|Other chefs recognize the potential of salads, too. Chef/owner Cam Dobranski of Calgary’s Brasserie Kensington takes on old classics like Caesar salad and gets creative. Instead of sending this classic already mixed to the table, he plates artistically, with generous portions of fresh romaine lettuce, whole slices of locally cured bacon, fried capers, house-made croutons, and garlic-lemon aioli. This Caesar salad also comes with an option to add your choice of fried egg, local duck confit or foie gras. Salads like this are big hits with customers and provide an even bigger bonus to your bottom line. With options to “upgrade” salads with choice, quality ingredients, customers are now feeling that salads are worth ordering and worth ordering right.|
From palate to palette
And speaking of artistic, salads can pack a serious punch not just in flavour, but also in colour! A feast for the eyes is almost as enjoyable as one for the tummy, and if you can giftwrap the two together, you’re sitting pretty. One does not have to venture very far into the garden to create tasty vegetable salads that are beautifully composed. Combine golden and candy cane beets, purple carrots, shaved onions, and a few herb micro-greens and you may as well toss that salad with your painter’s brush. Add some edible flower petals, and you’ve got a true work of art. Careful presentation combined with perfectly composed salads deliver the masterpiece that customers are looking to order.
A fast feast
Joel Hector is owner of Fork and Salad, a new quick-service restaurant set to launch this fall in Calgary. Fork and Salad will be a healthy, casual quick-service food company serving big bowl salads, wraps, organic soups, healthy snacks and beverages. Their produce will be delivered daily, never canned and only served raw, roasted, baked or steamed. The chef will be working with a registered dietitian to provide customers with nutrient-rich flavour combinations high in fibre and protein. More than just a destination for delicious food that’s healthy for you, Fork and Salad will also align itself with its customers’ values. Community and charity give-back programs for the city are already in the works.
Whether the focus is on nutrition, reinvented classics, artistic presentation or a quick-and-tasty offering, salads are one menu option that is good-as-gold. Toss in the most important ingredient – creativity – and salads are guaranteed to please your customers and boost your bottom line.
About the author:
Liana Robberecht is Executive Chef at WinSport Winter Sport Institute in Calgary, Alberta. In 2011, she was named Chef of the Year by the Alberta Foodservice Expo and Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News. Liana is a frequent contributor to CRFN and www.restaurantcentral.ca.