As long time followers of Demetres know, we introduce new seasonal flavours to our menu every three months. We love to keep it fresh and today we are chatting with Amy, our resident master chef, to talk about the inspiration behind the latest fall menu launch, and how these new desserts were developed.
Hi Amy, walk us through your process in coming up with the new menu items. Where did you find inspiration for them?
I usually develop the key seasonal flavour(s) first – which will either be an ice cream or a cake. For this fall menu, we decided on Vietnamese coffee after considering what flavours are trending overall right now and what has resonated with our guests in the past. Speaking of which, I love hearing feedback about the flavours that people really connected with in the past, so please send your two cents to firstname.lastname@example.org! I also review our past flavours to make sure that we’re not being too repetitive and that we’re bringing something new to the table. Once we decided on Vietnamese coffee, I then started to build complementary flavours around it. This way, there’s an overall theme and continuity for our guests.
When you’ve decided on a key seasonal flavour, how does that then translate into the final product – not just the ice cream itself, but items like Viet Nom, which also feature this key flavour?
Authenticity is really important to me, so there’s a lot of R&D involved earlier on to make sure that the key flavours we develop come out tasting like what they’re supposed to be. For example, with the Vietnamese coffee ice cream, I tasted many different samples and brands to understand what an authentic cup of this coffee should taste like. Once I have a complete picture of the flavour, this helps me in hitting the right notes during ice cream development.
With the Viet Nom waffle, it was about finding complementary flavours that work well with the Vietnamese coffee flavour. Demetres likes to be a little different and offer a unique twist on traditional flavours, so the toppings for this waffle were things that we think people would like to pair with their coffees. The final product is this marriage of flavours from two different cultures – Vietnamese & Italian.
One of the specials is Unbrûlévable, which features an existing ice cream flavour (dulce & banana). What was it about this flavour that made you decide to develop a new dessert dish around it?
With Unbrûlévable, it was about updating an old fan favourite. We used to have another waffle & ice cream dish that featured the banana flavour (Banana Karenina), but I really felt like it needed an overhaul – everything from flavour to plating. It’s all about constantly revising and improving our old menu items to give our guests a fresh take on a familiar flavour.
Speaking of plating, have you ever nixed an ingredient because of the way it plates?
For us, flavour will always come first. One recurring theme that we’re always running into with our desserts is that they’re predominantly brown. Brown coloured sauce, brown coloured toppings, and brown coloured ice cream – but brown just tastes so damn good. Colourful fruit may look good, but it doesn’t always jive well with all the other components of the dish flavour-wise. It’s just a balancing act between having good flavours and coming up with new unique ways for plating.
What are some flavours that excite you right now?