Category

Catering

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

Item of the Day:  Mini Lotus Buns

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

Mini Bao/Lotus Buns

Being a chef is hard. Let us help – these pre-made lotus buns are a delicious time saver.

These Asian-inspired miniature steamed bun are perfect for sweet or savory applications.

Fill with spicy chicken, pork belly – endless possibilities. Don’t forget the pickled carrots and mooli!



Vegan, contains wheat and soy.

0.8 oz per piece.

Kabob Brand / MFG Code: K0909

Great item for parties and catering!


Item 90664 – 192 Ct Case 

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

Item of the Day:  Salmon Sashimi

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

Salmon Sashimi Kits

 The origins of Sashimi are shrouded in mystery but the art has been passed down for centuries. Now, with Wixter’s Salmon Sashimi Kit, you can join in this rich culinary tradition. With expertly sliced Norwegian Salmon (known as Sake in Japan), umami-packed soy sauce, and spicy wasabi, we’ve assembled the three ingredients that make up this simple but elegant dish. You can garnish it to your own tastes and delight guests at your next dinner party or begin your at home feast with the perfect bite.

Three individually-sealed, 4 ounce portions of sliced frozen Norwegian Salmon Sashimi, plus three packets of soy sauce and wasabi for a whole meal solution.

Great for retail or a ready-to-go item for parties and catering!


Item 26406 – 20x12oz Packs (15lb Case)

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

Item of the Day:  Ghyslain Macarons

By | Catering, Charcuterie, Chef's Feed, Desserts, Gourmet, Hors d'oeuvre, Item of the Day, What Chefs Want

Ghyslain Macarons

 

Perfect for the upcoming catering season!

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. 


Item 95796 – 150 Ct Case

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