Dining Style, Marketing, Menus

Return To Sender

Return To Sender – Bring Back Old Recipes

Time to Step Back – What was Old is New Again

This week we are finalizing our Summer & Alfresco Dining Menu and have made a decision to go retro.

After reviewing our bestselling items from the recent past, customer comment cards, survey results from an e-mail blast sent to our frequent travelers, and taking a plunge into the voluminous messages and ideas from different chat lines, we are going to take a calculated risk. We’re going to step back; what was old will be new again. Why not take a cue from historic trends in cuisine a la manière de Chef Louis Diat. (While chef of New York’s Ritz Carlton in 1917, he created the cold leek and potato soup known as Vichyssoise.)

Sometimes we need to revisit why old favorite recipes got dropped from our menus. Suffice it to say—and most likely good reasoning was behind the decision—behavior modification was the root cause for changes. We’ve moved away from unhealthy ingredients (heavy creams, butters, silicone-based cooking sprays, table salt, bacon, white bread, eggs, heavy sugars and syrups, mayonnaise, whole milk).

This summer we are bringing back Vichyssoise as an entrée item. It will contain the rudimentary recipe, and we will address it to include a contemporary blend of additional vegetables (to be blended in the first stage par velouté method, then using some of the ingredients as finely chopped toppers). Our interpretation will include:

  • The Vegetables: Fingerling potatoes, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, zucchini, corn, and leeks. A smaller portion of baby arugula or watercress is added to blend into the pottage.
  • Garnish Toppers: Yogurt swirl (flavored with chili oil), chives, minced artichoke hearts, finely chopped julienned carrots (try caramelized cumin-roasted carrots finely minced), peeled / minced Macintosh apple.
  • Spices: Sea salt (sparingly, as the use of chicken stock carries sufficient saltiness), white pepper, cumin.
  • Liquids: Water, vegetable (or chicken) stock, heavy cream (yes, you must), dry white wine (to taste).
  • The use of butter is a requirement—it just is.

Our first sampling was exercised on FOH staff and nothing had to be sent back to the sender. Served as sides: thin-sliced toasted French baguettes, drizzled with EVOO, topped with Parmesan ribbons. A small Bibb salad with sliced strawberries, toasted pine nuts and a light fruit dressing completes this meal.