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Local

Fresh & Flavorful Easter Menu Inspiration

By | Desserts, Easter, Fruit, Ham, Local, Local and Specialty, Meats, Pork, Poultry, Produce, Salads, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

Spring hasn’t sprung yet, but hopefully it will SOON, and with it comes the joyful celebration of Easter! It’s that egg-stra special time of the year when the world bursts into a kaleidoscope of colors and flavors, heralding new beginnings and fresh starts. As chefs we find ourselves inspired by the season’s bounty, eager to create menus that reflect the vibrancy of spring.

In this blog, we’re hopping into the kitchen to whip up an array of Easter dish menu inspo to impress your guests. From classic favorites to new twists on traditional dishes, we’ll explore menu options and then deliver all the fresh ingredients you need!


Starters

Deviled Eggs

A classic starter made with fresh eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and a dash of paprika. Perfect for Easter, these eggs symbolize new beginnings and are a hit for their creamy texture and savory taste. Get creative by adding a garnish of fresh herbs or a sprinkle of crispy bacon bits. Try piping the filling for an elegant touch.

  • Eggs – Non-GMO, Free-Range – 15 dozen – item #80005
  • Mayonnaise – Kewpie – 17oz bottle – item #90160
  • Dijon Mustard – Clovis – 12/7 oz – item #95211
  • Smoked Paprika – La Chinata – 750G – item #96619

Smoked Salmon Platter

The rich, velvety smoked salmon pairs beautifully with the tangy capers and the crisp bite of red onion. Spread a dollop of cream cheese on a cracker, top it with salmon and capers, and you’ve got yourself a bite-sized delight. For a creative twist, arrange the salmon in rose shapes – it’s a platter that’s as delightful to look at as it is to devour! Ideal for a spring menu, its light and refreshing taste pairs wonderfully with crisp white wines. Serve on artisan bread or blinis for an elegant touch.

  • Smoked Salmon – Kendall Brook – 2-3Lb – item #48725
  • Capers – Nonpareil – 32oz Jar – item #90508
  • Red Onion – Diced 2/5 Lb Cs – item #70015
  • Cream Cheese – Smithfield 10X3 Lb Cs – item #91160

Spring Pea Soup

Spring is in the air and in Spring Pea Soup! Made with the freshest of peas, be they fresh or frozen, this soup is a vibrant green ode to the season. Infused with the delicate flavors of mint, onion, and garlic, and simmered in a rich vegetable broth, it’s a light yet flavorful start to your Easter feast. For a gourmet twist, add a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of lemon zest.

  • Peas – Frozen 12/2.5 Lb – item #07773
  • Vegetable Base – Sauteed – 16oz Tub – item #21754
  • Fresh Mint – 1/4 Lb – item #40052
  • Onion – Diced Yellow – 2/5 Lb Cs – item #70032
  • Garlic – Peeled Domestic – 5 Lb Jar – item #70121

Spring Salad

A mix of greens, strawberries, goat cheese, candied pecans, and balsamic vinaigrette. The sweetness of the strawberries complements the tangy goat cheese, making it a refreshing choice for a spring day. Tip: Toss the greens with the vinaigrette right before serving to keep them crisp, and add the strawberries and pecans on top to maintain their texture. Toss in some edible flowers for a pop of color.

  • Spring Mix – Eden Valley – 2/1.5 Lb – item #19040
  • Strawberries – KY Greenhouse -10/12oz – item #34010
  • Goat Cheese – Crumbles 2/2Lb Cs – item #96537
  • Pecans – Raw Pieces – 2 Lb Bag – item #95322
  • Fig Balsamic – 8.45oz Bottle – item #29869

Main Course

Roast Lamb

Lamb is a traditional Easter dish, symbolizing spring and renewal and an Easter menu wouldn’t be complete without a show-stopping roast lamb. We recommend the succulent Freedom Run Farm leg of lamb, rubbed with a medley of garlic, rosemary, and thyme, then roasted to perfection. Let the lamb rest before carving to ensure each slice is juicy and full of flavor. Serve with a side of mint sauce or red wine reduction.

  • Freedom Run Farm Leg of Lamb – 2 Ct Cs – item #62505
  • Rosemary – Hydro-grown in OH – 1oz – item #19141
  • Thyme – Fresh 1/4 Lb – item #40043
  • Salt – Bourbon Smoked KY 18oz – item #96002
  • Pepper – Bourbon Smoked KY 7.5oz – item #97093

Honey Glazed Ham

Sweet, savory, and irresistibly delicious, Honey Glazed Ham is a crowd-pleaser. The glaze, a blend of honey, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and cloves, caramelizes beautifully, giving the ham a glossy finish and a depth of flavor that’s hard to resist. Serve it with some spring greens or a side of scalloped potatoes, and watch it disappear faster than an Easter egg on a hunt! For a unique twist, try adding a splash of bourbon to the glaze.

  • Ham – Spiral Sliced Halves 4CT-9Lb Avg – item #00447
  • Honey – Wildflower Local 16oz Jar – item #19304
  • Sugar – Bourbon Smoked 13oz Jar – item #97222
  • Cloves – Hand-picked, Whole 14oz – item #97028

Herb Roasted Chicken

For a lighter yet equally festive option, Herb Roasted Chicken is a menu must. Seasoned with a mix of fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon, roasted to golden perfection with a crispy skin and moist, flavorful meat. It’s a dish that’s both simple and elegant. A pro tip: roast the chicken on a bed of vegetables for an all-in-one dish that’s bursting with flavors and colors.

  • Whole Chicken – Joyce Farms 3Lb/12 Ct – item #97671
  • Rosemary – Hydro-grown in OH – 1oz – item #19141
  • Thyme – Fresh – 1/4 Lb – item #40043
  • Garlic – Peeled Domestic – 5 Lb Jar – item #70121

Vegetarian Lasagna

Layered with seasonal vegetables, ricotta, and a rich tomato sauce. A great meat-free option that’s hearty and satisfying. Consider using grilled vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers for added depth of flavor. It’s a hearty, comforting dish that’s sure to satisfy vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.

  • Spinach – Baby Cleaned – 4 Lc Cs – item #20280
  • Zucchini – 1/2 Bushel – item #20604
  • Mushrooms – Exotic Sliced – 5 Lb Cs – item #30906
  • Basil – Fresh – 1/4 Lb – item #40037
  • Ricotta – Polly-O – 5 Lb Tub – item #91094
  • Mozzarella – Shredded – 5 Lb Bag – item #91151
  • Marinara Sauce – Brownwood Farms in Athens, OH 6/16oz – item #22588
  • Lasagna Noodles – Lotsa Pasta Frozen – 5 Lb Slab – item #95621

Salmon with Lemon-Dill Sauce

Brighten up your Easter table with Salmon with Lemon-Dill Sauce. The salmon, cooked to flaky perfection, is complemented by a zesty lemon-dill sauce that adds a refreshing hit of flavor. It’s a dish that’s light yet satisfying, and the sauce is a game changer – creamy, tangy, and herby.

  • Salmon Fillets – Center-cut, skin-off 6oz – item #49106
  • Fresh Dill – 1/4 Lb – item #40038
  • Lemon – 12 Each – item #04019
  • Butter – Beurremont 83% – 1 Lb Log – item #93069
  • Cream – Snowville (OH) 9/16oz – item #18643

Sides

Scalloped Potatoes

A classic side that never goes out of style. Thinly sliced potatoes layered with a rich, garlicky cream sauce and baked until golden and bubbly – it’s comfort food that’s perfect for an Easter feast. For best results, slice the potatoes evenly to ensure they cook uniformly.

  • Thinly Sliced Potatoes – Peeled & Sliced 1/4″ – 20 LB Cs – item #17208
  • Heavy Cream – 36% – Quart – item #16407
  • Garlic – Chopped, In Water – 32oz – item #70111
  • Cheddar Cheese – Feather Shred – 5 Lb – item #15418
  • Thyme – Dried – 6oz Jar – item #97124

Roasted Asparagus

As spring’s favorite vegetable, our Roasted Asparagus is a simple yet elegant side dish that’s perfect for Easter. Drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted until tender-crisp, these green spears are a healthy addition to your feast. The key to perfection is not to overcook them – they should retain a bit of crunch. A sprinkle of lemon zest or Parmesan cheese just before serving can add a bright or savory note to this delightful side.

  • Fresh Asparagus – Large – 11Lb Cs – item #20080
  • Olive Oil – EVOO w/ Lemon – 6/250ml – item #95434
  • Lemon Zest – Ravifruit – 1.12Lb Tub – item #95877
  • Parmesan Cheese – Middlefield – 12/8oz – item #25844

Honey-Glazed Carrots

Add a touch of sweetness to your table with our Honey-glazed Carrots. This dish transforms the humble carrot into a caramelized, tender, and sweet side that pairs wonderfully with any Easter main. The secret lies in the slow roasting, which allows the natural sugars to emerge, complemented by a touch of honey. For an extra flair, a pinch of cinnamon or thyme can elevate this dish to new heights.

  • Carrots – Tri-colored Hand Carved – 5 Lb – item #20462
  • Honey – Mitica Orange Blossom – 7oz Jar – item #93506
  • Butter – Plugra Unsalted – 1 Lb – item #93005
  • Parsley- Micro – 6zo Pack – item #02937

Desserts

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake, a timeless Easter classic, is a moist and flavorful dessert that’s hard to resist. Loaded with grated carrots, spices, and nuts, and topped with a creamy cheese frosting, it’s the perfect end to your Easter meal. For an added touch, decorate with edible flowers or Easter-themed cake toppers for a festive look.

  • Carrots – Shredded – 5 Lb Bag – item #20469
  • Cinnamon – Ground -1 Lb Tub – item #97025
  • Nutmeg – Ground 1 Lb Tub – item #97068
  • Ginger – Ground 12oz Jar – item #97053
  • All Spice – Ground 16oz Jar – item #97002
  • Cloves – Ground 16oz Jar – item #97027

Lemon Tart

The Lemon Tart is a celebration of spring’s citrusy delights. With a buttery, crisp tart shell filled with a tangy lemon custard, it’s a refreshing and elegant dessert. The key to a great lemon tart is the balance between sweet and tart, and a perfectly baked crust (or a delicious, ready-made option). Garnish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and some fresh berries or edible flowers for an extra pop of color.

  • Lemon Zest – Ravifruit – 1.12Lb Tub – item #95877
  • Lemon Juice – Natalie’s – 6/32oz Cs – item #99201
  • Tart Shell – 3.25″ Sweet, Straight – 72 Ct – item #90292
  • Edible Flower – Pansies Mix 50 Ct Pack – item #40032

Drinks

Spring Punch

A fruity and refreshing blend of juices, soda, and a splash of something sparkling. Garnish with fresh berries and mint for a festive touch. For an adult version, a splash of your favorite spirit can add an extra kick.

  • Pineapple Orange Juice – 6/16oz Case – item #02718
  • Ginger Beer – Fever Tree – 6/4/6.8 Case – item #99772
  • Fruit Puree – Pomegranate – 30oz Jar – item #95842
  • Strawberries – Topped & Halved – 4 Lb Cs – item #17103
  • Flowers – *Basil Blossoms – 50 Ct Pack – item #02736

Mint Lemonade

Freshly squeezed lemonade infused with mint. It’s cool, refreshing, and the mint adds a fresh spring twist. Serve it over ice and garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices for a drink that’s as beautiful as it is tasty. Here is another opportunity to add a little something extra to make this an adult beverage.

  • Puree – Meyer Lemon – 30oz – 95831
  • Mint Leaves – Hydro-grown (OH) – 1oz – 19137
  • Sugar – Monin Pure Cane Syrup – 750ml – 99439
  • Sparkling Water – Mountain Valley – 12/1 LTR – 18095

Each dish on this menu is thoughtfully chosen to celebrate the flavors of spring and the joyous spirit of Easter. Whether it’s the classic comfort of scalloped potatoes or the refreshing zing of mint lemonade, these dishes are sure to delight and impress at any Easter gathering!

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

Bridging the Gap Between Local Farmers, Producers and Chefs with Local Food Connection

By | Local, Local and Specialty, Meats, Organic, Produce, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

Meet Anna Haas, a driving force behind What Chefs Want’s Local Food Connection program. With a knack for forging bonds between farmers and chefs and a bold vision for revolutionizing local food systems, Anna has played a pivotal role in shaping the direction of Local Food Connection these last few years. As the program director for local foods, Anna is dedicated to empowering farmers and cultivating strong community ties. Keep an eye on the Local Food Connection Program as it grows in each of the regions that What Chefs Wants serves!

Join us as we ask about the beginnings of Local Food Connection, Anna’s insights, and the transformative impact of the What Chefs Want program on the local food landscape, starting in the Midwest and building beyond.


By the way … Great local food depends on continuing to build our partnerships with other local food advocates. If reading this reminds you of a program or a producer you know, contact our WOW Center and let them know to pass it on to Local Food Connection!


Q: Can you share how Local Food Connection got started?

Anna: Absolutely. It all began around 2014 when Alice Chalmers moved from the DC area to Cincinnati, Ohio. She was passionate about sustainable agriculture, preserving green spaces and building local. She and her friends and colleagues were intrigued by the concept of food hubs, which led to discussions about building one, which Alice decided to do in her new area.. She was also intrigued by the relationship between health and food, viewing food as medicine and recognizing the superior nutritional value of freshly harvested produce.

Alice launched Local Food Connection (originally known as Ohio Valley Food Connection) in 2015. This was the culmination of so many months reaching out extensively to farms and food businesses across the local foodshed, developing her business plan based on community needs, and eventually bringing in a refrigerated Sprinter van to kickstart her venture.

Q: What did this food hub do?

Anna: So essentially, the focus at that time revolved around establishing a distribution system that could connect local farms capable of supplying fresh produce with buyers through existing food hub software platforms. This system operates by allowing farms to list their available produce still in the ground, which buyers can purchase directly through the software. Once an order is received, typically on Wednesday night, the farmer promptly harvests the requested items within 12 hours, ensuring they are fresh and packed specifically for the client, complete with personalized labels detailing the contents.

Q: What were the early challenges faced by Local Food Connection?

Anna: Distribution for small food producers was a major hurdle in the Ohio Valley area of southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and southeastern Indiana—like it still is in many places. While there was interest from both farmers and buyers, bridging the gap between them was tough without a reliable distribution system. Additionally, building relationships with restaurants and educating them about the benefits of local, just-harvested produce was crucial. Like most business owners launching a new venture, Alice faced setbacks, like the refrigerated van breaking down on our first day of operation, highlighting the complexities of distribution from the get-go.

Q: How did you evolve over time?

Anna: Despite the initial challenges, we saw rapid growth that enabled me to join the team, then others. By 2016, the hub’s second summer, we were already expanding our operations. We rented cooler storage spaces, collaborated with an incubator kitchen, and formed partnerships with other food hubs. Our focus remained on connecting local farms with buyers while ensuring the freshest produce reached consumers’ plates.

Q: What role did partnerships play in the growth of Local Food Connection?

Anna: Partnerships were instrumental in scaling our operations. In 2017, we collaborated with the sustainability non-profit Green Umbrella, and another food hub, securing USDA support via a local food promotion grant. This partnership aimed to utilize the infrastructure of both organizations to facilitate sales to institutions and was especially crucial in launching our farm-to-school program.

For instance, we were able to partner with the University of Kentucky at a strategic moment, amidst community demand for more Kentucky produce to help fulfill agreements in their dining contract. We successfully collaborated with them to introduce a new local program featuring salad bars with Kentucky-grown produce from six small farms. UK committed to a year of twice-weekly seasonal purchases, and we worked with participating farms to tailor their production accordingly. This partnership marked a significant milestone as one of our key clients, propelling our efforts to new heights.

To read more about the UK local program check out this link.

The other major partnership that took Local Food Connection to the next level was Cincinnati Public Schools. CPS signed on to the Good Food Purchasing Program and this is where we first partnered with What Chefs Want to provide the CPS system with something different from what other distributers were offering. Other distributors could say, “We buy local (generally) and will get it to you,” with programs that I like to call “lip-service local.” But we could say, “Hey, we’re able to tell you which farm this produce came from. This one’s organic, that one’s a small business, and this one’s just 34 miles away.” We could trace every veggie right back to its roots. And by our food hub partnering with What Chefs Want, a customer wouldn’t have to just stick to local in their order. They could still get bananas and oranges through What Chefs Want in the same delivery. Suddenly every farm’s possible footprint vastly multiplied and so much more became possible. I have to say – I’m especially excited about the potential here for farm-to-school and farm-to-institution in other states where I’m just now starting to learn more.

What role does education play in Local Food Connection?

Anna: We are listeners first – listeners to our producers and our customers. We have really tried to create a system that works for those at both ends–local food production and buying–and in doing so, we educate along the way.

We educate buyers on what they can buy that is a best fit for their type of enterprise, how to menu plan for seasonal local produce, and the stories behind their local food purchases. We educate producers on food safety certifications that they need and how to know what to grow.  We take a lot of the work off their plates when it comes to figuring out what a retailer wants versus a restaurant versus a school and how to get it to everyone. We can start small and scale when they are ready. This allows us to work with small producers and help them build and grow with us.

Q: How did Local Food Connection maintain its values amidst growth and expansion?

Anna: In 2019, Local Food Connection became a part of What Chefs Want. After four years, the increasing demand for our local food initiatives made it evident that independently developing and managing a fleet of trucks, securing and setting up a new warehouse, among other tasks, was impractical. Especially considering that What Chefs Want already had these resources available just a short distance away.

Our commitment to supporting local farmers and providing fresh, nutritious produce never wavered. As we grew, we ensured that our systems prioritized transparency and sustainability. Educating buyers about seasonality, sourcing locally whenever possible, and advocating for fair prices for farmers remained at the core of our mission.

Because WCW already had a strong local program around its headquarters in Kentucky, we felt like our work became turbo-charged as we joined forces.  LFC plus WCW instantly expanded our team to include individuals with diverse backgrounds in food systems, distribution, and sales. This allowed us to better manage logistics, coordinate with farmers and buyers, and ensure the quality and safety of our products. We also invested in technology to streamline operations and improve efficiency, though that journey just continues as we grow into new markets and the food system changes, too.

Q: What sets Local Food Connection apart from other food hub programs?

Anna: I want to give a shout-out first to all the food hubs out there. What food hubs across the country have in common is a deep understanding of the local food landscape and a hands-on approach to bridging the gap between farmers and buyers. Food hubs are facilitators of a thriving local food ecosystem. By focusing on relationships, education, and sustainability, food hubs across the country follow a model that not only supports farmers and buyers but also fosters their own communities dedicated to the principles of local food.

What makes US different now is that we have made the choice to embed our food hub program in a larger business but still maintain the same values.  WCW, enhanced by LFC, is more than just a distributor; we’re changemakers in a way that sets us apart from other foodservice businesses of our class.

Q: What else do Chefs need to know about Local Food Connection and sourcing local foods?

Anna: It’s not an all or nothing thing. You can mix in some local selections, supporting a small or organic farm. They can think of supporting a farm as simple as adding a couple of $15 local items, or $25 local items. Or of course chefs can go all in with local and, with our help, plan in advance to bring in specific local goods for their menu. We can sit down with chefs and say, ok right now it’s February. This is what we’re going to have in July to September, so plan your menus now for July to September and when the time comes, these local items will be ready for you. One of the first steps you can take is reaching out to our WOW center and letting them know you’d like more resources on buying local and describe what you’re looking for. Mention LFC and that you read this blog!

Q: Can you share a success story of a local farmer or producer who has benefited from Local Food Connection’s support?

Anna: I would say one of the best examples is Lobenstein Farm, a small-to-mid-sized farm located just across the border in Indiana. They began with farmers markets but faced uncertainties in sales, as farmer’s markets really rely on traffic to the market, weather, etc. With our support, they added on to their six markets a week a more stable wholesale model. Initially, we purchased products on a just-in-time basis, but as they grew, we now buy from them by the case, integrating their products into our inventory system. This evolution has allowed them to scale up from being mainly a farmers market vendor; they are now a reliable supplier for countless restaurants, retailers, schools and universities, all done via us ordering from them and them dropping off two times a week.

Q: How has the expansion of Local Food Connection impacted the number of vendors you work with and sales?

Anna: WCW’s Midwest region now has 140 local vendors. They cover everything from meat and dairy to produce and local gourmet items and are all sizes.

It’s hard to even imagine this, but Local Food Connection grew from 100+ wholesale buyers in 2015 to over 4,900 distinct wholesale buyers in 2023!

Q: What does the future hold for Local Food Connection?

Anna: We’re committed to continuing our mission of connecting local farmers with buyers while promoting sustainability and transparency in the food system. As we expand into new markets and forge more partnerships, our goal remains the same: to support local agriculture, provide access to fresh, nutritious food, and strengthen communities. With each step forward, we’re guided by the values that have defined us from the beginning.

To learn more about Local Food Connection, visit our Local Food Connection page.

Nourishing Communities Through the LFPA Program  

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

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

Connecting Families with Local Goodness

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

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

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

LFPA Grants: A Closer Look

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

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

Bourbon Barrel Foods: Distinctive Flavors, One Ingredient at a Time

By | Asian, Gourmet, Local, Local and Specialty, What Chefs Want

Imagine a world where every bite is a flavorful adventure, where craftsmanship meets culinary creativity. That’s the essence of Bourbon Barrel Foods. In this blog, we’ll dive into a variety of artisanal products that have become kitchen essentials for chefs and food enthusiasts. From their unique soy sauce with a smoky twist to hand-harvested paprika with a fiery kick, each ingredient is an invitation to savor quality and authenticity. Join us as we uncover the delicious journey of Bourbon Barrel Foods, led by its founder, Matt Jamie, where passion and dedication are the secret ingredients to every culinary masterpiece.

Can you start by sharing your origin story and what led you to found Bourbon Barrel Foods?

Matt Jamie: I dropped out of graduate school in Florida. Up until that point, cooking was just a hobby that I enjoyed, so once I dropped out, I got a job in a kitchen. It was then that I realized that this hobby was actually a passion and that I was good at it.

I wanted to stay in the food industry but knew I wouldn’t be a career chef. I knew I wanted to create something unique and craft-inspired. In the early 2000s there was a movement in the industry to bring things back to a more artisanal approach. People wanted to know where their food comes from, who’s making it, how it’s made and that it’s crafted with care. I wanted to be a part of that.

I thought of making soy sauce, but I wasn’t sure if anyone had done it before. After researching and finding no one was making small-batch soy sauce in the US, I decided to go for it. I taught myself how and started making soy sauce in my basement.

Where did the bourbon component come in?

I saw the parallels between brewing soy sauce and making bourbon, both in process and history, and knew it was a great idea, especially with the growing interest in bourbon in the state of Kentucky. Everything just aligned and I knew right away that we could become the gourmet foods component of the bourbon experience.

How has What Chefs Want been a part of your journey?

One of the very first conversations I had about creating soy sauce was in the old Creation Gardens down on Washington Street. I talked to some of the guys there and they loved the idea. And it just, you know, was just one of those moments that I remember in the development of the product where I could tell that chefs would really embrace it. Your team has been great about coming in and learning about my products. You’ve helped me tell my story and the story of these products in different parts of the country where you’re now distributing products and in doing so, you help us to grow.

How important is sourcing local ingredients to and how does that align with your commitment to quality?

There is a lot of effort that goes into the sourcing of our ingredients, because I think, now more than ever, it’s important to people to know where my raw materials are coming from, and how they’re grown. That goes into the story that we like to tell about each and every product.

For example, our Bourbon Barrel Smoked Paprika, the paprika is harvested by hand in New Mexico. One time we had a chef ask us specifically where our paprika came from, and our distributer at the time couldn’t even pinpoint the country it came from, and that wasn’t good enough for us. Now I can tell you exactly the family-owned farm that it comes from, and how it was hand-picked, dried and shipped to me. I can tell you that our sea salt is domestically harvested and solar-evaporated from the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve visited both.

I’ve been working with the same grower for 15 years on our Bourbon Barrel Aged Pure Cane Sorghum. It’s grown in Eastern Kentucky in Menifee County by a fifth-generation farmer. It is harvested by hand and processed on the farm.

I know exactly where the soybeans, the wheat, and the water that go into our Bluegrass Soy Sauce come from. I have a relationship with the farmer. We use only Kentucky-grown, non-GMO soybeans, soft red winter wheat, and the purest limestone filtered Kentucky spring water for our soy sauce.


And Matt does focus on the stories and sources behind each of his craft products! If you visit the website, each product description features the details that make each of these products so special.

Bourbon Barrel Foods Bluegrass Soy Sauce has been featured on Bizarre Foods America, America’s Heartland and How It’s Made. It has also been featured in The New York Times, Southern Living, Food & Dining and Garden & Gun.

What Chefs Want is delivering these Bourbon Barrel Foods favorites to your door. Order here.

Blue Grass Soy Sauce (item #96153)- Bourbon Barrel’s soy sauce is microbrewed in small batches using only whole Kentucky grown Non-GMO soybeans, soft red winter wheat, and the purest limestone filtered Kentucky spring water. They ferment and age the soy bean mash in re-purposed bourbon barrels. It’s smoky and brothy with hints of oak and a mild sweetness reminiscent of fine Kentucky bourbon.

Kentuckyaki (item #22650)- Kentuckyaki is teriyaki sauce made Kentucky-Style. That’s right, we’ve added a splash of Kentucky Bourbon for extra flavor! This all-natural sauce is sweetened with Kentucky-grown sorghum and flavored with fresh garlic and ginger. It’s rich, robust and packed with umami, adding complex flavors to anything it touches. Use Kentuckyaki as a marinade on salmon, beef, and chicken, add to stir-fry, or use it as a dipping sauce!

Small Batch Bourbon Ponzu (item #97118)- Small Batch Bourbon Ponzu is a combination of Bluegrass Soy Sauce, all natural fresh lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, and a hint of Kentucky bourbon. With the perfect balance of salty and sweet this vibrant sauce adds citrus elements perfect for dumplings and sushi. The clean and refreshing flavors are great for making salad dressings, seasoning fresh vegetables, or marinating fish, pork, poultry, and beef.

Worcestershire Sauce (item #96121)- Bourbon Barrel Aged Worcestershire Sauce is a unique take on the traditional all-purpose sauce. Bourbon Barrel Aged Worcestershire is sweetened with sorghum, blended with pure Kentucky limestone spring water, and mellowed in bourbon barrels that were used to age some of the Bluegrass State’s finest Bourbons. It is all-natural and vegetarian, as it does not contain anchovies. Try our Worcestershire Sauce on eggs, in a Bloody Mary and especially in a burger!

Bourbon Smoked Paprika (item #97082)- Bourbon Smoked Paprika is domestically harvested and handpicked from a family owned farm in New Mexico. Slow smoked all by hand in small batches, using bourbon barrel staves, this mild paprika is vibrant in color and flavor. It’s unique, smoky flavor and aroma will bring your dishes to life! Sprinkle with poultry, fish, and vegetables, add to soups, sauces, and marinades! Its a staff favorite on popcorn and a summer staple for corn on the cob!

Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt (item #96002)- Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt is pure, solar-evaporated and domestically harvested from the Pacific Ocean. The large crystals are slow smoked in small batches by hand, using repurposed bourbon barrel staves.  Our all-natural Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt is very versatile, adding rich, smoky flavor to a wide variety of foods.  It’s an ideal choice for everything from burgers and red meat to poultry and vegetables.

Bourbon Smoked Pepper (item #97093)- Bourbon Smoked Pepper is a quarter cracked Malabar pepper that is slow-smoked using barrel staves that once held some of Kentucky’s finest bourbon. Packed with smoky flavor and aroma, our Bourbon Smoked Pepper is pungent and biting. Season on a burger, steak or any vegetable of your choice!

Bourbon Smoked Sesame Seeds (item #44553)- Bourbon Smoked Sesame Seeds are smoked low and slow using the oak from bourbon barrel staves. The slow smoking process boasts a rich earthy, nutty flavor, with delicate oak undertones that make Bourbon Smoked Sesame Seeds delicious on salads, bread, and seasonings on meat and seafood.

Bourbon Smoked Togarashi (item #90127) – A traditional Japanese seven-spice blend with an added “bourbon barrel” twist! We begin with a foundation of Bourbon Smoked Pepper and add Bourbon Smoked Sesame Seeds along with nori, mustard, and poppy seeds to create an exotic flavor experience with a hint of subtle smokiness! Bourbon Smoked Togarashi is delicious on all meats, seafood, and vegetables. Check out our “Recipes” tab to try some of our favorite and creative ways to use this peppery blend, including our beloved Togarashi Caramel Corn!

Bourbon Smoked Sugar (item #97222)- Bourbon Smoked Sugar is raw demerara sugar that is slow-smoked with repurposed bourbon barrel staves. It has sweet caramel flavors and the richness of smoked oak. Bourbon Smoked Sugar is perfect mixed in a spice rub or barbecue sauce and thrown on the grill, or use it with the sweet stuff – fruit crisps, pies, cookies and cocktails.

Bourbon Smoked Cacao & Barrel Aged Coffee Bean Dark Chocolate (item #93511)- This dark chocolate bar is blended with 100% Bourbon Barrel Aged Arabica coffee beans and Bourbon Smoked Cacao Nibs. Each bite is both bitter and sweet and full of the subtle notes of the bourbon barrel from the Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Beans and Bourbon Smoked Cacao Nibs.

Pure Cane Sorghum (item #93535)- Sorghum Syrup was a staple in southern households in the days before refined sugar became available. Our Bourbon Barrel Aged Pure Cane (“Sweet”) Sorghum is estate grown by a fifth-generation farmer in Eastern Kentucky. It is harvested by hand and then aged in a bourbon barrel to draw out the intensity of flavors. This all-natural sweetener is a favorite of chefs and adds an earthiness and hint of spice that other sweeteners cannot provide. We love adding a drizzle of Bourbon Barrel Aged Sorghum with a sprinkle of pepper over local goat cheese or serving as a condiment to an artisan cheese tray.


With so much remarkable growth, how has your facility evolved?

It’s been a luxury that we’ve been able to grow at the same address for 15 years of the 17 years we’ve been in business. We are in the Butchertown area of Louisville, which is full of character and charm.

I started in this building at 900 square feet, and we’re 47,000 square feet now. We’ve just gone through renovations the last three years. We have separate areas now for brewing the soy sauce, smoking and packaging and fulfillment. And now we have an event space that I’m in the process of finishing. It should be done by the middle of this month and will be part of our tour experience. There’s a lot of unique visitors coming to the city who want the bourbon experience and this will be a unique part of that.

As an entrepreneur, what would you say to other entrepreneurs who are about to take a leap into something like this?

Ultimately, if you have a passion for what it is that you are doing, you’ve got to take that step. Sometimes you get caught up in the inability to make a decision for whatever reason, you know, you’re a little hesitant, a little afraid, but you need to take that step.

I had a blind passion, and I think that if you have that, then all those other things go away. But you’ve got to just start doing it. A true entrepreneur doesn’t see things as problems. They see things as obstacles, and you can surmount an obstacle. You can go through it, over it, around it, and I think that’s kind of the fun for me. There is no reason to stress about something happening. Its more about ‘how am I going to navigate this.’


In the world of Bourbon Barrel Foods, flavors come to life in every bite. As we wrap up our chat with Matt Jamie, the brains behind this culinary journey, it’s clear that sourcing is the heartbeat of their delicious creations. From New Mexico’s hand-harvested paprika to the Pacific Northwest’s sun-soaked sea salt, every ingredient tells a tale of quality and authenticity. Bourbon Barrel Foods isn’t just about making gourmet products; it’s about celebrating the roots and relationships that infuse every bite with flavor. Whether you’re a chef looking to up your game or a food lover on a taste adventure, Bourbon Barrel Foods invites you to explore their delectable offerings. Because when it comes to crafting exceptional flavors, it’s all about passion and dedication.

Fall into Flavor: Inspiring Autumn Recipes with What Chefs Want

By | Gourmet, Local, Local and Specialty, Meats, Produce, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

As the scorching summer sun continues to blaze, it’s hard not to daydream about cooler days ahead. While we’re still reaching for iced beverages and sunscreen, our minds are already drifting to the comforts of fall: football games, our favorite sweaters, and, of course, those irresistible fall flavors that define the season. Though the weather might be hot, our anticipation for the culinary delights that autumn brings is even hotter. So, grab a glass of iced tea, kick back in the shade, and let’s explore the mouthwatering fall recipes to inspire your menus and warm our hearts.

Freedom Run Farm Lamb Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Poblanos

From Freedom Run Farm

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground American lamb (item #62538)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups lamb stock, such as Saffron Road, or low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • optional toppings: chopped cilantro leaves, lime wedges, diced avocado, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Add the lamb and break it up into chunks. Stir in the onion, poblano, and garlic and sauté until the excess water evaporates, the lamb is browned, and the vegetables are very soft and begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the chile powder and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in the stock, tomatoes and their juices, 2 teaspoons of salt, and a big pinch of pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes at a gentle simmer.

Uncover the pot and stir in the sweet potatoes and beans. Continue simmering until the sweet potatoes are tender and the flavors come together, about 30 minutes more. For a thick chili, leave the pot uncovered at this point, or partially cover for a soupier consistency.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the chili topped with any of the optional garnishes.


Alfresco Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Inspired by Alfresco Artisan Pastas

Ingredients:

  • Alfresco Butternut Squash Ravioli (item #95698)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • coarse salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3-4 extra fresh sage leaves for garnish if desired

Directions:

Butternut Squash Ravioli

While cooking ravioli, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently and swirling the pot to ensure even cooking. After about 5 minutes, the butter will start to foam up. Add the minced sage and continue stirring the pot. Golden brown flecks, milk solids, should start to form on the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring to make sure these don’t stick and burn. When the butter is nutty in aroma and golden brown in color with plenty of flecks, about 2 more minutes, remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the broth and whisk frequently, as the butter will foam up, until completely incorporated. Repeat this process with the cream.

Add the lemon juice and parmesan cheese, whisking until completely combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Gently stir in the cooked ravioli. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese.


Bourbon Smoked Curry Roasted Carrots

From Bourbon Barrel Foods

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds small/medium carrots, peeled and sliced down the middle
  • 3 tablespoons, olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon Smoked Curry Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt, more to taste (item #96026)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bourbon Smoked Pepper (item #97165)
  • 1 tablespoon of Bourbon Barrel Aged Sorghum (item #93514)
  • parsley or seasonal herbs for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss carrots with olive oil, Bourbon Smoked Curry Powder, Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt and Bourbon Smoked Pepper in a large bowl until fully coated.

Spread evenly on baking sheet.

Place in the oven to roast, stirring with a rubber spatula a few times to prevent sticking and burning, until desired tenderness, 30-35 minutes. Remove carrots from oven and drizzle with sorghum or maple syrup directly on the baking sheet.

Taste and add more salt, pepper if desired and garnish with fresh herbs.


Soy Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

From Cin Soy Foods

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Soy sauce salt
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup CinSoy soy sauce (item #26702)
  • 6 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 inch ginger – minced
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp Sesame seeds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and pat chicken wings dry.

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Toss the chicken wings in the spice mixture. Lay out on a foil lined baking sheet topped with a rack.

Bake for about 45 minutes (flipping halfway) – or until wings are golden brown and fully cooked.

Meanwhile – in a small saucepan – cook ginger and garlic in butter. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer and thicken for 3-4 minutes.

Remove wings from the oven and toss in the sauce. Put back in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!


Remember chefs, when it comes to crafting your fall menus, What Chefs Want has you covered. From farm-fresh, local ingredients to artisanal delights, we’ve got everything you need to make your autumn culinary creations truly spectacular. So, as we bid adieu to summer’s heat, let’s welcome fall’s delicious chill (and chili!) with open arms and open kitchens. Click here to place your order!

The Artistry and Inspiration Behind Sequatchie Cove Creamery’s Unique Cheeses

By | Charcuterie, Cheese, Dairy, Gourmet, Gourmet Cheese, Local, What Chefs Want

Nathan and Padgett Arnold, founders of Sequatchie Cove Creamery in southeast Tennessee, are the driving forces behind an artisanal cheese venture that encapsulates passion, creativity, and a profound connection to the land. Their journey into the world of cheesemaking is a captivating tale of love, innovation, and dedication to preserving the essence of their region. From humble beginnings to becoming an award-winning creamery, the Arnolds’ story unfolds as a testament to the transformative power of inspiration, both local and global. Through their intricate process of crafting unique cheeses, the Arnolds pay homage to their surroundings while embracing flavors and techniques from around the world. Join us as we talk with Padgett Arnold and delve into the narrative of Sequatchie Cove Creamery.

What led to the creation of Sequatchie Cove Creamery? How did the idea to start making cheese originate for you and Nathan?

Padgett: We took a unique path from our original backgrounds. Back at the University of Georgia, I was studying horticulture with the aim of becoming a specialist in edible crops. Nathan and I connected through shared interests and found ourselves working at Crabtree Farms, an urban farm with a strong commitment to sustainable agriculture and community access to food. This was during the late 90s in Chattanooga.

During that time, we met the Keeners, and Nathan joined them at Sequatchie Cove Farm to grow their produce program in 2003, while I remained at Crabtree. While Nathan was at Sequatchie Cove, he became increasingly drawn to working with the farm’s animals and exploring ways to add value to the operation.

The question arose: How can we create sustainable livelihoods for multiple families on this small farm while meshing well with its existing enterprises? The notion of cheese came into play, along with the concept of adding value to the farm. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, but that’s the journey that brought us here.

Let’s delve into your sources of inspiration. Where did you find the creative spark for Sequatchie Cove Creamery?

In 2004, a trip to Italy left a lasting mark on us. At an international farming and food festival, we were exposed to a diverse array of foods that planted the seeds of inspiration. It was there that we encountered new cheeses, particularly French alpine varieties.

There was a period that Nathan was traveling a lot, making contacts through the American Cheese Society and learning as much as he could through these contacts. He also studied cheesemaking in France, which became a huge source of inspiration for our own creations. He adapted the unique techniques and essence of those French cheeses and blended them with the distinct character of Tennessee’s Sequatchie region.

Cheese making is both scientific and artistic. It’s not just a wheel of cheese, it’s a work of art. Our cheeses have aesthetic appeal that resonates, particularly among chefs.

Ok, let’s talk about these cheeses. Take me through them and what makes them so special.

Cumberland

Our first cheese, the Cumberland, is a simple and rustic Tomme, inspired by the French Tomme de Savoie. It offers buttery and earthy flavors, complemented by a tangy grassy note and subtle hints of macadamia nut. Chefs love its versatility – it can be grated onto pizza, used as a substitute for gruyere, Havarti, or cheddar, and it’s even “kid friendly.” Its natural rind boasts a distinctive gray and white spotted appearance that makes a statement on a cheese board. With a long shelf life, it’s very kitchen friendly as well.

Search Item #91165 

Coppinger

Coppinger is our top-selling cheese and demand is really driving production. Demand has been going up and up.

It is a Southern take on the classic French Morbier, Coppinger is a semi-soft washed rind cheese with a striking layer of decorative vegetable ash in its center. The velvety elastic paste is savory with notes of fresh grass and smoked meats, making it ideal for the cheese plate or melted into any dish.

This is a another very versatile cheese and it blends well with a lot of flavors Try it melted on a burger or as the ultimate grilled cheese; it’s also great as a substitute for raclette.

There is a bit of an education curve here with Coppinger, and people sometimes think with the ash line, that this is blue cheese. It is not. That unique line through the center is an ash line, that doesn’t change the flavor at all. Beyond being visually interesting, the ash line mellows out the tanginess and smooths out the finish.

Chefs are drawn to the Coppinger for its visual appeal and versatility.

Search Item #91166 

Shakerag Blue

Shakerag Blue was just recently added to the What Chefs Want offering, so it is now available to your customers!

Shakerag Blue’s colorful name is derived from both the beautiful Shakerag Hollow known for its wildflowers and rich moonshining past.

It is a crumbly yet dense, blue-veined cheese wrapped in local fig leaves which have been soaked in Chattanooga Whiskey. It matures gradually in our cool room and the slow ripening process yields a mellower flavor profile and creamier texture. The flavor isn’t overpowering, it is much more delicate, in fact, often people who don’t enjoy blue cheese, enjoy Shakerag Blue. It crumbles well for salads and steaks and deserves a prime spot on the cheese board.

I am actually the one who harvests the fig leaves to wrap this cheese. We store them in food-grade buckets, submerged in whiskey until we are ready to wrap the cheese. The fig leaf wrapping does mean that our scalability is limited by leaf availability. Occasionally, we experience production pauses as we await the readiness of fig leaves.

It is a very labor-intensive process, but the chefs go nuts for it.

Search Item #91934

As you continue to grow, how do you intend to maintain the authenticity and community-centered approach that has been integral to your creamery’s success?

It is important to us to be connected to agricultural raw materials. We never want to lose that local touchpoint.

Right now we are sourcing our milk from the only surviving dairy in the Sequatchie Valley. We really see our role as we grow as being about the cheese itself, but also about growing and supporting dairy in the region. We want to turn the ship around for the farmers – and the more we are able to grow, the more we are able to buy from the local farmers, making dairy farming a viable option for new farmers in the area.  

What would your advice be to someone just starting out?

Learn everything from people who can teach you. Really. Seek a mentor and learn as much as you can before you just jump in.  Start with a narrow focus. Study and understand someone else’s successful enterprise.  Fortunately for us, this industry has been a supportive and inclusive atmosphere and we’ve had people very enthusiastically cheering us on, but it is not an easy path.


Exploring the Seasonality of Fish: Understanding What’s Fresh and Why

By | Local, Seafood, What Chefs Want

As chefs, one of the most exciting aspects of our craft is the ever-changing palette of ingredients that nature provides. Among these culinary treasures, fish stand out as a dynamic and diverse ingredient, but they come with their own unique rhythm dictated by the changing seasons. In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of fish seasonality, exploring what impacts it and why understanding it is essential for creating exceptional dishes that celebrate freshness and sustainability.

The Rhythms of the Sea

Fish seasonality refers to the natural cycles of availability that different species of fish exhibit throughout the year. Just as the changing seasons influence the growth of fruits and vegetables, factors like water temperature, migration patterns, and spawning habits influence the presence of various fish in our oceans, rivers, and lakes. Embracing fish seasonality not only ensures that chefs work with the freshest catches but also contributes to sustainable fishing practices and responsible sourcing.

Factors Influencing Seasonality

Water Temperature: Fish are highly sensitive to water temperature. As the temperature changes with the seasons, so does the behavior of different fish species. Warmer water might attract certain species to migrate or spawn, while cooler waters could trigger migrations of other species.

Spawning Habits: Many fish species have specific times of the year when they reproduce. During spawning, fish might become less abundant as they focus on propagating their species rather than feeding.

Migration Patterns: Fish often migrate in search of optimal conditions for feeding and reproduction. These migrations can lead to the presence of certain fish in specific regions during certain seasons.

Food Availability: Fish feed on other marine life, and the availability of their prey can impact their presence. Changes in the abundance of smaller fish or plankton can influence the movement of larger predator fish.

Environmental Factors: Environmental factors such as water salinity, oxygen levels, and currents can impact the distribution and behavior of fish populations.

Weather: Weather conditions, including temperature, storms, and ocean currents, play a significant role in fish migration and availability. Changes in weather patterns can affect water temperature and nutrient distribution, influencing the movement and behavior of fish species. For instance, shifts in wind patterns can lead to upwelling, bringing nutrient-rich waters to the surface and attracting various marine life, creating opportunities for certain fish to thrive during specific seasons.

Why Seasonality Matters

Freshness and Flavor: Fish that are in-season are at their peak in terms of flavor and texture. They are more likely to be caught closer to your location, reducing the time between catch and plate.

Sustainability: Embracing fish seasonality supports sustainable fishing practices. Fishing responsibly and avoiding overfishing during sensitive times like spawning seasons helps protect fish populations for future generations.

Economic Impact: Sourcing in-season fish can positively impact local economies, as it encourages the consumption of fish that are readily available from nearby waters.

Environmental Impact: By choosing in-season fish, you contribute to reducing the carbon footprint associated with transporting out-of-season species from distant locations.

Culinary Creativity: Adapting to the changing availability of fish challenges chefs to think creatively and explore new flavors and preparations.

Navigating Fish Seasonality

To make the most of fish seasonality, chefs need to stay informed about the species that are in-season in their region. We are happy to provide our seafood expertise to guide you in making sustainable and delicious choices! See below for the What Chefs Want seasonality chart.


It’s Corn! 10 Unconventional Ways to Utilize Fresh Local Corn

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

As summer arrives with its sunny warmth and vibrant flavors, there’s one star ingredient that dominates every farmer’s market and dinner table: fresh, local corn! At What Chefs Want, we believe in embracing creativity in the kitchen, and what better way to do so than by experimenting with this versatile golden gem? Get ready to embark on a cornucopia of fun and unique ideas that will have your restaurant patrons buzzing with excitement.

Spicy Corn Fritter Tacos

Transform traditional tacos into a fiesta of flavors with spicy corn fritter tacos. Whip up a batch of zesty corn fritters using locally sourced corn, diced jalapeños, and a blend of bold spices. Serve these crispy delights in soft tortillas topped with tangy lime crema and fresh avocado salsa for a mouthwatering explosion of tastes and textures.

Corn Popsicle Delight

Beat the summer heat with an unconventional treat: corn popsicles! Create a refreshing and surprising dessert by blending fresh corn kernels with coconut milk, honey, and a pinch of salt. Freeze the mixture into popsicle molds, and voilà – a sweet and savory delight that will have diners raving about your inventive dessert menu.

Corn and Basil Ice Cream

Take your ice cream game to the next level by infusing fresh local corn into a creamy basil ice cream base. The natural sweetness of the corn complements the aromatic notes of basil, resulting in a truly unique and sophisticated dessert that will leave your guests in awe.

Corn Ceviche

Add a twist to the classic seafood ceviche by incorporating charred corn kernels into the mix. Marinate fresh shrimp or fish with zesty lime juice, diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, then toss in the corn for a burst of smoky sweetness that elevates this dish to new heights of flavor.

Corn and Chorizo Stuffed Peppers

Amplify the flavors of stuffed peppers by adding a corn and chorizo filling. Mix charred corn with spicy chorizo, black beans, and cheese, then stuff it into colorful bell peppers. Bake until tender and bubbling for a dish that packs a punch and showcases the delicious potential of fresh local corn.

Corn and Goat Cheese Croquettes

Combine the delightful creaminess of goat cheese with the satisfying crunch of corn croquettes. Blend locally sourced corn with tangy goat cheese, breadcrumbs, and herbs, then fry to golden perfection. These delectable bites are sure to become a beloved appetizer at your restaurant.

Corn Dumpling Soup

Give traditional dumpling soup a summery makeover by adding corn dumplings. Mix cornmeal, eggs, and a dash of nutmeg to form dumpling dough, and drop spoonfuls into a flavorful vegetable broth. The tender dumplings and sweet corn make this dish a comforting and innovative addition to your menu.

Corn Pancake Stack

Brunch enthusiasts will flock to your restaurant for a delightful corn pancake stack. Blend fresh corn into pancake batter and cook until golden brown. Stack the pancakes high, alternating with layers of crispy bacon and drizzles of maple syrup, creating a sweet and savory tower that’s a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

Corn-stuffed Ravioli

Dazzle your guests with a corn-filled surprise by offering corn-stuffed ravioli. Create pillowy pockets of pasta filled with a delectable mix of corn, ricotta cheese, and fresh herbs. Toss the ravioli in a luscious brown butter sage sauce for an unforgettable dish that celebrates the essence of summer.

Corn Sushi Rolls

Put a twist on sushi night with corn sushi rolls. Swap traditional nori seaweed sheets for soft corn husks and stuff them with sushi rice, avocado, cucumber, and fresh corn. Roll it all together and slice into bite-sized pieces for a sushi experience that’s both innovative and satisfying.


Search the What Chefs Want site for corn or search using item codes:

  • Bi Color Corn – item 20041
  • Yellow Sweet Corn – item 20047
  • Fresh Corn Kernel – item 17043
  • Shucked Corn on the Cob – item 17041
  • Corn Husk for Tamales – item 92208

Learn More

With these ten playful and imaginative ideas, you’re well-equipped to wow your restaurant’s diners with an extraordinary corn-centric menu. Embrace the abundance of summer corn and let your culinary creativity shine! What are you waiting for? It’s time to let the cornucopia of fun begin!
And not to end on a corny note, but if you need a little inspiration while cooking to celebrate all things corn, don’t forget about this little viral sensation: https://youtu.be/_caMQpiwiaU.

Burger Week, Local Sourcing and Inspiration: A Q&A with Catherine of Naïve and Nostalgic

By | Beef, Chef's Feed, Farm To Table, Local, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

With Cincinnati’s Burger Week wrapping up, and Louisville’s Burger Week ramping up, we are paying tribute to America’s beloved sweetheart – the Hamburger! This week we are featuring Louisville restaurants Naïve and Nostalgic Cocktail House, which have two different burgers featured for Louisville’s Burger Week.

We spoke with Catherine Mac Dowall, owner and operator of Naïve and Nostalgic. Catherine began her career in the restaurant industry over 16 years ago, working her way up the ladder from hostess, line cook and every job in between to becoming an Operations Manager for Michelin Star and James Beard Award-winning Chef Jose Andres. Catherine brought her passion for culinary excellence to Louisville in 2016, opening Naïve, starting as just a concept at a 10X10 tent at a farmers market. From its humble beginnings, Naïve has flourished into a thriving enterprise, including catering, wholesale services, and the brick-and-mortar restaurant. In February of this year, Catherine opened her second restaurant, Nostalgic. She is soon to be featured in a CNN documentary put on by Bobby Flay, so keep your eye out for Catherine!

WCW: Your menus at Nostalgic and Naïve are incredibly diverse. What makes something like Burger Week exciting to you?

This is our first burger week and we are excited about it! We’ve had a ton of success during Restaurant Week and Burger Week seemed like another opportunity to introduce ourselves to people who haven’t made it here yet. It’s a great approachable way for new people to experience us.

WCW: Can you tell us about any unique burger ingredients or flavor combinations that you’ll be featuring during Louisville Burger Week?

At Naïve we are featuring a really unique burger. It has two beef patties, a yuzu koshu aioli, basil relish and a ton of mozzarella cheese, all on a homemade sesame potato roll.  

At Nostalgic we are featuring a classic burger – our Smash Burger. It has two lacey thin beef patties with seared onions smashed into them, American cheese and burger sauce on a homemade sesame potato roll. It is such a classic burger, but the quality of the ingredients really make it special. It is one of our most popular menu items.

WCW: How important is the sourcing of meat for your burger creations, and what factors do you consider when selecting the best quality beef for your patties?

We just started serving beef at Naïve this year. We served nearly every other type of protein and our customer base was asking for it. We have always sourced very sustainably at the restaurant, using as many local ingredients as we possibly can to put really great seasonal dishes on the menu. So, when we added beef, working with Berry Beef and knowing they are local was important to us.
We brought that same philosophy to our new restaurant as well. I put a huge emphasis on doing things the right way, and the right way for me is supporting the local community.


Berry Beef is a cooperative model developed by Kentucky farmers to provide chefs and institutions with a consistent supply of regionally-raised beef.

Berry Beef cattle are raised on pasture their entire lives, eating a blend of grass and locally-grown grains. This produces the well-marbled cuts your customers love, while maintaining high animal welfare and environmental standards. Berry Beef is distributed exclusively through What Chefs Want to cities across the country.

Search Berry Beef in the app or item #26695


WCW:  Seeing how much you love local food, are there any specific local ingredients or flavors from Kentucky that you love to showcase?

We are currently obsessed with sorghum. It’s a really intriguing ingredient and so versatile!

You can find sorghum in Nostalgic’s Weisenberger Grits, Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Grilled Broccolini, and Sweet Tea Fried Chicken. You can also find sorghum on some of Naïve’s tasting menus.

If you are shopping the What Chefs Want app and are interested in sorghum, you can find Bourbon Barrel Foods Pure Cane Sweet Sorghum with item #93514

WCW:  Do you have a personal favorite burger combination or flavor profile that you always go for when you go out to eat?

It really depends on the mood I’m in. If I’m looking for something that is that comforting, I gravitate towards something I’ve had and know, but if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll reach for something with ingredients that I’m not as familiar with or something where the preparation is unique.

WCW: Who are some of your biggest culinary inspirations?

My old boss, Jose Andres is a huge inspiration to me, not only for his culinary background, but for his business acumen. I truly admire him!

It’s hard to pinpoint a singular person or restaurant. With everyone online and at our fingertips, we can really see and explore what other restaurants and chefs are doing anywhere in the world. It never used to be that way.

I do love going out to the West Coast and trying all the different restaurants throughout LA. Gjelina Group is such a staple in LA and Rustic Canyon was doing some really interesting things that we pull inspiration from as well.

WCW: How do you stay innovative and ahead of the curve?

I believe in not taking your foot off the gas, because once you do, someone is right behind you to pass you. Always try to be creative, reinvent yourself and push your comfort zone and your customers comfort zones!

Learn More

Both Naïve and Nostalgic are open six days a week and have menus that change seasonally.

To visit their websites, peruse their menus and see their business hours, visit:

https://www.eatnaive.com/

https://www.eatnostalgic.com/

Locally Grown, Delivered to You

By | Chef's Feed, Farm To Table, Local, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

In today’s globalized world, where products from around the world are readily available at our fingertips, it’s easy to overlook the significance of supporting local producers, especially when it comes to fresh produce. However, by prioritizing local sourcing, we not only embrace the unique flavors and freshness of our own regions but also foster a strong sense of community and sustainability.

Building Relationships with Local Farmers & Producers

In the heart of the Midwest, What Chefs Want has found a remarkable partnership with the Mennonite community farmers from Scottsville, KY. Hand-picking a wide variety of locally grown produce, the Hoover family behind H & H Farms provides What Chefs Want with more than 16 different types of produce. This collaboration not only showcases the remarkable diversity of our region but also highlights the vital role that local producers play in nourishing and enriching our communities.

In June, some of our What Chefs Want team members had the opportunity to visit with the Hoover family of H & H Farms. They enjoyed a gorgeous day on the farm, complete with a tour on a wagon pulled by draft horses, past fields of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and watermelon. Our team was invited to eat lunch with the Hoover family in their home as we learned more about their family and the incredibly hard work that goes into producing the crops that go from their local farm to your tables.

Working with local farmers has many advantages for both the farmers and our business. H & H Farms will adjust their crops based on our needs, so when we saw a demand for more watermelon last year from our customers, they adjusted to grow more watermelon for us. They pick squash blossoms twice a week for us very early on the mornings that our truck is scheduled to pick up from them. This “right out of the field and onto our truck” dynamic is only made possible by working closely with local farms.

In addition to H & H Farms, the Scottsville, KY area is also home to the Miller family, who grow exquisite heirloom tomatoes. The Millers specifically cultivate and grow special varieties of their tomatoes to get specific colors, tastes and shapes. The family who produces Spring Valley Farms jams is just down the road as well.

Local Opportunities in Every Region

These are just a few of the MANY local producers that we partner with across the country. What Chefs Want works with local producers across all our different regions to provide our customers with fresh, local and seasonal produce.

Ready to Buy Local?

If you are in our ordering system and looking for local items, look for the green LOCAL tag:

Or use the local filter found in the left “filter by” column:

Local offerings will look different based on your location.