Category

Appetizers

Talk Derby {menu} to Me: Celebrating Derby Tradition and Taste

By | Appetizers, Beef, Breads, Chocolate, Dairy, Desserts, Gourmet, Paper / To-Go, Seafood, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

What Chefs Want, founded and headquartered in Kentucky is proud to support Derby traditions for over 27 years! The Kentucky Derby is near and dear to us, but we believe the traditions and tastes of the Derby expand well beyond just the Kentucky borders. This year, whether you are jockeying for position among best Derby menu features or just want to celebrate from afar, our handpicked selections and ingredients are sure to impress your guests with a taste of true Kentucky spirit.

As Louisville gears up for the Kentucky Derby, the city comes alive with excitement and anticipation. Known not only for its fast horses but also for its distinctive culinary culture, the Kentucky Derby offers a perfect opportunity to showcase flavors and traditions. At What Chefs Want, headquartered right in the heart of Derby activities, we’re dedicated to providing chefs with high-quality, ingredients that reflect the rich heritage of this historic event.

Keep your eyes peeled for our BOLD RED ingredients. These are ingredients from Kentucky producers and vendors to showcase even more Kentucky tradition.

And They’re Off – Starters

Bourbon-Glazed Shrimp Skewers

Kick off the Derby festivities with these sweet and smoky skewers. The bourbon smoked sugar gives the shrimp a unique Kentucky twist, perfect for setting the culinary mood.

  • Shrimp – Mariblu 13/15 PDT/ON 5/2LB – 33189
  • Sugar – Bourbon Smoked 13oz Jar – 97222
  • Skewers – bamboo pick paddle 7″ – 98114

Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

This miniature version of the classic Kentucky Hot Brown is a must for any Derby menu. These sliders feature juicy turkey and crispy bacon topped with a rich Swiss cheese sauce, all nestled in a soft brioche bun.

  • Turkey – Fischer farms Boneless, Skinless, Raw, Whole 4-5 CT – 33919
  • Bacon – Broadbent sliced KY – 5 lb pk – 95032
  • Tomatoes – heirloom 10 lb cs – 50014
  • Slider Buns – brioche 160/1.4 OZ – 90720
  • Swiss Cheese – shredded 10 lb bag – 91277

Kentucky Lamb Sliders with Mint Sauce

Offer your guests a taste of Kentucky’s pastoral heritage with these savory lamb sliders, enhanced by a fresh mint sauce that complements the rich flavors of the meat.

  • Lamb – 20z Freedom Run 64/2oz – 49980
  • Slider Buns – brioche 160/1.4 oz – 90720
  • Paprika – Bourbon Smoked 4.5lb tub – 97156
  • Yogurt – plain 4% greek 32 oz – 97999
  • Mint – fresh by the lb – 40018
  • Arugula – baby cleaned 1.5 lb bag – 20225

Main Courses that Win, Place or Show

Scallop and Corn Salad

This light and refreshing salad features plump scallops and sweet corn as the stars, with a tangy lime dressing that brightens the entire dish.

  • Scallops – u/8 dry domestic – 32713
  • Corn – fresh kernel 4/5 lb cs – 17043
  • Bell Pepper – red/grn dice 3/8″ 10lb – 17430
  • Jalapeno – diced 2/5 lb cs – 99933
  • Red Onion – diced 2/5 lb cs – 70015
  • Lime juice – Natalie’s 6/32oz cs – 99203

Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Sweet Tea Glaze

Nothing says “southern cooking” like sweet tea and pecans. This dish combines them with luxurious Ora King salmon for a main course that’s both innovative and deeply rooted in southern tradition.

  • Ora King salmon – Fillet S-On 3-4lb – 48083
  • Pecans – pieces raw 2 lb bag – 95322
  • Bread crumbs – panko fine 20 lb cs – 13002
  • Paprika – bourbon smoked 7 oz – 97082
  • Worcestershire – Bourbon Barrel aged 1 gal – 96121
  • Tea – Luzianne bag w/filt 32/3 oz cs – 02570

Kentucky Wagyu Smash Burger

A juicy Wagyu burger that captures the essence of high-quality Kentucky beef, served with a tangy dill pickle ketchup that adds an unexpected twist to each bite.

  • Black Hawk patty – 8 oz frzn – 30108
  • Brioche bun – Rotella – 4.25″ 4/12 CT – 14618
  • Cheese – American – 160 slice 4/5lb ca – 15472
  • Worcestershire – Bourbon Barrels Aged 1 Gal. – 96121
  • Mayonnaise – Duke’s 4/1 gal cs – 98048
  • Ketchup – Milo’s Dill Pickle 6/14 OZ – 22586

Lobster and Grits with Scallop Cream Sauce

Enhance your Derby menu with this luxurious take on a southern classic. The creamy grits and rich lobster are complemented by a delicate scallop sauce.

  • Lobster tail – 5/6oz Cold Water – 48421
  • Lobster stock – Stock Shop 10/2 lb – 24073
  • Grits – White Weisenberger 25 lb bag – 92206
  • Heavy cream – 36% 12/1qt cs – 26967

Beef Tenderloin with Henry Bain’s Sauce

This robust entrée features tender beef tenderloin paired with a unique, locally cherished Henry Bain’s sauce, delivering a taste of Kentucky history in every bite.

  • Beef Tenderloin – choice 5 & up case – 00089
  • Henry Bain’s Sauce – Bourbon Barrel Foods – 1 gal each – 21786
  • Parsley – micro 6 oz pk – 02937

Bits and Pieces: Side Dishes to Impress

Collard Greens

A staple in southern cooking, these collard greens are slow-cooked with smoked ham hocks and a hint of apple cider vinegar for a touch of sweetness.

  • Collard Greens – chopped 4/2.5lb cs – 20121
  • Ham Hock – smoked, frzn 10 lb avg – 00451
  • Chicken Broth – Stock Shop 4 lb tub – 31674
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Madhouse – 18694
  • Bourbon Black Pepper – Bourbon smoked – 7.5oz – 97093

Fried Okra

Crispy and golden, this fried okra is a crowd-pleaser. It’s dusted with a blend of cornmeal and flour seasoned with bourbon smoked paprika for a distinct flavor.

  • Okra – fresh, case – 20918
  • Buttermilk – whole fat 1/2 gal ea – 02550
  • Cornmeal – Weisenberger 25 lb bag – 92220
  • Flour – a/p Weisenberger 25 lb bag – 93311
  • Paprika – Bourbon smoked 4.5lb tub – 97156

Cheese Grits

Creamy and comforting, these cheese grits are made with rich butter and Emmenthal cheese, providing a perfect side dish that’s simple yet satisfying.

  • Grits – yellow Weisenberger 25 lb – 92219
  • Chicken Stock – Stock Shop 4/4 lb – 27262
  • Cheese – Emmenthal shredded 5-6lb – 91349
  • Butter – Beurremont 83% 36/1 lb cs – 93072

The Finish Line: Desserts

Derby Pie

A decadent dessert with a nutty, chocolatey filling, this pie is a beloved Kentucky tradition. It’s the perfect sweet treat to conclude your Derby celebration.

  • Pie Shell – 9″ deep frozen 20 ct cs – 90473
  • Pecans – pecans halves raw 2 lb bag – 95321
  • Chocolate chips – semisweet 2lb bag – 92130
  • Sugar – bourbon smoked 6x13oz jar – 97236
  • Vanilla Extract – pure, quart – 93209
  • Ready to Eat Derby Pie 9” (Item #16632) OR Derby Pie Sheets 8”x12” (Item #02921)

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Rich and custardy, with a hint of bourbon and tart cherries, this bread pudding is an ode to Kentucky’s favorite spirit and a fitting finale to your Derby menu.

  • Brioche Bread – Ghyslain 8 x 20 oz – 90479
  • Whole Milk – Chaneys whole 4/gal – 23275
  • Heavy Cream – 36% 12/1qt cs – 26967
  • Sugar – Bourbon smoked – 6x13oz jar – 97236
  • Brown Sugar – dark 24/1 lb cs – 22808
  • Dried Fruit – tart cherries 5lb bag – 93105

And we’re off to the races! With these menu ideas and premium ingredients from What Chefs Want, you’re all set to create a Kentucky Derby dining experience that’s as exciting as the races themselves. Celebrate this cherished tradition with flavors and producers that speak to the heart of Kentucky.

*All products may not be available in each region. Please check the app or reach out to your customer advocate for availability.

Beyond the Bite: Kabobs’ Hors d’oeuvres Essentials

By | Appetizers, Asian, Gourmet, Seafood, Vegetables

Kabobs stands out as a leader in quality, variety, and simplicity in the culinary world. With over three decades of experience, this hors d’oeuvre specialist has been enhancing dining experiences across various foodservice venues. Here’s a glimpse into why Kabobs is the premier choice for kitchen essentials.

Operating from a 60,000 square foot facility, Kabobs doesn’t just focus on quantity but prioritizes quality. By adhering to strict HACCP and USDA standards, Kabobs boasts an expansive menu with over a thousand recipes and more than 150 SKUs available year-round, ensuring an unparalleled variety.

Kabobs’ product range is vast, spanning from classic to whimsical creations, crafted to elevate any event. Utilizing only the freshest ingredients, its hors d’oeuvres are imaginative and diverse, including options from layered to skewered treats.

The company is committed to food allergen awareness, providing education on potential allergens in its products while maintaining rigorous safety and quality protocols. Its items are Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) and tray-packed, which preserves freshness, reduces breakage, and offers flexibility for any event size.

Kabobs is dedicated to enhancing culinary operations with quality, variety, and convenience. Its offerings are designed to complement memorable dining experiences, establishing Kabobs as the go-to choice for chefs looking to impress with minimal stress.

Alright, let’s get into the good stuff. Here’s a peek at the amazing lineup of Kabobs’ products you can order from What Chefs Want that are sure to make your menu memorable!

Breakfast Essentials

Assorted Mini Quiche (item #90609): A delightful variety pack offering tastes like Three Cheese, Florentine, Classic French, and Mushroom for a sophisticated breakfast or brunch option.

Bacon & Cheese Quiche (item #90666): A crustless quiche blending smoked bacon with Swiss and Monterey Jack cheese for a hearty start to the day.

Spinach & Swiss Quiche (item #02863): Combining sautéed spinach and garlic with Swiss and Monterey Jack cheese, this crustless quiche is a smooth, comforting breakfast choice.

Seafood Selections

Bacon Wrapped Scallops (item #90611): Scallops wrapped in lean bacon, perfect for an upscale appetizer or a seafood-themed event.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp (item #90610): Juicy shrimp wrapped in bacon, serving as a savory treat for seafood aficionados.

Coconut Shrimp (item #90619): Shrimp dipped in coconut batter and rolled in coconut breadcrumbs, offering a sweet and crispy delight.

Crab Cakes (item #90620): A blend of crabmeat and spices, these crab cakes are ideal for sophisticated seafood plates.

Vegetarian Favorites

Cauliflower Au Gratin (item #30407): Roasted cauliflower in a creamy cheese sauce, a dish that can stand as a hearty side or a main.

Mushroom Tart (item #90606): A mix of gourmet mushrooms and Swiss cheese in a chive tart shell, perfect for those seeking depth of flavor.

Potato Au Gratin Dauphinoise (item #90661): Layered thin rustic potatoes with a blend of cream and cheeses, a comforting side that everyone loves.

Roasted Vegetable Polenta Cake (item #90656): A colorful array of vegetables atop herbed polenta, offering a wholesome vegan option.

Vegetable Empanada (item #90614): A medley of vegetables and cheese in a flavorful dough, a choice that’s both satisfying and versatile.

Spanakopita (item #90616): Spinach and feta cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry, a classic vegetarian appetizer.

Ratatouille Tart (item #90641): Fire-roasted vegetables in a sundried tomato tart shell, an appetizer with plenty of rustic charm.  

Mushroom Arancini (item #90914): Wild mushrooms and truffle oil in risotto balls, a rich and satisfying choice.

Meat and Poultry Picks

Beef Empanada (item #90613): Shredded beef with cheddar and spices in a corn masa pastry, a meaty treat with a kick.

Beef Satay (item #90637): Skewered beef strips, ideal for dipping and sharing.

Chicken Empanada (item #90615): Spicy chicken, cheese, and jalapeños in a corn masa pastry, offering a bold flavor.

Chicken Satay (item #90607): Tender chicken on a skewer, versatile and crowd-pleasing.

Coconut Chicken (item #90621): Chicken strips in a coconut crust, a sweet and savory finger food.

Franks in a Blanket (item #90662): Mini beef franks in puff pastry, a classic and beloved snack.

Petite Beef Wellington (item #90669): A mini version of the elegant classic, featuring beef tenderloin and mushroom duxelle wrapped in puff pastry.

Pork Potsticker (item #90608): Pork mixed with vegetables in a wonton wrapper, perfect for appetizer servings.

Global Inspirations

Mini Bao/Lotus Bun (item #90664): A steamed bun for sweet or savory fillings, offering a vegan and versatile base for creative dishes.

Vegetable Spring Rolls (item #90625): Crisp and colorful vegetables in a spring wrapper, a vegan appetizer with Asian flair.

Chicken Potsticker (item #90665): A dim sum favorite, combining chicken, scallions, and lemongrass in a wonton wrapper.

Unique Treats

Brie en Croute (item #90650): Brie with almonds and raspberry preserves in puff pastry, a luxurious bite for cheese lovers.

Goat Cheese and Honey Phyllo (item #02873): A sweet and tangy combination of goat cheese and honey in phyllo, perfect for hors d’oeuvres or dessert.

Mac N’ Cheese Melts (item #31219): A cheesy, spicy treat that’s deep-fried for a crunchy exterior and gooey interior.

Breaded Parmesan Artichoke Hearts (item #90623): Artichoke hearts with goat cheese, in a parmesan crust, blending tangy and savory flavors.

Decadent Desserts

Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes (item #90603): Bite-size cheesecakes in flavors like Dulce De Leche and Mocha Cappuccino, perfect for a sweet finish.

Citrus Mini Cheesecakes (item #90604): A tropical assortment of mini cheesecakes with fruit swirls, offering a refreshing dessert option.

Mini Buttermilk Pie (item #90673): A Southern specialty combining smooth custard with vanilla and nutmeg, for a unique dessert choice.

*All products may not be available in each region. Please check the app or reach out to your customer advocate for availability.

Game Day Grub: Ingredients for the Big Game and Beyond

By | Appetizers, Beef, Catering, Grilling Essentials, Meats, Poultry, Snack Foods

Are you ready for it?!? As the excitement builds for the clash between the Chiefs and the 49ers, we’ve crafted a culinary playbook that’s set to score big points for your big game day menu. Whether your patrons are die-hard fans or just in it for the snacks, we’ve got the winning bar bites that will make your patrons want to do a touchdown dance. The best part? Regardless of who wins the game, these menu items are big winners all year round. March Madness is right around the corner, so save these crowd-pleasing ingredients for the next major sports event!

Sideline Sliders

Sliders are the MVPs of any menu, offering a playbook of versatility that can please even the most seasoned chef. These mini marvels are like the quarterbacks of the culinary world, ready to run any play with diverse flavor combinations, making them the perfect players for a winning game day spread. From classic to unexpected, sliders bring a culinary touchdown to every palate. It’s a love story between sliders and sports fans!

Black Hawk Beef Sliders (item #30224): Kick off your menu with these Black Hawk beef sliders. 100% local Kentucky Proud F1 American Wagyu beef from Black Hawk Farms is grass-fed and grain-finished, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free.

Creekstone Natural Chuck Beef Sliders (item #23104): Score big with the rich and savory taste of Creekstone Natural Chuck beef sliders – natural angus beef with no antibiotics, hormones, or artificial ingredients.

Freedom Run Farms Lamb Sliders (item #49980): Breakaway from the ordinary and create your perfect slider with Freedom Run Farms Lamb Sliders, adding a touch of gourmet flair that’s a game-changer. Greek lamb sliders anyone?

Brioche-Style Slider Buns (item #90720): These brioche-style slider buns are fully baked & sliced, ready for your slider creations!

No-Huddle Nachos

Nachos are the ultimate game day grub, bringing a winning combination of crunch, zest, and gooey goodness to your menu. Create a classic nacho lineup or a fearless masterpiece, nachos always score big with patrons. Whether it is nachos, tots (totchos) or even fries as your base, you’ll have a blank space to create fun new flavor combinations.  What Chefs Want is here to provide you with the ingredients to make it easy!

Raw Yellow Tortilla Chip (item #14766): Tackle your nacho creation with raw yellow tortilla chips, pre-cut and ready to fry.

Raw White Tortilla Chips (item #06131): These raw white corn tortilla chips, produced by Mija Tortilla Company in Louisville, KY,  will be the perfect base layer to your nacho masterpiece.

Fresh Pico de Gallo (item #10016): This What Chefs Want Prep Kitchen pico de gallo is the quarterback of freshness, made in house with fresh cut roma tomatoes, yellow onions, jalapenos and cilantro.

Southwest Salsa (item #21353): Turn up the heat with southwest salsa, bringing a bold and spicy flavor that’ll leave your taste buds cheering.

Guacamole Extra Supreme (item #07724): High quality avocado that is ready to use for guacamole or other recipes. Add diced onion, garlic, tomato, and cilantro for an authentic looking and tasting guacamole.

Queso Fresco (item #91221): The firm-textured fresh white cheese is slightly salty, with a mild, tangy taste similar to farmer’s cheese. It’s easily crumbled to sprinkle on dishes like nachos or beans.

Boneless Chicken Wing Blitz

Spicy, tangy or garlicky, boneless wings are a game-changer on any menu. Boneless wings give chefs the perfect palate to show off their sauces and bring the heat to their menu.

Boneless Chicken Fritters (item #04117): Juicy, boneless chicken is a crowd-pleasing appetizer, side dish, entree or children’s meal. Available in whole-muscle larger breast meat chunks that we like to call “boneless wings”

Frank’s Buffalo Hot Sauce (item #21795): Spice up your game with Frank’s Buffalo Hot Sauce – Franks RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce blends rich, buttery flavor with the signature surge of Franks RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce. Simply toss and serve for authentic Buffalo wings.

Celery Sticks (item #20043): Keep things crisp with celery sticks, the refreshing sidekick that brings balance to the richness of boneless chicken wings. These pre-cut sticks will save you time!

Blue Cheese Dressing (item #21648): Ken’s Deluxe Bleu Cheese Dressing is a creamy and delicious way to cut through the spice of those wings! Dip in your carrots, celery or the whole wing. We aren’t judging.

Special Teams Sides

When it comes to football food, the sides are more than just the end game. Restaurant patrons are looking for a wide variety of finger foods to enjoy and chefs are looking for easy, gourmet menu additions to wow their guests.

Beer Battered Onions Rings (item #07741): Beer battered thick cut onion rings, double dipped in beer batter for extra crunch. Ready to be fried for the best big game side!

Mac N Cheese Fritters – (item #90638): A blend of sharp and white cheddar cheese, accented with pimentos, garlic and a hint of hot sauce, dusted in panko bread crumbs!

Franks in a Blanket – (item #90662): A classic crowd-pleaser, these are miniature beef frankfurters wrapped in a blanket of puff pasty.

Tater Keg – Bacon Cheddar Chive (item #32424) – Buffalo Chicken (item #32425) or Cheese Bomb (item #32423) : Three times the size of the average tot, these tater kegs are filled with your favorite flavors.


Cheers to you and your big game menus. As for who wins and who loses, we don’t want any bad blood, we just hope everyone has fun and eats some great food.

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

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.

Exploring Unique Fall Soups & Stews

By | Appetizers, Holiday, What Chefs Want

Fall is a season of transition and transformation, and it’s also an excellent time to experiment with unique and unexpected soups and stews that will leave your diners pleasantly surprised. For chefs who rely on What Chefs Want for their produce, meat, seafood, gourmet, and kitchen staples, the possibilities are endless. Let’s dive into some innovative ideas for fall soups and stews that will tantalize taste buds and create memorable dining experiences.

Roasted Beet and Apple Bisque

Move beyond the ordinary with a vibrant roasted beet and apple bisque. Roast beets until tender, then blend them with sweet apples and a touch of cream for a velvety, magenta-hued soup. Finish with a sprinkle of goat cheese and toasted walnuts for a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.

  • Beets (Item #20401)
  • Goat Cheese Crumble (Item #96537)
  • Gala Apple (Item #10217)

Smoky Pumpkin and Chorizo Stew

Pumpkin isn’t just for pie! Create a smoky pumpkin and chorizo stew that balances the sweetness of pumpkin with the spiciness of chorizo sausage. The result is a rich and smoky stew that’s perfect for a chilly fall evening.

  • Chorizo (Item #23856)
  • Canned Pumpkin (Item #90562)
  • OR whole pumpkin (Item #20643)

Thai Coconut Lemongrass Soup with Crab

Transport your diners to the flavors of Thailand with a Thai coconut lemongrass soup featuring fresh crab meat. The aromatic lemongrass and creamy coconut milk create a fragrant base for this exotic dish.

  • Lemongrass (Item #40013)
  • Coconut Milk (Item #90010)
  • Crab Claw Meat (Item #48203)

Wild Mushroom and Chestnut Bisque

For an earthy and indulgent option, consider a wild mushroom and chestnut bisque. The combination of wild mushrooms and roasted chestnuts delivers a hearty and satisfying flavor profile, perfect for fall.

  • Exotic Sliced Mushrooms (Cremini, Shiitake, Yellow Oyster) (Item #30906)
  • Chestnut Puree (Item #95317)

Spicy Peanut and Sweet Potato Stew

Give your stew a global twist by infusing it with the flavors of West Africa. A spicy peanut and sweet potato stew featuring tender chunks of sweet potatoes, aromatic spices, and a rich peanut butter base will add a touch of adventure to your menu.

  • Sweet Potatoes (Item #99848)
  • Peanut Butter (Item #99291)

Curried Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

Lentils and pumpkin come together in this curried soup that’s both hearty and exotic. The addition of warming spices like curry and turmeric adds depth and complexity to this unexpected combination.

  • Lentils (Item #93808)
  • Tumeric (Item #02268)
  • Curry Powder (Item #97035)

Saffron and White Bean Soup

Elevate your fall soup game with a saffron and white bean soup. Saffron lends a subtle, earthy sweetness to this hearty soup, while tender white beans provide a creamy texture.

  • Saffron (Item #97113)
  • Roasted Vegetable Base (Item #96117)

Miso and Mushroom Hot Pot

Create a comforting hot pot with a twist by incorporating Japanese miso paste and a variety of mushrooms. The umami-rich miso adds depth of flavor, while mushrooms provide a hearty, earthy character.

  • Miso Paste (Item #90020)
  • Konbu (Item #90110)
  • Sesame Oil (Item #90040)

Cabbage Roll Soup

Reimagine the classic stuffed cabbage rolls as a hearty soup. A flavorful broth filled with tender cabbage leaves, ground meat, and rice captures all the essence of this beloved dish in a comforting bowl.

  • Shredded Cabbage (Item #20203)
  • Ground Pork (Item #66630)

Black Bean and Chocolate Chili

For a chili like no other, try infusing it with dark chocolate. The cocoa undertones add a rich, deep complexity to the hearty black bean chili, creating a memorable flavor combination.

  • Belgian dark chocolate (Item #92115)
  • Black Beans (Item #90310)

Spiced Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

Blend sweet, spiced apples with butternut squash for a delightful autumn soup. The combination of apple’s sweetness and squash’s nuttiness creates a perfect balance of flavors.

  • Butternut Squash Cubed (Item #09886)
  • OR Whole Butternut Squash (Item #20616)
  • Nutmeg (Item #97068)

These unique fall soups and stews push the boundaries of traditional flavors and ingredients, offering a delightful departure from the expected. At What Chefs Want, we understand that innovation in the kitchen starts with quality ingredients. Our diverse range of products allows you to explore your culinary creativity and bring unexpected delights to your customers’ plates.

So, why not embrace the spirit of fall by experimenting with these unconventional soups and stews? Your diners will appreciate the bold flavors and unexpected pairings, making every meal a memorable experience.

Foris Extraordinary Meats: Where Flavor and Family Converge

By | Appetizers, Beef, Catering, Charcuterie, Gourmet, Hors d'oeuvre, Meats, What Chefs Want

In the heart of Columbus, Ohio, Foris Extraordinary Meats is more than just a business. It’s the result of a genuine love for great food and a shared family endeavor that has taken the form of creating exceptional sausages and cured meats. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Duncan Forbes, Foris Extraordinary Meats Salami Monger, to talk about how they got started, how they source and create unique cured meats and what really excites chefs (and retail consumers!) about their products. I dare you to read this without wanting to try each and every one of these products!

Can you share the inspiration behind Foris Extraordinary Meats and your family’s love for food and craftsmanship that led to its creation?

Duncan: “Absolutely. Well, we joke that it’s my brother’s fault. He was a chef for about 10 years in Columbus before we started the company. He developed an interest in cured meats along the way, was working at a couple of kitchens where the chef there was also dabbling. He bought a refrigerator off Craigslist for $150, converted it into a dry curing chamber in his apartment’s mudroom, and started tinkering at home, making bacon, salami, and other cured meats.”

How did you and your mom join the venture?

Duncan: “My mom and brother initially started the company, and I joined about a year later. It all started with conversations over cocktails, as my mom was looking for a change in her career. She wanted to work with James, my brother, and help him start the company. I got involved later, primarily overseeing sales, marketing, and business development.”

Your background is quite different, involving managing experiences and even leading canoeing expeditions. How do these experiences contribute to your unique perspective at Foris Extraordinary Meats?

Duncan: “Oddly enough, all my experiences led me here, and the skill sets I developed works well for what we’re doing. My time in Amsterdam involved setting up an accelerator program for early-stage social enterprises, and that experience meshed with the startup ecosystem we entered when we began. The marketing experience I gained in Colorado and my involvement in sales components in various roles have all been beneficial.

Additionally, my family’s connection to the restaurant industry through our wine distribution company laid the foundation for our interest in restaurants. My grandfather started a wine distribution company in Cleveland, which my father and uncle owned and operated for years, so we grew up alongside the restaurant industry.”

Foris Extraordinary Meats emphasizes the use of locally sourced pork from small Ohio family farms. Can you tell us more about your sourcing practices and why supporting local is essential to your brand?

Duncan: “We source 95% of our ingredients from within a two-hour drive of Columbus. This approach is akin to the concept of ‘terroir’ in winemaking, where the local environment influences the product’s quality. Sourcing locally ensures that all our ingredients, from spices to meat, work harmoniously. It’s also about supporting local businesses and economies while being mindful of our carbon footprint, especially as we expand our reach.”

Your collaboration with other local makers, such as beer and wine, sets you apart. Can you tell us more about these collaborations?

Duncan: “We wanted to use more unique, interesting ingredients to distinguish our offerings rather than just creating another genoa or salami. We wanted to put our stamp on it and that’s where James’ creativity as a chef really shines.

Collaborating with local makers is a key aspect of our products. For example, our Lupo Salami is incredibly unique, combining Russian Imperial Stout and Mexican mole seasoning, creating a distinct flavor profile. The most common reaction when someone tries it is, ‘I’ve never had anything like that’ and that’s how we know we’ve done something right.

The cheese we use in our No. 1 Salami comes from a local dairy, and the wine is sourced from Northeast Ohio. What also makes us different is that we use fresh ingredients—like hand-chopped sage and freshly ground black peppercorns—instead of pre-made spice blends that have been sitting on shelves for years.”

What should chefs know about using Foris Extraordinary Meats products in their dishes?

Duncan: “Don’t be afraid to think outside of the charcuterie board. There are so many ways to use our products. For example, look at our Hoguera Spreadable Chorizo. It has a high fat content, a LOT of flavor and a little goes a long way, so you don’t need to use very much of it. It is great with seafood like mussels or clams and is great to add to a sauce or to use as a flatbread topping.

Our primary differentiator is flavor. Our use of fresh, high-quality ingredients results in superior flavor and freshness. Chefs should know that a little goes a long way with our products. Even though they might be slightly more expensive, they don’t need to use much to make a significant impact. Additionally, our products require less labor, which can balance out any cost concerns.”

Foris Extraordinary Meats is a testament to the dedication to quality, local sourcing, and creative flavors. Duncan’s insights have given us a glimpse into how their family’s passion and diverse experiences have shaped their exceptional products. Duncan is happy to ship samples through What Chefs Want for chefs who are interested in trying the product and he always concludes his calls with an open invitation for chefs to visit their production facility in Columbus.


Find These Items at What Chefs Want

Hoguera Spreadable Chorizo (Item #95069) – 2021 Good Food Awards Finalist! – Best enjoyed on a baguette or added to a favorite Spanish recipe, their Sobrassada hits your tongue with a sultry surprise and fiery finish. Mixed with Hot Paprika, Chipotle and Cayenne, all from North Market Spices (Columbus, Ohio)

Tripel Pigs Salami (Item #03920) – Our most traditional salami with an American twist, subtly flavored with Tripel from Combustion Brewery & Taproom (Pickerington, Ohio).

Fino Salami (Item #03923) – This Finocchiona-style salami is a delicate balance of ground fennel from North Market Spices (Columbus, OH) and minced garlic.

Lupo Salami (Item #03924) – Deep, dark and mysterious, from the furthest reaches of the wild: A Russian Imperial Stout meets Mexican Mole to create a rich, globe-trotting flavor in this collaboration with Wolf’s Ridge Brewing

Rojizo Chorizo (Item #03922) – An intriguing fusion of European traditions and flavors from the Southern hemisphere like Hot Paprika, Cayenne and Chipotle, all from North Market Spices (Columbus, OH). But don’t be afraid, the flavor is stronger than the heat!

Zin Salami – (Item #94066) Where Wine Country meets North Country, we blend old-vine California Zinfandel with premium Ohio pork and seasonings, to create a robust flavor with notes of blackberry and hints of garlic and black pepper, in collaboration with Zanon Wines (Columbus, OH).

No. 1 Salami (Item #03921) – North Country’s richest and creamiest salami, boldly flavored with cheese from Blue Jacket Dairy (Bellefontaine, OH), Chardonnay from Debonnne Vineyards (Madison, OH), chopped garlic and fresh sage.

Herbed Wagyu Bresaola (Item #94498) – 2022 Good Food Awards Winner! Ohio-raised Wagyu Beef eye of round, delicately flavored with a blend of aromatic herbs and spices. Traditionally sliced very thin and served with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and fresh ground pepper.

Coffee Bacon (Item #00459) – With hints of coffee and a mouthwatering sweetness, no breakfast is complete without their signature bacon, seasoned with ground coffee, brown sugar, salt & pepper.

Staying Ahead of the Catering Curve

By | Appetizers, Catering, Holiday, Paper / To-Go, What Chefs Want

The catering industry is constantly evolving, and staying on top of the latest trends is essential for chefs and catering professionals looking to excel in this competitive field. Here are several catering trends that you can leverage to create memorable experiences for your clients and ensure your business remains at the forefront of the industry. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of these trends and provide insights on how chefs can incorporate them into their catering offerings.

Embracing Health and Wellness

In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards healthier eating habits. Catering to clients who are health-conscious or have dietary restrictions is a trend that continues to grow. Consider offering menu options that cater to various dietary preferences, such as vegan, gluten-free, or keto-friendly dishes. Incorporate fresh, locally sourced ingredients and highlight the nutritional benefits of your offerings.

Sustainable Catering Practices

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword but a necessity in the catering industry. Clients are increasingly looking for eco-friendly catering options. Reduce waste by using reusable or compostable servingware. Source ingredients locally to reduce your carbon footprint. By adopting sustainable practices, you not only appeal to environmentally conscious clients but also contribute to a better future. Not only does What Chefs Want offer sustainable serving options, but we offer locally sourced items, so you can impress your clients and their guests by letting them know exactly where that beef came from or that the squash on their table was harvested from a small family-run farm.

Corn Resin Appetizer Forks (Item #99628) – These petite taster forks are made of corn resin and are environmentally friendly!

Pinewood Boats (Item #98109) – These boat shaped bowls are an elegant way to make a statement at any event. They are available in various sizes and are multi-purpose. The boats can be used either as a serving dish or food display. Made of pinewood, they are biodegradable and disposable.

Bamboo Paddle (Item #98114) – Made of strong, all-natural bamboo, this paddle pick is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic picks and wooden skewers. This bamboo paddle pick provides a perfect utensil to serve hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, and finger foods to guests at your banquet hall or catered event.

Fusion Flavors and Global Cuisine

Catering clients are eager to explore new and exciting flavors from around the world. Consider incorporating fusion cuisine into your offerings, blending different culinary traditions to create unique and delightful dishes. Experiment with international flavors, spices, and cooking techniques to add a global touch to your catering menus.

Regardless of the flavor you want to bring out – check out What Chefs Want for a wide array of global gourmet products.

Interactive Food Stations

One of the most engaging trends in catering is the use of interactive food stations. These stations allow guests to customize their meals, adding an element of fun and personalization to events. From build-your-own taco bars to live cooking demonstrations, interactive stations create memorable experiences that guests will cherish. From steam pans to chafing fuel, we have all the basics covered so you can use your culinary creativity to make a standout experience.

Steam Pan (Item #99586) – These aluminum steam table pans have the strength, durability and economy of aluminum foil, retain temperature and are made of recyclable material. You can find the lids with Item #97972

Chafing Fuel (Item #99396) – We have chafing fuel in multiple counts & sizes. This is the ideal product for extended banquets or catering, burning on average 5.5 hours. Because the fuel is DEG, your cans are cool to the touch and there are no shipping or storage requirements.

Artful Presentation

In the world of catering, presentation is everything. Elevate your catering game by paying special attention to how you present your dishes. Experiment with creative plating techniques, elegant servingware, and eye-catching food displays. Remember that guests eat with their eyes first, so a visually appealing presentation can leave a lasting impression.

Technology Integration

Technology is playing a significant role in catering operations. Use catering software for streamlined event management, online ordering, and client communication. Incorporate digital menu displays and interactive apps to enhance the guest experience. Embracing technology not only improves efficiency but also demonstrates your commitment to staying current.

Personalized Experiences

Every event is unique, and clients appreciate catering services that reflect their individual preferences and themes. Work closely with clients to understand their vision and customize your offerings accordingly. Personalization creates a sense of exclusivity and shows that you go the extra mile to make their event special.

Similarly, What Chefs Want can help you customize your offerings. If you have a client looking for a particular item for their menu that you cannot find, contact your WCW Customer Advocate and we can help source the item for you!

Beverage Pairing and Craft Cocktails

Don’t forget about the beverages! Craft cocktails and beverage pairings are gaining popularity at events. Offer a selection of artisanal cocktails and non-alcoholic options that complement your menu. The right drink pairing can elevate the overall dining experience.

We have everything but the booze for you to create signature cocktails. Learn more in our blog about our bar offerings.

Incorporating these catering trends into your offerings can set your catering business apart this year and beyond. Remember that trends are not one-size-fits-all; it’s essential to adapt them to your unique style and clientele. Staying ahead of the curve in the catering industry requires creativity, flexibility, and a commitment to providing exceptional experiences. By embracing these trends, you’ll be well-positioned to meet the evolving demands of your clients and continue to thrive in the exciting world of catering.

If you’re ready to explore these trends and offer cutting-edge catering services, What Chefs Want is here to support you with high-quality catering equipment, supplies and, of course, fresh products to wow your clientele. Contact us today to learn more about how our products can help you stay competitive in the ever-changing catering landscape.

To make it easy to shop our catering selections, we’ve created a feature list called It’s Wedding Time. Click there to see a curated list of some of our best catering offerings!

Maple Leaf Farms Duck: Your Nutritious and Sustainable Recipe for Success

By | Appetizers, Farm To Table, Meats, What Chefs Want

In the dynamic world of dining, one protein source is emerging as a star for its exceptional taste, versatility, and eco-friendly ethos. Allow us to introduce you to Maple Leaf Farms—the farm that’s revolutionizing how chefs and food enthusiasts perceive duck meat.

A Nutritional Marvel Awaits: The White Pekin Duck

Before we delve into the legacy and sustainable practices of Maple Leaf Farms, let’s uncover the nutritional treasure that is White Pekin Duck. Beyond its deliciousness, this duck variety boasts a commendable nutritional profile that’s catching the attention of chefs and foodies worldwide.

The White Pekin duck is a protein source that not only dazzles your palate but also supports your health goals. This duck variety has 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.

A skinless duck breast weighs in at a mere 110 calories per 4 oz. serving, accompanied by a paltry 2 grams of total fat. Compare this to the leanest chicken breast, and duck claims the victory in the realm of lean meats.

Duck fat isn’t just a culinary secret; it’s a nutritional revelation. Bursting with monounsaturated fats, akin to revered olive oil, duck fat is a wonder in the world of healthy fats. Its saturated fat content is notably low, especially considering that much of it resides in the skin—which can be conveniently rendered off or removed before cooking, putting you in charge of your dish’s fat content.
And this duck isn’t just about less fat; it’s about more goodness. This variety is a treasure trove of essential nutrients, boasting impressive quantities of iron and selenium—crucial elements that bolster your well-being.

Duck’s Culinary Identity: Red Meat with a Twist

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. This distinction lends duck a versatile culinary nature that shines in everything from elegant soirées to casual gatherings—a must-have ingredient for chefs aiming to elevate their creations.

Cooking duck is an art that marries precision with passion. Unlike traditional white meats, a skillfully prepared duck breast delights with a slight pink center when cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This artistry doesn’t just ensure tenderness; it enriches the distinctive flavor profile duck is celebrated for.

In a world where flavor often collides with wellness, White Pekin duck bridges the gap. Its delectable taste, partnered with its stellar nutritional qualities, makes it a prime choice for health-conscious chefs and food enthusiasts alike.

Maple Leaf Farm Makes Duck Approachable

Maple Leaf Farms is on a mission to make duck a staple in every kitchen. From gourmet sit-down meals to approachable, shareable dishes, there’s a place for duck in every type of restaurant. Imagine duck tacos that tantalize the taste buds or savory appetizers like duck bacon wontons and crispy duck wings—these are just the beginning of your culinary journey.

For those curious but hesitant, Maple Leaf Farms offers recipes and inspiration on their website, guiding chefs of all levels to create delectable duck dishes that will have diners coming back for more.

A Legacy of Excellence and Sustainability

While the spotlight on White Pekin duck’s nutritional wonders shines bright, let’s shift our focus to the legacy that is Maple Leaf Farms—a story of passion, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to delivering unparalleled duck products.

Maple Leaf Farms’ journey begins with a dedication to sustainability. Partnering with local farmers and raising ducks in open-air barns at a comfortable temperature, their approach guarantees consistent, top-tier meat—a chef’s dream come true. With innovative barn designs that effectively manage waste and eco-friendly practices like repurposing manure for local fields, sustainability takes center stage.

No Waste, Just Excellence

Maple Leaf Farms’ commitment to sustainability echoes through every step, from processing ducks themselves to ensuring each part serves a purpose. No element is overlooked—even feathers find their place, transformed into pillows and comforters, showcasing a zero-waste mindset that’s both responsible and innovative.

A Global Impact with Local Roots

Maple Leaf Farms’ global presence retains a heartwarming small-town feel. From a modest 1958 Indiana duck operation, it has evolved into an international powerhouse, exporting to various corners of the world. This journey is a testament to their dedication to excellence, rooted in founder Donald Wentzel’s vision and carried forward through generations.

Culinary Excellence Meets Sustainability: Your Journey Begins

So, are you ready to elevate your creations with Maple Leaf Farms Duck? We offer a variety of Maple Leaf Farms duck products, delivered right to your door. Search our website or app for Maple Leaf or search by item code:

  • Bone in duck leg & thigh – Item #00890
  • Ground duck – Item #00889
  • Duck leg confit – Item #00893
  • Duck breast – Item #00841
  • Whole duck – Item #00384

Anthonino’s Taverna: From Family Roots to Culinary Heights

By | Appetizers, Chef's Feed, Italian, Pizza, Produce, What Chefs Want

In the heart of St. Louis, MO, Anthonino’s Taverna stands as a testament to the dynamic fusion of Italian and Greek cuisines, owned by brothers Anthony and Rosario Scarato. Their culinary journey is rooted in family traditions, echoing through generations in their Italian and Greek heritage. With a legacy in the restaurant business and an innate passion for flavors, the Scarato brothers embarked on a culinary venture that has earned accolades for both the best Italian and Greek restaurant in town.

Join us as we explore their journey and applaud their achievements, powered by the use of fresh, local ingredients and their fearless attitude towards embracing new opportunities.

Can you share a bit about your culinary background and what led you to open a restaurant?

Anthony – Our family has been in the restaurant business our whole lives, so it surrounded us growing up. As we became adults and needed to make a career for ourselves, this was it!

Rosario – Our dad had restaurants at local food courts here in St. Louis and Anthony and I grew up doing that together. When we decided to open a restaurant in 2003, we found a perfect spot on The Hill and have been at it ever since then.

Anthony – When we started it was just a 1-page menu and three or four other employees besides ourselves and we’ve been growing ever since!

For non-St. Louis natives, The Hill is a distinctive neighborhood with roots tracing back to Italian immigrants from the 1800s. This vibrant and enduring community offers a charming “little Italy” ambiance, making it a must-visit destination that encapsulates the essence of Saint Louis, Missouri.

What inspired you to showcase both Italian and Greek cuisines at Anthonino’s Taverna?

Rosario – Our culture. We started with family recipes because we grew up on them, loved them and knew everyone would enjoy them.

Anthony – Our mother was born in Greece and Dad’s parents were born in Italy. There are lots of Italian restaurants on the Hill, and our recipes and the way we do things are different, but having Greek menu items as well really helps us stand.

How does sourcing your food from What Chefs Want impact the quality of your menu?

Rosario – We like to focus on local and What Chefs Want helps us get a good variety of produce. Using them, we can feel confident that we will get good and consistent year-round product.

Anthony – We choose to use What Chefs Want because we’ve found that we can get things that we can’t get from a lot of other purveyors. We have three awesome salads that we rely on their produce for, the House Salad, Caesar Salad and Italian Salad. We use shaved kale in the Caesar, a nice artisan blend of lettuce for the Italian, and chopped romaine for the house, all with homemade dressings.

“Using What Chefs Want really takes out a lot of the leg work for us because the lettuce is coming to us clean and ready to use.”

– Anthony Scarato

  • Find our Chopped Romaine – Item #20264
  • Find our Shredded Kale Greens – Item #98742
  • Find our Arcadian Mix Lettuce – Item #20248
  • Find our Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes – Item #50901

Talk to me about your favorite family recipe how you’ve used it in your menu?

Anthony – I’d say ravioli. Growing up our grandma and aunts would always make ravioli. They would make it the traditional way and boil it, but toasted ravioli is so popular here that we added it to our menu in that way.

Rosario – We’ve really perfected it. It’s all made with fresh ingredients.

And Anthonino’s HAS perfected Toasted Ravioli. They are handmade in house and filled with ground beef, ricotta and pecorino romano cheese, served with their own marinara. They’ve won awards for the Best Toasted Ravioli in St. Louis, sell them in the new CITYPARK soccer stadium, sell them frozen at local grocery Schnucks, and were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where Guy Fieri RAVED about them.

    Being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is a fantastic achievement! Could you share your experience of being on the show and how it impacted your restaurant’s visibility and success?

    Anthony – It was pretty wild. When they first called us we thought it was a joke, but as we went through multiple phone calls and multiple interviews, each call sounded a little more serious! It’s the #1 show on The Food Network, so this was BIG. When they filmed the crew was really gracious and Guy was great.

    Rosario – Our taping was in May 2012 and in terms of our restaurant, we were still little guys, still growing. It was an extremely big deal for us. In 2014 we were able to get a bank on board to add onto our dining room, allowing us to double in size. I’m not saying that it is all because of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but our exposure there played a big role.

    Anthony – After the show films, it doesn’t air for a couple months, but when it does, it reruns six times a year. It drives people to us even to this day and we’ve even had people from Europe who visited us after seeing us on the show.

    Tell me about finding your pizza and toasted ravioli in stores? How did that come about?

    Rosario – It started during Covid. We were looking for a way to keep the business going, a way to keep our people working. We were doing to-go orders and started just by selling frozen pizzas to the people who were there to pick up orders. We started jarring our sauce at the same time. We started a great relationship with Schnucks grocery store. They liked that our product was local, made with a focus on local products, and now our frozen pizzas are available in 115 of their stores! Our frozen ravioli, marinara and two salad dressings are also available in their stores.

    What would your advice be to chefs or restaurateurs who are looking to break out of the brick-and-mortar mold?

    Anthony – Do your research, but take a chance. If you have something that is unique and different, get out there and try it. Just take the chance.


    Item of the Day:  Bavarian Pretzels

    By | Appetizers, Asian, Asian Cuisine, Catering, Chef's Feed, Hors d'oeuvre, Item of the Day, What Chefs Want

    Bavarian Pretzel Sticks

    Oktoberfest begins Saturday, September 17th!

    Save time with this ready-to-go pretzel stick. Multiple heating options enable you to offer this artisan item with limited equipment. Perfect for an easy German-themed appetizer. These pretzel sticks are soft and sweet, with an earthy rye exterior. 

    7-7.5 Inches Long

    Kosher

    Coarse Salt Included

    Hand-Scored


    Item 14604 – 72/2.4 oz Case 

    *Not available in all regions – see website or app for more information.