Making the Most of your Plant-based Menu

Tips and tricks form chefs Devan Rajkumar and Denis Guiol

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Seek Inspiration — “Go eat vegetarian food and read books…just get cultured about it,” Guiol suggests.

Track Trends — “If you’re trying to serve vegetarian items, I would suggest to try to pair that up with a current trend,” adds Rajkumar. Taking advantage of trending flavours and ingredients can help boost menu appeal. Think vegetables such as cauliflower and avocado or spicy flavours.

Get “Meaty” — Both Guiol and Rajkumar highlight the appeal of plant-based proteins that look like meat, because, as Guiol stresses, “People eat with their eyes before anything else.”

As an example, Rajkumar adds, “I’ve sliced [jackfruit] and cooked it up in a way that it resembled a Philly cheese steak.”

Add some Zip — Rajkumar suggests utilizing fermentation or fermented flavours to add interest to vegetarian appetizers. “If you put that on a menu, someone will be more inclined to order it, especially because it stands out,” he explains.

Smoke It — “Another great tip I have for doing cool things with vegetarian food is using liquid smoke or smoking the vegetables,” says Rajkumar. He notes that smoky flavours can also be incorporated through the use of smoked salts or fats. “You can smoke anything these days, which is really exciting.”

Give it a Twist — When it comes to creating unique lighter dishes that are also vegetarian, Guiol says, “It’s about being a little bit creative and being really open minded,” pointing to dishes he offers at Four Barrel Holly’s, such as quinoa arancini.

Picture Perfect — “Aesthetics is something that I think everyone can work on,” Guiol says.

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