Describe your establishment...
We offer a taste of our passion for Mexico in Chicago at our casual Frontera Grill and the more upscale Topolobampo. Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have led the way in a national awakening to the breadth and refinement of authentic Mexican cooking. Frontera Grill specializes in contemporary regional Mexican cooking and Topolobampo is one of America's only fine-dining Mexican restaurants. Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have received the coveted "Ivy" award and the Mobil "four-star" rating.
How does turkey fit in with the scheme of your operation?
Frontera Grill uses traditional ingredients and regional flavors from Mexico that reflect the traditional food of the culture. Turkey is a native bird of the Americas so it fits in with our operation and has been featured in our restaurants from the beginning.
How do you currently menu turkey?
Classic Red Mole with Turkey is a favorite that is offered typically during the fall and winter months.
What are the compelling points that make turkey adaptable for lunch and dinner dishes?
Turkey has the ability to adapt to the traditional flavors of Mexico. It also allows us to use a wide variety of flavors to enhance the meat so we are able to fit it on different menus.
Why do you think your patrons order these turkey items?
Customers know of the tradition of turkey and are willing to reconsider turkey when it is presented on the menu in a fabulous way or the flavors are something new and different. Sometimes when it is cooked at home, it may not be cooked as well as it could be done in a restaurant. Customers are more apt to order the item in a restaurant because they know it will be cooked correctly. Customers also tend to select turkey because it's a lean, healthy option.
From a business perspective, as the chef from Frontera Grill, why do you include turkey on your menu (food cost, versatility, consumer demand, etc)?
Turkey allows us to offer a wide variety of menu items. Consumers usually think of turkey as a holiday centerpiece but they consider other turkey items through the wide variety of taste combinations we offer. Turkey has a full flavor and is a lighter meat that offers a nice alternative to other flavors.
When thinking about other proteins you serve why did you choose turkey for this menu item as opposed to chicken, beef or pork?
Turkey has a richer flavor than chicken and turkey is something new that people are willing to try. At Topolobampo, our fine dining restaurant, we stay away from common meats you can get anywhere. Turkey is served here and allows us to cook the dish differently and use different techniques.
As a well-known chef and restaurant owner, you are looked to by other chefs for more innovative menu items. How does turkey allow you to be innovative?
Turkey allows us to be innovative because it has a richer flavor, a different texture and allows us to use new cooking techniques. I like to embrace as many items as I can and turkey is one of these items.
What attributes of the Frontera Grill do you think ranked it among Food Beat's 2005 "Top 50 Trendspotters?"
The restaurant was ranked because the food is inspired by Mexico and is more authentic than other Mexican restaurants. The restaurant is part of a rich tradition and it does well. We have a deep knowledge of the culture and we pull it off nicely with our two restaurants.
How do you use the web as a tool in your work?
We go to the web to look up information about ingredients and products. Most importantly, I look to see how authentic ingredients from Mexico are used.
Do you use the NTF web site as a resource?
I have been to the site to learn about cooking times for a whole turkey.
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