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.
What Chefs Want (WCW), headquartered in Louisville, KY, is thrilled to announce its acquisition of the rapidly rising Food Hub ATL. This acquisition, rooted in mutual respect and shared values, aims to shape the future of culinary distribution in Atlanta with a blend of tradition and innovation.
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. This acquisition isn’t just a testament to WCW’s growth vision but also an acknowledgment of the remarkable success story of Food Hub ATL.
“We’re immensely proud to welcome Food Hub ATL into our family,” said Ron Turnier, owner and founder of WCW. “Their rapid ascent in the industry, coupled with a dedication to excellence, complements our ethos. Their dynamic approach will integrate seamlessly with our team and culture.”
Despite its relatively recent inception in 2020, Food Hub ATL has carved an impressive niche, becoming the go-to source for chefs in Atlanta, Augusta, and Auburn. Their commitment to delivering fresh local meats, produce, and diverse other goods has earned them accolades and respect in the culinary community.
“We’re thrilled to become part of the What Chefs Want family, where our shared mission, values, and commitment to serving chefs align seamlessly,” said Dan Sowers, founder of Food Hub ATL. “This partnership will enable us to provide an even more comprehensive service offering to our valued customers, leveraging the powerful synergies between our two organizations.”
With this acquisition, both companies are set for a culinary renaissance. WCW is poised to introduce its premium offerings, including cut steaks, burger patties, and fresh fish, to Food Hub ATL’s clientele. In return, Food Hub ATL’s distinct product portfolio will augment WCW’s extensive array, promising chefs and restaurateurs an even broader spectrum of choices.
With this acquisition and a future state-of-the-art hub in Atlanta, What Chefs Want plans to bring more than 25 jobs to the Atlanta area in positions including truck drivers (both CDL required and non-CDL positions), receiving, and warehouse workers. Job seekers can fill out an application here: https://www.whatchefswant.com/employment-application/
About What Chefs Want
Established in 1996, What Chefs Want has evolved as a culinary powerhouse, dedicated to excellence and innovation. WCW delivers 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, with a unique service model that 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
About Food Hub ATL
Founded in 2020, Food Hub ATL swiftly emerged as a culinary stalwart in the region. They provide simplified and safe sourcing for local food. Their commitment to quality and agility in addressing the culinary needs of the market has distinguished them as a trusted name in food distribution. Food Hub ATL strives to seek out new technologies that aid in efficiency, transparency, and revenue growth for both farmers and producers, while utilizing capital to impact farms and customers by creating experiences to bring folks together.
In the heart of Columbus, Ohio, North Country Charcuterie is more than just a business. It’s the result of a genuine love for great food and a shared family endeavor that has taken the form of creating exceptional sausages and cured meats. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Duncan Forbes, North Country Charcuterie’s Salami Monger, to talk about how they got started, how they source and create unique cured meats and what really excites chefs (and retail consumers!) about their products. I dare you to read this without wanting to try each and every one of these products!
Can you share the inspiration behind North Country Charcuterie and your family’s love for food and craftsmanship that led to its creation?
Duncan: “Absolutely. Well, we joke that it’s my brother’s fault. He was a chef for about 10 years in Columbus before we started the company. He developed an interest in cured meats along the way, was working at a couple of kitchens where the chef there was also dabbling. He bought a refrigerator off Craigslist for $150, converted it into a dry curing chamber in his apartment’s mudroom, and started tinkering at home, making bacon, salami, and other cured meats.”
How did you and your mom join the venture?
Duncan: “My mom and brother initially started the company, and I joined about a year later. It all started with conversations over cocktails, as my mom was looking for a change in her career. She wanted to work with James, my brother, and help him start the company. I got involved later, primarily overseeing sales, marketing, and business development.”
Your background is quite different, involving managing experiences and even leading canoeing expeditions. How do these experiences contribute to your unique perspective at North Country Charcuterie?
Duncan: “Oddly enough, all my experiences led me here, and the skill sets I developed works well for what we’re doing. My time in Amsterdam involved setting up an accelerator program for early-stage social enterprises, and that experience meshed with the startup ecosystem we entered when we began. The marketing experience I gained in Colorado and my involvement in sales components in various roles have all been beneficial.
Additionally, my family’s connection to the restaurant industry through our wine distribution company laid the foundation for our interest in restaurants. My grandfather started a wine distribution company in Cleveland, which my father and uncle owned and operated for years, so we grew up alongside the restaurant industry.”
North Country Charcuterie emphasizes the use of locally sourced pork from small Ohio family farms. Can you tell us more about your sourcing practices and why supporting local is essential to your brand?
Duncan: “We source 95% of our ingredients from within a two-hour drive of Columbus. This approach is akin to the concept of ‘terroir’ in winemaking, where the local environment influences the product’s quality. Sourcing locally ensures that all our ingredients, from spices to meat, work harmoniously. It’s also about supporting local businesses and economies while being mindful of our carbon footprint, especially as we expand our reach.”
Your collaboration with other local makers, such as beer and wine, sets you apart. Can you tell us more about these collaborations?
Duncan: “We wanted to use more unique, interesting ingredients to distinguish our offerings rather than just creating another genoa or salami. We wanted to put our stamp on it and that’s where James’ creativity as a chef really shines.
Collaborating with local makers is a key aspect of our products. For example, our Lupo Salami is incredibly unique, combining Russian Imperial Stout and Mexican mole seasoning, creating a distinct flavor profile. The most common reaction when someone tries it is, ‘I’ve never had anything like that’ and that’s how we know we’ve done something right.
The cheese we use in our No. 1 Salami comes from a local dairy, and the wine is sourced from Northeast Ohio. What also makes us different is that we use fresh ingredients—like hand-chopped sage and freshly ground black peppercorns—instead of pre-made spice blends that have been sitting on shelves for years.”
What should chefs know about using North Country products in their dishes?
Duncan: “Don’t be afraid to think outside of the charcuterie board. There are so many ways to use our products. For example, look at our Hoguera Spreadable Chorizo. It has a high fat content, a LOT of flavor and a little goes a long way, so you don’t need to use very much of it. It is great with seafood like mussels or clams and is great to add to a sauce or to use as a flatbread topping.
Our primary differentiator is flavor. Our use of fresh, high-quality ingredients results in superior flavor and freshness. Chefs should know that a little goes a long way with our products. Even though they might be slightly more expensive, they don’t need to use much to make a significant impact. Additionally, our products require less labor, which can balance out any cost concerns.”
North Country Charcuterie is a testament to the dedication to quality, local sourcing, and creative flavors. Duncan’s insights have given us a glimpse into how their family’s passion and diverse experiences have shaped their exceptional products. Duncan is happy to ship samples through What Chefs Want for chefs who are interested in trying the product and he always concludes his calls with an open invitation for chefs to visit their production facility in Columbus.
Find These Items at What Chefs Want
Hoguera Spreadable Chorizo (Item #95069) – 2021 Good Food Awards Finalist! – Best enjoyed on a baguette or added to a favorite Spanish recipe, their Sobrassada hits your tongue with a sultry surprise and fiery finish. Mixed with Hot Paprika, Chipotle and Cayenne, all from North Market Spices (Columbus, Ohio)
Tripel Pigs Salami (Item #03920) – Our most traditional salami with an American twist, subtly flavored with Tripel from Combustion Brewery & Taproom (Pickerington, Ohio).
Fino Salami (Item #03923) – This Finocchiona-style salami is a delicate balance of ground fennel from North Market Spices (Columbus, OH) and minced garlic.
Lupo Salami (Item #03924) – Deep, dark and mysterious, from the furthest reaches of the wild: A Russian Imperial Stout meets Mexican Mole to create a rich, globe-trotting flavor in this collaboration with Wolf’s Ridge Brewing
Rojizo Chorizo (Item #03922) – An intriguing fusion of European traditions and flavors from the Southern hemisphere like Hot Paprika, Cayenne and Chipotle, all from North Market Spices (Columbus, OH). But don’t be afraid, the flavor is stronger than the heat!
Zin Salami – (Item #94066) Where Wine Country meets North Country, we blend old-vine California Zinfandel with premium Ohio pork and seasonings, to create a robust flavor with notes of blackberry and hints of garlic and black pepper, in collaboration with Zanon Wines (Columbus, OH).
No. 1 Salami (Item #03921) – North Country’s richest and creamiest salami, boldly flavored with cheese from Blue Jacket Dairy (Bellefontaine, OH), Chardonnay from Debonnne Vineyards (Madison, OH), chopped garlic and fresh sage.
Herbed Wagyu Bresaola (Item #94498) – 2022 Good Food Awards Winner! Ohio-raised Wagyu Beef eye of round, delicately flavored with a blend of aromatic herbs and spices. Traditionally sliced very thin and served with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and fresh ground pepper.
Coffee Bacon (Item #00459) – With hints of coffee and a mouthwatering sweetness, no breakfast is complete without their signature bacon, seasoned with ground coffee, brown sugar, salt & pepper.
The catering industry is constantly evolving, and staying on top of the latest trends is essential for chefs and catering professionals looking to excel in this competitive field. Here are several catering trends that you can leverage to create memorable experiences for your clients and ensure your business remains at the forefront of the industry. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of these trends and provide insights on how chefs can incorporate them into their catering offerings.
Embracing Health and Wellness
In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards healthier eating habits. Catering to clients who are health-conscious or have dietary restrictions is a trend that continues to grow. Consider offering menu options that cater to various dietary preferences, such as vegan, gluten-free, or keto-friendly dishes. Incorporate fresh, locally sourced ingredients and highlight the nutritional benefits of your offerings.
Sustainable Catering Practices
Sustainability is no longer a buzzword but a necessity in the catering industry. Clients are increasingly looking for eco-friendly catering options. Reduce waste by using reusable or compostable servingware. Source ingredients locally to reduce your carbon footprint. By adopting sustainable practices, you not only appeal to environmentally conscious clients but also contribute to a better future. Not only does What Chefs Want offer sustainable serving options, but we offer locally sourced items, so you can impress your clients and their guests by letting them know exactly where that beef came from or that the squash on their table was harvested from a small family-run farm.
Corn Resin Appetizer Forks (Item #99628) – These petite taster forks are made of corn resin and are environmentally friendly!
Pinewood Boats (Item #98109) – These boat shaped bowls are an elegant way to make a statement at any event. They are available in various sizes and are multi-purpose. The boats can be used either as a serving dish or food display. Made of pinewood, they are biodegradable and disposable.
Bamboo Paddle (Item #98114) – Made of strong, all-natural bamboo, this paddle pick is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic picks and wooden skewers. This bamboo paddle pick provides a perfect utensil to serve hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, and finger foods to guests at your banquet hall or catered event.
Fusion Flavors and Global Cuisine
Catering clients are eager to explore new and exciting flavors from around the world. Consider incorporating fusion cuisine into your offerings, blending different culinary traditions to create unique and delightful dishes. Experiment with international flavors, spices, and cooking techniques to add a global touch to your catering menus.
Regardless of the flavor you want to bring out – check out What Chefs Want for a wide array of global gourmet products.
Interactive Food Stations
One of the most engaging trends in catering is the use of interactive food stations. These stations allow guests to customize their meals, adding an element of fun and personalization to events. From build-your-own taco bars to live cooking demonstrations, interactive stations create memorable experiences that guests will cherish. From steam pans to chafing fuel, we have all the basics covered so you can use your culinary creativity to make a standout experience.
Steam Pan (Item #99586) – These aluminum steam table pans have the strength, durability and economy of aluminum foil, retain temperature and are made of recyclable material. You can find the lids with Item #97972
Chafing Fuel (Item #99396) – We have chafing fuel in multiple counts & sizes. This is the ideal product for extended banquets or catering, burning on average 5.5 hours. Because the fuel is DEG, your cans are cool to the touch and there are no shipping or storage requirements.
In the world of catering, presentation is everything. Elevate your catering game by paying special attention to how you present your dishes. Experiment with creative plating techniques, elegant servingware, and eye-catching food displays. Remember that guests eat with their eyes first, so a visually appealing presentation can leave a lasting impression.
Technology is playing a significant role in catering operations. Use catering software for streamlined event management, online ordering, and client communication. Incorporate digital menu displays and interactive apps to enhance the guest experience. Embracing technology not only improves efficiency but also demonstrates your commitment to staying current.
Every event is unique, and clients appreciate catering services that reflect their individual preferences and themes. Work closely with clients to understand their vision and customize your offerings accordingly. Personalization creates a sense of exclusivity and shows that you go the extra mile to make their event special.
Similarly, What Chefs Want can help you customize your offerings. If you have a client looking for a particular item for their menu that you cannot find, contact your WCW Customer Advocate and we can help source the item for you!
Beverage Pairing and Craft Cocktails
Don’t forget about the beverages! Craft cocktails and beverage pairings are gaining popularity at events. Offer a selection of artisanal cocktails and non-alcoholic options that complement your menu. The right drink pairing can elevate the overall dining experience.
We have everything but the booze for you to create signature cocktails. Learn more in our blog about our bar offerings.
Incorporating these catering trends into your offerings can set your catering business apart this year and beyond. Remember that trends are not one-size-fits-all; it’s essential to adapt them to your unique style and clientele. Staying ahead of the curve in the catering industry requires creativity, flexibility, and a commitment to providing exceptional experiences. By embracing these trends, you’ll be well-positioned to meet the evolving demands of your clients and continue to thrive in the exciting world of catering.
If you’re ready to explore these trends and offer cutting-edge catering services, What Chefs Want is here to support you with high-quality catering equipment, supplies and, of course, fresh products to wow your clientele. Contact us today to learn more about how our products can help you stay competitive in the ever-changing catering landscape.
To make it easy to shop our catering selections, we’ve created a feature list called It’s Wedding Time. Click there to see a curated list of some of our best catering offerings!
Valerie Samutin, the founder of Freedom Run Farm, embarked on a remarkable path that took her from the bustling streets of downtown Chicago to the serene pastures of rural Kentucky. Her trajectory was guided by a love for lamb and a determined mission to enhance the culinary experience surrounding this exceptional meat. Unhappy with the quality of lamb available, Valerie decided to take matters into her own hands. What began as a desire to enjoy top-tier lamb evolved into a full-fledged commitment to sustainable agriculture, a steadfast dedication to the renaissance of Kentucky’s lamb industry, and the establishment of Freedom Run Farm. In this interview, Valerie shares the mission behind Freedom Run Farm and what makes Freedom Run Farm lamb so exciting to chefs.
Q: Can you tell us about your journey and how you came to establish Freedom Run Farm?
Valerie: Absolutely. My journey to Freedom Run Farm has been quite an adventure. I set out on a mission to recreate the wonderful roasted lamb meal my husband and I had on our wedding night and to my dismay, we couldn’t find high-quality lamb. This prompted me to embark on a journey of learning about lamb shepherding from the ground up. So, after 25 years of working in downtown Chicago in real estate, we left and started our family farm in Kentucky in 2011. Starting the farm was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I had a desire to create a path to market for fellow shepherds.
Q: What inspired you to bring shepherds together and focus on lamb production?
Valerie: I wondered why lamb wasn’t more popular, and I discovered that 80% of lamb sold in the United States is imported. It can often be perceived as gamey and lamb production was inconsistent, which didn’t help its reputation. My goal was to build a brand that is committed to a premium eating experience every time, whether its in your home or in your favorite restaurant. I wanted to create a consistent, high-quality lamb product, so I embarked on a journey with farm-to-table chefs to develop a specification that would make chefs EXCITED about lamb.
Q: Can you tell us about the specifications you developed for Freedom Run Farm lamb?
Valerie: We begin an 18-month product development process with committed chefs, going back-and-forth about various breeds, grow out weights, finishing rations, etc. We knew we hit the jackpot when chefs across the board kept talking about what are now our specifications: great taste, marbleization, and generous portion size. We create these specifications by using our Appalachian heritage breed, committing to sustainable farming, and our unique finishing program. The result is a consistently high-quality and delicious lamb that chefs love.
This really is the lamb that chefs want, because they helped create it.
Our culinary-centric focus sets us apart. We aim to provide a great dining experience every time someone enjoys our lamb.
Q: How do you make lamb more approachable for diners, especially those who may find it intimidating?
Valerie: Its surprising how many people have never tried lamb but think they don’t like it, or they had a bad experience with a lesser quality product. Lamb can be introduced in various ways, and ground lamb is an excellent gateway. It’s as simple to cook as a great steak. Other options include lamb patties for burgers, lamb tartare, or incorporating ground lamb into dishes like lasagna.
I like to think of lamb as a little black dress. You can dress it up for fancy dinner party, for example, our racks, or it can be down-home barbecue in the back yard style, like our bluegrass ribs or smoked lamb shoulder. It is incredibly versatile, and the flavor range is rich, luxurious, and actually a bit decadent, like a good piece of dark chocolate can be!
You can find Freedom Run Farm lamb on the What Chefs Want website and app by searching Freedom Run. You can also search these popular lamb items by their codes below:
- Bluegrass Lamb Ribs – Item #62510
- Ground Lamb – Item #62538
- Lamb Leg Deboned – Item #62505
- Lamb Foreshank – Item #62514
- Whole Lamb – Item #62500
Q: How does sustainability play a role in the taste and quality of Freedom Run Farm lamb?
Valerie: Sustainability is closely tied to our lamb’s taste and quality. Our sheep are raised in a natural environment, which reduces stress and contributes to the excellent taste. They graze on diverse pastures, and sustainable practices help maintain the health of the land, resulting in a premium product.
We have a partnership with Land to Market based on regenerative agricultural practices. It provides a measurable way to document sustainability efforts. We believe lamb is one of the most sustainable proteins, and our commitment to this approach ensures the well-being of our land, family, and flock.
With the vertical integration of our own processing facility 2 years ago, we have final quality assurance from the pasture all the way to the plate now.
Q: How has the collaborative process with chefs contributed to the success of Freedom Run Farm?
Valerie: Collaboration with chefs has been a vital part of our success. Chefs helped create our lamb specifications, and their input remains essential. We want them to feel empowered and part of our program’s success.
The most rewarding aspect of this journey has been seeing the positive impact our program has on families and communities. We’re focused on making sure we have a living wage for our shepherds but do our best to keep prices for chefs and consumers as low and competitive as possible. I want to keep it affordable because the more people eating great lamb the better!
Knowing that we are supporting local shepherds, providing a premium product that chefs love, and contributing to sustainable agriculture is incredibly fulfilling. It’s a journey that brings together passion, quality, and a shared commitment to excellence.
Q: What are your goals for the future of Freedom Run Farm?
Valerie: Our Freedom Run Farm consortium was born in Kentucky, but now has grown to source from multiple regions throughout the U.S. Our goal is to keep growing our program and reaching more regions. As our program grows, we aim to work with more shepherds who share our commitment to quality and sustainability.
We want to continue providing a consistent, high-quality product while ensuring that shepherds are paid a living wage. We’re passionate about making great lamb accessible to as many people as possible.