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Consulting/Partner at Master Chef Seta LLC - Chef Anthony Seta

Kraft on Craft

Chef Anthony Seta Takes the Kraft Challenge

Consulting/Partner at Master Chef Seta LLC

"As a chef, I'm constantly trying to see how I can deliver the whole package to my customer. Competition is keen - it's great to have dishes that are unique and delicious."

For this recipe challenge, we called on Perkins Restaurant & Bakery's vice president of research and development Anthony Seta, one of only 61 certified master chefs. He answered with his Java Kick-Ass BBQ Sauce that wows with layered and well-rounded flavors. For a sound foundation, he turned to Bull's-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce. To give his sauce rich body and complexity, he embellished it with strong-brewed Yuban Coffee.

The result is a delicious and versatile barbecue sauce that works well with braised ribs, chicken, smoked pork, burgers, and pork chops.

Perkins Restaurant and Bakery - Operation Stats: 500 restaurants nationwide - 3 day parts served - $811,000,000 system-wide sales

Wowing the Guest

"I really wanted to develop a useable recipe that would offer an all-around flavorful barbecue sauce," says Chef Seta. "One that, with just a little infusion of ingredients, would become unique to our operation. We're always looking for ways to rise above our competition."

"The Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce is a great stand-alone product, but it also works as a strong base to a proprietary sauce," he says. "For richness and body, as well as a good counterpoint to some of the sweeter ingredients, I used Yuban Coffee."

For his Java Kick-Ass BBQ Sauce, Chef Seta cooked Oscar Mayer Bacon until crisp, then added garlic, onion, and black pepper. He stirred in brown sugar and red-wine vinegar, and continued building flavor with Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce, bay leaf, Pickapappa Sauce, BBQ spice, strong-brewed Yuban Coffee, and hot sauce.

"I was so pleased with how well the flavors blended together, delivering a mellow barbecue sauce with great depth of flavor," says Chef Seta. "The coffee gave it this richness and balance that makes the sauce unique."

Behind the Chef

Chef Seta finds inspiration through innovation. His foodservice career spans more than 30 years, and he's often thought of as the idea spark for a restaurant franchise. While vice president of menu and product development at Triarc Restaurant Group, he spearheaded innovation for its three brands: Arby's, T.J. Cinnamons, and the Pasta Connection. At Arby's, for instance, he was the driving force behind the "Market Fresh" sandwich line. He also introduced the "Idea Factory," a think tank that brought together franchisees and food scientists to brainstorm new menu ideas.

At Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Chef Seta's innovation continues. "Perkins 2000" was his brainchild, a new concept prototype that featured a state-of-the-art kitchen, home meal-replacement alternatives, and revamped service procedures.

"We have to keep innovating to stay competitive," says Chef Seta," but we also need to play to our core base by delivering old favorites, like our signature eggs Benedict. Perkins owns the market on Benedict. Because of that, our customers trust us. When we gain their trust, we can extend our menu somewhat." Kraft helps him deliver that innovation, while maintaining the customer's comfort level.

Chef Seta Unplugged

This certified master chef still turns to the foodservice community for inspiration. "I think it benefits all of us if we get together, compare notes and then come up with workable strategies," says Chef Seta. He organizes brainstorming sessions, such as the Chef Summit, which brings together manufacturers and chefs. "We work as a team, we look at trends, and we come up with great recipes."

Here are a few highlights from our interview with Chef Seta:

KRAFT:

If you were sent to a desert island, what three ingredients would you take with you?

SETA:

Tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic.

KRAFT:

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

SETA:

My pots and pans.

KRAFT:

Where was the last place you dined?

SETA:

Bhan Thai in Memphis

KRAFT:

What is your favorite Kraft product?

SETA:

I enjoy working with the Kraft Barbecue Sauces. They're well-rounded and offer mild and smoky flavor profiles that are pleasing to our clientele. The overriding profile isn't heat, but rather deep flavor, which allows me to add my own heat if I want it really spicy.

Chef Seta is now a consulting chef/partner at Master Chef Seta, LLC,
based in Tampa, Fla.

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Chef Seta - Perkins