From Taste Test to You

The story behind our new Quinoa Salad


TThis month, in adding Quinoa Salad to our menu, I realized how often we’re asked, “How did you come up with this scrumptious new menu item?”

Here’s a little taste of how we “come up with that”!

Sometimes the idea for an ingredient occurs to me while I’m shopping in a supermarket, in an ethnic or specialty store, or at a farmers’ market. Sometimes one of our clients makes a suggestion, or maybe a staff member.

Here’s the story behind our new Quinoa (Keen-wah) Salad. A few years ago, I went on an Amazon Adventure holiday. I was served at least one quinoa-based dish every day – and this was before quinoa started becoming so popular. Then, more recently, I saw a CBC News report about the United Nations declaring this the Year of Quinoa. It got me thinking. How could we bring Quinoa to you?

I had enjoyed quinoa immensely during my Amazon holiday. But I didn’t know much about it, except that it’s a staple among people of the Andes. These people have been farming it for hundreds – probably even thousands – of years. I was also aware that, in North America, people choose quinoa as a gluten-free alternative to wheat.

It turns out that quinoa is much more than just tasty. This grain is also rich in protein, easy to digest, and full of all the essential amino acids, giving it a much-deserved reputation as a food rich in nutrition.

From idea to menu

I approached quinoa in my usual way. First, I tried several quinoa recipes in my kitchen at home – recipes I looked up, and recipes I made up. Quinoa takes a little more preparation than some foods, but it’s delicious, mildly nutty flavour makes it well worth the time. 

I finally settled on four recipes. I brought samples into work for everyone to try. We reached a consensus on two of them. One is now on our menu; the other is coming soon.

And now you know how we came up with our delicious Quinoa Salad!

I hope you’ll try our new salad next time you order from Pacific Coast Catering Group. It’s healthy, and it’s delicious!

Chef Jean

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