses a garlic and black pepper rub for his brown butter-basted tenderloin, served with a Parmesan-herb seasoned potato pave.

Article originally appeared in Flavor & the Menu – “From Spice to Sizzle,” September 21, 2023

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