Andrew Diaz Summer 2017 Blog

by Andrew Diaz, September 18, 2017

The “moment of truth” at my internship was about a month ago when we had a large client in our office for a 33-course tasting. My internship at the time, which is now where I work full-time, is CSSI Marketing + Culinary, a culinary research and development organization that develops culinary concepts for large clients around the country. I had my own concept that I had been developing during the previous week to the client’s arrival at our kitchen/office. While I didn’t develop the paper concept (the idea for the concept before the prototype is first cooked), I did develop, test and reformulate the sauce that was featured in the dish.

So, after spending the better part of a week formulating the sauce to be exactly right, I presented my dish to the client, a bulgogi taco with gochujang and avocado crema. It was hectic like I had never seen before at our kitchen. All the chefs were scrambling to get their courses out on time and in the exact order that was prescribed. When it was my turn, the client was very pleased with the presentation and taste of the dish.

I thought I was done, but then one of our chefs came over to the kitchen and asked me to replicate the dish, but as a different kind of hand-held application (for example, from a sandwich to a wrap). I had plenty of mise left over, but I had put it all away thinking I was done. After clearing the first hurdle, I felt like I was mentally done. Nonetheless, I got to work and recreated the dish according to the client’s request. It was sent out and I didn’t hear anything else about it that day. The following day I learned that the reason for the last-minute request was because the dish was one of the client’s favorites that day and they wanted to see it in another form to test its versatility.


A few weeks later I found out that my dish had been chosen to appear on the cover of Flavor & The Menu magazine, which is a bi-monthly publication aimed at leaders in the restaurant industry to stay current on food and beverage trends. The September-October 2017 edition features a bulgogi taco with kimchi fried rice, grilled mango, pickled red cabbage, sesame-crusted avocado, bok choi and avocado-gochujang crema. It can also be found on the homepage of their website:

The client, Avocados From Mexico, came in and sampled more than 30 concepts and chose mine to feature on the cover of the magazine, along with a 2-page article inside. This experience was more than I could have imagined at this internship and I’m really honored to have been a part of it.

I learned that day that it’s never over until it’s over — even after the meal is served to the client’s satisfaction. Don’t breathe your sigh of relief until you get home.

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