All Posts By

Lauren Kellum

Festive Flavors: Mardi Gras Menu Inspirations and Fish Fry Fun

By | Gourmet, Ham, Meats, Mustards, Oysters, Pork, Poultry, Rice, Seafood, Southern Foods, What Chefs Want

As the vibrant Mardi Gras season approaches, bringing joy, music, and colorful parades, it also marks the beginning of the Lenten Fish Fry season. These two celebrations share a rich tapestry of traditions, and what better way to commemorate them than by exploring the delicious world of Cajun and Mardi Gras-inspired cuisine? In this blog post, we’ll share some valuable tips for hosting the perfect Fish Fry or cooking up authentic Mardi Gras dishes. Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

Fish Fry Season

Seafood Selection is Key

Opt for mild and flaky white fish varieties like cod, haddock, or swai. Their delicate texture allows them to absorb flavors and maintain moisture during frying. Choose fresh fish to ensure the best taste and texture. Look for clear eyes, vibrant skin, and a mild ocean smell. If using frozen fish, thaw it thoroughly before frying.

  • Wild Caught Cod Loin Skin Off – Frozen – 10 lb case (available in 5, 6, 7, and 8 oz portions) (Item #48329, 48330, 48331 & 48332)
  • Swai – Skin Off – Frozen – 15 lb case (available in 5,7, and 9 oz portions) (Item #48307, #48308 & #22950)

Want to get a little more out of the box? Include oyster or shrimp po boys for a fish fry twist that your patrons never knew they needed!

  • Mariblu Shrimp – Available in peeled, deveined, tail on and tail off, in a wide variety of sizes. Search Mariblu to see all our offerings.
  • Shucked Oysters – wild caught in Chesapeake Bay – Gallon (item #48218)

Perfectly Battered and Breaded Seafood

For a classic fish fry batter, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and spices. Experiment with adding herbs like parsley or dill for an extra flavor boost. For a light and crispy texture, consider using a beer batter. The carbonation in beer creates a bubbly, airy batter. Mix beer with flour, salt, and spices for a delicious coating. Or, try a tempura-style batter for an incredibly light and crispy result. Use a mixture of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and ice-cold water. Dip the fish in the batter just before frying.

The key to the perfect fry is all in the temperature and the timing. Maintain the right oil temperature. The ideal range is around 350-375°F (175-190°C). Too hot, and the fish may burn; too cool, and it can absorb too much oil. Fry the fish in small batches to avoid overcrowding. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Typically, it takes 3-5 minutes per side for a golden-brown finish. And remember, serve the fried fish immediately for the best taste and texture!

Or, without the added step of creating your own batter, achieve the perfect crispy texture with our Cod Battered and Oyster Breaded Frozen options. These products make the frying process a breeze, allowing you to focus on creating a memorable dining experience.

  • Battered Cod – Dipped in a tasty beer batter coating made with real Corona beer – 2-3 oz portions – 10 lb case – (Item #22033)
  • Breaded Oysters – 5/2 lb cases (Item #48441)

Let’s Take it Beyond the Ordinary

Citrus Zest in the Batter: Add a burst of freshness to your batter by incorporating citrus zest, such as lemon or orange. The citrusy notes cut through the richness of the fried fish, providing a vibrant and unexpected flavor.

Dill Pickle Juice Marinade: Before coating the fish in batter, marinate it in dill pickle juice for an hour. The acidity and subtle dill flavor will enhance the taste of the fish and add a unique twist to the traditional fish fry.

Beer and Mustard Dip: Prepare a tangy dip by combining beer and Zatarain’s Creole Mustard. This unique dipping sauce complements the fried fish with a zesty and slightly spicy flavor.

  • Zatarain’s Creole Mustard – It is a coarse, stone ground mustard with a uniquely vibrant flavor (Item #95110)

Coconut and Curry Infusion: Incorporate tropical flavors by adding shredded coconut and curry powder to your batter. This unexpected combination transports your fish fry to a new level of exotic deliciousness.

Mardi Gras Menu Magic

Gumbo

Gumbo is a hearty and flavorful stew that originated in Louisiana, particularly among the Creole and Cajun communities. It is a staple of Southern cuisine, known for its rich, complex flavors and diverse mix of ingredients. Gumbo is often considered a symbol of Louisiana’s culinary heritage and cultural diversity.

Gumbo can include a variety of proteins, such as andouille sausage, crawfish, catfish, shrimp, oysters and/or chicken. The combination of meats and seafood contributes to the dish’s depth of flavor. Similar to the French mirepoix, the holy trinity is a key flavor base in gumbo, consisting of onions, bell peppers, and celery. This aromatic trio forms the foundation of many Cajun and Creole dishes.

Add a twist to your gumbo by incorporating smoked okra and fire-roasted tomatoes. The smokiness from the okra and the depth of flavor from the tomatoes elevate the dish, creating a unique and delicious variation.

  • Louisiana Crawfish Tail Meat – Frozen – (Item #48371)
  • Harvest Select Catfish – Premium farm-raised frozen catfish from North Carolina (Item #48317)
  • Andouille Sausage – 12 lb case – (Item #00470)
  • Fresh Okra – (Item #20919)

Jambalaya

This one-pot wonder is a celebration of diverse ingredients and bold spices, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. Jambalaya is known for its unique combination of meats, seafood, vegetables, and rice, resulting in a dish that captures the essence of Louisiana’s cultural melting pot.

Similar to gumbo, jambalaya features a mix of proteins, and the holy trinity. The rice used in Jambalaya is typically 100% Louisiana Popcorn Long Grain Rice. The long-grain rice absorbs the flavorful broth and complements the variety of ingredients. Serve it hot, straight from the pot, for a true taste of Louisiana’s culinary heritage.

As you embark on a culinary journey inspired by the festive spirit of Mardi Gras and the Lenten Fish Fry season, let the traditions and flavors guide your menu. What Chefs Want offers a range of premium products to elevate your dishes and create an unforgettable experience for your guests. Celebrate with authenticity, savor every bite, and make this season a true feast for the senses!

  • 100% Louisiana Popcorn Long Grain Rice – 20 lb bag – 98338

Cajun Grits with Tasso

Cajun Grits with Tasso is a Southern classic that combines the creamy goodness of grits with the smoky, flavorful kick of Tasso ham. Tasso, a highly seasoned and smoked pork, enhances the traditional grits, a staple in Southern cooking.

Enjoy Cajun Grits with Tasso as a standalone dish for a comforting and filling meal or as a flavorful side alongside blackened seafood, chicken or other cajun-inspired dish.

Add a kick to this dish by incorporating diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce. The spiciness complements the smokiness of the Tasso, creating a dynamic and flavorful bowl.

  • Comeaux’s Cajun Hickory Smoked Tasso – (Item #96572)
  • Weisenberger Yellow Grits – Stone ground old fashioned grits (Item #92217)

* Some featured items may not be available in all regions. Please contact your customer advocate for substitutions or new menu ideas.

Udderly AMOOsing and EGGstraordinary Dairy Facts & Tips with Dairy Direct

By | Cheese, Dairy, What Chefs Want

Dairy, the unsung hero of every kitchen, takes the spotlight, and we’re dishing out some cool tidbits, tips, and tricks, courtesy of our friends at Dairy Direct! Fresh off a chat with the Dairy Direct squad, it’s clear they’re on a mission to deliver dairy beyond the ordinary. Their emphasis on freshness, efficiency, and high standards ensures that our chefs receive top-tier products.

So, grab your apron and let’s whisk our way through some fun facts and eggstraordinary uses that’ll make you say, “Holy cow, who knew dairy could be this udderly fantastic?”

Cottage Cheese is a powerful secret ingredient

Cottage cheese has been having kind of a moment the past couple of years, with TikTok trends showing cottage cheese added to EVERYTHING. While TikTok trends aren’t always great, they’re not wrong here. You can enhance the creaminess and richness of any dish without the need for excessive calories and fat. As a bonus, incorporate cottage cheese as an excellent protein source to sustain energy levels over extended periods. Your health-conscious patrons will thank you and your regular patrons will just appreciate the upgraded taste! Add it to scrambled eggs for lighter, fluffier eggs. Add it to meatballs to keep them moist when working with leaner meats. Add it to mashed potatoes for an undeniably smooth and velvety texture.

  • Cottage Cheese – 5 pound tub (item #93009)
  • Cottage Cheese – 4/ 5 pound tubs (item #93008)

Buttermilk used beyond breakfast

Move over buttermilk pancakes. In search of a simple method to tenderize your chicken or pork before cooking? Harness the acidic power of buttermilk as an excellent choice for a marinade ingredient. Enhance the flavor with ground spices such as paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne. Allow your protein to rest in this buttermilk-based marinade for a minimum of one hour, or for up to 24 hours.

  • Buttermilk – half gallon (item #02550)
  • Buttermilk – 9 / half gallon (item #93037)

Leverage Liquid Eggs to Make it Easy

No need to walk on eggshells, liquid eggs are a lifesaver in the kitchen. They have a longer shelf life, lasting up to three weeks. They are pasteurized to destroy Salmonella and other bacteria. Liquid whole eggs are simple to use, consistent in measurement, safe, and are high-quality. Regular eggs differ in sizes, so measurements aren’t always consistent. Perfect for batch cooking, custards, or as a base for delicate quiches, liquid eggs provide a streamlined approach to egg-based dishes. They are a perfect solution for high-volume kitchens.

  • Eggs – Liquid Whole – 2 pound (item #80007)
  • Eggs – Liquid Whole – 15/2 pound (item #80006)

Dairy Direct serves as the direct link to top-tier dairy, connecting consumers with products from local dairy farms predominantly in Northern Ohio, Southern Michigan, and Western Pennsylvania. Since 2007, Dairy Direct has championed freshness and quality, specializing in a range of dairy products available through What Chefs Want including, buttermilk, half & half, chocolate milk, eggs, sour cream, heavy cream, varieties of milk, peeled hard-boiled eggs, liquid eggs, and cheese. Their commitment to excellence goes beyond products, aligning with farmers and producers who uphold the highest standards of quality. Dairy Direct delivers dairy beyond the ordinary.


What Was That Tagline? “Milk, Does a Body Good.”

Milk stands as a nutritional powerhouse, contributing approximately 73% of the calcium available in our food supply. Packed with essential nutrients like protein, calcium, and vitamin D, one 8-ounce glass of milk offers the calcium equivalent of 4.5 servings of broccoli, 16 servings of spinach, or 5.8 servings of whole wheat bread. Additionally, chocolate milk emerges as a post-workout hero, combining fluids, carbs, and protein to effectively rehydrate and refuel muscles.

Tailor your recipes with precision by selecting the right milk variety. Utilize whole milk for indulgent dishes like mashed potatoes, 2% for lighter soups, and skim milk for calorie-conscious additions to coffee-based sauces.

  • Chocolate Milk 1% – Half Pint (item #02587)
  • Chocolate Milk 1% – 12/16 oz (item #15907)
  • Milk Whole – 4 / 1 gallon (item #93024)
  • Milk Whole – 1 gallon (item #93025)
  • Milk Whole – 50 / half pint (item #93032)
  • Milk 2% – 12/ 1 pint (item #23306)
  • Milk 2% – 1 gallon (item #93014)
  • Milk 2% – 4 / 1 gallon (item #93013)
  • Milk 2% – 50 / half pints (item #93031)
  • Milk 1% – 50 / half pints (item #99754)
  • Milk Skim – 4 / 1 gallon (item #93022)
  • Milk Skim – 1 gallon (item #93023)
  • Milk Skim – 50 half pints (item #93030)

Not to Be Cheesy, But…

Did you know that the average American eats around 23 pounds of cheese every year? Now that’s what we call a grate love affair! Cheddar is the most popular natural cheese in the U.S.! Cheddar has even made it to the moon. In 1962, NASA sent a specially crafted cheddar wheel on the spacecraft Ranger 7 to study how vacuum conditions affect food.

Swiss cheese comes in at a strong fourth place in popularity, in the US, but its number one in our hearts. Did you know that the holes in Swiss cheese are called “eyes,” and larger eyes are associated with a more robust and nutty flavor. So if the holes in swiss are called eyes, what do you call swiss cheese varieties without eyes? Blind. (No really, that’s a real thing! Look it up!)

  • Cheddar Cheese – Tillamook – 2 / 5pounds (item #02338)
  • Cheddar Cheese – Extra Sharp – Tillamook – 10 pounds (item #33573)
  • Swiss Cheese – Cut – 8 pound – (item #91453)

Sour Cream – Beyond the Baked Potato

Sour cream is a versatile kitchen ally, finding its way into baking, cooking, and condiments. With its rich and acidic profile, sour cream imparts a moist and tender texture to baked goods. It serves as the foundation for numerous dips and dressings, graces baked potatoes as a popular topping, and brings its tangy, smooth charm to soups and sauces. Some of our favorite sour cream swaps? Make a quick and tangy frozen yogurt by mixing sour cream with honey and your favorite fruit puree. Or give your potato salad a creamy kick by swapping some of the mayo with sour cream. It adds a delightful tanginess to this classic dish.

Sour Cream Tub – 32 pound case (item #16406)

Dairy, the unsung hero of every kitchen! Now, with What Chefs Want and our partners at Dairy Direct, we’re handing you the golden ticket to the dairy wonderland—think the highest quality and freshest dairy imaginable. Whether you’re spicing up your menu with cottage cheese creations or pondering the cosmic freshness of cheddar on the moon, we’re here, excited and ready to be your dairy dream team.

You can find these products from Dairy Direct at What Chefs Want:

  • Buttermilk – half gallon (item #02550)
  • Buttermilk – 9 / half gallon (item #93037)
  • Cheddar Cheese – Tillamook – 2 / 5pounds (item #02338)
  • Cheddar Cheese – Extra Sharp – Tillamook – 10 pounds (item #33573)
  • Chocolate Milk 1% – half pint (item #02587)
  • Chocolate Milk 1% – 12/16 oz (item #15907)
  • Chocolate Milk – 50 / half pint (item #93033)
  • Cottage Cheese – 5 pound tub (item #93009)
  • Cottage Cheese – 4/ 5 pound tubs (item #93008)
  • Eggs – Brown – Cage Free – 15 dozen (item #03979)
  • Eggs – Large – 1 dozen (item #04730)
  • Eggs – Large – 30 dozen (item #56800)
  • Eggs – XL – 30 dozen (item #04910)
  • Eggs – Liquid Whole – 2 pound (item #80007)
  • Eggs – Liquid Whole – 15/2 pound (item #80006)
  • Eggs – Hard Boiled – Peeled – 20 pound (item #80003)
  • Half & Half – 1 quart (item #02606)
  • Half & Half – 12/1 quart (item #02757)
  • Half & Half – 12/1 quart (item #29039)
  • Half & Half – 402 count portions (item #93021)
  • Heavy Cream 36% – quart (item #16407)
  • Heavy Cream 36% – 12/ 1 quart (item #26967)
  • Heavy Cream 40% – 12/ 1 quart (item #93017)
  • Heavy Cream 40% – 1 quart (item #93018)
  • Milk Whole – 4 / 1 gallon (item #93024)
  • Milk Whole – 1 gallon (item #93025)
  • Milk Whole – 50 / half pint (item #93032)
  • Milk 2% – 12/ 1 pint (item #23306)
  • Milk 2% – 1 gallon (item #93014)
  • Milk 2% – 4 / 1 gallon (item #93013)
  • Milk 2% – 50 / half pints (item #93031)
  • Milk 1% – 50 / half pints (item #99754)
  • Milk Skim – 4 / 1 gallon (item #93022)
  • Milk Skim – 1 gallon (item #93023)
  • Milk Skim – 50 half pints (item #93030)
  • Orange Juice –1 gallon (item #14462)
  • Orange Juice – 4/1 gallon (item #14461)
  • Sour Cream Tub – 32 pound case (item #16406)
  • Swiss Cheese – Cut – 8 pound – (item #91453)


* Some featured items may not be available in all regions. Please contact your customer advocate for substitutions or new fresh, healthy menu ideas.

Valentine’s Day Menu: A Culinary Love Affair for Your Restaurant

By | Beef, Chef's Feed, Chocolate, Desserts, Fruit, Gourmet, Hors d'oeuvre, Meats, Oysters, Produce, Seafood, What Chefs Want

This Valentine’s Day, let your restaurant become the stage for a culinary love affair. As the festive season ends, it’s time to shift our focus to the upcoming celebration of love. We recognize the importance of crafting an exceptional dining experience for patrons seeking to impress that special someone with an amazing dining experience or patrons who want to treat themselves! What Chefs Want has curated a selection of premium ingredients to help chefs craft menus that enchant patrons celebrating their love. Let’s explore the possibilities:

Amorous Appetizers

Oysters on the Half Shell

Begin your romantic evening with the briny essence of fresh oysters, known for their aphrodisiac qualities. Shuck and serve these delicacies chilled, enhancing the experience with a squeeze of lemon. We have a large variety of fresh oysters on hand week to week in each region, so make sure to check our app for options and availability. A couple of our recent favorites include:

  • Connecticut Blue Point – from Norwalk Island, CT – these oysters are 3.5 inches in size with a medium salinity, springy meats and light mineral finish
  • Miyagi – from Hood Canal, WA – these oysters are 3 inches in size with substantial meats, a savory brine and a tangly cucumber finish.

Artichoke Heart Bruschetta

Artichoke Heart Bruschetta is a luscious appetizer featuring a blend of chopped artichoke hearts (item #90600), diced cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and minced garlic atop golden toasted baguette slices, all drizzled with olive oil and truffle balsamic glaze (item #29853) for a flavorful and aphrodisiac-rich culinary delight.

Truffle-Infused Deviled Eggs

Level up the classic deviled eggs with a touch of luxury. Drizzle them with Regalis Black Truffle Oil (item #95402) and top with canned Truffle Peelings (item #90536) for an irresistibly earthy flavor.

While both oysters and artichokes are commonly touted to have aphrodisiac properties, there isn’t much evidence backing either. Other popular (but not scientifically proven) aphrodisiacs include chocolate, honey, hot chilies, figs and strawberries.

Seafood Sensations

Lobster Tails

Need we say more? Help your guests impress their special someone with succulent Canadian Lobster Tails (item #48421). Grill or steam these 5-6 oz treasures to perfection, creating a dish that captures the sweet and distinctive flavors of the cold waters of eastern Canada.

Pan-Seared Halibut Fillet

Show off the deep, rich flavors of wild Halibut (item #48052). These skin-on fillets promise a delicate sweetness and firm, flaky texture. Pan-sear and serve with a light citrus drizzle for an exquisite main course.

Scallops

Consider featuring U-10 Dry Domestic Scallops (item #32502), a delicacy renowned for their large, succulent profile. Perfect for a romantic menu, these scallops can be expertly seared and served with a velvety truffle risotto or nestled atop a bed of creamy cauliflower puree, adding an elegant touch to your menu.

Protein Packed Passion

Porterhouse for Two

Share the love with a perfectly cooked Porterhouse Beef (item #1089) for two. This cut combines the tenderness of the filet mignon with the rich, flavorful strip steak. Fire up the grill and savor the best of both worlds. For a decadent touch consider adding a Red Wine Reduction Sauce. This rich and velvety sauce not only adds depth of flavor but also brings a luxurious and romantic element to the dish.

Lamb Lollipops Duo

Embrace the “two of ewe” with individual lamb rib chops (item #98661) from New Zealand. These 2 oz lollipops are a delightful balance of tenderness and robust flavor. Season with herbs and pan-sear for an elegant touch. Or drizzle them with a balsamic rosemary reduction. The sweet and tangy notes of balsamic, combined with the earthy aroma of rosemary, will complement the succulence of the lamb

Poulet Rouge Fermier

Consider featuring Poulet Rouge Fermier (item #847) as the star of a shared platter for two. Roast it with aromatic herbs and serve alongside decadent sides like truffle-infused mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables. The act of sharing a beautifully prepared bird adds an intimate touch to the dining experience. The exquisite Poulet Rouge Fermier from Joyce Farms is not just a chicken; it’s a symbol of culinary excellence, renowned for its exceptional flavor, succulence, and heritage breeding.

Decadent Desserts

Chocolate-Dipped Stem Strawberries

A Valentines Day classic! Create a sensual experience with stem strawberries (item #10404) perfect for chocolate-dipping. Melt the finest dark chocolate and dip each berry, adding a touch of sweetness to your romantic evening. Consider using the gorgeous and tasty pink ruby chocolate to up the Valentines aesthetic.

Raspberry Rose Petal Sorbet

Refresh the palate with a homemade sorbet featuring juicy raspberries (item #10412) and edible flowers. The floral notes will add a romantic touch to your dessert and your plating. For our large selection of edible flowers search flowers on our ordering site or app.

Filled Chocolate Tulip Cups

End your evening on a sweet note with chocolate tulip cups (item #92114). Fill these delicate cups with a rich chocolate mousse or berries for a visually stunning and delicious finale. We love these because you can use them as a beautiful canvas to fill with whatever creative ideas you have to wow your diners!


* Some featured items may not be available in all regions. Please contact your customer advocate for substitutions or new fresh, healthy menu ideas.

Creating Restaurant Wins for Health-Conscious Consumers

By | Beef, Chef's Feed, Gluten Free, Grab & Go, Grilling Essentials, Juice, Meats, Non-GMO, Produce, Retail Ready, Seafood, Sparkling Water, Vegan, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

Top tips for bringing together a healthy menu to appeal to your more health-conscious patrons

In a world where health-conscious dining is on the rise, restaurants are faced with the challenge of catering to a more discerning audience. The demand for nutritious, sustainable, and plant-based options is growing rapidly. To stay ahead of the curve and satisfy health-conscious patrons, chefs can implement strategic changes to their menus. In this blog post, we’ll explore five top tips to help you create restaurant wins for health-conscious consumers.

Lean into Functional Foods

Functional foods add health benefits beyond basic nutritional benefits like protein and fiber.

As the spotlight on mental health intensifies, adaptogens are a sought-after class of ingredients that are believed to help the body resist and adapt to stressors. One such adaptogen that is trending is saffron (item #97219). Saffron, known for its mood-boosting properties, lends a touch of luxury and emotional well-being to dishes. Saffron is believed to alter the concentrations of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain.

Prebiotics like buckwheat are non-digestible fibers or compounds found in certain foods that promote the activity and growth of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the gastrointestinal tract. Buckwheat (item #21111) is a gluten-free, nutrient-rich prebiotic food that is a good source of nutrients such as fiber, protein, magnesium, manganese, and antioxidants.

Probiotics like sauerkraut (like the Pickled Pig dill kraut – item #266752) and kimchi (like Napa kimchee item #26574) have beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy balance of microorganisms in the digestive system.

Offer more plant-based entrees

As the demand for plant-based options continues to rise, consider expanding your menu to include more plant-based entrees, and we aren’t just talking salad here. Highlighting produce items as main attractions can be a game-changer. Create vegetable-based dishes and a variety of plant-powered choices will not only attract health-conscious customers but also contribute to the overall sustainability of your menu. For a hearty and satisfying option, consider the robust and savory Portabella mushrooms (item #30025, #30008 or #30030), perfect for grilling or roasting as a centerpiece in a plant-based dish. Jackfruit (item #90141) is also incredibly popular as a meat substitute in savory dishes like curries, stews, tacos, and sandwiches. Its ability to absorb flavors makes it a versatile ingredient in plant-based cooking.

Consider incorporating trendy and nutrient-dense ingredients like quinoa (item #19976), lentils (item #93806), and plant-based proteins to add depth and satisfaction to your plant-based offerings. Emphasizing the health benefits of these ingredients in your menu descriptions can resonate with health-conscious consumers, encouraging them to make nutritious choices when dining out.

Plant-based proteins with options like tofu (item #80024) and tempeh (item #99682) are also great additions. These protein-packed alternatives not only provide a substantial base for various dishes but also absorb the flavors of accompanying ingredients, making them ideal for creating diverse and delicious plant-based entrees.

To cater to those looking for a meaty experience without the animal products, consider incorporating Impossible Meats. This innovative plant-based meat substitute mirrors the taste and texture of traditional meat, providing a familiar yet entirely plant-based option for your health-conscious patrons. You can find Impossible Ground Pork (item #26939) or Impossible Ground Beef (item #03198).

Offer healthy drinks & mocktails

Extend your commitment to health-conscious dining beyond the food menu by introducing healthy drinks and mocktails. Incorporate trendy options like kombucha, known for its probiotic benefits. Craft refreshing mocktails using fresh ingredients, herbs, and spices to provide a non-alcoholic alternative that complements your menu.

If you are looking for a great Kombucha to add to your lineup you can try Elixir (search Elixir in the app), with flavors like Blueberry Pomegranate, Harvest Cider, Lavender Lemonade, Pineapple Ginger and Raspberry Limeade if you are in the Midwest/central region. Or try Rowdy Mermaid (search Rowdy Mermaid in the app) if you are in our Colorado region, in flavors like Strawberry Tonic, Watermelon Bloom, Hello Ginger or Savory Peach.

Collagen is still having its moment right now as well. Collagen is often associated with its potential to promote skin health, joint health, and overall well-being. Circle is a sparkling collagen water focused on making healthier options accessible, enjoyable and affordable. Circle comes in flavors like Raspberry Hibiscus (item #22710), Lemon Mint (item #22711), Vanilla Pear (item #22712) and Watermelon Thyme (item #22713).

Use our Natalies juices or our variety of purees to craft creative and healthy alternatives to alcoholic cocktails and garnish them with something from our huge variety of edible micro flowers.

Showcase sustainable & healthy seafood

Highlighting sustainable seafood serves as an opportunity to educate consumers about making ethical choices in seafood consumption. Collaborate with trusted suppliers adhering to sustainable practices to build transparency and trust with your health-conscious clientele. Sustainable seafood not only offers ecological benefits but is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, providing a nutrient-dense and heart-healthy dining option. Consider featuring seasonal and local seafood options to emphasize freshness and reduce the carbon footprint. By showcasing sustainable seafood, you contribute to your customers’ well-being and play a role in preserving the delicate balance of our oceans for future generations.

Mariblu shrimp holds a prestigious 4-star BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certification, which is a testament to our unwavering commitment to responsible and sustainable aquaculture practices. This 100% phosphate-free shrimp comes in a large variety of sizes to fit your menu needs. You can find our Mariblu shrimp options by searching Mariblu on our ordering app or site.

Laguna Blanca Salmon is another wonderful healthy option. This antibiotic-free salmon stands out for its eco-friendliness, produced with notably less impact on the wild fish population, and is BAP and ASC certified. The Laguna Blanca salmon is raised on an algae diet which ensures it is a rich source of omega-3s, making it not only delicious but also healthy. You can find these options on our site by searching Laguna Blanca.

Educate consumers about your menu items

Share the story behind your menu items to educate consumers about the health benefits of your dishes and their origins. For instance, highlight unconventional healthy protein options or promote antibiotic-free meat. Mention reputable producers and what makes them so special to build trust and transparency with your customers. Incorporate this information into your menu descriptions or create a separate section dedicated to the health-conscious choices available.

For example: Make sure when talking about duck on the menu, that in the description you mention the  lower fat and calorie content compared to many other meats, making it a winning pick for those who crave incredible flavors while upholding a balanced diet. Take it a step further and share the details of the source. If you are using our Maple Leaf Farm duck you can share their particular dedication to sustainability and quality.

Or share the story of Joyce Farms chicken and their belief that small farmers, with their deep caring and passion for the animals, are the best at raising them, often using age-old artisan methods passed down through generations. They use no pesticides, animal by-products, hormones, growth stimulators or antibiotics EVER.

Creekstone Farms Angus Beef stands out for its commitment to quality and ethical practices in beef production. Embracing organic farming principles and ensuring humane animal handling, they prioritize a farming approach free of antibiotics and hormones. With a dedication to transparency, Creekstone Farms is not only passionate about delivering premium Angus beef but also strives to educate customers and consumers about the origins of their food, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for sustainable and responsible farming practices.

Highlighting producers like these add value to your menu items and make your patrons feel good about the choices they make at your restaurant.

Create easy healthy grab-and-go options

Recognizing the fast-paced lifestyles of many customers, offer easy and healthy grab-and-go options. To-go parfait cups filled with nutritious ingredients, such as Greek yogurt, fresh fruits, and granola, make for a convenient and satisfying choice. Consider other portable options like salads in a jar or protein-packed snack boxes to cater to health-conscious consumers on the move.

We have the perfect Parfait Combo Kit + Lid (item #34031) for your grab and go needs! This clear cup is a portable, fast, convenient, and easy-to-use package for yogurt parfaits and savory snack combinations.

Grandola Granola is a gourmet granola that’s made by hand, cured, nut free, gluten-free, and vegan with flavors like Autumn (item #18929 – Chai/Pumpkin spice with apricots and cranberries) and Ella’s Favorite (item #18932 – Madagascar vanilla, cherries and cranberries).

Pair granola with Greek or regular yogurt for easy options for your customers!


By incorporating these top tips, chefs can successfully cater to health-conscious consumers, fostering a dining environment that aligns with the growing demand for plant-based, sustainable, and transparent culinary choices. This strategic approach not only expands your customer base but also plays a vital role in enhancing the well-being of your patrons. Adapting to the evolving preferences of health-conscious consumers isn’t merely a passing trend; it’s a fundamental strategy for ensuring enduring success in the dynamic restaurant industry.

* Some featured items may not be available in all regions. Please contact your customer advocate for substitutions or new fresh, healthy menu ideas.

Sweet Success: Desserts & Treats to Boost Your Menu

By | Catering, Chef's Feed, Chocolate, Desserts, Gourmet, Holiday, Retail Ready

In the dynamic landscape of the restaurant industry, where culinary trends and consumer preferences constantly evolve, desserts play a pivotal role in shaping not just a meal, but also the bottom line. Remarkably, a staggering 60% of restaurant operators incorporate desserts as a regular feature on their menus, and the impact on profitability is unmistakable.

Desserts requiring minimal preparation, such as cookies, cupcakes, and ice cream, have emerged as clear favorites among consumers, not only for their widespread appeal but also for their impressive profit margins. Interestingly, when delving deeper into the realm of revenue sources, it becomes evident that dessert varieties demanding less preparation time or catering to on-the-go indulgence, like cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and ice cream, take the lead. These not only constitute the best-selling desserts but also boast the highest profit margins.

Whether you prefer the convenience of ready-made treats or relish the joy of crafting your own desserts in-house, our carefully curated selection promises to take your sweet offerings to new heights.

Pre-Made Desserts Delights

Choosing our pre-made desserts doesn’t just save you time – it levels up your dessert game without compromising on quality or taste. Crafted with precision and the finest ingredients, these ready-to-serve treats guarantee a delightful experience for your patrons, sparing your kitchen staff from unnecessary stress. Let What Chefs Want be your ally in creating memorable moments, effortlessly impressing your customers with the indulgent simplicity of our pre-made desserts.

Tres Leches (Item # 16705) – A timeless crowd-pleaser, this decadent sponge cake is soaked in 3 kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream make for a super moist traditional Central and South American dessert. Pairs well with fruit and fruit sauces.

Triple Mousse (Item #16666) – This Libby’s Gourmet Desserts cake has three kinds of chocolate mousse layered together for a sinfully rich and one-of-a-kind treat. On the bottom is moist chocolate cake. Then they add three layers of mousse – deep dark chocolate, white chocolate, and milk chocolate. If that wasn’t enough, it is all topped and sided with semi-sweet chocolate.

Strawberry Sensation Cake (Item #16663) – This cake is made up of three pieces of moist strawberry cake alternately layered with strawberry filling and whipped cream and gingerly topped with white chocolate. The open sided presentation of this Libby’s Gourmet cake is reminiscent of old fashioned Strawberry Shortcake.

Bourbon Butter Cake (Item #16661) – Libbys’ Gourmet Bourbon Butter Cake is three layers of buttery cake, layered with bourbon ganache, studded with chocolate and pecans and frosted with a bourbon icing.

Ghyslain Flourless Chocolate Cake (Item #95779)  A decadent chocolate flourless cake. Roughly 3″ in diameter and 1 1/2″ tall and gluten-free. A blank canvas to plate as is or add your own sauce, fresh fruit, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.

If It’s Cheesecake You Crave

Cheesecake, with its rich and creamy allure, remains a favorite on dessert menus worldwide. Its versatile flavor profile and timeless appeal make it a beloved choice, satisfying sweet cravings for patrons across generations and giving chefs a blank canvas to express themselves with sauces and toppings.

Plain Banquet Cheesecake (Item #16665) – If you like your cheesecake “just plain” or are looking for the perfect blank canvas to add your own sauce and style, this is the perfect dessert for you. This creamy cheesecake is flavored with a subtle hint of lemon and sits atop a graham cracker crust. For the purist, this is “simply delicious”.

Turtle Cheesecake (Item Code: 16674) – This luscious chocolate marble cheesecake is topped with caramel, pecans, and semi-sweet chocolate and sits on a chocolate cookie crust.

Original Petite Cheesecake (Item #18244) – Tennessee Cheesecake Original Petite Cheesecake is their delicious original cheesecake featured in a perfect individual size. Each 2.5 oz Petite Cheesecake features their famous honey-graham-pecan crust and a rich and creamy filling.

Assorted Mini Cheesecakes (Item #90603) –For when you can’t choose just one! A rich, decadent assortment of smooth bite-size cheesecakes with mild buttery graham cracker crust – Dulce De Leche, Mocha Cappuccino, and Decadent Turtle.

Bite-sized Sweet Treats

Plated alone or offered as a trio of tastes, these small bites are just enough for your diners who only want a little nibble or want to try multiple dessert items!

Mini Key Lime Mousse (Item Code: 34736) – This Libby’s Gourmet dessert is bite-sized perfection. It has a sweet and tangy citrus burst will transport your mind right to the tropics! Their Key Lime mousse is delicate and silky with just the right amount of tangy twang to make you think it’s summer any time of the year.

Mini Peanut Butter Mousse (Item Code: 34735) – Combine these two great tastes that taste even better in a mousse! Graham is the foundation for our tiny tour of rich chocolate and peanut butter mousse layers, decorated with a drizzle of melted chocolate. Another delicious bit from Libby’s and a must-try for peanut butter enthusiasts!

Ghyslain Macaroon (Item #95796 – classic) (Item #95776 – color) – These carefully made hand-crafted macarons provide a welcome splash of color before they melt in your mouth. Each flavored macaron is filled with a delectable ganache. Flavors include chocolate coffee, fleur de sel bourbon, orange praline, passionfruit coconut, pistachio strawberry and raspberry chocolate. Gluten-free.

Ghyslain Signature Chocolates (Item #95755) – An assortment of chocolates that are one-of-a-kind hand-painted masterpieces made with the finest ingredients. Contains 12 unique designs per case, with vibrant colors and distinctive flavors like pistachio praline, amarena, and bananas foster, to name a few.

Assorted Sweet Street Desserts (Item #16655) – Sweet Street Desserts are pastry chef quality desserts that defrost beautifully straight from the freezer. Personalize them, creating your own signature dessert, by adding a simple garnish and sauce to WOW your guests. Product consists of 1 tray each: apple streusel, lemon berry bar, oreo bar and chocolate pecan bar.

Snicker Doodle Cookie Dough (Item #03749) – Serve freshly baked gourmet cookies without the hassle of making them from scratch. 100% real butter provides a rich, moist taste that has 3-5 day bake life when baked properly. Already pre-portioned – just take out the freezer, place on the sheet pan, and bake.

Gourmet Ingredients

We understand the unique pastry needs that arise in bustling kitchens. From the warmth of Boyajian Natural Peppermint Flavoring infusing a seasonal touch into your creations to the convenience of Mini Fillo Shells and 9″ Pie Shells easing the process of crafting comforting winter pies, we provide the essential tools to make dessert creation a breeze during the colder months. Let us be your partner in ensuring that the chill of winter doesn’t slow down the warmth and creativity flowing from your kitchen.

Here are just a few of our favorites to help with winter pastries:

Callebaut Ruby Couverture (Item #15798) – Ruby chocolate unlocks dazzling taste experiences due to its unique fresh berry taste. The 4th chocolate next to dark, milk and white it offers innovation ideas for the next generation of your confectionery, bakery, ice creams and desserts!

Turitella Chocolate Curls (Item #94049) – Turitella is created using a thin layer of perfectly tempered white and dark Belgian chocolate artfully presented in a modern, European style. This elegant chocolate decoration is beautifully crafted and ideal for up-scale plated desserts, tarts or cakes.

Boyajian Natural Peppermint (Item #93205) – The perfect natural peppermint flavor. Add to your favorite chocolate recipe, fudge, mint patties, candy recipes and ice creams.

Mini Fillo Shells (Item #90500) – Fill ’em up! It’s that easy to enjoy the delectable taste of fillo dough. Light, flaky layers of fillo are formed into homemade-looking mini pastry cups, then fully baked and frozen fresh. Fast, versatile and easy to use, Athens Mini Fillo Shells are ready to fill and serve with sweet or savory ingredients for appetizers, desserts, snacks and breakfasts.

9” Pie Shell (Item #90473) – This raw pie shell serves as the perfect canvas for your pies. The sky is the limit with what you choose to fill it!

Whether you’re opting for the easy button with our pre-made desserts or have a passionate pastry chef crafting sweet creations daily, there’s no denying the impact desserts have on your bottom line. Adding these delectable treats not only caters to diverse consumer preferences but also ensures increased profitability, making each dessert served a financial win for your establishment.

How to Craft a Standout Charcuterie Board

By | Appetizers, Catering, Charcuterie, Cheese, Chef's Feed, Fruit, Gourmet, Gourmet Cheese, Holiday, Hors d'oeuvre, Meats, Snack Foods, What Chefs Want

The art of creating a charcuterie board goes beyond assembling an assortment of cured meats and cheeses. It is a culinary symphony that combines flavors, textures, and aesthetics to delight the senses. In this guide, we will explore the key elements of crafting the ultimate charcuterie board, from balancing flavors to adding artistic touches that can set the experience at your restaurant apart from all the others.

Balancing Flavors: Key Components

Variety of Cured Meats:

Start with a selection of high-quality cured meats. Include a mix of textures and flavors, such as prosciutto for its delicate saltiness, spicy chorizo for a kick, and genoa salami for a robust taste.

Some of our favorite suggestions:

Smoking Goose Wagyu Beef Bologna (item #33841) – This domestically raised Wagyu beef, from the same breeds as prized Japanese Kobe beef, is expertly spiced with white and black peppercorns, mustard, coriander, and paprika. Pork-free and hot-smoked for a fully cooked and flavorful experience, it boasts a honeycomb casing that ensures beautifully petal-shaped slices, perfect for serving on charcuterie boards.

North Country #1 Salami (item #03921 / 95058 / 95059) – North Country’s richest and creamiest salami, featuring bold flavors infused with cheese from Blue Jacket Dairy in Bellefontaine, OH, Chardonnay from Debonnne Vineyards in Madison, OH, along with the zesty addition of chopped garlic and fresh sage.

Tempesta Brandy & Sage Paté (item #32191 / 32238) – This is Tempesta’s chicken liver paté, seasoned with a savory blend of sage and aged brandy.

Cheese Selection:

Choose a diverse array of cheeses, ranging from soft and creamy brie to sharp cheddar. Include different milk types like cow, goat, and sheep to offer a variety of textures and flavors.

One of our favorite rules of thumb, choose something hard, something soft and something blue.

Surprise your guests with unique cheeses. These unexpected flavors can be a memorable addition.

Some of our favorite suggestions:

Tulip Tree Trillium (item #25790 / 27177) – This cow’s milk triple cream, bloomy-rind cheese draws inspiration from French classics, Camembert and Brie. Boasting a soft, buttery texture with rich, smooth flavors and gentle lactic tones, it earned second place in the World Cheese Competition in 2020.

Sequatchie Cove Shakerag Blue (item #91934) – Shakerag is a crumbly yet dense blue-veined cheese cloaked in local fig leaves which have been soaked in Chattanooga Whiskey. Its sweet and fruity interior is reminiscent of root beer, and lends itself to more savory notes of bacon and dark chocolate towards the rind.

Kenny’s 10 year Reserve Cheddar (item #32172) – Get it while it lasts! Fans of Kenny’s Reserve Cheddar or extreme-aged cheddars will love this 10-year old offering. Surprisingly buttery for its age, it has taken on many of the characteristics of a heavily-aged Gouda with plenty of crystallization and a very strong caramel finish.

Capriole Mont St. Francis (item #91113) – Mont St. Francis, an intense, beefy, and earthy cheese, embodies a hearty and stinky character with its semi-hard texture and rich profile. Crafted by Capriole Farmstead, this award-winning goat cheese is meticulously handmade, using milk sourced from a local Indiana farm.

Accompaniments:

Add complementary accompaniments like honey, mustard, jams and chutney to enhance the flavors of both the meats and cheeses. These condiments provide a sweet, tangy, or spicy contrast.

Make sure to include something sweet and something spicy to accompany the varying flavors you’ve already picked with the meats and cheeses.

Some of our favorite suggestions:

Membrillo/quince jam (item #93605 / 96328) – Membrillo (quince paste) contains only three ingredients: quince, sugar, and lemon, cooked into a reddish paste. The naturally high pectin content in the Valencian quince gives the paste its firm and jelly like texture.

Orange blossom honey (item #93506) – This honey is brimming with bright, citrusy notes that are sure to captivate your palate, made from orange blossoms to impart a mild and citrus-scented flavor you’re bound to adore.

Whole grain mustard (item #95107 / 95106) – A pleasant and very sweet mustard that acquired its flavor as a result of the maceration of the whole mustard seeds in the cider vinegar.

Fresh, Dried and Pickled Produce:

Incorporate fresh and dried fruits, such as figs, grapes, or apple slices, to add a natural sweetness and refreshing element that balances the richness of the meats and cheeses.

To balance out the bread-based vessels to hold your bites, consider including bell peppers or celery to serve as your base as well.

Include pickled or briny vegetables like pickles, pickled onions, or olives. Their tangy and briny flavors cut through the richness of the meats and cheeses.

Some of our favorite suggestions:

Fig almond cake (item #94036 / 91179) – Handmade in Valencia, Spain, this wheat-free cake is crafted from Pajarero figs and Marcona almonds – a traditional combination with nothing else. Your gluten-sensitive friends will thank you for this flourless delight, where almonds are hand-pressed between layers of whole dried figs.

Gordal olives (item #98866 / 95556) – The name gordal means “the fat one” due to it’s round shape and large size (over 6gr). Due to its low oil content it is exclusively used for table olives. It has a fine delicate flavor, similar to manzanilla, and a firm, meaty texture. Losada uses a neutral brine which results in a balanced salt to bitterness ratio, so that you can really taste the flesh of the olive.

Pear Mostarda (item #90596 / 30086) – This traditional condiment from Mantova skillfully balances hand-cut candied pears with a hint of potent mustard extract.

Textured Crackers,  Bread, Nuts and Seeds:

Introduce a variety of textured crackers and breadsticks to add crunch and variety. Choose options with nuts or seeds for an extra layer of flavor and visual interest.

Incorporate a selection of nuts and seeds, such as candied pecans or roasted almonds. They add a delightful crunch and nuttiness to the board.

Some of our favorite suggestions:

Quicos corn nuts (item #17595) – GMO-free Quicos are giant corn kernels that have been soaked in water, then fried and salted. This delightfully cruncy snack pairs perfectly with beer and is a great addition to a cheese plate.

Le Tresor Crackers for cheese (item #92321) – These little bite sized waffle crackers might be the perfect cracker! Light enough to not overpower your topping, but just the right thickness to not fall apart while you dress it with your favorite spread.

Blanched Hazelnuts (item #95340 / 95313) – Blanched hazelnuts are hazelnuts, or filberts, have had their skins removed, revealing a smooth and creamy nutty interior. This enhances the hazelnuts’ flavor profile by eliminating any bitterness associated with the skin

Aesthetic Touches

Artful Arrangement:

  • Arrange the elements in a visually appealing manner. Place cheeses of different shapes and colors strategically, and layer cured meats in a cascading fashion. Creating symmetry or asymmetry can both be aesthetically pleasing so do whatever you feel works best for your ingredients.
  • Consider placing meats and cheeses that you want to encourage pairing next to each other.
  • Make the meat stand out, literally. Fold or roll salami and prosciutto to give it more shape and add volume on the board.
  • And keep in mind that placement is important. Hard cheeses should be on the outside of the board if they aren’t already sliced, and soft/spreadable cheeses toward the inside, to make accessing everything easier.

Microflowers and Herbs:

Bring on the color by garnishing with microflowers and fresh herbs. Edible flowers like pansies, purple pepper, or fire stix add an unexpected pop of color, while herbs like rosemary or thyme contribute fragrance and a hint of freshness.

Pansies – Edible Mix (item #40032) – Pansies are one of the most popular edible flowers, both because you can eat their sepals and because they come in such a wide array of colors.

Purple Pepper Micro (item #02377) – Beautiful dark purple colored 6-7 petaled gems. Mild, sweet bell pepper taste.

Firestix (item #40310) – Firestix are the brightly colored flowers of the amaranth plant. The blossoms have a delicate, plume-like appearance and can be purple, magenta, red, gold and green in color and a neutral flavor that is mildly reminiscent of corn silk.

Crafting the ultimate charcuterie board is an art that combines flavors, textures, and aesthetics. By balancing a variety of cured meats, cheeses, and accompaniments, and adding artistic touches like microflowers, you can create a visually stunning and palate-pleasing experience. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unexpected ingredients, as they can elevate your charcuterie board to new heights, leaving a lasting impression on your guests.

Standout Center-of-the-Plate Options That Wow For the Holidays 

By | Beef, Berkshire Pork, Chef's Feed, Ham, Meats, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, What Chefs Want

The holiday season is not just a time for festive decorations and gifts—it’s also a time for chefs to shine by creating memorable dining experiences. According to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association, nearly 60% of consumers are planning to dine out at a restaurant during the holidays, while 50% intend to order takeout or delivery for gatherings at home. This holiday season, we are highlighting some center-of-the-plate options from What Chefs Want that will not only dazzle your patrons but also keep them coming back for more.

Beef

During the holiday season, beef takes the spotlight with its robust flavors and versatile options. Whether it’s the marbling of a ribeye, the tenderness of a filet, the heartiness of beef shanks, or the exceptional quality of a tenderloin, beef provides a diverse range of choices that cater to different preferences. Let’s check out some beef options that make for an ideal centerpiece during the holidays, offering a combination of taste and variety that appeals to a broad audience.

Tenderloin: A must-have center of the plate option for the season. This is a sought-after cut of meat known for its tenderness, lean profile, and exceptional flavor. Beef tenderloin is versatile and can be prepared in various ways to suit different preferences. What Chefs Want has tenderloin option to fit every chef’s need.

Choice Tenderloin (#00089) (#00535)

Trimmed Grain Fed Tenderloin (#30625)*

Black Hawk Reserve Tenderloins (#26956) – 100% F1 American Wagyu Beef from Black Hawk Farms

Prime Lipon Ribeye (#00171)*: The ribeye’s high fat content makes it well-suited for grilling. The fat renders during cooking, creating flare-ups that contribute to a flavorful sear on the exterior.

Beef Shanks (#26692)*: Beef Shanks provide a heartwarming and bold option for holiday diners. beef shanks are favored by chefs for their rich flavor, versatility in cooking methods, budget-friendly nature, and ability to contribute to the creation of deeply satisfying and comforting dishes.

Ham

Loved for its ability to embody tradition and innovation simultaneously, ham has become a holiday staple, bringing comfort, flavor, and a touch of sophistication to festive gatherings. Let’s check out some favorites for the center of your table.

Berkshire Honey Glazed Hams (#01036)*: This fully cooked whole Berkshire honey glazed ham is slow smoked over applewood chops to enhance the flavor. Its savory and slightly sweet flavor profile complements a wide array of festive accompaniments.

Spiral Ham Halves (#00447)*: This is a fully cooked, spiral sliced, bone in, honey glazed ham that is synonymous with the holidays.

Poultry

When it comes to holiday menus with duck and chicken, steer clear of standard cuts to offer a refined culinary experience. From the indulgent richness of duck to the diverse possibilities presented by unique chicken cuts, such as osso bucco, chefs can transform holiday poultry into masterpieces that go beyond the ordinary, ensuring a sophisticated and memorable dining experience.

Duck Leg & Thigh (#00890), Duck Breast (#00841): Contrary to its poultry companions like chicken and turkey, duck strides into the realm of red meat, ushering in a diverse flavor profile akin to steak. Maple Leaf Farm duck has no artificial ingredients.

Poulet Rouge Fermier (#00847): When you want the most succulent chicken the world can offer, you want Poulet Rouge Fermier. This renowned breed has an irreplaceable standing in French cuisine.

Airline Breast (#72001): This is a boneless, skin-on half breast with the first wing joint attached, between 7-9 oz each. The attached wing drumette not only adds an aesthetic appeal to the plate but also gives the dish a distinctive and elegant look.

Chicken Osso Bucco (#00909): Transform a classic dish with a holiday twist —Chicken Osso Bucco brings comfort and elegance to the table. This is Frenched drumstick with the meat pulled down towards large end resembling a “Lollipop”.

Lamb

From succulent lamb leg to tender loin chops and impressive New Zealand lamb racks, offer a spectrum of flavors and textures for lamb enthusiasts. The versatility of lamb allows chefs to showcase their culinary creativity, offering a unique and memorable dining experience that complements the celebratory atmosphere of holiday gatherings.

Lamb Leg (#62505)*: The lamb leg is known for its tenderness. It is a prime cut that responds well to roasting, grilling, or slow cooking methods, allowing the meat to become fork-tender. This is a lamb leg from Freedom Run Farms is deboned, rolled and tied.

Lamb Loin Chop (#62526)*: Lamb chops are prized for their tenderness and rich flavor. The meat closer to the bone often carries more flavor, and the delicate nature of the chops makes them a favorite among those who appreciate a more refined taste. Each chop is cut to 1.5″ thickness and weighs approximately 7-8oz.

New Zealand Lamb Rack (#00408): A lamb rack is a premium and visually striking cut of lamb that is prized for its tenderness, succulence, and presentation.

Seafood

Including a variety of high-quality seafood into holiday menus allows chefs to showcase their culinary prowess, cater to diverse preferences, and wow customers with elegance, creativity, and a touch of indulgence.

Halibut (#49148): Chefs appreciate halibut for its ability to serve as a canvas for culinary creativity. Its neutral taste allows for inventive flavor pairings, making it a versatile ingredient for both classic and contemporary seafood dishes.

Ora King Salmon (#23794): Ora King Salmon, often hailed as the “Wagyu of the Sea,” is a premium breed of King Salmon (Chinook Salmon) known for its exceptional quality and flavor. The premium quality of Ora King Salmon makes it a favorite for gourmet presentations.

Seabass (#49141): Sea bass is renowned for its mild, delicate flavor, making it a favorite among seafood enthusiasts. The flesh is tender with a slightly sweet taste, allowing chefs to showcase its natural qualities through various cooking methods.

Swordfish (#48129): Swordfish has a firm, meaty texture, making it hold up well to various cooking methods, allowing chefs to create hearty and satisfying dishes. The dense texture of seabass steaks allows them to hold up to high-heat cooking methods, resulting in a satisfying sear on the outside while maintaining juiciness on the inside.

Mariblu Shrimp (#33206): These delectable shrimp are renowned for their exquisite flavor, and what sets them apart is their commitment to both your palate and the environment. Mariblu Brand Shrimp are carefully sourced and processed to ensure they are 100% phosphate-free. 

Cooked Shrimp (#48633): These head-off, tail-on cooked shrimp are ready to use for your holiday menu needs.

Tempura Shrimp (#48709): These Shrimp Tempura Tzukuri are frozen and coated in a light, airy batter ready to be deep-fried to golden perfection.  The contrast between the crunchy exterior of the tempura and the tender, juicy shrimp inside creates a delightful sensory experience.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp (#90610): These large tail-off shrimp are wrapped in lean bacon and held together with a toothpick skewer, ready to bake for a delightful holiday appetizer.  

Scallops (#32713): Whether served as a delicate appetizer or the centerpiece of an exquisite dish, scallops remain one of the ocean’s most celebrated culinary treats. Scallops are known for their delicate, sweet flavor and tender, buttery texture.

King Crab Legs (#48396): When you hear the shell crack, the sweet, succulent crab is just moments away! The Red King Crab is the most majestic of all crab, with a tender, sweet, succulent meat unlike any other crab in the world.

Jumbo Lump Crab (#48204): Jumbo Lump is beautiful, whole pieces of firm, succulent white meat picked from the two large swimming fin muscles of the crab. This product is perfect for high quality crab cakes, cocktail presentations or sautéing. There are between 75-100 pieces per can.

Canadian Lobster Tails (#48423): Enjoy the mild, sweet, and distinctive flavor of these beautiful 7-8 oz lobster tails caught in the pristine, cold waters of eastern Canada. Frozen raw and uncooked, they thaw easily and can be boiled, steamed, grilled or prepared your favorite way in minutes.

This holiday season, the National Restaurant Association survey reveals that consumers are eager to let restaurants handle the cooking, making it the perfect time to showcase your culinary prowess. With our premium center-of-the-plate options, you can create a holiday menu that not only reduces stress for your patrons but also leaves a lasting impression. As diners seek convenience, loyalty, and memorable dining experiences, What Chefs Want provides the ingredients to make your restaurant the holiday destination of choice. Happy holidays and happy cooking!

*Items may not be available in all regions and subject to availability

Zest Fest – Winter Citrus Season 

By | Chef's Feed, Local and Specialty, Produce, What Chefs Want

As the winter chill sets in, there’s a burst of vibrant flavors waiting to grace our tables—citrus fruits. Winter, often synonymous with cozy evenings by the fireplace and hearty comfort foods, also marks the peak of citrus season. Citrus not only adds a burst of sunshine to the gloomy winter days but also offers an array of health benefits.

Why Winter?

In the winter, the geography of citrus cultivation plays a crucial role in the availability and diversity of citrus. While citrus trees are hardy and can thrive in various climates, certain regions become citrus havens during the winter months. California, particularly the Central Valley, is a major contributor to the winter citrus bounty in the United States. Here, the mild climate and fertile soil create optimal conditions for growing a variety of citrus fruits, from juicy oranges to tangy lemons. The southern regions of Florida also shine during the winter, with the Sunshine State living up to its name as a prime citrus-producing area. Internationally, countries like Spain, Italy, and Morocco are known for their winter citrus harvests, exporting a spectrum of flavors to global markets. The combination of these diverse growing regions ensures a continuous supply of fresh and flavorful citrus throughout the winter.

The Winter Citrus Lineup

Oranges:

Oranges are undoubtedly the reigning champions of winter citrus. Bursting with vitamin C, they offer a refreshing and immune-boosting kick. Varieties such as Navel and Cara Cara are particularly abundant during the winter months. Their sweet and tangy profiles make them perfect for both snacking and juicing. Chefs can experiment with orange segments in salads, create zesty marinades, or whip up a classic orange glaze for meats and desserts.

  • Naval Oranges: Naval oranges are known for their sweet and slightly tangy flavor. They are less acidic than some other orange varieties, making them a favorite for fresh consumption and juicing.
  • Cara Cara Oranges: Cara Cara oranges have a distinct flavor that combines the sweetness of traditional oranges with hints of cherry and berry. They are often considered sweeter and less acidic than Naval oranges.
  • Bergamot Oranges (item #03154): The flesh of Bergamot oranges is less juicy than that of other common citrus varieties, and it is typically not consumed fresh due to its tart and bitter taste. However, the peel imparts a unique citrus flavor with floral and slightly spicy notes.
  • Valencia Oranges: Valencia oranges are characterized by a sweet and slightly tart flavor profile. They are often favored for juicing due to their high juice content and well-balanced taste.
  • Blood Oranges: Blood oranges have a distinct flavor that combines the sweetness of oranges with berry-like undertones. The presence of anthocyanins, natural pigments responsible for the red color, contributes to their unique taste.

Grapefruits:

Grapefruits, with their invigorating tartness, add a sophisticated twist to winter dishes. Pink and red varieties dominate the market during this season. The bitterness of grapefruit pairs wonderfully with arugula in salads, or chefs can elevate seafood dishes with a grapefruit ceviche.

  • Ruby Red Grapefruit: The classic Ruby Red grapefruit is renowned for its vibrant red or pink flesh, offering a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess. Its succulent and juicy texture makes it a popular choice for breakfast or as a refreshing snack.
  • White Grapefruit: White grapefruits, such as the Marsh or Duncan varieties, have a paler flesh and tend to be less sweet, with a sharper, more traditional grapefruit flavor.
  • Oro Blanco Grapefruits: A cross between a grapefruit and a pomelo, present a milder, less acidic taste, resembling a sweeter version of a traditional grapefruit.

Mandarins/Tangerines/Clementines:

Mandarins are the perfect snack-sized citrus delights. Easy to peel and bursting with sweetness, mandarins, including varieties like Satsuma, Gold Nugget, Shasta Gold, Ojai Pixie and Clementine (item #98755), are a winter favorite. Chefs can use segments in desserts, infuse their flavor into cocktails, or create a vibrant salsa to accompany grilled proteins.

  • Satsuma Mandarins (item #10543): Satsuma mandarins, often simply referred to as Satsumas, are a distinct and popular variety of mandarin oranges known for their sweetness, ease of peeling, and seedlessness.

Lemons:

While lemons are available year-round, their peak season often coincides with winter. Known for their bright acidity, lemons can transform any dish. Chefs can use lemon zest to enhance the flavor of baked goods, create a zesty lemon vinaigrette for salads, or whip up a classic lemon curd for a decadent dessert.

  • Meyer Lemons (item #10511): Meyer lemons are notably sweeter compared to traditional lemons. Due to their sweeter and less acidic nature, Meyer lemons are incredibly versatile in the kitchen and particularly prized in baking.

Limes:

Limes are a citrus fruit known for their bright green color, tart flavor, and versatility in various culinary applications. They are a popular ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes, adding a refreshing and tangy kick to beverages, salads, marinades, desserts, and more.

  • Finger Limes (item #40500): Finger limes, also known as caviar limes or citrus caviar, are a unique and tiny citrus fruit with a distinctive appearance. What sets finger limes apart is their elongated shape and the tiny, bead-like juice vesicles inside. These vesicles resemble caviar, giving rise to the alternative name. The flavor of finger limes is typically tart, similar to traditional limes, but with a unique textural experience.

Other:

  • Buddha Hand Citron (item #20977): The flavor of Buddha’s hand citron is distinct and aromatic. It is known for its intense citrus fragrance without the typical juiciness or pulp found in other citrus fruits. One of the primary uses of Buddha’s hand is its zest. The peel is rich in essential oils, imparting a strong citrus aroma to dishes.
  • Kumquats – Unlike many other citrus fruits, kumquats are typically eaten whole, including the peel, which is sweet, and the flesh, which is tart. They add a distinctive sweet and tangy flavor to dishes and are often enjoyed fresh, candied, or used in jams and preserves.

Want the fresh citrus taste without the whole fruit? Check out our selection of Natalies Juices for fresh citrus juice options like blood orange, fresh lemon, fresh lime, grapefruit, orange and tangerine.


Citrus Inspiration

Citrus-infused Roasts:

Liven up your winter roasts by incorporating citrus flavors. Marinate meats in a blend of orange, lemon, and grapefruit juices for a refreshing and aromatic twist.

Winter Citrus Salads:

Create vibrant salads by combining a variety of citrus segments with greens, nuts, and cheese. The combination of sweet and tangy citrus adds complexity to the dish.

Citrus Desserts:

From tarts to sorbets, winter citrus can be the star of your dessert menu. Experiment with citrus curds, candied peels, or even a grapefruit and thyme-infused panna cotta.

Citrus-infused Cocktails:

Craft refreshing cocktails using winter citrus. From classic margaritas with a twist of mandarin to grapefruit mojitos, the options are endless.

Winter is truly the season of citrus, offering a burst of flavor and a nutritional boost when we need it most. Chefs can explore the diverse world of winter citrus to create dishes that are not only delicious but also celebrate the unique qualities of each fruit. While some of our citrus comes and goes with seasonal availability, reach out to your customer advocate with questions or help sourcing something specific. So, let the citrus celebration begin, and infuse your winter with a burst of sunshine!

Nourishing Communities Through the LFPA Program  

By | Chef's Feed, Farm To Table, Local, Local and Specialty, Produce, What Chefs Want

In the heart of Kentucky, a remarkable initiative is making a significant impact on local communities. What Chefs Want, in collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, is taking part in the Local Food Purchasing Agreement (LFPA) program. This is a venture that goes beyond just providing meals—it’s about building stronger local food systems and supporting Kentucky farmers. The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency.

Connecting Families with Local Goodness

Since its launch, the LFPA program has successfully connected thousands of Kentucky families with the bounty of local seasonal produce, value-added goods, and meats. The goal is simple yet profound: ensuring that families have access to fresh, locally sourced food at no cost.

In Kentucky, What Chefs Want is playing a pivotal role in the program by packing and distributing food boxes from the Bardstown warehouse, while also administering and funding distributions through key subcontractors such as Black Soil KY, Need More Acres and Locals Food Hub & Pizza Pub. The goal is ambitious: pack and distribute a total of 30,000 boxes in collaboration with partners by the summer of next year. Together, they are actively strengthening the local food system, supporting farmers, and creating a network that benefits both producers and consumers alike.

What Chefs Want has been actively involved in this project for a year, operating within a broader framework that includes the LFPA, the Federal purchasing program, and collaborations with various states, including Ohio and Kentucky. In Ohio, the team has been packing 500 boxes a week for the  Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley in Youngstown, showcasing the success and scalability of their efforts.

LFPA Grants: A Closer Look

The LFPA program is backed by a substantial grant of $11,035,420 from the USDA, extending the grant period to August 2025. Exclusive purchases of local and regional foods, networking opportunities, and financial benefits for locally produced goods are key priorities.

What Chefs Want’s involvement in the LFPA program exemplifies a commitment to community well-being, sustainable food systems, and supporting local farmers. As they continue to make strides in Ohio and Kentucky, the impact of their efforts is not just seen in the numbers but felt in the lives of the families they serve. The LFPA program is a shining example of how partnerships between government agencies, businesses like What Chefs Want, and community organizations can create lasting positive change.

Love City’s Recipe for Success  

By | Catering, Chef's Feed, Meats, Pork, What Chefs Want

Tis’ the season of giving and we wanted to take this opportunity to start sharing some stories from our incredible customers who give back to their communities!

One such inspiring tale comes from Inga Arvin, who, alongside her husband Shawn Arvin, founded Love City eight years ago this month. Their journey began with a leap of faith, moving from the other side of town to the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, KY without a grand plan or any idea what they would eventually build for the community there. We had the privilege of sitting down with Inga to delve into the incredible story of Love City. Below we’ll explore its evolution from open gym to a flourishing community hub, and how the connection of dining together helped build deeper relationships to connect a community.


Will you just give me a little bit of an idea of how Love City came to be?

Inga: My husband, Shawn, and I started Love City, eight years ago this month.

We lived on the other side of town and we felt a calling to move down to Portland. We came down here with no agenda, no grand plan, and we had no idea that we would be opening a nonprofit or doing any of this. We just felt like we wanted to move into the neighborhood and be a part of the community.

We found a house that had been boarded up for about 30 years, and when we approached the owner about buying it, he said he would give it to us if we purchased the old Community Center next door. We took the leap without a plan on what we would do with the Community Center.

While we were renovating the house, we saw so many kids walking down the street, bouncing basketballs with not a lot of places to go and play. We had a huge basketball gym in the community building just sitting empty, so we thought, well, let’s just have open gym. We started opening the gym for the community and very quickly, had 100-300 kids a day coming to the open gym. At that point we realized we should form a nonprofit, get some insurance, and raise some money to pay the light bill. So that’s what we did!

And you started raising money next?

Inga: We started a fish fry out of the back cafe area to raise money to pay the light bill. We started getting to know the people in the community and building relationships and really listening to see what it was that the community wanted and needed. Through the course of the next few months, we developed the mission statement of Love City, which is to simply love our neighbors and community, creating a culture that empowers a movement of loving people as they are. We started having large events, just to build trust and listen to more neighbors.

From a basketball open gym into food service! How else did you incorporate dining into the area?

Inga: About a year and a half into it, we were approached by the Archdiocese who asked if we wanted to buy an old Catholic campus just a block away from our original building. This gave us access to a commercial kitchen & bingo hall, so we moved the fish fry over there.

One of Love City’s pillars is economic stimulation and we saw the opportunity to bring a sit-down restaurant to the community. We wanted to hire people from the neighborhood and give the community a place where they can gather for food. And so that’s what we did when we opened Porkland BBQ. That’s when we started our relationship with What Chefs Want. And you all were gracious enough to partner with us as we got started and we still work with you to this day!

I feel like there’s a connection between food and bringing the community together in your story. Is that something you started out trying to do? Or is that something that you just found along the way?

Inga: Definitely something we found along the way.  When we started the fish fry in the back of the Community Center building, we were doing it because we needed to raise money to pay the lighting bill, which was more than the mortgage at that point. But what we saw more and more, is that people would reconnect with neighbors and community members while waiting in line.

The community had disintegrated a bit over the years. People would go to their homes, shut the doors, stay safe, but this gave them the opportunity to get back out in the community, get food and run into five neighbors they didn’t know still lived in the neighborhood. And so now, this has grown into Porkland BBQ, and we’re still open every Friday, and now we have the barbecue added as well as fish.

Food is a great equalizer and a great draw.

There is a community that is reconnecting. And then there’s the community of regulars that come every Friday without fail, that have become sort of like a community within a community themselves. We know them, they know us and we check on them if they’re not here. It has created multiple levels and layers of community and I love that.

And taking community and food to another level, you have a community garden. How did that get started?

Inga: We were able to purchase that vacant lot right across the street from the community building. We were out there, making some raised beds, mowing, and cultivating it, when a man from the USDA Urban Agriculture Program approached us. He helped us with a grant, walked us through the process, and we now have two coded USDA urban farms with high tunnels and rainwater collection systems.

What do you see in the future for Love City?

Inga: The community sort of dictates what it needs and what it wants.

For example, we never thought we would start a school, right? But here we are with Might Oak Academy, a K-8 school in the community center building that we had originally purchased. We are also set to reopen the preschool on an even larger scale, relocating it to another property down the street that we acquired in 2019.

In the beginning of Love City, it was more relationship-building and now we’re in the stage where we are more in the work. We are deeper into relationships with the families that we have because of the school, so that’s the next phase, developing communities and going deeper with those folks to see where we can make a difference for them and the community.

So you never know what might happen. Right?


If you want to learn more about Love City or Porkland BBQ you can visit their websites, linked here.

If you are a What Chefs Want customer and have a restaurant that gives back to the community in a significant way and want to be featured, please reach out to lkellum@whatchefswant.com. We’d love to tell your story and share your good work in the communities you serve!