Layers of Flavor

Consumers determine the level of their satisfaction by flavor. We are in a
flavor revolution that was ignited by the realization that we as consumers are
in an era that allows for staple ingredients to be available year round, and for a variety of seasonal ingredients to be available year round. This creates an expectation for ethnic ingredients to be prevalent in every supermarket
across the country. Sourcing locally often times means these ingredients are better tasting and of a higher quality, such as the humble heirloom tomato that shook the foundation of what a tomato should taste like. Bolstered by this availability and quality, 2014 brought with it consumers that are obsessed with ingredients and dishes that highlight big and bold flavors. These are layered in perfectly with subtle elements and delicate treatments that elevate each component to new heights, and therefore the experience as a whole. To meet this demand for explosive and carefully layered flavors, chefs and producers are employing a variety of new and old techniques, ingredients, and equipment. Some examples include fermented condiments like kimchi and Srirachra, creative or artisan pickles, bold ethnic garnishes such as chutneys and relishes, dishes that have been reconstructed and refocused to highlight specific elements, and wraps or carriers that themselves are strongly flavored. The variety goes on, and chefs possess the creativity and equipment necessary to effectively layer flavor, whether by taste, texture, appearance or temperature.

Fermentation in particular is a technique on the rise. With craft beer booming as an industry, and home brewing following suit, the basic idea of fermented product is gaining more mainstream attention. Add to that our favorite fermented hot sauce in Srirachra, and include the staple Korean condiment kimchi that is steadily gaining traction and appeal, and we have a fermentation frenzy going on. Fermenting food adds characteristics that are still relatively unfamiliar in the American market. The average consumer, for example, does not know that fermentation is actually a very safe and effective way of flavoring and preserving product that has been used as a preparation method since the domestication of farm animals up until now. Furthermore, health conscious consumers are aware that fermentation increases the bioactivity and nutritional density of foods, adding to the actual and perceived value of fermented items.From an operational standpoint, fermentation also requires little energy or space to accomplish, and decreases the prep time and necessary extraneous actions needed to prep and use the item.