Kraftfoodservice.com
Mudsocks Grill - Operation Stats: 1 unit - 2 day parts served (lunch and dinner) - $1.5-2 million volume sales

Kraft on Craft—Steve Masch Takes the Kraft Challenge

A chef at a classic American restaurant finds inspiration with Kraft.

Steve Masch helms the kitchen at Mudsocks Grill, Noblesville, Indiana. The restaurant holds 350 seats, and Saturday nights often see more than 800 covers. The menu is extensive, offering guests more than 70 choices of appetizers, salads, entrées, sides and desserts. His menu engineering must consider both space on the speed rack as well as the efficiency of time for his kitchen brigade.

When Chef Masch developed his Prime Steak Pasta with A.1. Thick & Hearty, he knew he had answered those practical needs. He also knew he had a winning recipe. Indeed, it falls in the top five best-selling dishes on his menu. (Number one is the burger, and surprisingly, number two is the Mudsocks Fish Tacos.)

"When I was looking at adding a new recipe, I knew I wanted it on the sauté side," he says. "Pasta is always a hit, but I didn't want it to be Italian. I already have A.1. Thick & Hearty at the station, I already have alfredo, and there was minimal training for my guys on the line, so it was a good menu solution for me." Practicality of menu solution is, of course, only one piece of the puzzle. "If you look at A.1. Thick & Hearty as more than a burger sauce, ideas flow easily," says Chef Masch. "It adds a nice, thick texture with tangy, deep flavor."

Skirt Steak and Creamy Blue Cheese Pasta
Here's our take on a hearty pasta dish emboldened with A.1. Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce.

Building a winning dish

Chef Masch tosses farfalle (bowtie) pasta with his alfredo sauce deepened with A.1. Thick & Hearty. He sautés onion, garlic, mushroom and bell pepper in olive oil and blackens a 6-oz. ribeye. He adds the vegetables to the farfalle, and then cuts the steak into strips and fans them overtop. He finishes the dish with blue-cheese crumbles.

"For this recipe, I wanted to bring in some of the ingredients from a Philly cheese steak—all of which I already have on the line," he explains. "I wanted a rich cream sauce, but with layered flavors, so I turned to A.1. Thick & Hearty for that. The sauce has to stand up to the other big-flavored ingredients in the pasta, like the blackened ribeye and the blue cheese."

Even more inspiration with Kraft

Apart from the best-selling pasta, Chef Masch also prepares:

  • Mudsocks Smothered Sirloin, a 10-oz. sirloin topped with sautéed onions and mushrooms that are spiked with A.1. Thick & Hearty (a fixture on the menu)
  • Chicken Enchilada Soup, made with vegetables and aromatics (corn, red pepper, onion, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro) sautéed in A.1. Thick & Hearty. Chicken and shredded Monterey Jack round out the soup (a seasonal special)
  • Chef's Mac & Cheese, cavatappi noodles enrobed with a blend of Velveeta, Asiago, goat cheese and heavy cream (placed 6th in "Best Mac & Cheese in Indy" competition run by Indianapolis Dine) side dish, as a kid's entree, too.
  • Spring Mix with Raspberry Vinaigrette, a green salad tossed with Kraft Free Raspberry Vinaigrette Fat Free Dressing (he runs as a special, and calls out its low-fat profile, also offers dressing as an option for other mainstay salads)

Behind the chef

"I love everything about cooking," says Chef Masch. He describes his cuisine at Mudsocks Grill as classic American with a modern twist. Diners can choose from distinct dishes, such as his pan-seared crab cakes with chipotle aïoli and his grilled chicken-portabella wrap with mozzarella, roasted red pepper and pesto.

"Every day is different. I never quit learning," he says. "Our industry is constantly changing, and I love exploring new ideas." He relies on his Kraft food reps for trend information, and then researches them further online. "I really do see Kraft as my business partner," says Chef Masch.

Chef Masch unplugged

His foodservice career started with an apprenticeship at the Marriott in Indianapolis. "I was there for two and a half years and learned so much," says Chef Masch. He then got degrees in both hotel and management, as well as culinary. "I've been at Mudsocks for more than two years. I love my guys. It's my kitchen and I get to make the decisions—I love that."

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

KRAFT:

If you were sent to a desert island, what 3 ingredients would you take with you?

MASCH:

I'd bring onions, olive oil and ahi tuna.

KRAFT:

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

MASCH:

My handheld stick mixer. I love it for its versatility and because it is such a huge time saver when you're cooking in batches.

KRAFT:

Who would you most like to cook for?

MASCH:

My former boss at the hotel where I started my culinary career. I'd love to show him where I am nowadays with food, as opposed to when I first worked for him.

KRAFT:

Where was the last place you dined?

MASCH:

Jersey Mike's Subs in Indianapolis.

KRAFT:

What is your favorite Kraft product?

MASCH:

I like A.1. Thick & Hearty. The more I've gotten into using the product, the more I think of it as more than just a burger sauce—the possibilities are endless. It adds a complex, rich flavor that customers can't always put their finger on.

Kraft Culinary Centre Recipes

Poblano Burger
  • Burgers are the number-one best seller at Mudsocks. Explore our extensive selection of burger recipes, like this Poblano Burger, which boasts Chihuahua cheese, A.1. Thick & Hearty and poblano chiles.
Fish Tacos
  • Fish Tacos are a best seller at Mudsocks. Here's our Grilled Red Snapper Tacos, featuring grilled red snapper, avocado, cilantro, red onion and Kraft Bistro Sauce.
Senior Executive Chef Freeman Moser III

Steve Masch is now at The Hawthorns Golf & Country Club in Fishers, Indiana.

Chef Masch - Mudsocks Grill