Chris Lenza, Executive Chef at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, is also a member of the Plant-Forward Culinary Collaborative. Chris recently transformed Café Allegro’s grab-and-go program to be more plant-forward — and guests are loving it.
Taking advantage of Arizona’s seasonal ingredients and local farms, Chris has upped the aesthetic appeal of his to-go items by incorporating more vibrantly colored vegetables into his menu. Keeping texture, attractiveness, and craveability front of mind, he’s stealthily reduced the amount of animal protein in his offerings.
Chris shared these tips for plant-forward success:
- Protein power-up: Replace a portion of the animal protein with high-protein plants such as beans and legumes. The extra fiber helps to keep guests satisfied. (Note: Chris aims for 2 ounces or less of animal protein per meal.)
- Guests eat with their eyes, so give them a rainbow. Be sure to include a variety of different-colored vegetables — at least three. They’ll also provide a variety of textures.
- Season every component carefully. Layer flavors to create a mouthwatering depth that keeps guests coming back for more.
- Play the name game. Lead with the plants and use vibrant descriptors so guests know exactly what to expect. Who wouldn’t want a “Slivered Asparagus, Roasted Peppers, and Shaved Turkey Wrap with Smoky Poblano Vinaigrette”?
The new grab-and-go program has been met with no complaints from his guests. In fact, grab-and-go sales are up!
Submitted by Dayna Einheit, Nutrition Project Manager