Embracing new flavors is a natural progression in American dining habits, and fermenting foods is a surefire way to deliver a new dining experience to guests. According to the
National Restaurant Association’s culinary forecasts over the past few years, fermenting is
consistently in the top five preparation methods rated as hot trends among chefs.
Fermented food offers a unique twist not found everywhere. Few people would
think to Instagram a photo of a dill pickle served with a sandwich, but they may be
more inclined to post a photo of a side of Korean buddhist-style baechu kimchi.
“Fermented vegetables add a depth of flavor and, for lack of a better word, funk
to a dish that can’t be achieved from traditional cooking methods,” says John Manion,
executive chef/partner at El Che Bar, Chicago.
Housemade fermented foods falls in line with an ongoing interest in local ingredients,
and locally grown produce used in fermenting makes a connection with consumers.
The preservation technique also adheres to a restaurant’s culinary philosophy of doing
things in-house, such as baking bread, butchery and making charcuterie.
In the kitchen
Fermented vegetables allow chefs to use produce picked at the peak of the season
year-round. “The more items you have in the pantry, the easier it is to get inspired to
create a new dish,” says Tim Kolanko, executive chef at Blue Bridge Hospitality, with six
different concepts in the San Diego area. “Fermented vegetables are one of those items.”
oPPosite: table, donkey and stick
serves sliced corned beef heart with
sauerkraut and fermented mustard seeds.
aBove, cLocKWise from toP Left:
1) el che Bar serves argentinian-style
grilled delaware oysters topped with
garlic aioli, fermented anaheim chili
mignonette and crispy potato.
2) mangoes, euro cucumbers, jicama,
and red and yellow bell peppers are
placed in a cyrovac bag and flash-fermented with fermented kimchi liquid,
pineapple juice, champagne vinegar, salt,
sugar and chili flake. 3) Bill telepan at
oceana pairs fermented radishes with
black bass crudo to cut through the
fattiness of the fish.