Foodservice is all about cycles and as the season changes from spring to summer, it’s time to give menus a refresh. The days are longer, the sun is (hopefully!) shining and there is an abundance of fabulous fresh fruit and vegetables available at this time of year too. From BBQs and salads to fine dining, take a look at what’s on the menu for operators this season……

Mohammed Essa, Commercial Director UK & Ireland, Aviko

We’re all aware of the rise in plant-based eating. Along with healthier options, dirty vegan food continues to be a big menu trend and the “allowable” treat for vegans, flexitarians and meat eaters. The Aviko Vegan Dirty Fries using our Supercrunch Chips offer a taste of something deeply satisfying. Served with sliced Avocado, vegan bacon and lashings of BBQ sauce it’s an indulgent dish. With a huge boom in outdoor dining set to continue for the summer months, we expect sharing platter dishes will be in high demand. Dirty Fries are perfect for groups to share or as a side.

Daniel Duprat, Foodservice Manager, Bennett Opie Limited

Sharing platters and grazing boards containing home made goods such as scotch eggs and sausage rolls continue to be menu must-haves. As we come out of long-standing restrictions, providing a meal choice in this format facilitates limited contact between the server and customer and their appeal is extensive. Consumers can eat as much or as little as they want so they are ideal for couples or small groups to enjoy eating either indoors or alfresco. Caterers can regularly update the offer too, interspersing with local seasonal meats and cheeses. Bulking out with simple, cost-effective ambient ingredients like Opies cocktail onions, gherkins, pickled vegetables and chutneys gives even more variety, texture and colour.

Rebecca Manfredi, Managing Director, Suncream Ice Cream

Ice cream has always been a favourite and a successful addition to dessert menus. As people enjoy their new-found freedoms and eating out is back on the agenda, they will be looking for enticing, new flavours to try. Adding a scoop of luxury ice cream to menus, like the Suncream Ice Cream Gelato Lusso range, offers a great mixture of traditional and new flavoured high-end Italian ice cream. Try Chocolate Jaffa Cake Orange, Lemon & Lime or Raspberry Cheesecake flavours to make fabulous sundaes, indulgent milkshakes or served with fresh summer berries.

Meg Greenacre, Head Chef, Erpingham House

Strawberry and Citrus are must have seasonal treats for me in Summer. Using the fresh, vibrant produce to bring a dish to life, leaving you feeling refreshed and almost as if you are eating summer on a plate!  Our strawberry dish this summer is Strawberry Parfait with meringue shards, basil, strawberry gel, vanilla cream, strawberry salsa and mint. Having the strawberries made into a frozen parfait is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer’s day. We are also featuring a Pistachio & Citrus Polenta Sponge with apricot gel, coconut foam and candied pistachios, to me, this dish has a tropical vibe and is zingy and light.

Vivien Rouleaud, S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award winner & Head Chef at La Prévôté

Summer is the season abundant in fruits and vegetables and a chef, it is essential to be focused on what is happening in the fields and adapting to what nature gives you. Our Roasted Rabbit Saddle is served with fresh goats cheese, puréed eggplant, tomato, peach and black olive powder. With vegetables it is always important to me to work on produce in their entirety and in different forms such as marinades, sauces, boullion, crisps, purées and beignets…. Let our incredible vegetables shine and demonstrate their (and your) versatility. Another way to enhance summer produce is to serve it raw and experiment with marinades, cold boullions and infusions that enhance the freshness and provide customers with an unexpected experience.

Daniel Broughton, Development Chef, Searcys

There is no denying the love of a British BBQ and we have seen huge success with BBQ menus across our venues such as The HAC. Diners are looking to reunite with friends and as the demand for alfresco dining grows, we have developed both indoor and outdoor BBQ menus, from quality burgers to Hickory smoked Sussex pulled pork and Chimichurri cauliflower steaks.  

Seasonality is also a big focus at Searcys. Summer means fresher and lighter dishes, from salads to sharing plates, making it the prime opportunity to add specials to your menus. Searcys at The Gherkin will be launching a Baked heritage beetroot salad, which is light and fresh but also oozes vibrancy and flavour. Pair with a glass of Champagne and it is a winner.

Steven Lickley, Masterchef the Professionals Finalist & Owner, Primavera Private Dining

A couple of great, fresh summer dishes that we will be including in our menu are Isle of Wight tomato and Citrus Goat’s Curd with kalamata olives and a tomato and fennel tea, we will also feature Herdwick Lamb Loin with English peas, broad beans, courgette and mint puree. We also like to use ingredients such as crab, mackerel, sea trout, turnips, artichokes, beetroot, wood pigeon, rabbit, greengage plum and logan berries during the summer months.

Our normal area is plated fine dining, but now we are also offering more buffet style BBQ options that are perfect for a summer garden party and we will be selling bottled and jarred items fresh from our kitchen such as Elderflower Vinegar and Steven’s Spicy Asian BBQ Sauce.

Jehrome Thigpen, Owner, certified spirits expert and bourbon steward, Craft LV

This summer we are introducing a new strawberry-rhubarb daiquiri cocktail, a crisp & refreshing riff on the summertime classic, it’s perfectly balanced with sweet, ripe berries and tart rhubarb notes. To make it combine 2 oz. Bacardi Superior Rum, 1 oz. lime juice and 1 oz. strawberry-rhubarb syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, strain and serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel, halved strawberry and strawberry boba pearls.