Commission Foodservice Team Inspires Local Restaurant Chains with Menu Ideas
The California Avocado Commission’s menu ideation sessions with chain culinary research and development teams play a critical role in demonstrating how the fruit can add California flair to existing chain menus with inspirational and easy-to-prepare menu concepts. On October 28, the Commission’s foodservice team held an in-person menu ideation session with Urban Plates’ culinary team and secured a commitment to launch new California avocado menu items in 2022.
Urban Plates is a Southern California-based chain that has adopted a contemporary restaurant concept in which the freshness and variety of food marketplace offerings is paired with fine-dining culinary integrity. The chain features made-from-scratch dishes that are nourishing and make diners feel good. Because Urban Plates’ fundamental philosophy is to invest in quality food through thoughtful sourcing, the chain is a well-suited match for the premium fruit produced by California avocado growers.
The Commission’s foodservice team first met with Urban Plates’ decision makers at the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Expo held July 22, 2021. During a one-on-one session, the CAC team discussed Commission resources available to the chain, including menu ideation and promotional support, setting the stage for a future meeting between CAC and the chain’s decision makers.
At the menu ideation session, CAC presented nine concepts to Urban Plates’ culinary team, including Chief Culinary Officer Jim Cannon, Culinary Manager Jackie Raye and Corporate Chef Joseph Noonan. Chef Noonan shadowed CAC Chef Jason Hernandez in the kitchen as they prepared the concepts together and adapted the ingredients and preparation techniques to fit Urban Plates’ operational setup.
Urban Plates will launch new menu items featuring California avocados in 2022 based on the October menu ideation session. By partnering with culinary teams to develop new California avocado-centric menu items, the Commission reinforces its position as an added-value resource to operators while expanding use of fresh avocados in chain menu items. Ultimately, when consumers enjoy fresh California avocado menu items at their favorite restaurants they are exposed to new ways to enjoy the fruit and prepare it at home, building brand loyalty for California avocados and boosting awareness of the premium fruit.