Fresh from the hive, drizzled here and there on the menu for sticky-sweet impact, honey can do a lot as an ingredient: it can emulsify a sauce, balance fiery flavors and give your plates a sense of place. According to Datassential, honey is one of the top sauces/flavors on U.S. restaurant menus as of December, increasing 11% since 2012.
Honeycomb in a frame
Jamie Simpson, executive chef liaison, Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden, Huron, Ohio
Price: for special events, varies
Just as The Chef’s Garden’s Farmer Lee Jones is instantly recognizable by his bow-tie-overalls combo, Chef Jamie Simpson, a transplant to Ohio from the South, is identified by his ponytail and a look of intensity as he hunches over intricate plates. For garden-centric events at the Culinary Vegetable Institute (CVI) at The Chef’s Garden (and offsite events, too, like a recent James Beard dinner in New York), this whole honeycomb frame (pictured above) can be interactive or part of a cheese service that’s served to guests.
The Big Bite B.L.A.T.
Guy Fieri, Chicken Guy!, Orlando and Miami
Sauces offer a pathway to Flavor Town in 22 different ways at Guy Fieri’s two Florida chicken joints, the perfect accent to the hand-pounded-and-breaded-daily-for-maximum-crunch chicken. Sauce choices range from Fieri’s signature Donkey Sauce to curry mayo to garlic parmesan and the new avocado crema. Honey is the star of Nashville Hot Honey sauce, combining the sweet stuff with red chilies, cayenne, garlic and onion, shown here with the Big Bite B.L.A.T., a crispy chicken sammie with bacon, lettuce, avocado crema and tomatoes.
Brown butter-honey-tahini toast
Carey Hynes, chef, Mockingbird, Miami
Mockingbird is the hip brunchy sister to cocktail bar Jaguar Sun, both located in the lobby of X Miami apartments, a luxe new development in downtown Miami with a tropical-vintage vibe. Alongside avocado toast on the menu at Mockingbird is the newish tahini toast, with nutty brown butter and honey.
Honey Teriyaki Alaska Wild Salmon
Kathy Casey, chief creative officer, Lucky Louie Fish Shack, Seattle, Wash.
Later this month, Lucky Louie Fish Shack will open in the Central Terminal at Sea Tac Airport. The new menu features a fanciful sketch of a buzzing bee next to this menu item, a pretty slab of salmon with a sweet, savory and salty teriyaki sauce with honey as its backbone. “The sauce really makes the dish,” said Kathy Casey, who is also owner of Kathy Casey Food Studios-Liquid Kitchen, a multi-national food concept agency. “We combine clover honey with gluten-free soy, garlic, ginger and a touch of Korean gochujang for spice and depth of flavor.”