With more than 50 menu choices, made using fresh ingredients and house-made sauces, food quality is the top priority at the 17 (and counting!) Ontario locations of Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill.
By Lawrence Herzog
Photography by Brandon Gray
New items make the menu only after earning top marks from tasting panels of team members, industry personnel, culinary enthusiasts and guests invited through the Turtle Jack’s Loyalty Club Program (TLC).
“We invite our TLC members to sample our creativity, have some fun introducing them to new tastes, and then take their comments to help guide us,” explains Chief Creative Officer Clark Lishman. “The final test and our ‘golden rule’ is that it must be so good you cannot stop eating it.”
At each Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill location, the menu gives you a splash of the cottage with “always fresh never frozen” items like our 3 cheese dip, Turtle wings, artisans sandwiches, fresh chuck burgers and gourmet sides. For their award-winning ribs, Turtle Jack’s chefs start with a Kraft BBQ Sauce, then add their unique flavour twist to create a signature sauce. “We proudly use Kraft products because you can’t find a better Caesar or Ranch dressing, you can’t find a better Blue Cheese dressing, and we’ve used them since the inception of Turtle Jack’s in 1992,” Lishman says.
Salad dressings and wine dipping sauces also start with Kraft. “Those sauces aren’t just an accompaniment, they are flavour enhancers. The Kraft Gourmet Blue Cheese Dressing has chunks of blue cheese in it. We choose Kraft because it is made with quality ingredients.”
The exceptional quality and flavour profiles of the products mean big time savings for the culinary team. “I could labour for hours over the barbecue sauces and making our sugar sauce, and we would come up with a product almost identical to the one we are already using,” Lishman says. “We’ve created wing sauces using Kraft dressings and then adding to them to make them our own.”
This is classic cottage comfort cuisine with a twist. “We’re big on seasonality and we use fresh, local ingredients as much as possible and keep our feature menus on the move to keep things current. People are looking for big, authentic flavours now, they are happy with some heat from chipotle and chili peppers, and there’s a new Peruvian influence coming on which we plan to incorporate into our spring menu. Even our kid’s menu has some adventurous items with wings and tacos.”
Every year, the Turtle Jack’s culinary team heads to Kraft Heinz for an ideation session with their corporate chefs. “We’re being creative, trying new flavours, using a variety of flavours in different ways,” Lishman says. “Our customers are responding enthusiastically, and we’re excited.”
The Kraft Heinz advantage:
• Consistency: “You can trust the product to be top quality for outstanding results time after time,” Lishman says.
• Versatility: “We have 31 in-house sauces available on our wings and a lot of those are Kraft combos of different variations.”
• Flavour: “Go for tried-and-true flavour your customers have loved for years or something new and exciting,” Lishman recommends. “The choice is yours.”
• Convenience: Kraft Heinz products deliver outstanding flavour while saving labour.
• On-trend: Kickstart your creativity by starting with superb sauces.