Interview: Chef Michael Laduke Unveils Red Lobster’s Newly Released Menu

Have you found yourself staying in and cooking at home, rather than eating out due to the economy or lack of variety at your once favorite restaurant? Red Lobster restaurant released their new menu today, and we have the inside scoop! Their Senior Executive Chef Michael LaDuke joined me this morning to chat about everything from their delicious new seafood options to their new mouthwatering vegetarian skewers and everything in between all at under $15!

Red Lobster Senior Executive Chef, Michael LaDuke. Image courtesy of Red Lobster

Candace Rose: What are the latest trends you’re seeing in restaurant menus?

Chef Michael LaDuke: “I think the two biggest things we’re seeing in restaurant menus is: one the need for more choice and variety and broadening our menu a little bit. And more importantly we’re seeing the need to deliver great value to our guests to make sure that we have things at our price point. We’re launching our new menu today that is really designed to go after those things and what we call our mainstays of 15 new items priced under $15, as well as we’ve broadened our menu to have over 25% be non-seafood.”

Candace Rose: Why do you think so many Americans are intimidated by seafood?

Chef Michael LaDuke: “I think seafood probably isn’t part of people’s diets early on and probably not what your mom and dad cooked every day so they may not be comfortable with cooking it and they may not know purchasing seafood. I think the best thing for guests to do is come out to a place like a Red Lobster where we serve a lot of great seafood and try some new things. We continue to find from our guests that the more they try it the more they love it, the more they come back.”

Candace Rose: For those of us who are seafood beginners, what’s the secret to picking a seafood dish we’ll love?

Chef Michael LaDuke: “I think when you go into a restaurant you take a dish and you look for flavors you love and maybe a technique and a style you love, and combine that with some seafood.

A great example is on our new menu – one of our mainstays under $15 is our Tilapia Roasted in Parchment with Vegetables. It’s got great asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes, white wine and some lemon, so some really familiar flavors but cooked in the parchment with Tilapia, it’s really all about those big flavors and the great aroma when that gets opened tableside. We have a Bacon Wrapped Barbecued Shrimp – the nice smoky flavor of bacon and the sweetness of the barbecue sauce are familiar flavors and combined with the shrimp, so a great way to kind of ease your way into it.”

Candace Rose: What are some great non-seafood alternatives?

Chef Michael LaDuke: “So currently on the menu as we added choice and variety, we wanted to make sure we had non-seafood options for maybe you just don’t care for seafood that night. We have a Double Cut Pork Chop with a Peach Bourbon Barbecue Sauce with Apple Compote cooked over a wood fire grill – just a really big bold killer dish. We also have a Wood Grilled Chicken with a Portobello and Red Wine Sauce, so a deep red wine sauce with fresh portobellos and roasted to give them maximum flavor. As well as we’re launching a vegetarian dish today – a Roasted Vegetable Skewer that’s fresh vegetables roasted on a skewer, served with flour tortillas and rice on a real light lemon butter sauce so great opportunities to come out and enjoy some stuff, and again mainstays and all under $15, and all non-seafood.”

Candace Rose: Everything sounds delicious! Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?

Chef Michael LaDuke: “For all things Red Lobster you can visit our website at RedLobster.com, find a location near you. You can see our new menu, you can check out some great seafood buying tips, and really a great one stop shop for everything seafood

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