- 78 seats
- 30 X 30-ft. kitchen
- 50% higher sales since Bowen Ricketts took over in 2005
Kraft on Craft:
"Mash-ups" with a Southern accent—Chef Bowen Ricketts does it right
Biscuits, fried chicken, popovers, grits: What's not to love about Southern food? This homey cuisine is taking center stage on mainstream menus, with showstopping "mash-ups" of traditional dishes updated with well-placed global accents.
No one expresses this trend better than Taylor Bowen Ricketts, chef-owner of Delta Bistro in Greenwood, Mississippi. With a motto of "homegrown food, better than yo mama's," this eclectic eatery delivers classic Cajun and Creole recipes influenced by flavors from all over the world. From a banh-mi-meets-po'-boy of fried oysters, country ham, radish and mint to a saffron-scented angel hair pasta with crawfish and edible flowers, the delicious mash-ups at Delta Bistro help explain the rising popularity of Southern comfort with a global spin.
"We expect more unique mash-ups of various ethnic cuisines that still maintain the authenticity of each culture."
—Datassential 2014 Menu Trends
Dijon Grilled Chicken & Pimento Cheese Quesadillas
Perfect as a sharable appetizer, bar snack or entrée, Bowen Rickett's recipe adds Southern flair to a menu standard. She first creates a white barbecue-like marinade with Grey Poupon Classic Dijon Mustard, Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, garlic and seasoning. "The Grey Poupon has a lot of flavor integrity, upping the profile of the chicken beautifully," she says. "We use about two cases each month."
Next comes a twist on a true Southern staple: pimento cheese, affectionately known as "the caviar of the South." In this recipe, says Bowen Ricketts, "the Velveeta pimento adds amazing creaminess. It takes the quesadilla to a whole other level."
Caviar of the South
Pimento cheese traces its roots to fun party food. "It says 'community' down here," says Bowen Ricketts. "Everyone loves it." At Delta Bistro, you'll find this must-have spread baked into hashbrowns, stuffed in poblanos and stirred into cornbread batter.
For her Kraft Challenge, Chef Bowen Ricketts turned to Velveeta Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread.
"The texture of Velveeta is really smooth. It's customer-friendly because of its wonderful consistency and mild flavor," she says.
Delta Bistro Velveeta Pimento Cheese
- 1 lb. Velveeta Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread – Feather Shred
- 1 cup diced pimentos
- ¼ cup Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. scallions, sliced
- 2¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tsp. Grey Poupon Classic Dijon Mustard
- ½ tsp. cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. TAPATÍO Hot Sauce
- ½ tsp. celery seed
Combine all ingredients. Makes about 2 cups.
Bourbon & Cola Chicken Sliders
For her second recipe, Bowen Ricketts used Kraft products to up the flavor ante of a signature Delta Bistro dish. Her sliders start with chicken breast, bathed in bourbon and cola, then battered, fried and layered on a buttered sweet roll with fried celery leaf. It's not easy to improve on a masterpiece but she did: switching out the butter for a spread of Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise with fried garlic chips, green onion, pimento and TAPATÍO Hot Sauce.
The result? Pure deliciousness.
"I use Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil across my whole menu," she says. "We go through about three cases a month. It's a quality product that doesn't sacrifice flavor, but cuts back on the calories and fat. In this world where we're now moving to better-for-you choices, this is a great one to make."
Some Like It Hot
Another product Bowen Ricketts enjoys is TAPATÍO Hot Sauce. "I like the chile flavor," she says, "plus the kick of vinegar makes it a good complement to rich foods." She suggests using it to brine chicken breast for a spicy stir-fry, or mixing with Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil for a bold sandwich spread.
If you were sent to a desert island, what three ingredients would you take with you?
Fresh garlic, a live chicken and a dairy cow.
What's the biggest seller on your menu?
They're all good sellers—if it's on the regular menu, it's selling well.
What dish carries the best profit margin?
I have two: Fried Green Tomatoes with Comeback Sauce and the Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Rémoulade.
What's your favorite Kraft product?
Give me a Sunday afternoon with a bowl of Velveeta Ro•Tel dip. I add ground sausage sometimes. It's great with cheap beer and any kind of sporting event on TV.