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QSR Feature
View from the Kitchen
Industry culinarians offer forecasts and predictions in QSR’s 3rd Annual Chef’s Survey

Market pressures make it an exciting time to be a foodservice chef. Challenges abound. How does one develop a menu that is flavorful, yet salt-free? Satiating, yet low-fat? With commodity prices fluctuating, how does one come up with dishes that are craveable—and profitable?

To answer some of those questions, we asked your industry peers for insight.

Replacing salt with stronger grilled flavors.Salt Alternatives

Low-sodium salt and citrus are good alternatives. A blend of herbs and acidic foods will get the mouth watering like salt.

— Stan Dorsey

Vice President of Research and Development, FOCUS Brands

Adding a stronger roasted or grilled flavor to a protein may replace the need for salt. Poaching is an additional cooking-method possibility without the addition of salt, where you cook proteins such as chicken or fish in a flavorful liquid.

— Nola Krieg

Research and Development Chef, Kahala Corp.

A blend of dried herbs, onions, and garlic with flakes of roasted red bell pepper and a ping of sugar is where I reach first for topical seasoning. If you adjust your seasoning with salt after applying the herb blend, there is tendency to use less. Another great substitute is miso. The umami-rich flavor of this fermented soybean paste stimulates the taste receptors and has about a tenth the sodium of salt by volume.

— Stephen A. Kalil

Corporate Executive Research Chef, Frito Lay

Bringing the other flavors down slightly will often allow a reduction in sodium without the mouth perceiving a radical difference in flavor or salt. Also ensuring that all ingredients in a preparation are properly seasoned helps to eliminate an ingredient needing to contain excessive salt.

— Jim Villemaire

Director of Research and Development, Schlotzsky’s Deli

One way to reduce sodium on your menu is to talk to the manufacturers. Our seasoning company has developed a low-sodium salt substitute that we are considering. It has half the sodium as salt with all the flavor enhancements.

— Dan Barash

Director of Research and Development, Moe’s Southwest Grill

Ingredients such as citrus and herb notes help satisfy the desire for sodium. A balance of herbs, seasoning, citrus (tomato), and clean-flavored stocks can mitigate the need for high sodium levels. Just remember that these ingredients tend to cost more than salt.

— Hilliard Creath

Director of Research and Development, Cinnabon

I like to add hot/heat to a dish so I can cut back on salt. Items such as fresh peppers and cayenne and paprika. Adding fruit to a dish such as salsas or compotes also drive down the desire for salt.

— Delia Champion

Founder, The Flying Biscuit Café

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