Is it possible to “reinvent” classic ingredients?

The classics stick with us for a reason. We can count on them for a particular feeling or experience. So what happens when you start reinventing classic ingredients? Are you creating a trend or something new all together?

This edition of Weekly Bites covers three quintessential foods that are undergoing a makeover. From caviar on potato chips to ice cream done differently, read on to spark your own culinary imagination.

Caviar on nuggets is the new norm

Caviar is an ingredient that elicits a strong reaction. And we’re not just talking about the taste, which is certainly acquired. Caviar symbolizes status. Something only the one percent could enjoy.

If you work in fine dining, then you know that diners expect caviar to show up in the menu at least once. Like lobster and foie gras, caviar is on the list of luxurious must-have ingredients. Of course, all three of those ingredients are delights in and of themselves, but we’ve all seen caviar added where it probably shouldn’t have been.

Well, caviar is now making its way to the rim of Miller-Lite beer cans. Yes, you read that correctly. And that isn’t the only high-low pairing that features caviar — even the legendary Chef Wylie Dufresne has topped the lowly chicken nugget with caviar.

Caviar sales are rising among millennials, and true to their generation they seem to be content with indulging in luxury ingredients without the stuffiness of fine dining settings. 

So this is your sign — don’t be scared to pair caviar with Lay’s potato chips or something equally absurd. It’ll sell like hotcakes.

Bacon has come full circle 

If you were in the restaurant industry in the mid 2010s, then you have lived through the height of this country’s Bacon Mania. 

We put bacon on peanut butter and jelly, we put it on donuts. We wrapped every vegetable out there with bacon, and some meats too. We even flavored things like bourbon and chocolate with bacon. 

If you thought that Bacon Mania is a relic of the past, then we’re sorry to say that it’s coming full circle. Today’s Bacon Mania is all about thick-cut, preservative-free, specially-spiced bacon. It’s about paying $17 for a side of bacon at a fine-dining restaurant and feeling like you’re eating bacon for the first time. 

For the bacon lovers out there, this is all excellent news. And for those that are bacon-ambivalent, you may consider adding it to your menu.

Not your fridge’s ice cream

Who doesn’t love ice cream? If your answer to that is “me,” then maybe you haven’t had Jeni Bauer or Pooja Bavishi’s ice creams. 

Jeni Bauer is a perfumier turned ice cream maker. That makes two connections between perfume and ice cream that we’ve covered this year. According to Bavishi, that’s no coincidence. Ice cream is frozen, and frozen foods have no scent. But once it starts to melt in your mouth? That’s when the scent hits you, which then activates the flavor. It’s a unique sensory experience. 

Bavishi makes South Asian inspired ice cream flavors from her Brooklyn shop, Malai, while Bauer makes innovative ice cream using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. 

Bavishi and Bauer are not the only innovators in today’s ice cream space. So while you’re planning your 2023 dessert menus, consider making ice cream the star of the show, instead of a plain vanilla add-on. 

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