Category

What Chefs Want

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

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

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

Amorous Appetizers

Oysters on the Half Shell

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

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

Artichoke Heart Bruschetta

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

Truffle-Infused Deviled Eggs

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

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

Seafood Sensations

Lobster Tails

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

Pan-Seared Halibut Fillet

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

Scallops

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

Protein Packed Passion

Porterhouse for Two

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

Lamb Lollipops Duo

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

Poulet Rouge Fermier

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

Decadent Desserts

Chocolate-Dipped Stem Strawberries

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

Raspberry Rose Petal Sorbet

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

Filled Chocolate Tulip Cups

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


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

Creating Restaurant Wins for Health-Conscious Consumers

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

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

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

Lean into Functional Foods

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

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

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

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

Offer more plant-based entrees

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

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

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

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

Offer healthy drinks & mocktails

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

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

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

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

Showcase sustainable & healthy seafood

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

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

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

Educate consumers about your menu items

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

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

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

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

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

Create easy healthy grab-and-go options

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

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

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

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


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

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

How to Craft a Standout Charcuterie Board

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

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

Balancing Flavors: Key Components

Variety of Cured Meats:

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

Some of our favorite suggestions:

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

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

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

Cheese Selection:

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

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

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

Some of our favorite suggestions:

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

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

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

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

Accompaniments:

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

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

Some of our favorite suggestions:

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

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

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

Fresh, Dried and Pickled Produce:

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

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

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

Some of our favorite suggestions:

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

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

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

Textured Crackers,  Bread, Nuts and Seeds:

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

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

Some of our favorite suggestions:

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

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

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

Aesthetic Touches

Artful Arrangement:

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

Microflowers and Herbs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beef

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

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

Choice Tenderloin (#00089) (#00535)

Trimmed Grain Fed Tenderloin (#30625)*

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

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

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

Ham

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

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

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

Poultry

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

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

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

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

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

Lamb

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

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

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

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

Seafood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zest Fest – Winter Citrus Season 

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

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

Why Winter?

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

The Winter Citrus Lineup

Oranges:

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

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

Grapefruits:

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

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

Mandarins/Tangerines/Clementines:

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

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

Lemons:

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

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

Limes:

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

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

Other:

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

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


Citrus Inspiration

Citrus-infused Roasts:

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

Winter Citrus Salads:

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

Citrus Desserts:

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

Citrus-infused Cocktails:

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

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

Nourishing Communities Through the LFPA Program  

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

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

Connecting Families with Local Goodness

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

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

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

LFPA Grants: A Closer Look

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

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

Love City’s Recipe for Success  

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

And you started raising money next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food is a great equalizer and a great draw.

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

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

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

What do you see in the future for Love City?

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

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

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

So you never know what might happen. Right?


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

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

Mariblu Shrimp: Your Sustainable Seafood Solution  

By | Chef's Feed, Seafood, What Chefs Want

In the world of cooking, chefs constantly seek top-quality ingredients that are not only delicious but also environmentally friendly. That’s where Mariblu Shrimp, exclusively available at What Chefs Want, shines.  Offering a range of sizes and types, it’s the perfect option for chefs in search of the best shrimp. Let’s dive right in and explore what makes Mariblu stand out for both your palate and the planet.

From Hatchery to Plate: The Freshest Shrimp You’ve Ever Tasted

At What Chefs Want, we understand the importance of freshness when it comes to seafood. Our Mariblu brand shrimp is meticulously sourced and processed, ensuring you experience the freshest shrimp possible. But what sets Mariblu apart from the rest?

Phosphate-Free, Naturally Delicious

Our Mariblu Shrimp proudly maintains a 100% phosphate-free profile. By foregoing the use of phosphates, we not only preserve the natural flavors of the shrimp but also contribute to a healthier dining experience. Phosphates, when used in shrimp processing, can negatively impact the taste and texture of the shrimp. Phosphates can cause shrimp to absorb more water and potentially become mushy or spongy, so chefs often prefer the natural, firm texture of phosphate-free shrimp, especially in dishes where texture is crucial. In addition, using phosphate-free shrimp reduces the risk of allergic reactions.

What makes the phosphate-free aspect so crucial for the environment?

The use of phosphates in shrimp processing can lead to several environmental issues. Phosphate runoff from processing facilities can find its way into our waterways, causing water pollution and potentially harmful algal blooms. These environmental consequences can negatively impact marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. By choosing Mariblu Shrimp, you’re actively participating in the preservation of our oceans and the health of the communities that rely on them, making every bite of Mariblu shrimp an ecologically conscious choice.

A Commitment to Environmental Wellness

Mariblu Shrimp holds a prestigious 4-star BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certification, which is a testament to our unwavering commitment to responsible and sustainable aquaculture practices.

A “4-star BAP certified” designation means that a seafood product or aquaculture facility has achieved the highest level of certification from the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) program. It indicates that the product meets BAP standards in four important areas: processing, farm, hatchery, and feed mill. This certification assures consumers that seafood is produced responsibly and sustainably, with a focus on environmental and social responsibility throughout the aquaculture process. It’s a strong endorsement of good practices in the industry and we take pride in offering shrimp that not only tastes amazing but also upholds our dedication to sustainable practices.

A Variety to Satisfy Every Chef for Every Need

One of the most exciting features of Mariblu Shrimp is the sheer variety it offers. As a chef, you know that having a range of options at your disposal can allow you to expand your menu and give you the creative freedom you need. With Mariblu, you can choose from various sizes, to fit your every need.

But that’s not all – whether you prefer your shrimp raw or cooked, with shells on or shell off, Mariblu has an incredible selection of options to cater to your specific menu needs. This extensive variety empowers you to explore and experiment, making every dish a unique masterpiece.

Healthier for You, Better for the Planet

Mariblu Shrimp is a win for chefs who value quality, sustainability, and flavor. With its dedication to freshness, phosphate-free purity, and sustainable practices, Mariblu Shrimp and What Chefs Want are your ideal partners in creating extraordinary dishes that are both delicious and environmentally responsible. It’s time to experience the difference for yourself. Your palate and the planet will thank you.

You can find Mariblu Shrimp exclusively at What Chefs Want. Order on the website or app.

Click on the Mariblu banner to view the entire list of our Mariblu shrimp.

From Kodiak to the Kitchen: The Search for Alaska’s Freshest Seafood  

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

At What Chefs Want, we’re proud to bring you a truly unique and unparalleled seafood experience through our Boat Direct program. Our team of fishmongers walk the docks daily to handpick the freshest catches straight from the source. This brings our chefs a true dock-to-dish experience. We’ve recently expanded this program to ALASKA – bringing you the freshest, most exciting fish from Kodiak Island.  

At the helm of this visionary program is Kelly Probst, a seasoned industry expert with an unwavering commitment to excellence, and a passion for fish that he pours into absolutely everyone that he speaks to. Join us for a chat with Kelly where he introduces how this innovative program and additional location empowers chefs with unprecedented quality and freshness, setting a new standard in the industry. 

Kelly, can you provide some background on your journey to becoming a part of What Chefs Want and your role as Director of Seafood Purchasing? 

Kelly: I earned my international business management degree at BYU in Hawaii and spent about a decade working in the banking industry in Southern California. However, the 2008 financial crisis prompted me to reevaluate my career path. I decided to follow my passion for fish, which led me to pursue a master’s degree in aquaculture and aquatic science in Kentucky.  

During that time, I worked on a USDA grant, collaborating to connect local fish farmers and high-end chefs. The objective was to explore if we could eliminate the middleman and enable direct transactions between fish farmers and restaurants. However, I soon realized that fish farmers farm and chefs are busy in the kitchens which led to the need for a middleman. So, I ventured to Florida and started working with a company. Over time, I built relationships with fishermen and introduced chefs to underutilized fish species.  

My path eventually led me to a meeting with Ron, the founder of What Chefs Want and we shared the same vision. I ended up selling my company to Ron, and we embarked on a journey to provide chefs with the finest, most sustainable, and freshest seafood. We’ve expanded our reach over the years, covering not just Florida but also the East Coast and the Gulf, establishing connections with a wide range of fishermen.  

Kodiak, Alaska, was the next step in our journey. Our goal has always been to deliver that “wow” factor to chefs when they receive our seafood, and it’s something we’re continually dedicated to. 

You’ve discussed the benefits of having a fish house located right on Kodiak harbor. Can you elaborate on how this setup allows What Chefs Want to align with its commitment to chefs and its core value of going above and beyond for them? 

Kelly: Of course. Kodiak’s unique location as the second-largest island and second-largest fishing port in the United States provides us with an extraordinary opportunity. The island boasts the most diverse variety of seafood species in Alaska, offering a rich selection of fish not found anywhere else. We picked our location in Kodiak because we can sit in a little office across the street from the harbor and watch when the small boats come in. These smaller boats and their crews, usually just 1-3 people, have a deep connection with their catch, viewing each fish as a critical part of their livelihood. They prioritize quality and handle their catch with care, so the fish arrive in pristine condition. Our investment in Kodiak and our ownership of a dock right there allows us to secure these fresh catches as soon as the boats return.  

What in this process sets us apart? 

Kelly: We pick it up and bring the fish right across the street. We dry them, pack them and drive 15 minutes to Alaska Air Cargo where it’s overnighted to our What Chefs Want warehouses. This cuts out two to three middlemen along the way, along with at least a week, if not more of storage and travel time.   

I’m not going to name names, but right across the street from us is a large company that we used to buy fish from, and so does everybody else. A couple weeks ago we watched their process from our fish house window, and saw them with a front loader, scooping up halibut from the boat, lifting it up probably 15 feet in the air and dumping them huge containers. Now, juxtapose that with what we’re doing now, picking up every fish by hand, putting them in the bin, and driving it across the harbor to our warehouse where everything is temperature controlled. We box them, add gel packs, and overnight them. I don’t know of anybody who has better, faster, cleaner, fresher, more cared for Alaskan fish than us. And that is AWESOME!  Best of all, the fishermen are talking about us to all the other fishermen and appreciate and are excited about the care we are taking with their fish.  They love the stories we tell them about you and how you prepare their fish too! 

Does all this impact our pricing at all? 

Kelly: Well, the wonderful thing about this is that even though we’re paying small boats more for their attention to quality to their fish and to focus on smaller batches, our prices are not going to be any higher. We can do this because we cut out so many unnecessary steps and so much time on the way. Our prices are going to be the same, or better if possible for a higher quality, more sustainable and fresher fish. 

You’ve mentioned exciting fish options in Kodiak that chefs can explore. Could you tell us more about these unique offerings beyond the well-known salmon and halibut? 

Kelly: While salmon and halibut are widely recognized, Kodiak’s real treasures lie in the lesser-known fish varieties.  

One such category is rockfish. There are over 50 different types of rockfish, each with distinct characteristics, colors, and patterns. These fish exhibit striking colors, from bright reds and red-and-white stripes to olives, browns, and even species with yellow dots. These fish are ambush predators that use camouflage to catch and eat smaller fish. They’ll sit on a rock until a small fish goes by, jump out, and get it. That’s important because their muscles are not highly vascularized, there’s not a lot of blood in them, because they don’t use them frequently. This produces the most beautiful white filets that you’ll ever see. They are sweet with an excellent mouth-feel and offer chefs an opportunity to create unique culinary experiences.  

Another noteworthy fish is lingcod, which isn’t a cod at all. Cod are normally 4 pounds up to 15 pounds while lingcod can get up to 50 pounds. Occasionally, you get a lingcod that when you look in its mouth, it is a beautiful baby blue. When you fillet them, the flesh is as blue as can be! 

Sablefish or black cod is also a special fish. They are one of the most buttery and tasty fish out there. They are incredible fish with a super high fat content.  

And this is just the beginning of it. Kodiak’s diverse selection of fish allows chefs to introduce their patrons to a wide range of flavors and textures, setting them apart from the rest. 

Can you share more about Jeremy Abena, our fishmonger in Kodiak, and what his experience brings to What Chefs Want? 

Kelly: Jeremy Abena comes from a family deeply rooted in the fishing industry. His father was a successful fisherman and Jeremy was born and raised on Kodiak Island. He initially pursued a marketing degree in Seattle and went to work for an agency in San Francisco. However, his father’s call changed the course of his career. His father offered him a spot on one of his boats in Dutch Harbor, and Jeremy didn’t hesitate to make the transition from his corporate life in San Francisco.  

He joined as a deck hand and quickly fell in love with it. Over the years, Jeremy has been involved in catching over a million pounds of fish, primarily salmon and halibut on his father’s boats. He’s passionate about fishing and brings a wealth of experience to the table. I’ve been buying fish from Jeremy for years, even when I had my own company, because of the quality and the care he took with his fish and his facilities. Chefs absolutely loved what he was what he was getting for them! It absolutely made sense to bring him on board as a full-time employee of What Chefs Want, providing our chefs with that same commitment to quality and passion for the industry.  

Can you share more about the sustainability of this program and why it matters? 

Kelly: 98% of all the electricity in our warehouse is renewable. On the hill behind us we have windmills that produce the electricity for the warehouse and our water is all from a catchment system. The island must be concerned about sustainability because with the weather being so bad, we must be self-sufficient here. That equals sustainability and the need to use renewable resources, so it’s pretty awesome. 

The most amazing thing that I have learned over the years is that if we do care about the ocean and the sea life in it, the ocean comes back and comes back fast. In the town that I grew up in, we’d go spearfishing and it was hard to catch fish. Now when I revisit, because of San Diego’s sustainability practices, and because of what the government has done there, it is the most amazing fishery I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe how alive it is now. I’ve seen the same thing with certain species in Florida.  

So, it matters. It matters what fish we choose. It matters how much we catch and how we catch it. It matters what we do.  It’s worth it to care. 

How can chefs learn more about the freshest and most exciting fish sourced from Kodiak? What’s the best way for them to stay informed and get in touch with us? 

Kelly: I love to teach and that’s what I do more than anything. Sign up for my newsletters. I’ll teach you about the fish, I’ll teach you all about the fisherman and I’ll teach you something new every week.  

My personal cell phone number is provided in my newsletters. I love, absolutely love it, when chefs call me. We can geek out about fish. 


The Kodiak dock represents the What Chefs Want commitment to sourcing the best seafood. It’s not just about acquiring fish; it’s about building a trustworthy and sustainable relationship with local fishermen and prioritizing the wellbeing of the ocean’s resources. Kodiak is a prime example of how this approach can lead to win-win situations. By choosing our Kodiak fish, chefs can trust that they’re receiving seafood that meets the highest standards of quality, sustainability, and freshness. This commitment to excellence extends to every aspect of our sourcing process, ensuring that chefs can confidently add these exceptional fish to their menus. 

Our aim is to ensure that chefs have all the resources and knowledge they need to make informed choices and deliver memorable dining experiences to their customers.  

You can sign up for Kelly’s emails here.

Exploring Unique Fall Soups & Stews

By | Appetizers, Holiday, What Chefs Want

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

Roasted Beet and Apple Bisque

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

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

Smoky Pumpkin and Chorizo Stew

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

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

Thai Coconut Lemongrass Soup with Crab

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

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

Wild Mushroom and Chestnut Bisque

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

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

Spicy Peanut and Sweet Potato Stew

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

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

Curried Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

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

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

Saffron and White Bean Soup

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

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

Miso and Mushroom Hot Pot

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

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

Cabbage Roll Soup

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

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

Black Bean and Chocolate Chili

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

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

Spiced Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

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

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

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

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