Turmeric is officially trendy. Popping up in kitchens and menus all over the country, this traditional Indian spice has taken the culinary world by storm, and has emerged as the de facto spice for smoothies to salads and everything in between.
The key to turmeric’s success lays in the compound curcumin, a super-healthy chemical that’s packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. As consumers begin to discover this magical spice, chefs are emboldened to experiment, churning out menu items that rely heavily on the fragrant, dusty aroma.
To get the down low on how turmeric is used by chefs, we journeyed into the kitchen to ask the pros their thoughts on the matter:
“Turmeric to me is an incredibly underutilized ingredient. Most people believe it to have very little in the way of taste, but it has a distinct earthiness that can add bite, when the fresh root is used, to braises, confit, etc. It adds beautiful color to dishes as well.”
– Jenny Goycochea, Tasting Room Del Mar
“Tumeric is an interesting root that’s used mostly as a dry spice over fresh even though fresh is incredible for you. Being as we focus mainly on California and the things that grow in our local area we don’t use a lot of numeric for flavor but rather as a color enhancer such as in our Carrot Habanero puree, that we serve with scallops. The turmeric allows the puree to be extremely bright and beautiful.”
– Chris Gentile, Double Standard, San Diego