Zoodles with Noodles: Culinary Team Interview
The time has finally come! We have introduced zucchini noodles to all our restaurants across the country and Life @ Noodles this week had the chance to sit down with the culinary team to hear the story of the Zoodle.
Conceptualizing the Zoodle: The idea came from our executive chef Nick Graff. He noticed the grocery stores growing walls of spiralized vegetables and recognized the potential. Nick thought to himself, “looks like a noodle, probably eats like a noodle, we should try this!”
Let’s Try it Phase: Anyone that has been part of a breakthrough idea knows collaboration is key. Nobody knows this better than the Noodles culinary team! Together, Nick and the team brainstormed which vegetable was the best suit for our menu. Ultimately the zucchini was selected for its versatility. It was a blank slate. Without any bold flavor characteristics of its own, we can easily substitute this for pasta in our dishes. As the team would say, we can “Noodleize it”.
Becoming a Star: Initially, the team had set out to offer the Zucchini Noodle as a low calorie, low carb, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free option for our guests looking to stay away from traditional pasta. Quickly, the team came to realize the potential doesn’t stop there! After extensive screening, taste panels, and trial and error, the beautiful flavor combination of the Zucchini Romesco was born. Zoodles very own feature dish.
Favorite Team Moments: Over the approximately yearlong project, many memories were made along the way. Just how many zucchini’s does it take to put together a taste panel for the Zoodle? Turns out the culinary team (at the time 3 people) had to prepare 460 pounds of zucchini! They recruited help from fellow Noodlers at the Central Support Office and were able to knock out 14 cases of zucchini spiraling in one day. Talk about team building! Our culinary team also commented on the pride they had in this project. The Zoodle came to be a perfect fit to the Noodles family, and it was exciting to see people with all different diet preferences come out together and try this break through ingredient. Who knew Zoodles paired with our mac and cheese sauce would create such a craveable dish?!
The journey of the Zoodle today has found its home in our restaurants. What else is in store for Zoodle? Stay tuned, Noodles culinary team continues to work and discover new ideas for the next chapter of our newest member of the Noodle family.