Attention please! There are three words I’d like to share with you as we near the end of the year and the beginning of the festive period when consumers across the board are seeking menu diversification.
Salt, pepper, and sugar.
You may be wondering why those three words. Well, out of all the spices and herbs in the world, those three seasonings are guaranteed to be found in almost every kitchen. Why? Because they are staple ingredients that can be used across the menu, and ingredients with characteristics like that are valuable to the overall efficiency and bottom line of a restaurant when it comes to running the kitchen. And in regard to this notion, PreGel presented a concept that falls in line with this chef-friendly ideal back in May of 2018 during the National Restaurant Association Show – one which is likely unexpected of a specialty dessert ingredient company.
At the biggest foodservice trade show in America, PreGel introduced how its ingredients can be utilized in all dayparts, from breakfast to an after-dinner cocktail and everything in between. Certainly, this was an exciting venture for an international powerhouse with half a century of experience dedicated to producing high quality ingredients specifically for artisanal desserts.
But, due to some research and the creativity of PreGel International Training Centers chefs such as Jason Sturdivant, lead chef on the exploration of PreGel ingredients in savory recipes, recipe innovators in all areas of foodservice can experience quality, consistency, and unique recipe development with artisanal “go-to” ingredients that showcase the culinary ambidexterity of salt, pepper, and sugar regarding sweet and savory menu options.
Why is this important to decision-makers like you? Because in our line of business, it’s not just about culinary creativity but problem solving as well. And when you are able to rely on ingredients that produce exceptional results, save on shelf space and shipping costs, you have the best of all worlds.
Consider, for instance: the same chocolate paste utilized to create an endless selection of artisanal frozen desserts and pastries also lends a flavorful hand to savory trends like mole sauce; or a shortcrust dough base specifically created to produce baked delicacies including delightful crust for pies, tarts, cookies, etc., can be transformed into a batter for elegant dishes such as crab beignets, and traditional American favorites like fish and chips.
At this point, this nagging thought may be developing in your mind: how is it possible to use the same dessert ingredient to go from one extreme menu item to another?
Additionally, the idea of having a small selection of ingredients to utilize throughout an entire day’s menu may seem extremely challenging, or perhaps unrealistic to some. However, according to Sturdivant, there is a solution to end any possible doubt.
When I was first presented with this project, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of creating a full menu incorporating the ingredients we use for dessert innovation,” Sturdivant begins.
“But as the ideas began to flow, it was exciting to experience the reality that you can use an ingredient that was originally designed for a dessert application in a savory recipe. It was great,” Sturdivant enthusiastically adds.
Regarding working with a short list of ingredients, Sturdivant shares a positive outlook on the culinary challenge, stating “Just think of the main flavor you want to present in your dish and find where the ingredient may fit. Sometimes, you will need to adjust for the sweetness [if using dessert ingredients] but not always.”
Ultimately, the International Training Centers chef suggests that utilizing ambidextrous ingredients that work for sweet and savory jolts a heightened sense of creativity in that “it makes you think harder” about your recipe development, and explore the possibilities of using something else in place of a standard ingredient.
Though the culinary advantages of utilizing a lean list of multifaceted ingredients are abundant (pun intended), there are additional gains to this seemingly unconventional idea as well as we briefly mentioned earlier. But allow me to use three phrases this time to emphasize the recurring point:
Money-saving. Space-saving. Time-saving.
For further clarification, the added benefits of compacting your list of ingredients for those that can be used across the board will reduce overall shipping costs due to lighter freight; your counter space will open up because you have less in your pantry; and you will save valuable time resourcing ingredients from different vendors. As Chef Sturdivant advises, “If you can utilize the same ingredient for multiple avenues then you will be able to buy from less sources.”
Perhaps following a recipe of resourcing multi-efficient ingredients will allow the vocabulary of dependable staples in your kitchen to expand and include not only salt, pepper, and sugar, but base, compound, and flavor pastes as well!