Poultry without Borders

Poultry without Borders

Leave it to a French politician and gourmet to succinctly and poetically depict this menu mainstay. It is the perfect description of how an artist—whether a chef or a painter—looks at the task of creating a masterpiece.

A chef's tools? Hands, utensils and equipment to manipulate the supplies; raw poultry for the canvas; and a palette of complimentary flavors—spices, herbs, and fresh produce.

It is poultry's sheer versatility that makes it a menu staple.

First, naturally tender meats like chicken, turkey and duck marry well with deep, complex flavors like woodsy mushrooms or tongue tingling spicy rubs.

When a light, healthful touch is needed, poultry pairs well with a juicy fruit salsa or fresh-herb enhanced broth. And when ethnic flavor profiles are called for, poultry "has no borders," says Xavier Leroux, associate professor of the Escoffier Restaurant, at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), in Hyde Park, NY.

But just as the painter needs to constantly explore new techniques and color pallettes, the onsite operator need to continuously explore poultry's potential. Here are some idea starters to inspire your creativity.

Chicken
It's a given:
Chicken is a must on menus. So how can operators add pluck to this poultry player?

"By focusing on a fresh approach to the preparation," says Emmet Fennessey, CEC, executive chef at Thomson West in Eagan, MN (Sodexho USA). Striving to prepare poultry dishes as close to serving time as possible utilizing exhibition style recipes, Fennessy and his staff feature chicken and turkey dishes complemented with "fresh flavor profiles, like chimichurri sauce, smoked tomato salsa and chipotle mayonnaise, for example," he says.

Consider his tropical curried chicken wrap. The result—a creative twist to a classic preparation.