Chef's Blog

December 14, 2018

Eat Your Medicine

from Chef Orlando Apodaca, Jr.

Customers want food that tastes good, of course. But increasingly, they also want food that’s good for them, in the sense of value-added benefits like providing extra vitamins and minerals, promoting gut health, preserving memory, and more.

I believe that our society is in the midst of a nutritional revolution that’s changing the role of food and beverages and how they work for the body. We’re not just eating for appetite, we’re eating to help our bodies.

Did You Know? According to Datassential,61% of consumers are either extremely or very interested in foods with specific benefits (sometimes called “functional foods,” and 78% want restaurants to serve food and beverages with functional benefits.

This is part of what’s driving the clean-eating trend. Consumers want to know what’s in their food—what’s on the label, can they pronounce all the ingredients, is there anything in it that will trigger a food allergy or make them feel anything less that the best that they can be?

My wife and I have things in our pantry that may not have even existed 15 or 20 years ago, like gluten free bread and cassava flour. Coconut oil, and nut milk instead of cow’s milk. We don’t have any special dietary issues but we want to know what added benefits we’re getting from the food we eat. Having chia pudding for breakfast every morning, for example, give us a lot more energy. So we are looking at overall diet and lifestyle.

Get Started: Minor’s new Classical Reductions Reduced Chicken Stock was developed to be as “clean” as possible, with just eight simple ingredients, and no preservatives or artificial colors.

Plenty of other people feel the way we do. Millennials, in particular, understand more about food, and are more demanding about what is and what is not in it. They want more natural ingredients and flavors that are pure and clean. And more of these consumers are eating a flexitarian diet; they haven’t given up meat, but they’re eating more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains, and enjoying the clean, natural flavor of these ingredients.

But they’re also looking for flavor. Simple ingredients like vegetables and grains can be enhanced with layers of flavors through cooking techniques and the addition of spices and seasonings. That’s where something like Minor’s Flavor Concentrates come in. They add bright, flavorful notes to plant-based cooking, without covering up their natural flavor.

And of course, vegetables, fruits, and grains and legumes are very good for the body—they add value to the diet. The Memory Diet, which some researchers believe may help stave off Alzheimer’s, includes avocado, leafy dark greens like kale and broccoli, sunflower seeds, and peanuts and peanut butter. Cauliflower provides a range of nutrients that may help reduce stress from free radicals, prevent constipation, defend against cancer, and boost memory. Beans are loaded with fiber, which plays an important role in lowering blood cholesterol, as well as protein. Turmeric, which is a major ingredient in curry, is believed to be an anti-inflammatory.

So it’s not just supplements and specialty foods like acai berries and hemp milk that have nutritional benefits. There are many common, everyday food and ingredients that add value for the body.

Try This
• Toss nuts with Minor’s Ancho Flavor Concentrate, then roast and serve as a bar snack, shareable, or healthy-break specialty. In addition to providing flavor, ancho concentrate contains Vitamin A.
• Pump up the flavor of grains by cooking them with Minor’s Classical Reductions (which also adds a bit of protein) or vegetarian Roasted Mirepoix Flavor Concentrate.
• Menu Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Pesto as a delicious, good-for-your-body signature.

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