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.
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