Ketchup Leather: The condiment revolution is finally upon us
No one wants to be in a situation where they have to use the adjective "soggy" to describe their food, particularly if that food is an otherwise delicious, all-dressed burger.
Ernesto Uchimura, the lead chef for Plan Check restaurants, has a solution. The small chain of restaurants in Los Angeles specialize in gourmet burgers and Uchimura has created ketchup leather: a drier, flatter version of the popular tomato-based condiment to prevent any possible sogginess.
"Ketchup leather's very simply dehydrated ketchup," Uchimura tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "It dehydrates into sheets very similar to a fruit roll-up texture and consistency, but with a ketchup flavour, obviously."
Uchimura dehydrates his ketchup using low-heat ovens and fan system to create a rapid-evaporation process.
"The structure of the cells of the tomato product, plus the sugars and all the other seasonings, dehydrate and they form a very nice, even sheet," Uchimura explains.
Uchimura came up with the leather idea after trying to combat the soggy-bun problem. He serves his signature burger on a panko-crusted bun and the leather helps preserve the crunchy texture.
The leather is primarily used as a burger condiment, but Uchimura occasionally experiments with other leather recipes.
"Sometimes I take a strip of it and I put french fries in it and I'll roll it up and eat it that way."
There is no mention of potential mustard, relish or mayo leathers, but Uchimura says he would love to see his ketchup invention take off and expand into other restaurants.
"I sure hope it takes off," Uchimura explains. "I'm just happy to kind of create food and invent products that are functional for me and, if they so happen to be picked up by the public or the public gets interested or other restaurants get interested, I mean, then so be it and I'm happy."