The Symrise team recently caught up with Chef Philip Speer to get his view point on some of the latest food and beverage trends.
Chef Speer has a deep background as a pastry chef, but it’s his work at his Mexican new wave restaurant, Comedor, that has won him numerous best restaurant awards and mentions in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He is a four-time James Beard nominee. He currently runs a new in-home cooking project on the side called Assembly where consumers can order kits to cook restaurant-quality dishes and mix their favorite cocktails quickly and easily.
In our interview with Chef Speer he covered many trending food topics from texture, to zero waste to hybrid vegetables. The following is a recap of our conversation.
Symrise: We've seen a growing importance being placed on herbs on U.S. menus. Can you talk about some of the herbs you're using in your restaurants?
Chef Speer: We want to utilize all of the things that grow in our climate… and that is all we engage with in terms of herbs or garnishes. We don’t outsource; we grow.
Symrise: What are some of your favorite herbs?
Chef Speer: Pipicha leaves and blossoms, papalo leaves and buds, hoja santa, turk’s cap, chickweed, henbit, amaranth, caligula blossom, purslane and blue and red turmerics. Hoja Santa is becoming very popular, not only in Mexican cuisine, but across all different kinds of cuisine.
Symrise: How about vegetables? Are you doing anything interesting concerning vegetables at your restaurant? Or what do you see trending?
Chef Speer: Through seed selection, you’re seeing hybrid vegetables, like the badger flame beet, which is a 100% edible beet. Or you see things like celtuce, which is a celery and lettuce hybrid that is traditional in Chinese cooking and now you are seeing it across menus. Also, aspiration broccolini and romanesco, and different types of colored cauliflower.
Symrise: We've also noticed alot more emphasis being placed on texture over the last year or so. Can you comment?
Chef Speer: Our most popular dish at Comedor is our bone marrow tacos with quelites, smoked butter, and hoja santa-pecan gremolata...it’s one of the most unctuous, surprising, exciting, delicious dishes I have ever had. It hits every texture, temperature and flavor: rich, fatty, bright, smoky, and sweetness. It has it all.
Symrise: Lastly, Symrise is always tracking nostalgia, comfort and re-inventing of classics as part of our trends. Do you have any dishes that connect with these ares?
Chef Speer: The chocolate tamal is a successful dish. It takes the masa that we grind everyday and we put chocolate in the middle and steam it to order. It has a warm molten center and is served with caramelized milk ice cream....I like to evolve the classics into something that would fit into our dining room.
Symrise: Thank you chef! We look forward to seeing more innovative things coming from you in the future.