Grocery Innovations Show 2011

Recently I tasted my way through the Grocery Innovations Show 2011, held in Toronto. This is an annual trade show, where manufacturers get to showcase new products to grocers from across the country.

This year there were 5,000 attendees from the food world, who sampled new products from over 300 booths.  There were a few new highlights to this year’s show: a Functional Food Pavilion, an Ethnic Fare section & a New Product Showcase – as well, the popular Canadian Best Bagger Competition.

As I attend food shows around the world & taste new products, I am always thinking of my Trend Watch Reports, which look at trends from 1 – 5 years away.

This information helps my clients to be informed and to launch on-time & on-trend food products.

Here is a sneak peak at some trends I saw, and what I will be watching for & tasting  at the first food shows of 2012.

* Consumers are more aware than ever about the health – what products are offering a connection between health & taste

* Gluten-free is here to stay .. what companies are addressing this need

* Watch for the use of culinary adjectives on some fabulous new products

* Comfort food has always been popular .. now watch for ‘food for gatherings’

* Meatballs are the new meatloaf !!

Ingredients to Watch for in 2012:

  • Duck
  • Potatoes
  • Exotic Citrus – eg, Yuzu
  • Handmade Marshmallows
  • Eclairs
  • Specialty ‘in-house’ cocktails from ‘in-house’ mixologists

Check back often .. I will be posting some highlights from an upcoming Southern USA tasting tour, that will include tastings with great chefs, new products that are showing up on grocery shelves & tastes to share.

Taste! Taste ! Taste !


Welcome to the new Culinary Concierge!

It’s still me – Christine Couvelier (Chamberlain) – still sharing my experience & my love of food with my clients.

This new site will make it easier for you to find out how what I have been up to, what I have been working on & what I have tasted with great chefs.

As well, it will make it easier for you to see how I can assist you in so many ways & to achieve greatness with all your culinary projects.

Do you want to know what culinary trends I am watching for? = you are in the right place!

Do you want me to take your team on a personalized culinary immersion tour to look for & tastes the trends where they are happening around the Globe? = Give me a call.

How about adding new sizzle to a product line with new packaging, new flavours & new serving suggestions?

Or maybe you would like to have me present my Trend Watch Report to your teams to educate & inspire them as you plan the next series of innovative developments = Can’t wait to get started.

Don’t forget – Taste ! Taste ! Taste !

Drop by often to see what’s new – I look forward to talking to you soon.




Las Vegas Tastes !!

Just back from a whirlwind taste tour of Las Vegas.

Certainly everyone has read an article or two that talks about the top-name chefs that are taking their whisks to try their luck in Las Vegas .. so, off I went to taste what they have to offer.

In the ‘Disney-like’ world that is Las Vegas, it is amazing to walk the Strip and be able to taste creations from chefs like, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Joel Robuchon & Michael Mina.
Or to look up and see huge billboards or video screens promoting Bobby Flay, Mario Batalli or Jean-Georges Vongerichten and more.

Jaleo Snap Pea Salad

One of the newcomers to venture west is Chef Jose Andres. I had dinner one night at Jaleo, a colourful & casual spot that offers authentic Spanish tapas and paellas.

Bright, loud & full of people, this restaurant is open to the mall on the upper level of the Cosmopolitan Hotel – don’t expect a quiet meal, but do expect some culinary delights that bring back memories of his culinary genius that I tasted during a tasting menu at his Saam Restaurant in Los Angeles.

You will want to start with one of the cocktail creations that are listed on the ipad you are instructed to scroll through that contains all the drinks & wines.  Jose’s Gin & Tonic has a special ice-cube that is infused with flavours and is shipped in from Los Angeles.  Then jump carefully into the ‘olives stuffed with anchovy & piquillo & Ferran Adria olives’ = wow!!

Jaleo Ferran Adria Olives

Loved the Jamon Iberico from the acorn-fed, black-footed Iberico pigs of Spain and the freshest, garden-crisp salad of snap peas, onion, radishes and more
Would loved to have had the Paella, but the kitchen was ‘not happy with the quality of the dish’, and so it was not available that evening. (Even culinary masters can’t be perfect every night!)
I was tempted by a couple of desserts, and the apple tart, with saffron & apple sorbet, was an incredible culinary feat of paper-thin slices of apples which were wrapped around each other to form an apple shape, them caramelized and served deliciously warm.

China Poblano

Dropped in for a quick lunch at Jose Andres other spot, China Poblano, which is the best of Mexican and Chinese street food – what a fabulous combination. China Poblano has a menu of tastes to tempt everyone.. and they have indeed thought of all of their guests. They offer many different versions of menus to deal with any food allergies.. so there are separate menus for gluten allergies, dairy allergies etc.  No worries over what to order or how the kitchen will handle substitutions, this is a huge step forward in taking care of all needs of all guests!

China Poblano Shrimp

The margarita was the perfect match to the Cochinita, a Yucatan-style pit barbequed pork with marinated onions – and the Shrimp Mojo with it’s sauce of sweet black garlic and roasted poblano peppers had me licking my lips.

My dinner at Scarpetta with Chef Scott Conant was an evening of great service, great tastes, great wines and great memories.. ok, yes it was just before I headed off to the opening night of Rod Stewart, so who could ask for more !!
My waiter, Roberto was welcoming, knowledgeable and knew the meaning of the word, ‘hospitality’.  Whipped mascarpone butter was the perfect thing to dip in any of the warm bread or ciabatta offerings.

Scarpetta Heirloom Tomatoe Salad

A market-fresh salad of heirloom tomatoes, stracciatella, salsa verde & marinated eggplant was indredible.  Loved the black cod, served on a bed of caramelized fennel & concentrated tomatoe.

Scarpetta Black Code

A bite of the Amedei chocolate cake with it’s toasted almond gelato & salted caramel sauce was a sweet ending.

Breakfast one day was full of fresh croissants, poached eggs & applewood smoked bacon, along with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice,  at the Las Vegas location of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon.

An interesting marketing trend to watch out for …. Both Scarpetta and Bouchon were handing out magazines that promoted the restaurants, suppliers and chefs of these restaurants.  Certainly an expensive undertaking, but what an impressive way to get your message to your customers.

As I am always preparing new Trend Watch Reports for my clients, I will watch to see how this trend progresses.

So, my advice is head to Las Vegas – there is nothing to lose in the restaurants, only on the casino floor !!

Taste ! Taste ! Taste !