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Executive Chef Steven Chiappetti, Viand, Chicago

Kraft on Craft

Chef Steven Chiappetti takes the Kraft Challenge

A chef at an eclectic restaurant finds inspiration with Kraft

"I see the menu as a medium for art and entertainment. That artistic push guides my passion now."

We asked Steven Chiappetti, executive chef and general manager of 60-seat Viand in Chicago, to create a sandwich recipe using a Kraft product. He came back with a simple plus-one embellishment that turns an everyday turkey sandwich into a signature lunch item.

"To me, lunch is the most important meal of the day. My goal is to make it nutritious and inspiring," says Chef Chiappetti. He accomplishes both with his Asian Turkey Towers on Hawaiian Bread.

Viand - Operation Stats: 350 covers daily - 3 day parts served - $3,500,000 volume sales

Towering flavor

"When developing a sandwich, I'm looking to build a dish with complementing flavors and contrasting textures," he says. "By adding sriracha to the mayonnaise, I'm opening the palate with heat, but balancing it with the mayo's creaminess. And then the slaw adds a really wonderful crunch."

In a saucepan, Chef Chiappetti coats shredded turkey breast with his Asian glaze – a blend of plum sauce, hoisin, sriracha, dark soy sauce and sesame seeds. He spreads mayonnaise, spiked with sriracha, onto each slice of toasted pineapple bread, adds the turkey and a spoonful of Asian slaw to one slice, then closes it with the other. He serves a warm dipping sauce of the Asian glaze for interactive fun.

"Both the glaze and the slaw have sriracha in it, so adding it to the mayonnaise ties all the flavors together," he says. "I choose Kraft Mayo for its well-balanced profile. It absorbs added flavor beautifully."

Behind the Chef

Chef Chiappetti approaches food with playfulness. "Fresh, quality ingredients are the foundation, but we have to remember why we all gather around the table," he says. "Family and friends are there not only to eat, but also to be entertained. By creating fun and friendly food, you engage the diner with the food on the plate. That's so important."

That whimsy permeates Viand's menu, from the Smoked Gouda Lollipops with a Chimichurri Sauce to the Pirate's Treasure on the kids' menu, which buries root vegetables and ground sirloin in a mound of mashed potatoes. "I see the menu as a medium for art and entertainment," says Chef Chiappetti. "That artistic push guides my passion now."

He measures success through each dish served. "If it comes back to the kitchen and there's more than half left on the plate, the customer doesn't pay for it because they obviously didn't enjoy it." Thankfully, he says, that doesn't happen often.

Chef Chiappetti Unplugged

One of the greatest challenges facing independent operators, says Chef Chiappetti, is staying on top of trends and ingredients. "It's such a global market today, and there's literally a world of ingredients out there. To understand them, and then use them properly, is quite a feat. But it's a fun one."

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

KRAFT:

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

CHIAPPETTI:

Salt, olive oil and A.1. Steak Sauce.

KRAFT:

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

CHIAPPETTI:

My microplane. It adds essence to a dish – orange, lime, lemon – and helps you accent food really well.

KRAFT:

Where was the last place you dined?

CHIAPPETTI:

Flying Fish Café at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

KRAFT:

What is your favorite Kraft product?

CHIAPPETTI:

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. A good mustard is one of those ingredients that goes well with almost everything: salmon, steak, lamb, chicken.

What's Next for Chef Steven Chiappetti?

Chef Chiappetti is currently writing a children's cookbook, as well as developing a retro-diner concept for the Chicagoland area.

Asian Turkey Towers on Hawaiian Bread
Asian Turkey Towers on Hawaiian Bread
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Savory Beef Dipper Sandwich
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Chef Chiappetti - Viand