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What Chefs Want

Shrimp on a fiery grill

Father’s Day Grilling: Must-Haves for a Sizzling Summer Menu

By | Bacon, Beef, Gourmet, Grilling Essentials, Meats, Oysters, Pork, Produce, Seafood, What Chefs Want

Summer is almost here, and it’s grilling season! With Father’s Day coming up, it’s the perfect time for chefs to whip up an unforgettable grill-out menu. From fresh seafood to juicy meats, we’ve got the must-haves that will make your summer menu a hit. Ready to fire up the grill and impress your guests? Let’s check out some top picks and tips to make your summer grilling menu awesome.

Sizzling Seafood Selections

Verlasso Salmon Fillet (3-4lb – 48102)

Verlasso Salmon Fillets are perfect for a sophisticated yet straightforward summer dish. These fillets offer a rich, buttery flavor and a firm texture, making them ideal for grilling.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Marinate the salmon in a mix of bourbon, brown sugar, and a dash of soy sauce. Grill on medium heat to keep the inside moist and the outside crispy.

Mariblu Shrimp (16/20 Tail-on – 33190)

Mariblu Shrimp are a versatile addition to any grill menu. These tail-on shrimp are perfect for skewers or as a standalone dish. You can find a broad selection of sizes on our ordering site.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Using wooden skewers? Don’t forget to soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling. As soon as the shrimp turn from clear to pink, they’re good to go. They’ll also curl into a C shape when they’re perfectly cooked—if they curl into a full circle, they’re overdone.

Connecticut Blue Point Oysters (48577) *

Fresh oysters on the grill can be a showstopper. Connecticut Blue Point Oysters have a sweet, salty flavor that pairs well with various toppings.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Place oysters on the grill with the cupped side down. The deeper shell down helps retain juices. Grill the oysters until they just start to open. Add a touch of garlic butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a savory finish.

North Atlantic Scallops (Dry, U10 – 32502)

These large scallops are perfect for a quick sear on the grill. Their sweet, delicate flavor makes them a favorite for seafood lovers.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Ensure the grill is scorching hot and cook the scallops for just 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with a drizzle of lemon herb butter.

Shuckman’s Salmon Burger (10 Lb – 02940)

For a unique twist, try the Shuckman’s Salmon Burger. These patties are packed with flavor and are a healthier alternative to traditional burgers.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Serve the salmon burgers on a Rotella Brioche Bun (14618) with a dollop of Duke’s Mayo (98048) and some fresh Better Burger Leaf Lettuce (02352).

Mouth-Watering Meats

Black Hawk Wagyu Burger Patties

These Wagyu burger patties (6oz (30179) and 8oz (30180) sizes), are the epitome of indulgence. Their marbling ensures a juicy, flavorful burger every time. Trust us, these sliders win side-by-side taste tests every single time.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Season the patties with bourbon smoked salt (96002) before grilling. Serve with a slice of mild cheddar (91254) on a gluten-free burger bun (90715) for a premium offering.

Broadbent Bacon (Sliced 5 Lb Pack – 95032)

What is Father’s Day without bacon? Plus, crispy, smoky bacon is a must-have for any grill menu. Broadbent Bacon adds a rich, savory flavor that complements a variety of dishes.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Grill bacon strips until crispy and use them to top burgers or wrap around scallops or shrimp prior to grilling to up the flavor to new levels.

Berkwood Frenched Pork Chop (16/12oz – 00832)

These pork chops are perfect for grilling, with a rich flavor that pairs well with summer herbs and spices. Seriously, Berkwood Chops will have your customers RAVING!

Sizzlin’ Tip: Marinate the pork chops in a mix of Dijon mustard (98909) and fresh rosemary. Grill until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, and let rest before serving.

Freedom Run Farms Lamb Sliders (64/2oz – 49980)

Lamb sliders offer a gourmet twist to traditional burgers. Their rich, earthy flavor is sure to impress. You can learn more about what makes Freedom Run Farm lamb so special here.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Serve the lamb sliders on Unibake Brioche Slider Buns (90720) with a smear of whiskey shoyu (23207) for a unique flavor combination.

Marksbury Bratwurst (8Lb Case – 47987)

Grilled bratwurst is a summer classic. These sausages are flavorful and perfect for a casual yet delicious dish.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Serve the bratwurst on Rotella Poppy Seed Hot Dog Buns (14622) with a side of spicy French fries (07739). How many different ways can you top a brat? Get creative!

Top it Right

Sliced Tomatoes (2/5Lb – 50008)

Better Burger Leaf Lettuce (10Lb Case – 02352)

Yellow Onions Slabs – (5Lb Case – 22954)

These fresh produce items are perfect for adding a crisp, fresh element to any grilled dish.

Mild Cheddar Slices – (6x24oz – 91254)

Duke’s Mayo – (4/1 Gal – 98048)

Dijon Mustard – (2x11LB – 98909)

Sir Kensington Ketchup – (4/148oz – 02817)

Bourbon Smoked Salt (18oz Shaker – 96002)

Hundreds of ways to top a burger! Search our gourmet, dairy and staple items. You never know when inspiration will strike!

Essentials

*NEW ITEM* Prime 6 Charcoal (22Lb Case – 34284) and Prime 6 Fire Logs (9 Log Case – 34285)

For the perfect grilling experience, Prime 6 Charcoal and Fire Logs provide a clean, efficient burn that enhances the flavor of your grilled items. The high heat and long burn times means you can reduce the amount of wood or charcoal you use each service, saving you money.

Sizzlin’ Tip: Use these products to maintain consistent heat and make manning the grill an easier experience.

With these top-quality ingredients and expert tips, your restaurant’s Father’s Day and summer grill-out menu will surely impress. Happy grilling, chefs!

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

From Our Kitchen to Yours: Celebrating Mother’s Day with Family Recipes

By | Baking, Breads, Desserts, Meats, Snack Foods, Vegan, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the incredible women who’ve shaped our lives, and what better way to honor them than through the universal language of food? At What Chefs Want, we’re paying tribute not just to our mothers, but to the cherished recipes they’ve passed down through generations—dishes that have brought comfort, joy, and togetherness to family tables.

Our team has lovingly compiled a collection of their own mothers’ and grandmothers’ recipes, each one filled with the flavors and memories that make this day so special. From heartwarming soups to decadent desserts, these recipes are more than just meals; they are a testament to the love and care that mothers around the world pour into their cooking. Join us as we share these personal culinary treasures, celebrating the wonderful women behind them.

Rita’s Excellent Carrot Cake

Submitted by Zach J., Managing Partner, Colorado

  • #20492 – Carrots
  • #93209 – Pure Vanilla Extract
  • #15065 – Crushed Pineapple in Natural Juice
  • #91160 – Cream Cheese

Lynn’s Chicken Salad

Submitted by Sarah R., Chief Marketing Officer

“Mom always made plenty of this to ensure there were leftovers! We’d happily and quickly eat it for days. It was quick and easy for her to make and for us to enjoy for several meals thereafter.”

  • #97794 – Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • #90468 – Large Baked Croissants – Ghyslain
  • #20231 – Bibb Lettuce
  • #97379 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Nonnie’s Sun Pickles

Submitted by Sarah B., Marketing

“Pickles have been at the center of so many fond memories: from popping open a jar with my mom to snack on in the middle of a busy day, to making pickles surrounded by the ladies in my family. Pictured here is my sweet Grandma, affectionately known by the kids as Nonnie, passing down her pickle making wisdom to my oldest daughter.”

  • #20052 – Pickling cucumbers
  • #40008 – Fresh Dill
  • #70121 – Peeled Garlic

Maureen’s Cinnamon Pecan Yeast Rolls

Submitted by Lauren C., Inside Sales

My mother remembers the mornings of chaos watching her mother try to keep order as her three rambunctious brothers wrestled in the kitchen and my mother and her older sister’s eagerness to learn the process from their mother. Her mother would be shouting, “No running and wrestling in my kitchen, take it elsewhere” and most importantly “Close the garage door, can’t have any cold drafts as the yeast won’t rise”! To say the least, her blood pressure was on the rise!  After each step of the process and seeing the ending results, my mother remembers it being all well worth it! My mother carries all of these same feelings and memories, knowing that her mom and sister are present with her (even though they are no longer with us) gets her through this every time year after year.”

  • #95322 – Pecans – pieces
  • #98370 – Yeast – active dry
  • #97025 – Cinnamon – ground
  • #99317 – Sugar – granulated

Sandy’s / Good Enough to Eat Vegetarian Chili

Submitted by Anna H., Program Director, Local Foods

“Good Enough to Eat is a wonderful restaurant in New York City’s upper West Side where my mom’s brother decamped to as a longtime server when he left Cincinnati as an aspiring actor. Via this cookbook and a few visits there, a NYC restaurant’s family-style meals merged with our favorites, too. The veggie chili is a special one that my mom makes, and it really benefits from frying the spices first. It is absolutely perfect for local summer veg, so it’s perfect for my family’s continuing history of merging farming and restaurant life together.”

  • #20058 – Eggplant
  • #20601 – Yellow Squash
  • #20803 – Red Bell Pepper
  • #20801 – Green Bell Pepper
  • #70015 – Red Onion – Diced
  • #31757 – Smoked Paprika Flakes – Sweet

Elaine’s French Onion Soup

Submitted by Lauren K, Marketing

“My Grandy made the absolutely most amazing French onion soup and it is one of the very few recipes that we have left after she died. I have memories of my sister and I in my kitchen, tears running down our cheeks, slaving over slicing those onions as thinly as possible to make Grandy proud.”

  • #70001 – Yellow onions
  • #96103 – Beef base
  • #95212 – Dijon mustard
  • #91275 – Swiss cheese

Cheryl’s Cranberry Caramel Date Bars

Submitted by Amy R., Sales, Colorado

“Cheryl sends my wife and I these Caramel bars every Christmas and they are by far, the thing I look forward to most during the holiday season!”

Dee’s Spicy Chicken Tomato & Garlic Soup

Submitted by Megan D., Marketing

“My mom always made this soup any time someone in our family was sick and swore by its healing abilities. To this day, any time I have a cold, all I want is this soup!”

  • #31674 – Chicken stock
  • #00923 – Chicken thighs
  • #97032 – Cumin
  • #99203 – Lime juice

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

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

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

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

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

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

And They’re Off – Starters

Bourbon-Glazed Shrimp Skewers

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

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

Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

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

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

Kentucky Lamb Sliders with Mint Sauce

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

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

Main Courses that Win, Place or Show

Scallop and Corn Salad

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

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

Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Sweet Tea Glaze

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

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

Kentucky Wagyu Smash Burger

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

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

Lobster and Grits with Scallop Cream Sauce

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

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

Beef Tenderloin with Henry Bain’s Sauce

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

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

Bits and Pieces: Side Dishes to Impress

Collard Greens

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

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

Fried Okra

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

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

Cheese Grits

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

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

The Finish Line: Desserts

Derby Pie

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

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

Bourbon Bread Pudding

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

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

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

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

What Chefs Want Acquires Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice, Bringing Food Service Innovation and Jobs to Atlanta 

By | What Chefs Want

What Chefs Want (WCW), headquartered in Louisville, KY, is thrilled to announce its upcoming acquisition of one of the leading fresh produce foodservice distributors in the southeast, Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice in Atlanta. This acquisition, along with our October acquisition of Food Hub ATL, positions What Chefs Want as the largest independently owned wholesale food distributor in the South.

With operations now across key southern locations—including Chattanooga, Savannah, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Birmingham, and the latest addition, Phoenix Wholesaler in Atlanta—our network is strategically positioned to enhance our influence and support in the region. This expansion enables WCW to serve an even larger segment of the southern market, wowing chefs with our broad variety of ingredients and our unique service model.

Since its foundation in 1996, WCW, under the dedicated stewardship of owners, Ron and Mollie Turnier, has been a beacon of change and innovation in the food distribution sector.

David Collins, owner of Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice is excited for the future and the opportunity to build even deeper relationships with Atlanta chefs.

“It’s been rewarding to see Phoenix Wholesale blossom into the company it is today through dedication to our customers and employees,” said Collins. “Partnering with Ron and his team at What Chefs Want opens new doors for continued growth while maintaining the values that are important to us, like providing top-quality service to our customers. This acquisition will provide more resources to do just that while also creating opportunities for our dedicated employees.”

This acquisition not only expands WCW’s footprint in the southeastern United States but also aligns with its commitment to providing exceptional service and a diverse product range to culinary professionals.

With this acquisition and a state-of-the-art hub in Atlanta, What Chefs Want plans to bring more than 200 jobs to the Atlanta area in positions ranging from delivery drivers and warehouse workers to fish cutters and butchers. Job seekers can learn more about working at What Chefs Want and fill out an application here.

About What Chefs Want

Established in 1996, What Chefs Want has evolved into a culinary powerhouse, dedicated to excellence and innovation WCW operates with three major hubs that support its network of satellite warehouses, efficiently distributing products to foodservice operators across 15 states. This infrastructure enables WCW to deliver the seven most needed product lines to meet the unique needs of chefs and restaurateurs and boosts restaurant efficiency and providing easy access to superior products. Our unique service model includes benefits like daily delivery, split cases, no minimums, broadline management, and 24/7 customer support. Serving over 16,000 restaurants with a commitment to local producers, WCW continues to set industry benchmarks.

For more information about What Chefs Want or the acquisition, visit whatchefswant.com or email marketing@whatchefswant.com 

About Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice

Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice is one of the leading fresh produce foodservice distributors in the southeast. We have a fast inventory turnover, which provides customers with a fresher, longer shelf-life product. We are committed to customer satisfaction, quality products, value, and unparalleled service.

Spring Forward: Refreshing Menu Ideas to Welcome the Season

By | Baking, Cheese, Dairy, Farm To Table, Gourmet, Local, Produce, Seafood, Staples, Vegetables, What Chefs Want

As the snow melts away and the first green shoots begin to appear, chefs everywhere know it’s time to rejuvenate their menus. Spring brings a bounty of fresh produce and new flavors, offering a fantastic opportunity to introduce vibrant, light, and refreshing dishes. This article is a springboard for those looking to infuse their menus with the essence of spring, presenting ideas and dishes that are as fresh as the season itself.

Embrace the Season’s Best

Seasonal Vegetables Front and Center

Spring is synonymous with fresh produce. Think tender greens, sweet peas, artichokes, and asparagus. These vegetables can easily become the star of any dish, offering a crisp, fresh taste that’s perfect for the season.

Grilled Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce: A simple yet sophisticated side that highlights the asparagus. Main ingredients: asparagus spears, butter, egg yolks, lemon juice, cayenne pepper.

  • Asparagus – Jumbo – item #20001, Large – item #20080, Standard – item #20005
  • Lemons – item #04019
  • Butter – unsalted – item #93001

Spring Vegetable Risotto: Creamy and comforting while still being light. Main ingredients: Arborio rice, chicken or vegetable stock, Parmesan cheese, a mix of spring vegetables (peas, asparagus, baby carrots).

  • Carrots – item #20467
  • Carrots – diced #20456 *diced in house by our Prep Kitchen team to save you time!
  • Arborio rice – item #94928
  • Parmesan cheese – grated – item #91272 (also available shaved, shredded or whole)

Pea and Mint Soup: Vibrantly green and refreshingly light. Main ingredients: fresh peas, mint leaves, vegetable stock, onion, garlic, and light cream.

  • English Peas – item #09570
  • Fresh mint leaves – item #40052
  • Roasted Vegetable stock base – item #96117

Herb-Infused Dishes

Herbs come back to life in spring, bringing their fresh aromas and flavors. Integrating a variety of herbs into your dishes can add a new dimension of taste.

Herb-Infused Grilled Pork Chops with a Spring Herb Chimichurri: This dish captures the essence of spring through the use of fresh herbs both in the marinade and in the chimichurri.  Main ingredients: bone-in porkchops, fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice.

  • Bone-in Berkwood Center Cut Pork Chop – item #00829
  • Parsley – item #40009
  • Garlic – peeled – #70118

Lemon Herb Chicken: Light and zesty, perfect for a spring evening. Main ingredients: chicken breasts, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic.

  • Springer Mountain Farms airline chicken breast – item #18270
  • Pons Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil – item #95413
  • Fresh Rosemary – item #40023

Light and Bright

Salads That Excite

Spring is the perfect time to revamp your salad offerings with light, yet satisfying options that incorporate fruits, nuts, and cheeses.

Strawberry Spinach Salad: A sweet and savory combination. Main ingredients: fresh spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, walnuts, balsamic vinaigrette.

  • Baby spinach – item #20280
  • Strawberries – item #10422
  • Capriole Tea Rose Goat Cheese – item #91921

Citrus and Avocado Salad: Creamy and citrusy, a delight for the taste buds. Main ingredients: mixed greens, orange segments, grapefruit segments, avocado, almonds, citrus vinaigrette.

  • Lettuce – Arcadian Mix – item #02518
  • Grapefruit – item #99835
  • Avocado – item #20063

Seafood Selections

Seafood is a great choice for spring menus, offering dishes that are both light and satisfying.

Seared Scallops with Pea Puree: Elegant and easy to prepare. Main ingredients: scallops, fresh peas, mint, butter, lemon.

  • Scallops – U/10 – item #32502
  • Scallops – U/8 – item #32713

Grilled Halibut with Mango Salsa: A tropical twist that screams spring. Main ingredients: halibut fillets, mango, red bell pepper, jalapeno, lime, cilantro.

  • Wild Alaskan Halibut – item #48052
  • Mango – item #10902
  • Jalapeno – item #20825

Farm to Table Connection

Highlighting Local Producers

Spring is an excellent time to strengthen relationships with local farmers and showcase their produce directly on your menu. Dishes that tell a story about where their ingredients come from can create a deeper connection with diners.

Local Farm Vegetable Tart: A rustic and visually appealing dish. Main ingredients: seasonal vegetables from local farms, puff pastry, ricotta cheese, fresh herbs.

  • Fresh morel mushrooms – item #30911
  • English peas – item #09570
  • Ricotta cheese – item #91094

Farmers’ Market Salad: Change weekly based on what’s available locally. Main ingredients: mixed greens, edible flowers, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, fresh cheese, vinaigrette made with local honey.

  • Edible flowers – item #40032
  • Fava beans – item #20721
  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes – item #50901

Refreshing Beverages

Spring-Inspired Cocktails and Non-Alcoholic Refreshments

Drinks can also reflect the vibrancy of spring, incorporating fresh fruits, herbs, and edible flowers to create sippable experiences that complement your dishes. A reminder that What Chefs Want has everything you need for your bar but the booze.

Cucumber Basil Gimlet: A crisp, herbaceous cocktail. Main ingredients: gin, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, cucumber slices, basil leaves.

  • Natalie’s Lime Juice – item #99203
  • Monin Pure Cane Syrup – item #97887
  • Cucumbers – item #20089

Strawberry-Rose Lemonade: A non-alcoholic option that’s visually stunning and delicious. Main ingredients: strawberries, rose water, lemon juice, sparkling water, sugar.

  • Rose water – item #93207
  • KY Greenhouse strawberries – item #34010
  • Mountain Valley Sparkling water – item #18096

Sweet Endings

Fruit-Forward Desserts

Spring’s arrival means the return of many beloved fruits. Desserts that showcase these fruits can provide a perfect end to any meal. WCW has the baking staples you need to create memorable desserts!

Rhubarb Crisp: Tangy and sweet, with a crumbly topping. Main ingredients: rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, flour, oats, butter.

  • Rhubarb – item #82871
  • Rolled oats – item #93426
  • Granulated sugar – item #99317

Strawberry Basil Sorbet: A sweet and herbaceous note to end on. Main ingredients: strawberries, basil, sugar, lemon juice.

  • Strawberries – item #10422
  • Fresh Basil – item #40037
  • Natalie’s Fresh Lemon Juice – item #99202

Bringing It All Together

Transitioning your menu for spring doesn’t just mean swapping out ingredients; it’s about capturing the essence of the season—fresh, light, and rejuvenating. Whether it’s by highlighting seasonal vegetables, incorporating fresh herbs, offering lighter main courses, or ending with fruit-forward desserts, there are countless ways to refresh your menu for spring. These ideas and dishes are just a starting point to inspire your creativity and help your menu bloom alongside the season. We are here and ready to offer you the freshest ingredients to help your menu shine.

Meat Your Match: Your Essential Guide to Beef

By | Beef, Meats, What Chefs Want

Have you ever found yourself in a beef slump? Consistently using the same cut and wondered which other cuts might take your dish from good to unforgettable? Selecting the right cut of beef is not just about taste; it’s about understanding the unique characteristics of each cut and how to use them to your advantage in the kitchen. This guide is tailored for chefs who are looking to deepen their knowledge of beef cuts, discover some lesser-known cuts, and pick up practical tips for cooking each type.

Make sure to jump down to the bottom for our FAQ and glossary!


Chuck

Location: At the steer’s forefront, encompassing the shoulder and neck. Its versatility and affordability make it a staple in many kitchens.

Sub-primal Cuts: This includes neck, shoulders, top blade, bottom blade, ground beef, chuck steak, and chuck filet.

Chef’s Tips:

Slow and Low: Shoulder and neck thrive in a low-temp conventional oven.

Blade Cuts: Direct grilling brings out their best.

Flat Iron

Cut from the shoulder area, specifically the top blade of the chuck.

Pros: Versatility in cooking methods. Value cut with high-quality eating experience

Cons: Grain Awareness – Be mindful of the grain when slicing this steak to ensure maximum tenderness. Availability – Not always readily available as more traditional cuts

Best Uses: Flat Iron takes well to marinades. Its tenderness and flavor profile make it a fantastic option for slicing thinly against the grain for sandwiches.

Teres Major

Located in the shoulder area. One of the most tender cuts of beef after the tenderloin.

Pros: Extremely tender. Comparable to more expensive cuts like the tenderloin, making it a great value. Rich tenderloin-like flavor.

Cons: Availability – Not as widely know or available. Preparation – Requires careful trimming for optimal tenderness.

Best Uses: Great grilled or pan-seared. Can be cut into medallions and cooked quickly.


Rib

Location: The rib primal includes meat from the cow’s ribs and backbone, renowned for its fatty marbling and tenderness.

Sub-primal Cuts: Look for rib steak, ribeye, prime rib, short rib, and back ribs.

Chef’s Tips:

Prime Rib Excellence: High temp, short time in an oven or direct heat smoker.

Ribeye: Charcoal-grilled to enhance flavor.

Back Ribs: Low and slow in an offset smoker for tender results.

Short Ribs: Ideal for braising and Korean BBQ styles; a hit when grilled.

The Ribeye

Cut from the rib section. High in marbling and fat.

Pros: Rich, beefy flavor. Tender and juicy texture.

Cons: Higher fat content may not suit all dietary preferences. Requires careful cooking to avoid flare-ups.

Best Uses: Perfect for grilling and broiling. Minimal seasoning needed to showcase its natural flavor.

Short Rib

Cut from the rib area. Contains a portion of the rib bone.

Pros: Rich and full of flavor. Tender when slow-cooked.

Cons: Requires long cooking time. Can be fatty.

Best Uses: Perfect for braising and barbecue. Great in stews and Korean dishes.

The Prime Rib Roast

Cut from the rib section of the cow, encompassing from the 6th to the 12th rib.

Pros: Naturally tender cut. The marbling and fat contribute to a deep, beefy flavor.

Cons: Requires a longer cooking time, needing careful attention to achieve the perfect doneness. Prime Rib can be one of the more expensive beef cuts.

Best Uses: Slow-roasting allows the fat to render and the meat to cook evenly, resulting in a juicy, flavorful roast. Traditionally served with au jus (a light beef gravy) and horseradish sauce to complement its rich flavors.


Loin

Location: Located behind the ribs, the loin offers the most tender cuts, such as sirloin and short loin.

Sub-primal Cuts: Includes T-bone, club steak, filet mignon (tenderloin), New York strip, and more.

Chef’s Tips:

High-Value Steaks: Medium-rare via open flame or direct heat grill.

Everyday Elegance: Sirloin and New York strip offer versatile options for daily menus.

The Tenderloin

Located along the spine. Least fatty cut.

Pros: Extremely tender. Low in fat.

Cons: Less flavor due to low fat content. Higher cost.

Best Uses: Perfect for filet mignon. Quick cooking methods like searing or grilling are ideal.

The Porterhouse

A large portion of tenderloin on one side of the T-shaped bone and a generous portion of strip steak on the other.

Pros: Dual experience of tender and flavorful meat. Generous size – ideal for sharing.

Cons: Requires attention while cooking to ensure both the tenderloin and strip are cooked to perfection. Higher price point.

Best Uses: Best grilled or broiled. Excellent for a premium steak experience.

The Strip

Pros: Versatility in cooking methods: grilling, broiling, pan-searing. Rich beefy taste, enhanced by marbling.

Cons: Marbling and tenderness can vary depending on the grade of meat. Can be pricier than some other cuts due to its popularity and demand.

Best Uses: High heat cooking methods bring out its flavor and create a delicious crust. Can be sliced thinly against the grain for use in salads or sandwiches, offering a tender bite.

The Sirloin

Located between the loin and the round. Lean yet tender.

Pros: Versatility in cooking methods: grilling, broiling, pan-frying. Balanced flavor suitable for a range of dishes.

Cons: Less marbling compared to other cuts. Can become tough if overcooked.

Best Uses: Ideal for steaks, stir-fries, and kebabs. Marinating can enhance flavor and tenderness.

The Coulotte

Also known as the top sirloin cap, rump cap, or picanha. Features a moderate to high degree of marbling.

Pros: Value – A high-quality eating experience often at a lower cost. Flavorful – The marbling and fat cap contribute to a rich beefy flavor

Cons: Preparation – Proper trimming and scoring of the fat cap are necessary for optimal cooking and presentation. Variability in Thickness

Best Uses: Roasting whole with the fat cap scored can create a beautifully crispy exterior while keeping the inside juicy. Particularly popular in Brazilian cuisine for churrasco, it’s ideal for grilling


Round

Location: Near the cow’s hind legs, the round is lean and tougher, making it a budget-friendly option.

Sub-primal Cuts: Explore top round, eye of round, sirloin tip and others.

Chef’s Tips:

Oven Mastery: Embrace low and slow techniques for tender outcomes.

Eye of Round

It is one of the leanest beef cuts, with minimal fat and marbling.

Pros: Lower in fat. More affordable compared to premium cuts

Cons: Requires careful cooking to avoid toughness. Less flavorful than fattier cuts.

Best Uses: Great for roasting, slow cooking. Ideal for deli meats especially when cooked medium rare and chilled.

Sirloin Tip

Cut from the muscle group that helps support the hip and leg, making it leaner.

Pros: More affordable than prime cuts, offering good value. Can be used in a variety of dishes, from roasts to stews.

Cons: Requires careful cooking to avoid toughness. Benefits from marinating or slow cooking methods to enhance tenderness.

Best Uses: Ideal for kabobs or steak tips when marinated. Perfect for stews and slow-cooked dishes where it can become tender over time.


Flank

Location: Below the loin, flank is flavorful yet tough, rising in popularity and price with the lean meat trend. It’s all about the marinade.

Sub-primal Cuts: Flank steak (also called London broil, or plank steak)

Chef’s Tips:

Marinate, Then Grill: Overnight soaking followed by a sear on an open flame or direct heat grill for optimal flavor.

Flank Steak

Cut from the abdomen muscles. Long and flat.

Pros: Rich in beef flavor. Absorbs marinades well.

Cons: Can be tough and chewy. Requires specific cutting technique.

Best Uses: Best when marinated and grilled. Ideal for fajitas, stir-fries.


Short Plate

Location: Below the ribs, a haven for hanger and skirt steaks.

Sub-primal Cuts: Hanger steak, skirt steak, plate short ribs

Chef’s Tips:

Hanger Steak: Medium-rare on a grill for tenderness.

Hanger Steak

Also known as “butcher’s steak” or “onglet” in French cuisine. Located between the rib and the loin, attached to the diaphragm.

Pros: Flavorful. Tender when cooked properly.

Cons: Requires careful preparation to remove inedible membrane and silver skin for optimal enjoyment. Each animal yields only one Hanger Steak, making it less available than other cuts.

Best Uses: Often featured in French bistro cuisine, it’s ideal for dishes like steak frites, showcasing its robust flavor. Its texture and flavor profile make it an excellent candidate for marinating.


Brisket

Location: Cow’s breast or lower chest, demanding patience and slow cooking.

Sub-primal Cuts: Brisket point and plate.

Chef’s Tips:

Indirect Heat Smoker: Ideal for achieving tender and flavorful brisket.

Pro Insight: Always monitor meat temperature to ensure perfection, especially for those long cooks like brisket.

Brisket

High connective tissue content.

Pros: Deep, rich flavor. Ideal for slow cooking methods.

Cons: Requires long cooking time. Can be tough if rushed.

Best Uses: Excellent for smoking, braising, and slow roasting. Perfect for barbecue and corned beef.


Shank

Location: Located at the cow’s forearm, shank is the toughest cut but offers deep flavor for stocks and stews.

Sub-primal Cuts: Fore shank, hind shank. Ideal for Osso Buco.

Chef’s Tips:

Patience Pays Off: Long, low-temperature cooking in crockpots or ovens brings out the best.

Fore Shank

Cut from the leg portion. High in connective tissue.

Pros: Flavorful and rich. Ideal for slow cooking.

Cons: Can be very tough if not cooked properly. Limited cooking method suitability.

Best Uses: Excellent for osso buco, stews. Slow cooking enhances flavor and tenderness.

Choosing the right cut of beef can transform your dish into a memorable experience for your diners. Remember, each cut has its unique properties and optimal cooking methods. If you’re looking for advice on selecting and preparing these cuts, our team of beef experts is here to assist you. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions and let us help you make the most of every cut.

Why is my meat not red in the package?

When beef is packaged, particularly in vacuum-sealed packaging, it might not appear red until it is opened due to the lack of oxygen inside the package. Beef muscle contains a protein called myoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen within the muscle tissues. The color of myoglobin changes depending on its exposure to oxygen.

In vacuum-sealed packages, there’s a significant reduction in oxygen. Inside these packages, myoglobin takes on a darker color, ranging from purple to brown, because it’s in a deoxygenated state known as deoxymyoglobin. This is why beef might not look red when it’s still sealed in its packaging.

Once the package is opened, the myoglobin in the beef is exposed to oxygen again. This exposure converts the deoxymyoglobin to oxymyoglobin, which has a bright red color commonly associated with fresh beef. This process is known as “blooming” and can take a few minutes after the package is opened.

It’s important to note that the initial darker color of vacuum-sealed beef does not indicate spoilage or poor quality; it’s a natural result of the packaging process designed to preserve the freshness and extend the shelf life of the beef by reducing its exposure to oxygen.

What is the difference between a porterhouse and a T-bone?

The difference between a Porterhouse and a T-bone steak boils down to the size of the tenderloin portion and where they are cut from the short loin.

Tenderloin Size: Porterhouse steaks have a larger tenderloin section (at least 1.25 inches wide) compared to T-bones, which have a smaller tenderloin (at least 0.5 inches but less than 1.25 inches wide).

Location on the Short Loin: Porterhouses are cut from the rear end, yielding more tenderloin, while T-bones come from the middle, with less tenderloin.

Steak Experience: Porterhouses offer a more premium experience with more tenderloin, appealing to those who prefer this cut. T-bones provide a balanced taste of both the strip and tenderloin but with less emphasis on the tenderloin.

What is the difference between a bone-in, split bone & frenched ribeye?

The difference between bone-in, split bone, and frenched ribeye steaks mainly lies in the treatment and presentation of the bone within each cut:

Bone-In Ribeye: This is the traditional ribeye steak that includes a portion of the rib bone. The bone is left intact, contributing to the steak’s flavor and moisture during cooking. It’s known for its rich marbling and deep flavor.

Split Bone Ribeye: In this variation, the rib bone is partially split or cut through at intervals. This can help the steak cook more evenly and makes it easier to carve or serve, while still retaining the flavor benefits of cooking with the bone.

Frenched Ribeye: For a frenched ribeye, the meat is cut away from the end of the rib bone, exposing it and giving the steak a more elegant presentation. This style doesn’t significantly affect the flavor but is often preferred for its sophisticated appearance, especially in fine dining settings.

Each style offers a different experience, primarily in terms of presentation and ease of eating, with the bone-in and split bone options also contributing slightly to the flavor and juiciness of the meat due to their bone content.

So then what is a tomahawk ribeye?

A Tomahawk Ribeye is a distinctive cut of beef ribeye that includes a long, frenched rib bone extending from the meat. Its appearance resembles a tomahawk axe, which is where the cut gets its name. This cut is essentially a bone-in ribeye steak with the entire rib bone left intact and extended, often measuring up to 12 inches or more in length. The meat itself is the same richly marbled, tender ribeye that is prized for its depth of flavor and tenderness.

What is a 107 rib?

A 107 rib, often referred to in the meat industry, is a specific cut of beef rib that includes the rib primal with the ribeye muscle, a portion of the backstrap, and the entire rib bone. It’s a traditional, wholesale cut that hasn’t been trimmed down to the more retail-friendly or consumer-recognized ribeye steaks or roasts yet. The “107” designation is a numerical code used by the meat industry to identify this particular cut’s specifications and preparation style.

This cut includes the first five to seven ribs of the animal, extending from the chuck to the loin section. The 107 rib is particularly valued for its marbling and flavor, making it a favorite starting point for producing high-quality ribeye steaks or prime rib roasts after further processing and trimming. The bone-in nature of this cut contributes to the meat’s flavor during cooking, making it a sought-after choice for roasting whole as a standing rib roast, where it can serve as a dramatic and flavorful centerpiece for special occasions.

Why is it beneficial to keep the cap on ribeye for dry-aging?

The outer layer of meat and fat, including the cap, acts as a barrier during the dry-aging process. It helps protect the inner, more valuable part of the ribeye from overexposure to air, which can lead to excessive drying or spoilage. As the beef dry ages, moisture evaporates from the muscle, concentrating its flavors and improving texture. The cap helps ensure that this process happens slowly and evenly, enhancing the steak’s taste and tenderness without losing too much volume to desiccation.

Aging: The process of letting beef rest under controlled conditions to enhance its tenderness and flavor. There are two types: dry-aging and wet-aging.

Dry-Aging: A process of aging beef in a controlled, open-air environment to intensify its flavor and tenderize the meat.

Wet-Aging: Aging beef in a vacuum-sealed bag to retain moisture, making the meat more tender over time.

Marbling: Intramuscular fat that appears as white flecks within the muscle. Higher marbling usually indicates more flavorful and tender meat.

Grain-Fed: Cattle that have been fed primarily with grains like corn, leading to beef with higher fat content and marbling.

Grass-Fed: Beef from cattle that have been raised on grass diets. This meat is typically leaner and has a different flavor profile compared to grain-fed beef.

Prime Cut: The highest grade of beef with abundant marbling, indicating top-quality tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

Choice Cut: High-quality beef with less marbling than prime cuts. Choice cuts are still tender and flavorful.

Select Cut: A grade of beef that is generally leaner with less marbling. Select cuts can be less tender and flavorful compared to higher grades.

Dock-to-Dish: Nashville Restaurant Radio Podcast features WCW to talk about the freshest seafood

By | Seafood, What Chefs Want

In a recent Nashville Restaurant Radio podcast interview, our very own Kelly Probst, Director of Seafood Purchasing at What Chefs Want, opens up about the ins and outs of bringing the freshest seafood from ocean to table. This must-listen podcast isn’t just for the Nashville area. Kelly covers a wide range of topics – from the logistics of transporting fresh halibut from the cold waters of Alaska directly to restaurants, to personal anecdotes about walking the docks in Florida and even encounters with sharks while surfing. The main focus, however, is the dedication and care we put into our Boat Direct program, ensuring that chefs across the nation receive the freshest seafood and the excitement around the start of HALIBUT SEASON!

Kelly shares stories that highlight the hard work and challenges involved in maintaining the freshness and quality of our seafood. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at our operations, from selecting the right fish on the docks to the relationships we’ve built with fishermen, and the effort we put into sustainable fishing. Kelly’s experiences, from personal hurdles to adventures at sea, paint a vivid picture of the commitment we have to our mission.

This podcast is straight talk from us at What Chefs Want about our passion for seafood and respect for nature. Kelly discusses the importance of treating fish with care to ensure it remains fresh until it reaches our chefs. It’s an insight into how we navigate the complex seafood supply chain, always with a focus on sustainability and quality.

Listen to the full episode below!

If you want to receive Kelly’s newsletter that he references in the podcast click here.

And to learn even more about our Alaskan dock, click here.

Ready to order the fresh Alaskan halibut Kelly was talking about? We should have it in house by March 19th and ready to order! Check our ordering system and app on the 19th and beyond for these item numbers:

  • 28473 – 10/20 halibut
  • 28474 – 20/40 halibut
  • 28475 – 40/60 halibut
  • 04585 – Halibut fillet skin on
  • 48056 – Halibut fillet skinless

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.

Festive Flavors: Mardi Gras Menu Inspirations and Fish Fry Fun

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

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

Fish Fry Season

Seafood Selection is Key

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

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

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

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

Perfectly Battered and Breaded Seafood

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

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

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

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

Let’s Take it Beyond the Ordinary

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

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

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

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

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

Mardi Gras Menu Magic

Gumbo

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

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

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

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

Jambalaya

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

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

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

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

Cajun Grits with Tasso

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

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

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

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

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