Chef's Blog

January 14, 2015

The Story Behind the Stew

from Minor's

Entry written by Kurt Kwiatkowski, Battle for Bocuse Winner

Here at Michigan State University, we try to please a very diverse group of people with a variety of meals, and we’re always looking to expand with new and exciting dishes. One dish that we’ve found to be successful is seafood bouillabaisse—we’ve had it on the menu for about 7 years now. To keep things interesting, we’ve adapted the dish into a few different versions—a Portuguese version called mariscada and a Brazilian version called moqueca.

Each time we develop a new version, we want to make sure it remains as authentic as possible. Hoping to add another to the menu, I thought of Spain. I had recently watched an episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain traveled to Spain to eat at El Bulli for dinner. During the episode they made a Catalonian seafood stew on the beach—I knew right then what the next version was going to be.

I did some research and started work on the dish to be sure I would get it right. After a couple of changes and test runs, we had a group of people over for a team building exercise, and I had them prepare the dish. The result was very positive, and they asked when it would be served in one of the dining facilities on campus.

Soon after developing this dish, the Minor’s® Battle for Bocuse contest was announced. I looked at the different categories and felt that the Spanish stew I had just worked on would be great for the competition. We already use numerous Minor’s bases here on campus, so when I was fine-tuning the recipe I decided to try it with a couple of different bases and flavor concentrates. I landed on the Red Chile Adobo Flavor Concentrate, which I thought would really give this dish some depth, and I also used the Clam and Sautéed Vegetable Bases. All in all, it has proven to be a successful entrée for us, and I am thrilled to have it selected as the winner of this competition.

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