Create Menu Appeal With Hispanic-style Cheeses from California

Dishes featuring Hispanic-style cheeses are cost effective and entice new patrons. 

Chefs are always on the lookout for innovative new ideas, ingredients, techniques and flavors to add interest to their menus, fascinate their patrons and create a sustainable business environment. While there are many ways to achieve this, one of the most effective is to add global flavors to the menu. Not only does this appeal to the consumers' insatiable desire for exciting new dining experiences, utilizing the right ingredients can also help restaurateurs deliver the authentic tastes many diners seek.

Make It Familiar

According to the National Restaurant Association's 2023 What's Hot Culinary Forecast, comfort foods with a global twist continue to be good for business, especially with younger Gen Zers who like to sample and post about breakthrough foods and flavors. Since cheese is an undisputed comfort food, there's a wealth of creative potential in the 25 varieties of California Hispanic-style cheeses. The Golden State leads the nation in the production of these cheeses and each variety brings its own distinctive texture, flavor profile and function to the table. 

Substituting cheeses can add flavor, value and cost-savings.

For chefs looking to break new ground, try substituting mainstream cheeses with Real California Hispanic-style varieties. Substituting Queso Quesadilla or Queso Blanco for Jack or Cheddar; Panela or Oaxaca in place of Mozzarella; or Queso Añejo or Cotija for Parmesan or Asiago can add exceptional flavor. These and other California Hispanic-style cheeses offer remarkable versatility, making them hard-working ingredients that can be used across all dayparts. Using California Hispanic-style cheeses, familiar favorites such as grilled cheese sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, flatbreads, salads and cheeseburgers take on new flavor dimensions that add creative flair to both the menu description and the dish itself.

To learn more about Hispanic-style cheeses from California, CLICK HERE.

From a Chef's Perspective

A number of prominent chefs throughout the country are taking advantage of the benefits of California's Hispanic-style cheeses and dairy products. Chef Susan Feniger (Socalo, Santa Monica, Calif.) explains, "We use a lot of cheeses and creams and milks from California because they're the tastiest. They're luscious and milky and have melting properties that are incredible. We want Hispanic-style cheeses from California because they're consistent and we know exactly how they're going to taste." To see more from Chef Feniger and how she creates Vampiro Tacos and other exciting dishes using California dairy, CLICK HERE.

New York chef Akhtar Nawab, who uses California Hispanic-style cheeses at his Brooklyn restaurant, Alta Calidad, says, “When I think of Alta Calidad and its translation to ‘high quality,’ I think about using California dairy because I know it’s going to be the caliber I want for these dishes.” Texas Chef Brandi Key comments, "The quality of California cheese is one of the best. It's all about terroir. When I know it's being made with California milk, I know it's going to have a texture and a sweetness that's unprecedented." To see Chef Nawab’s recipe for the Pumpkin Blossom “Reverse Quesadilla” and Chef Key’s recipe for "Stuffed" Mexican Pizza, CLICK HERE.

These chefs are not alone. To hear from other innovative chefs who are creating exciting new dishes with Hispanic-style cheeses, as well as other California dairy products, CLICK HERE and view more REAL Makers videos.

Good for Business

There's an unmistakable economic advantage to using Hispanic-style cheeses made in California. According to a recent operator survey conducted  by Technomic1, main drivers for using Hispanic-style cheese include their cost effectiveness and ability to command a higher price point on the menu. For restaurateurs who recognize that profitability and culinary innovation are essential to sustainable operations, and appreciate the unmistakable quality, flavor and consistency of California Hispanic-style cheeses and other dairy products, using them to create new menu options makes excellent business sense.

For more information about California dairy products, including Hispanic-style cheeses, CLICK HERE.

1 Technomic provides research, insights and strategic consulting to the foodservice industry.