Chef's Blog

September 6, 2017

How I Spent my Summer: A Culinary Trip Across America

from Chef Christopher Britton

From Maryland to California and down to Florida, I was lucky enough to stumble across some pretty interesting culinary items over the summer. Whether a chef or an artist, it’s amazing to see how people are adapting, revolutionizing, or repurposing products and ideas to make something new. Here are just a few that I saw along the way.

Crab Pizza: I worked on a new pizza concept with a 72-unit pizza chain in the mid-Atlantic area. As any resident of the area would attest, everything is better with Old Bay and jumbo lump crab. This particular chain made the most of it by creating this pizza with our Stouffer’s Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, onions and peppers. Delicious and regional.

Balsamic Pearls: I attended the 2017 ACF National Convention in Orlando, Florida, and discovered tiny bursts of flavor encapsulated in convenient, caviar-sized pearls from a company called Bio-Revival. These natural extracts come in vinegars, oils, spices and liquors (to name a few) and are a great example of how molecular gastronomy is going mainstream.

Sophisticated Smokers: On a recent trip to the west coast to visit my folks, I happened upon a great smoker at an artisan-fueled farmers market that repurposed old red wine barrels. Imagine a more eye-appealing version of a Big Green Egg that imparts natural oak and charred fruit flavors. I was worried about it being sealed enough to contain the smoke, but then I remembered hey…this barrel held liquid at one time, so why not smoke. I was tempted to buy one and play with it, but it looks too pretty to cook with.

I’ve said it many times, but the one aspect I love most about this profession is that I never stop learning and discovering new things. That’s the beauty of being part of an ever-evolving industry comprised of very creative thinkers. All we need to do is step away from the stoves and open our minds and we will uncover some pretty awesome products.

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