Melting Pot – Heavenly Handheld Snacks

Busy lifestyles have seen the food-to-go market rocket in recent years. It’s a fashionable and dynamic category but one which customers shop frequently and therefore get bored relatively quickly, so a constantly evolving menu is key to maintaining your customer base. Here, eight industry experts share their thoughts and ideas…

James Circuit development chef for Major International and former executive chef at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge 2016 has started to see the reinvention of Mexican. Take for example a traditional beef taco or a burrito. Try infusing your braising meat with international flavours for a new twist to your takeaway dish such as Oriental or Moroccan. You could even go a step further and switch the taco itself for an Indian chapatti. We’ve created lots of inspirational recipes for Mexican handheld snacks which are simple and easy additions you can make to keep your menu alive. The recipes include:
• Fajita Chicken Quesadilla
• Chimichangas
• Taco Pizza
• Breakfast Burritos

Visit www.majorint.com/magazine/ recipes/street-food for full recipes.

Barnaby Macadam, concept and development chef, Santa Maria Students like soups that pack a flavour punch, and they expect the same exciting flavours they get from their other meals. Chefs can build a solid stock foundation using spice and seasoning mixes, curry pastes and sauces, and then experiment with Asian, Indian and Latin American flavours to diversify their offering. The number of young people experimenting with vegetarian and vegan diets is increasing faster than ever before, and 20% of 16-24 year olds claim to be vegetarian. This is important to keep in mind when creating your menu. Soups in particular are popular with vegetarians and vegans as they can easily be made meat and dairy-free, without compromising on flavour.

Jonathan Taylor, McCain Foods culinary lead Topped chips are a great way for caterers to deliver innovative menu choices and meet the increasing demand for on-trend casual dining style options. Consumers are embracing increasingly unusualflavour combinations so there is room to be bold and make a statement on menus. We have delicious menu inspiration for Sweet & Salty Fries, McCain Sweet Potato Fries with salted caramel sauce, which is very simple to make but delivers real menu standout. The dishes include Smokey Joes, sweet potato fries with aioli sauce and smoked paprika and Trailer Park Grills, southern fried lattice with nacho cheese sauce, bacon bits, crispy onions and sour cream.

Sanjay Sood-Smith, co-founder of Tuk In, who recently launched a curry-in-a-naan range www.tukinfoods.com/ When creating handheld snacks, it is really important to give people something new, that they have not experienced before – to build on the familiarity of popular dishes by adding a unique twist. Different people will have varying flavour preferences and so during the development process, it is really important to consider all tastes. To cater for a range of palates, we experimented with different strengths of curry, and now offer three varieties of our curry-in-a-naan: Korma, Tikka, and Jalfrezi. The key to a successful product is to be constantly looking for new inspiration, and ways to develop your recipes and create new concepts. Throughout your development process, it is important to try lots of different snacks from across the globe. There are many examples of existing popular foods which can be given an interesting twist – spring rolls, Yorkshire puddings and samosas all spring to mind!

Roy Shortland, development chef for Uncle Ben’s ready-to-use sauces The influence of American eating concepts has increased the popularity of pulled pork – which lends itself perfectly to handheld snacking. Why not use Hickory Smoked BBQ or Texan BBQ sauces as a marinade or dip, to offer with BBQ pulled pork brioche? Similarly, Sweet Thai chilli sauce is delicious served with prawns in a baguette.

Ben Bartlett, celebrity chef and Lion Brand ambassador Creating perfect gourmet hot dogs comes down to effective layering, balancing flavours and textures with the right combinations of spread, relish, vegetable toppings and sprinkles. Tried and tested combinations like English Mustard served with rosemary balsamic onions and toasted sesame seeds will always go down well. More adventurous outlets could create their own signature hot dog relish by combining salsa with some finely diced red pepper, cucumber, red onions and their favourite seasonings. July is National Hot Dog Month, and it’s a great opportunity to create a promotional Hot Dog menu, featuring exciting combinations inspired by flavours from around the world:

THE AMERICAN DOG Offer a jumbo uncle john hot dog in a long, soft, white roll, criss-crossed with the strikingly recognisable colours of rich, sweet tomato ketchup and sharp, hot english mustard. dress it up with sliced gherkins and serve with curly fries and battered onion rings.

THE BRITISH DOG Comes in a range of guises to suit the time of day. A breakfast with a difference, for instance, calls for crispy pieces of smoked bacon and black pudding, together with ketchup and lion brown sauce. Lunchtime, meanwhile, adapts the british classics theme to a protein-packed topping of baked beans and cheddar.

THE ITALIAN DOG Fill a warm, crispy ciabatta roll with a 90g hot dog, juicy green olives and melted mozzarella, all spiced up with lion very hot chilli sauce and lion garlic mayonnaise. fresh salad leaves and fries complete the gourmet option.

Maureen Porteous, food consultant and stylist, Take2Eggs www.take2eggs.com Try making your own wraps as they look and taste so much better. Street food vendors abroad always do this and they are so easy to make. For the cover shot, I added sweet potato to chickpeas to make lovely, orange falafels and paired them with lettuce leaves and a delicious beetroot and mint dip for a Middle Eastern inspired wrap. There’s a big move towards non-meat healthy alternatives and this really hits the spot both visually and taste-wise. Beetroot has a really intense, sweet flavour and goes par ticularly well with mint. I deep-fried the falafel so their crispy texture worked really well with the smooth beetroot dip.

Wrap it up! Maureen’s recommended flavour combos:

• Avocado with spicy beans and chopped tomatoes and coriander
• Chicken, pesto, spinach and tomato
• Chicken, chorizo, flame-grilled peppers and fresh leaves
• Lamb kofta served with leaves and mint/yoghurt dressing
• Shredded duck, rice with pineapple and chilli salsa
• Pulled pork with coleslaw
• Grilled houlloumi with chilli jam, green leaves and tomatoes
• Smashed avocado with crispy chicken and red onion relish
• Turkey patties with chilli jam and salad
• Sweet Potato falafel with beetroot pureé

Don’t forget your desserts 51% of consumers say they would be more likely to order a dessert if a to-go option was available, creating a need for caterers to rethink their dessert offering and promote it effectively – Robert Harrison, sales director, Callebaut

Click here to read the rest of the June 2016 issue of Stir it up