There’s nothing chefs love more than a versatile SKU that can be used across a menu. And as restaurants look to build an experience that will attract diners and keep them coming back, Steve Stapleton, a corporate chef for BelGioioso Cheese, says it’s important for chefs to not overthink the selection of ingredients that will help streamline efficiencies without sacrificing on flavor.
“Think of one of the biggest trends that has taken off recently: the chicken sandwich war,” Stapleton says. “How do I, as a chef, get somebody to choose my sandwich over others? What will set it apart? ‘Flavor’ is the key word, the one that will make the biggest difference.”
One of the ways that Stapleton and other chefs build distinct, signature items is by finding cheeses that are packed with flavor and can be used in a wide variety of trendy applications. This slideshow will look at several BelGioioso cheeses that have versatile applications and can help chefs build an on-trend menu that diners will love.
Chefs love BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella for its flavor and versatility, while diners love the craveable applications that chefs come up with using this cheese. Fresh Mozzarella can be added to pizzas, pastas, salads, or panini and other sandwiches, like the ever-popular Meatball Sub.
“Now more than ever it is important to have at least three menu items per cheese type, whether you use it in a sauce, soup, sandwich, or other application,” says Frank Alfaro, vice president of foodservice sales with BelGioioso Cheese. “Sometimes that requires re-envisioning what a product can do, like encrusting a piece of protein in cheese and searing it, or making different compound butters, adding crumbled Gorgonzola cheese for a steak topper, or using grated Parmesan as a simple flavor addition to a salad dressing or sauce.”
Parmesan and Provolone
BelGioioso’s world-famous Parmesan and Provolone are two more cheeses that have long been trusted by chefs to elevate just about any recipe. Stapleton reports that BelGioioso’s ongoing, consistent craftsmanship and award-winning quality comes from focus, patience, persistence and avoiding shortcuts in production. The company produces convenient package options for chefs to consider including, pre-grated, shredded, shaved and sliced cheeses in a variety of sizes for foodservice clients.
“With labor and skill quality being harder to come by than ever before, easy-to-use items are a must to help ensure consistency across the brand or dayparts,” Stapleton says. “As many restaurants are trying to figure out how to operate with smaller staffs and longer hours on those staff members, they must work on efficiencies. Easy-to-use cheeses from BelGioioso provide convenient options for kitchen staff and helps keep them focused on quick execution of menu items for faster service to customers.”
Stapleton especially loves the nutty, creamy texture of BelGioioso Fontina, which he says can help cure diners’ cravings. Used in applications like fondues and sauces, on pizza or sandwiches, and of course on pastas like mac and cheese, BelGioioso Fontina is another versatile SKU addition to any kitchen.
“I will oftentimes focus on making cheese sauces that you can cross utilize in dishes,” Stapleton says. “For example, I’ll make a gourmet mac and cheese, the sauce of which would also work in a smothered chicken sandwich. Either is guaranteed to excite the consumers’ palate.”
Since its inception in 1979, BelGioioso has taken great pride in the quality of its products. That leads to more consistent menu items, too, which is a huge plus for restaurant brands. That means that no matter what type of dish or sauce or side a chef is trying to make with one of BelGioioso’s cheeses, the products can be counted on to produce something great time and time again.
“Quality and consistency are always the most important part of what BelGioioso does,” Alfaro says. “I don’t have to worry about the cheese looking or tasting differently from what it did last time I used it. BelGioioso sticks to crafting the best quality cheeses with the classic Italian methods that they brought over with them from Italy.”
For more information on adding BelGioioso’s line of cheeses to your menu, visit the company’s website.