The Tasting Panel magazine

January/February 2015

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Honey How-To with . . . on Honey Mat Snapp Director of Beverage, Fox Restaurant Concepts Mat Snapp cites Buckwheat honey as his favorite varietal: "I love the complexity of Buckwheat honey, and I'm looking for the right venue to roll out an adventurous Buckwheat honey cocktail. It seems like it will be Culinary Dropout." When you oversee one of the most rapidly growing restaurant groups in the U.S., consistency among your outlets—from service to suppliers—is key. So when Mat Snapp—who helms the beverage programs at Arizona-based Fox Restaurant Concepts eateries like True Food Kitchen, Culinary Dropout and North Italia— returned from last year's Honey Beverage Summit, he knew that standardizing his sweeteners would be an important improvement company-wide. "Taking what I experienced at the Summit led me and our chef teams to standardize and upgrade our honey game," explains Snapp, who presented his team with nine honeys to taste, all of which needed to be available nationally and consistently. "We want to be able to give our guests an accurate, repeatable and desirable experience at any location," he continues, "and by choosing a great honey and having it available in all of our markets, we've really been able to up our game." Bringing in Clover honey is part of Fox Restaurant Concepts' larger move to feature the best natural sweetener possible. "Honey is widely recognized as the most natural and authentic way to sweeten," says Snapp. "And now, we're able to use it to balance flavors in both our food and our beverage programs, and we're seeing really positive results. The most natural is the best way to go, always." With this in mind, Snapp has used honey in both cocktails and non-alcoholic preparations across the Fox family, which grew by 12 new openings in 2014, and has another 10 coming up this year. With such a rapid rate of expansion, Snapp says honey's a perfect fit for the future of Fox, too. "It is my job to make sure everyone at all of our restaurants is approaching things the right way, and having honey as another tool in my toolbelt, and in the hands of our chefs teams, is really helping us achieve the correct balance we need." At True Food Kitchen, which goes through 70–80 pounds per week of honey at each location, Snapp's cocktail The Peacemaker is doing just what its name implies, thanks to a little honey harmony. Throughout 2015, THE TASTING PANEL will take a look at how honey is shaping the beverage industry in the wake of last year's Honey Beverage Summit. Each month we'll profile the tastemakers who are turning to this natural sweetener to brighten up cocktails and round-out beverage programs across the country, so stay tuned for more! by Rachel Burkons / photos by Grace Stukofsky The Peacemaker ¾ oz. Clover honey ¾ oz. lemon juice ¾ oz. heavy-brewed black tea ¼ oz. amaro 1½ oz. Kentucky bourbon Shake to activate tea, make frothy and serve with freshly zested lemon. Mat Snapp Fox Restaurant Concepts Swe et

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