Each season brings different flavors and the opportunity for chefs to refresh their menus with exciting new dishes. Here are some ideas from our community on how to flex your creative muscle and bring seasonal additions to your menu.


Make It A Team Sport

"We do rigorous kitchen testing and tasting with the chef team and the owners. As much as I love to have carte blanche of my menu, I feel the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, and we get a better consensus of the taste buds of the local community as a team."
Johnny Besch, Executive Chef Blvd Restaurant in Chicago, IL

"We start with an idea and brainstorm until we like the sound of the dish. Then I start working on developing recipes and plating. Once the dish is ready, we taste it until we are happy with it. Then we get feedback from the front of the house; if needed, we make adjustments and then it goes on the menu."
Martha Garcia, Executive Sous Chef of Hotel Ella (New Waterloo) in Austin, TX

Talk About It

"Before making any menu changes, Chef/Owner Suzanne Goin and I have numerous conversations with our farmers and purveyors about ingredient availability. Dish ideas are thoughtfully put together and tested many times. Our objective is to create a dish that not only looks and tastes sensational, but makes sense." 
Javier Espinoza, Corporate Chef of The Lucques in Los Angeles, CA


"It all starts with a conversation about what ingredients we'd like to use and where they fit in with the structure of our menu. After that, we test, and sometimes our final product is something completely different from where we started. We then get the opinions of the front of house and wine team for pairing cohesiveness and little tweaks. The last question we always ask before adding the dish to the menu is if we would like to eat the new dish ourselves."
Joseph (Robert) Anthony, Chef de Cuisine of Gabriel Kreuther in New York, NY


Start With The Protein

"I first choose a protein, then I go to the local market and look for what is currently in that will pair well with my protein. I will choose a garnish and figure out three different preparations. Then run it by Chef Bouley. Sometimes the final dish is the original preparation and other times it becomes a blend of the three different dishes."
Daniel Drexler, Chef de Cuisine of Bouley at Home in New York, NY

Taste Test

"First tasting the raw product is important, so we know the ingredients potential uses. Beyond that, developing dishes that work well with the operation and allow the product to shine through naturally is my main focus. Running the dishes as specials and training both the front and back of house teams to execute and deliver the dishes flawlessly to the guest is the last step to solidifying them for menu launch." 
Brenton Balika, Corporate Chef of Honest Hospitality in Las Vegas, NV

"I usually think about it for a bit and taste it in my head. Then I start to make a few components for it. I taste a few things together. I think about it a little bit more, and then I run a special of it and have the team try it. By this point, I start to see the dish clearer and get some feedback. Then I present it to the team for a final taste. If it meets our standards, it goes on the menu." 
Benjamin Lambert, Executive Chef of District Winery in Washington, DC

Run Specials

"We know what works and what doesn`t and try to match traditional flavors and technique. That said, after we make some test plates, we discuss them along with the sous chefs and management, before presenting them to the corporate chef team and Chef Daniel. Before any item comes on the menu, we present it as a special so that we can get the feedback from our guest." 
Dieter Samijn, Executive Chef of Bar Boulud in New York, NY

"We taste an item or dish as a team, make notes and gather input and opinions from each other, make necessary adjustments and once we are happy with the result, we will run it as a special for a few days. After we’ve gathered some guest feedback, we make any further adjustments that we deem necessary before finally putting it on the menu full time." 
Dan Solomon, Executive Chef of Local Foods in Chicago, IL