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US FOODS — Chef Snapshot

Learn how to inspire your patrons and consumers from the culinary muses themselves. Since eating trends start with the experts, The Snack asked US Foods’ team to share a few springtime favorites to get shoppers asking how they can try these at home.



Chef Kathleen Hoffman
Senior Culinary Manager at US Foods

General
“While most ingredients are available year-round, diners still want produce that is local, in season, and responsibly grown. It’s an important trend that chefs, operators, and diners alike want to see reflected on restaurant menus. At US Foods, we have several programs, like Serve Good® and Serve Local, that allow us to work more closely with local farmers and communities to deliver fresh and seasonal products.”

Asparagus
“Asparagus is the power green we all need in the spring. Not only is it in season, but it delivers both delicious flavor and health benefits. I love asparagus in hot or cold applications. One of my favorite ways to serve it is wrapped in US Foods’ all-natural prosciutto and topped with a lemon zest aioli.”

Artichokes
“Artichokes are at their peak from March through May, so spring is the perfect time to experiment with an artichoke-centric treat. Chefs love to find ways to incorporate them on their menus. Try an artichoke ‘awesome blossom’ by pulling tender leaves from the flower and dipping them into a smoked, salted chipotle crème.”

Ramps
“Ramps are a farmer’s market treasure, and they shine in the spring! Those who are familiar with this goodie love its fresh onion and garlic flavor. Ramps are harvested through spring and early summer, so you can find them between April and early June. Cooking mellows out the strong taste of a raw ramp, so I love using them to create a ramp pesto sauce served with three-cheese ravioli and a simple salad with mini heirloom tomatoes.”

Baby Spinach/Arugula Blend
“We’re continuing to see chefs combine salad favorites to create versatile spring recipes. In fact, we recently launched a new organic Baby Spinach and Wild Arugula Blend by Cross Valley Farms®. It features tender leaves of spicy arugula and slightly sweet spinach. This blend works served hot or cold, so try them in salads, on sandwiches, or baked into a savory egg dish.”

Fennel
“Fennel bulbs are a spring favorite that offer a unique licorice flavor that diners love. I like to dress raw, shaved fennel with an acidic liquid like lemon or vinegar to complement its bold taste. Fennel pairs well with smoked fish and mussels, as well as cold salads. My favorite way to eat it is served on a baguette topped with smoked trout, spring chives, and cream cheese.”


Mariela Bolaños
Food Fanatic Chef, US Foods

“When spring comes around, it’s time to start playing with all of the fun produce that we’re not able to get during the winter—especially in Chicago! My favorite produce ingredient in the spring is green garlic. It has an awesome flavor and texture. I love using it to make mojo sauce, but there are endless ways to cook with it. Try it as a steak sauce, dressing, dip, drizzled over hummus, or baked with fish.”

 


Foster B. Deadman
New Business Manager and Food Fanatic Chef Alumni, US Foods

“Spring is truly a time to recenter ourselves and our palates as we prepare for a new look at culinary delights! After a long winter of root vegetables and roasted meats, I especially look forward to spring produce. It brings back childhood memories of my mother’s sweet and tangy strawberry-rhubarb bread and captures the essence of everything spring! As a chef, I love taking something as simple as pickled green strawberries to liven up a fresh, beet green saad. My absolute favorite dish to make is a chilled green pea puree with braised garlic morels.”