Sixteen chefs gathered in the kitchens at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus to learn how blueberries can successfully go to the savory side of the menu, especially in snacks, small plates and grab ‘n go items. June 17 to 19, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) hosted the chefs who represent large-volume operations including campuses, restaurant chains, hotels, and a multinational theme park.
CIA chef-instructor Lars Kronmark guided the chefs through a tasting of fresh, frozen, and further processed blueberries, including microwave-dried, sugar-infused dried, freeze-dried, and powdered. From there, the chefs went into the kitchen to work with the wide range of blueberry products and develop savory ways to use them. Their innovative recipes included Flank Steak Marinated in Lime, Garlic, and Blueberry Powder with Blueberry-Chimichurri Sauce; Sausage Banh Mi with Blueberry-Pickled Vegetables and Blueberry Aioli; and, Smoked Trout Guacamole with Blueberry-Lime Dusted Tortilla Chips.
A highlight of the event was Chef Kronmark’s demonstration of how to quick-freeze blueberry ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
“Blueberry Boot Camp was an eye-opener for the chefs who discovered the potential for blueberries to add a spark to their menus,” says Mark Villata, USHBC executive director. “The chefs we worked with at the CIA were absolute professionals, and the quality and creativity of the food they prepared was beyond what we could have imagined.”