As we look out across the oceans, it is occasionally with curiosity or suspicion that we approach a new flavor or cuisine. For me, it is an enjoyable journey and exploration, and a way to literally “take in” a culture. I grew up in Detroit, a big city with a wealth of ethnicities each having its own cuisine and flavors, and I learned to appreciate that no matter how unique or unusual the flavors, the underlying story is always the same.
Food is so much of who we are, it’s where we seek comfort, sustenance and around which we gather friends and family. No matter what culture you encounter, or native language you will hear, or what you food you might share, everyone relishes the ability to tell the story of “what mom made me” or “we eat this at family celebrations”. The food and flavor might be different, but the heart, the feeling is the same.
In cities large and small, we see that more and more international flavors are being embraced. For example, not the generic “Chinese Food” of yesteryear, but instead the emergence of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai from Asia and for the unique flavors and ingredients that infuse their cuisines such as fish sauce, lemon grass, galangal, coconut, lotus root and dragon fruit.
This isn’t about trying to be “global” but is about embracing the unique flavors of the world. This year, one of our top clients, with a foundation benefiting African wildlife, asked us to create an African-inspired menu for a fundraising event that they were hosting. Our chefs, after a great deal of research, created a unique and flavorful menu that was delicious, and perfectly complemented the event. A few of the dishes to emerge from the kitchen were the enticingly authentic Peanut Stew, African Miji Pea Soup, Egyptian Style Fried Cauliflower, and Beef Bobotie, dishes that have all of the allure of comfort food, but with those exotic spices that warm all your senses and soul. If you have been to any of Indy’s Ethiopian restaurants, you know the allure of the aromas!
In 2014, you will continue to see our chefs introduce internationally-inspired flavors, seek out new and unique ingredients, and cater to the adventurous palates of our guests.