Q&A with Executive Chef Gerald Drummond, Campbell's Foodservice
An executive chef's perspective on plant-forward product development
Prepared Foods talks fruit and vegetable ingredient trends with Executive Chef Gerald Drummond of Campbell’s Foodservice. The Camden, N.J., company offers more than 500 soups, beverages, broths, sauces and entrées with brands such Campbell’s, V8, Pepperidge Farm, Prego, Pace and Swanson. Chef Gerald has more than 30 years of experience in the foodservice industry. Prior to joining Campbell’s Foodservice in 2017, he held executive chef positions at Starr Catering Group and STARR Restaurant Organization, including the renowned Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia.
Prepared Foods: We’re seeing many more plant-forward foods and drinks and plant-based alternatives to traditional products. What types of new offerings have caught your attention?
Chef Gerald Drummond: There are several food and drink products that have really piqued my interest during the last year. One that stands out involves mushrooms. They are one of the most versatile foods on the culinary scene, and with so many varieties available—they inspire chefs to be even more creative.
Incorporating mushrooms on menus allows the chef to add more plant-based menu items, since mushrooms have many contributing factors when it comes to menu development. For example, when thinking about plant-based dishes, mushrooms can replace the meat in the dish—while they add texture, bite, umami, depth and richness to a dish. One example could be a Black Bean & Oyster Mushroom Enchiladas dish.
PF: How about efforts to “sneak in” a serving of vegetables or fruit?
Chef Gerald: Cauliflower! I’ve been very impressed with the use of it in pizza dough. I made pizza for my family about three weeks ago and after we finished, I told them that cauliflower was one of the ingredients in the dough. They never noticed a difference in taste!
Campbell’s Foodservice offers Creamy Cauliflower, Quinoa and Fontina soup under our Campbell’s Reserve label. This delicious favorite is so rich, creamy and filling, made with a blend of cauliflower, red and white quinoa, and fontina cheese. You can easily forget it’s a vegetarian soup.
Many restaurants have added cauliflower to the appetizer part of the menu. I’ve seen it done Buffalo style and General Tso. I love this. It’s a great way to introduce a vegetable to a menu by using classic cooking applications that are familiar to the public.
Cauliflower shawarma is also popular right now. I’ve seen it in applications for bowls, wraps, tacos and quesadillas. When cauliflower is done right, you don’t miss the meat.
PF: Do you have any fruit or vegetable ingredients that are your favorites at the moment? Why?
Chef Gerald: It’s the wonderful mushroom again. They are really making noise in food and beverage areas. Mushrooms are being used in coffees, teas and protein drinks. There are even new beverages designed for your Keurig.
With food, we now see mushrooms being used year-round, although there’s still a focus on the seasonality of certain mushrooms. Chefs are starting to take chances and showcase less-common varieties of mushrooms on menus.
Over the last year, I’ve been experimenting with various mushroom beverages, like mushroom coffees (lattes and cappuccino), mushroom tea and even mushroom milkshakes. Using mushrooms in beverages is a great way to take advantage of the mushroom’s antioxidants, plus it adds a rich umami flavor to both sweet and savory beverages. It’s been very exciting to work with mushrooms on a completely different platform. The learning curve is limitless.
PF: Can you share some Campbell’s Foodservice examples involving extra servings of vegetables?
Chef Gerald: Campbell’s Foodservice loves to include an extra dose of fruits or veggies. We put together a collection of Mexican-inspired recipes featuring V8 as an ingredient. We even included a dessert recipe for Tomato-Peach Cobbler. It’s a beautiful take on a classic dessert with the savory-sweet notes of the fruit and vegetable paired extremely well. I’m proud of how the recipes turned out.
There are many other Campbell’s products that deliver vegetable nutrition, such as Well Yes! Sipping Soups. These are on-the-go vegetable-based snacks, packed with 20% or more of our daily vegetable servings—all under 200 calories. No spoon is needed for these five delicious flavors. Guests can just heat, sip and go.
PF: Any vegetables or fruits you see trending up for 2019?
Chef Gerald: Three fruits gaining a lot of attention in the culinary scene right now are jackfruit, dragon fruit and passion fruit, and I find them interesting. Jackfruit is a very versatile fruit that has a meaty texture and can be used as a meat replacement in some plant-based foods. Passion fruit is high in fiber, iron and protein, with a lovely sweet flavor and floral aroma. I love using passion fruit in beverages and dessert applications. Dragon fruit is emerging as a new and up-and-coming fruit, with its mildly sweet, nutty flavor.
Again, mushrooms are currently trending high right now. Mushroom coffee drinks and other various beverages, with their rich, earthy umami mushroom, are now seen in a much different light than they were five, 10 or 15 years ago. We discuss the growing trend of mushrooms in our “2019 TrendScape Report.” This report is produced by Campbell’s chefs who, throughout the year, monitor and track food trends across the globe and compile a list of what and how consumers will be eating in the coming year.
Beets and dark leafy greens continue to show up on menus in innovative ways. For example, sea veggies are making waves on the culinary scene, especially in snacks; and lesser-known greens, like celtuce, are getting attention too.