Menu Inspiration

Sarah’s Flavor Predictions for 2024

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By Sarah Richardson, Shamrock Foods Exclusive Brands Product Specialist  

Get ready for UMAMI!

2024 Menus will be with rich Umami profiles, the sometimes hard-to-explain quality of savoriness, or the combination of all the other flavor senses with elevated levels of glutamic acid in foods. Basically, if it makes you salivate, then there is Umami.

Salt Cured Egg

The application of salt-cured eggs has found its way into a variety of menu types. Little by little, more restaurants are adding this umami bomb from Singapore to their dishes. I have personally used it as a topping for soups, meats, vegetables, and especially noodle dishes. The flavor is pretty addictive, and chefs seriously light up when they try it. Chefs have been salting their own egg yolks, specifically duck eggs, for some time. However, like any labor saver, a convenient and consistent product is needed and hopefully on the horizon.

Add a little bit of Spice

We have seen a surge in alternative chili pastes and toppings, possibly due to the "Great Sriracha Shortage" over the last couple of years. Peppers like Piri Piri from Africa, Oaxaca and Arbol from South America, and the now almost ubiquitous Calabrian pepper are a staple in some form or another on any menu. Heat is not exactly the goal anymore, like when Carolina Reaper and Ghost Peppers were all the rage. Peppers with better balance, like habanero and Aji Amarillo from Peru, are more widely incorporated in pastes, syrups, honey, season rubs, oils, jams, mustards, and cocktail enhancements. HOT TIP: Divina's Piquillo-Jalapeño spread, and super user-friendly chopped Calabrian peppers are an absolute must!!

The Not So Mellow Mushroom

Mushrooms continue to reign supreme! First stop, Truffles.  Huge in the 70's and 80's, they were sent to the archives with many other dated ingredients. But now, the truffle is back! Maybe we chalk that up to the new love of nostalgic foods? Chefs can dip their toe in the water with the truffle-infused salt and oils available through our Artisanal Provisions lineup. Next, there is the gift of the dried mushroom. It used to be that a dried mushroom was seen as inferior, but much like the case of salting an egg yolk, chefs have come to appreciate the depth of flavor dehydrating ingredients can create.  Porcini mushrooms are ground into powders and are used to layer mushrooms into the entire dish. D'Allesandro produces a professional pack that is as important on the spice rack as salt and pepper. Some retailers are even creating catchy marketing for this type of dehydrated mushroom powder, which may contain sugar, salt, or celery powder, calling it "Umami Seasoning." Like any supermarket trend, this finds a way to cycle back to restaurants. 

Brace yourself for a tantalizing ride as Umami becomes the star of 2024 menus, inviting food enthusiasts to savor every flavorful moment! Want to refresh your menu with this year's trending flavors? Reach out to our team of product specialists and business experts!

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    Make Your Own Salt Cured Yolks

    Salting and curing egg yolks is a simple yet transformative process that intensifies the flavor and texture of the yolks, adding a unique umami depth to dishes. Here's a basic guide on how to salt-cure an egg yolk:


    • Fresh egg yolks
    • Kosher salt or sea salt 


    • Separate the Yolks: Carefully separate the egg yolks from the whites. You can do this by cracking the egg and gently transferring the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves, allowing the whites to drip into a bowl.
    • Create a Bed of Salt: In a shallow dish, spread a layer of kosher salt or sea salt. Make sure the layer is thick enough to cradle the yolks and cover them completely.
    • Nestle the Yolks: Gently place each egg yolk on the bed of salt, ensuring they are not touching each other. Create a small well or indentation in the salt to hold each yolk securely.
    • Cover with Salt: Carefully cover each yolk with more salt until they are completely submerged. The salt helps draw out moisture from the yolks, preserving them and concentrating their flavors.
    • Curing Time: Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the egg yolks to cure for about 4-7 days. The longer they cure, the firmer they will become.
    • Check for Firmness: After the curing period, carefully dig out a yolk, brush off excess salt, and gently touch it. The yolk should feel firm and slightly rubbery.
    • Rinse Off Excess Salt: Rinse the cured yolks under cold running water to remove excess salt. Use a soft brush if needed to ensure all salt is removed.
    • Dry: Pat the cured yolks dry with paper towels. Some people choose to air-dry them for a few hours in the refrigerator to develop a pellicle, a thin, protective coating.
    • Storage: Once dry, store the cured yolks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be grated or shaved over dishes to add a burst of rich, savory flavor.

    Salt-cured egg yolks can be a delightful addition to various dishes, such as pasta, salads, or even enjoyed on their own. Experiment with different curing times to achieve the desired texture and intensity of flavor.

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