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  • Welcome! My name is Kelly, and I am a picky eater. On this blog I share recipes, new (to me) foods, restaurants, and products that I try in an effort to expand my tastes. You might also find me talking about my pug Olive, Miss Kitty, Project Life, my journey with running, and more! Feel free to contact me: [email protected]

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HLS Recap: Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen

Last year at the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago, I had the opportunity to visit and tour the Frito Lay factory in Beloit, WI and learn all about Frito Lay and the ways they think about healthy foods, sustainability and more.  (Check out my Frito Lay recap from last year for all of those thoughts.)

This year at the Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia, I had the opportunity to attend a Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen event. Going into it, I really had no idea what it would be.  The information that I was given prior to the event was vague – I just knew that it involved chip flavors.

Early Friday morning, I headed down to the hotel lobby to meet the group and head across the street to Reading Terminal Market for the Flavor Kitchen demonstration.  I had no idea how many people to expect, but I was kind of glad to see that there were only about 20 of us going.  Last year on the tour, there were more like 100.

La Cucina

We walked over to the market and headed to a back room where there was a small kitchen demonstration area.  I had no idea that there was even an area like this among the food! The small area snugly fit the 20 of us, as well as the three chefs that would be doing the demonstration.

Flavor Kitchen

The event started out with a presentation about Frito Lay and what they do for sustainability and health trends.  I talked about that quite a bit when I talked about the tour last year and they have a lot mroe about that on their website.  I encourage you to check out my recap from last year and/or their site – I bet you will be surprised with what you find.  They really prove that just because they are a large company doesn’t mean that they don’t care about health, wellness and sustainability.

Flavor Kitchen

Then it was time for the main presentation: Food!

The main purpose of this demonstration was to give us a taste (literally and figuratively) of what it is like to develop chip flavors.  We took two different flavors – caramelized onion and curry – and made them two different ways.  But they were only different by 1 factor – which would be basically the final step to flavor testing after a bunch of other recipe idea sessions and tastings.  The point of the little experiment was to show us that even one ingredient can pretty drastically change a flavor – and that not everyone has the same opinion about what the “best” flavor is.

The first one that we tried was the caramelized onion.  So, I’m not a fan of onions in general so I didn’t try this and I can’t tell you much about the difference in flavor of these two. But I can tell you that the difference between the two was that one was cooked in oil and one was cooked in butter.  Visually, they looked quite different, as you will see in the photo below. (served with SunChips)

Caramelized Onions

The curry flavor options I actually DID try.  (I know you all are surprised, don’t let your jaws hit the ground)  The only difference between the two curries were that one was green curry paste and one was red curry paste.  For me, the main difference between the two was the the red was quite a bit spicier than the green.  This was a good example, though, of how the idea of curry flavored potato chips can have many different iterations and flavor possibilites. (served with Classic Lays)

Curry Chips

We also got to see what a final flavor tastes like.  We got to try the flavor profile behind the tomato basil Lays chips.  In the small cup is a tomato basil cold soup (? salsa? something) and then next to it is the tomato basil Lays chip.  It was really pretty amazing how extremely similar the two flavors tasted. Side note: If you have not tried the tomato basil Lays chips, DO IT.  They are so fresh tasting and really make you forget that you are eating a potato chip.

Tomato Basil

Frito Lay also develops dips and salsas, so they decided to let us try their Guacamole Hummus recipe.  I’m not generally a huge fan of either of those two things, but this was SO good.  It honestly surprised me how much I liked it.  Also, they made it right there in front of us and it seemed very easy to make as well.  (I’m sure you will see me review this recipe on the blog soon!)  It was served with the Black Bean Garlic Artisan Chips which made me like the dip even more!

Guacamole Hummus

You may recall that I recently discovered that Chobani has a whole recipe section on their website.  Well, Frito Lay has a recipe section as well!  There are many many different recipes inspired by and using their products.  To promote the delicious recipes that they have on their website, the chef made us one of them.  It was a Bruschetta Quinoa.  I recently discovered that I enjoy quinoa – especially warm – so I was pretty excited about trying this dish.  I was hesitant though because bruschetta usually implies chunky tomatoes (to me at least) and I’m not so much a fan of that.  In the end though, this dish was awesome. Really flavorful, delicious, and healthy!

Bruschetta Quinoa

The whole Flavor Kitchen demonstration lasted about 2 hours – which was a welcome change compared to last year’s day long event.  The chef that led the demonstrations was very knowledgable, fun and engaging.  He had clearly researched our blogs and the healthy living community, knew the issues we would be interested in and did his best to answer our questions.

As much as I really enjoyed the factory tour last year, the event this year was better in so many ways.  It seemed to be geared more towards the “healthy living” genre -rather than just a general tour group presentation.  The chef was more engaging and charismatic than the tour guides last year.  Really overall the experience was just more fun and I felt like every minute of my time there was well spent. (Although I did miss the Catch Phrase competition that happened on the bus last year.)

Thank you to HLS and Frito Lay for this presentation, I hope I get to attend more in the future!

2 Responses

  1. I also have an aversion to large, chunky tomatoes and onions, but I did try the carmelized ones. I wasn’t in love with them, but the cheese was good! 😉 This event was probably my favorite of the whole weekend!

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