Chef's Blog

June 16, 2018

The New Global Kitchen

from Chef Orlando Apodaca, Jr.

American cuisine has really changed versus a generation or two ago. We’ve evolved from ketchup, mustard, and other basic condiments in the pantry to sriracha, salsa, and gochujang. These global influences have really changed the way we look at, eat, and shop for food. The United States is now on the forefront of flavors, techniques, and sustainability— and we’ve become a culinary ambassador to the world. Minor’s Flavor Concentrates and Ready-to-Use (RTU) Sauces reflect all of that.

I’ve been fortunate to have lived, studied, and worked in some very interesting cultures around the world— including New Mexico, France, Australia, Hawaii and Alaska. That’s given me a firsthand appreciation of the way other people celebrate food— whether it’s the chile culture of Albuquerque; Pacific Rim influences in Hawaii; or the amazing seafood that’s available in Alaska.

What’s in the grocery store today wasn’t even available 20 years ago—just look at the modern produce section. Kale used to be a garnish. Now it’s a superfood that people are enjoying in salads and smoothies. As a culture we’ve also become more in tune with sustainability, what’s available locally, and when it’s in season. Today’s customers are more concerned with where their food comes from and what’s in it.

As a result we’ve “digressed” in a way, back to more natural ingredients. Many of the products we’re working on at Minor’s reflect that, in addition to incorporating the exciting global flavors that have made the United States a multicultural melting pot.

We’ve shown that ramen isn’t just a college dorm room dinner and that fresh vegetables can be deliciously inspiring. On a single street in many American cities you can find items that used to be thought of as ‘ethnic’— Roman pizza, chicken tikka masala, and Filipino adobo—just steps away from each other. It’s part of our mindset, to have access to these different kinds of foods and not even think of them as ‘ethnic’.

In most large cities people have access to food from all over the world. Increasingly, ‘culinary explorers’ are able to find more regionally authentic delicacies from around the world in their neighborhood restaurants and general grocery stores. Over the next few years that melting pot will become more mainstream throughout the United States, including the cities and towns of Middle America. So it’s not just chefs and foodies that have sriracha in their pantries and avocados on their counters—soon it will be everybody.

Services like UberEats are helping Americans incorporate global food into their daily lives. Ten or 20 years ago, if you wanted dim sum or an amazing Italian pasta specialty you had to go searching for it. Today you pick up your smartphone and click, click, click, you’ve got it delivered to you. Consumers today not only have the interest to try new foods, but the access to do it from the palm of their hand.

Products like Minor’s Red Chile Adobo Flavor Concentrate and Korean Style BBQ Ready-to-Use (RTU) Sauce are no longer specialized products. They go with everything; they’re becoming part of our global pantry.

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