McDonalds is the last place most people would look for celebrity chefs whipping up French demi-glace sauce served with gourmet gnocchi and slow-cooked beef. But in an attempt to change negative public perception of its ingredients, the fast-food giant is hosting a New York City dinner Thursday night featuring dishes decidedly more upscale than its assembly-line burgers and Dollar Menu deals. The company invited a phalanx of media and other opinion-makers to try out a multi-course meal prepared by professional chefs using standard McDonalds food. None of the dishes will reach McDonalds drive-thrus, at least not in the near future. But company spokespeople said the exercise will help engender new ways to think about the existing menu and highlight the chain’s ingredients. At the event, dietitian Jessica Foust, who manages McDonalds nutrition and culinary division, will craft mojitos made with the chains Mango Pineapple Smoothie base. Her beef and gnocchi dish will be made with McDonalds French fries, another smoothie base, carrots and meat normally used for burger patties. As McDonalds struggles to keep sales growing at the fast clip maintained during the recession, the chain is spicing up its menu with Habanero Ranch sauce and rice wine vinegar in its McWraps bolder flavors that werent as acceptable five to seven years ago, Foust said. You can find these ingredients in grocery stores and some of the most fine dining in the country, she said in a recent interview. Were helping people understand that its food thats all it is. James Tahhan, star of cooking shows on Telemundo and Utilisima, will create tortilla espanola with garlic and saffron aioli using the fast-food companys hash browns, eggs and onions. There will also be Kung Pao chicken made using Chicken McNuggets by Dale Talde, a contestant on Bravos Top Chef show. Aaron McCargo Jr., winner of the Next Food Network Star competition and host of the Big Daddys House show on the television network, will present barbecue chicken. The ingredients? McDonalds crispy chicken, hash browns, Chipotle BBQ sauce, cheddar jack cheese and espresso. Recently, in a production studio in the City of Industry, McCargo prepped his dish as McDonalds film crews looked on.
Is a Halal food market boom on its way?
Some of the biggest names in British retail will be attending this weekend’s consumer food show dedicated entirely to halal produce, with supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda sending buyers, along with high-end department store Harrods. “Business can appreciate the sheer size of the market, and it has largely been neglected,” said Imran Kausar, a former doctor who founded the Halal Food Festival. Strict guidelines Translated as “permissible” or “lawful,” halal food is cuisine prepared according to Islamic guidelines. These state that the animal faces no undue stress up until the point of slaughter, which must be conducted by a Muslim. A sharp knife is used to cut the animal’s throat, after which the blood is drained. According to Bryan Roberts, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, the existence of the Halal Food Festival suggests the produce is becoming more mainstream, with brands and retailers looking to boost their halal offerings. Among the major retailers, Tesco and Asda are ahead of the curve when it came to halal food, Roberts said. These supermarkets offer a range of halal products, and even have halal butcher counters in some stores, operated by third parties. Tapping the market Well-known food brands including Kellogg’s, Kingsmill, Hellmans, Krispy Kreme and McCain have also tapped the sector, all certifying halal products under the U.K.’s Halal Food Authority (HFA). The market is already significant in Britain, with the Halal Monitoring Committee putting its value at between 4.2 billion-5 billion in the U.K. alone. This gives it a share of around 5 percent of the U.K.’s total agricultural food market, which the U.K.
14-Oct. 20), and Westlake Village (Oct. 21-Oct.27), followed by Scottsdale, Ariz., (Oct. 28-Nov. 3) and Santa Fe, N.M. (Nov. 4-Nov. 10). Why a food truck? “Food trucks are a big trend and they are fun,” says the Four Seasons’ Guy Rigby, vice president of food and beverage for the Americas. “We [the Four Seasons] are doing fun, relevant restaurants. These are places you and I would want to go to dinner rather than a formal restaurant you’d take your grandmother to.” The paper plate cuisine with its creative twists fits the message the Four Seasons seeks to convey about its restaurants and also targets the younger clientele that the Four Seasons covets. In many cities curbside quick bites have morphed from over boiled hot dogs and white bread ham sandwiches to imaginative, often ethnic fare, that’s still affordable. At the Four Seasons Palo Alto, guests can try bombolini, an Italian-style donut that has salty caramel sauce.