Every so often a culinary inspiration comes along that crystallizes the trends and tastes shaping how we enjoy, share and think about food. Katie Yan’s delightful Genoa salami origami crane is just that kind of idea.
Katie, a food scientist with Columbus Craft Meats, carefully folds a single sheet of Columbus® Genoa salami along the lines of an origami traditional “orizuru,” or crane—the most classic of all Japanese origami. The result is a captivating bite of ingenuity, a scene-stealer that can turn any charcuterie board into a next level “edible experience.”
For Katie Yan, Inspiration Begins At Home
Katie finds her inspiration in a blend of the personal and the professional. Take a passion for the ancient art of origami, mix with a family home devoted to delicious food, add a degree in chemistry, and see Katie’s great ideas clicking into place.
“Origami was something my sister and I loved doing as girls,” remembers Katie. “Craft, creativity and heart would all come together. Mom would set us up with paper of all colors for us to play and have fun with. We’d collect our origami in big beautiful glass jars, or we’d string it up as decorations.”
Today, Katie says, “In my role as a food scientist with Columbus Craft Meats, I’m on the development side, getting the right flavors and testing samples. We come up with concepts and ideas and hand them off to marketing. I went to school for chemistry and actually got a job as a food tech. It was just a perfect fit, a chance to play with food professionally as I combine my love for food with my training as a chemist.”
Looking across today’s culinary landscape, Katie continues, “Food is evolving thanks to trends in authenticity and creativity. There’s a renewed respect for traditions just as we’re seeing a sense of fun and play and new ways of participating in ‘edible experiences.’”
“Growing up, we felt a need to be very ‘American,’ to fully assimilate. That’s changing. People want original, authentic flavors and rich, engaging experiences. We’re more accepting of different cultures. Food is a way to stand out and a means of expression.”
Food is evolving thanks to trends in authenticity and creativity. There’s a renewed respect for traditions just as we’re seeing a sense of fun and play and new ways of participating in ‘edible experiences.’Katie Yan, Food Scientist at Columbus Craft Meats
New ideas Rooted In Authentic Flavor
For Evan Inada, charcuterie and partnerships director at Columbus Craft Meats, Katie’s “salami origami” embodies much of our current culinary moment. “Our philosophy is: let’s look at flavor combinations, then at how new ideas captivate the imagination. Is it a showstopper? Does it have that wow factor? Katie’s great idea certainly does.”
Evan adds, “More and more, we’re seeing people use food to showcase one’s personality and creativity, and then share it across social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. It adds a new and exciting dimension to what it means to be a food brand, especially in the charcuterie space.”
In fact, according to Evan, photogenic boards are helping to fuel charcuterie’s soaring popularity. “Just like with origami, there’s something soothing and therapeutic about creating your own board,” he observes. “People have been gathering to break bread for thousands of years. This is a new way to share our food experiences that ties into something we’ve been doing for millennia.”
What about tips for people inspired to make their own salami origami at home? “I can see taking our signature crane and placing it on a piece of brie or a milder cheese. Add some honeycomb, sweet berries and crisp veggies, and the result would be just delicious.”
Sharing Across the Table & Social
As director of insights and innovation with Hormel Foods, Heather Vossler has built a career on spotting hot culinary trends and ideas. And for Heather, Genoa Salami origami fits the bill.
“I think this meshes beautifully with how we see food evolving,” says Heather. “How it embodies ideas, trends and tastes that are making this such a dynamic time in the food world,” she says. “People don’t simply want to buy brands, but interact with brands. We’re much more mindful in what we choose; and what we choose is expressing more about ourselves.”
According to Heather, two years of COVID-19 is propelling certain trends and creating new ones. “We’ve been cooped up for a while, and for many months heading out to our favorite restaurant was off the table. So we’ve been building skills, creating new traditions, that make the most of our new reality. Something like salami origami is perfectly timed. Instead of a traditional restaurant meal, we’re creating new edible experiences — for example, inviting a handful of friends over for a night of making and enjoying charcuterie, and then sharing the experience the next day with our friends on Instagram,” she says.
“It’s especially prevalent among younger generations. We’re all living in a more interconnected world, and food is the connective tissue we’re using to make memories, express our individuality and find that emotional reassurance that comes with connection.”
For Heather, flavor still plays a role, of course, but people are evolving what food means and how we enjoy and share it. “Personalized riffs on old favorites are increasingly popular,” she says. “Nostalgia plays a role, but in new, updated ways of looking at and loving food. Katie’s salami origami embodies all of that in such a fun, delightful way.”
Practical, Meet Fanciful
The trend toward edible experiences is driven by the practical. “I can see how salami origami reflects a response to these trying times as part of a cool, shareable edible experience,” says Katie. At the same time, she’s certain it’s an idea that flows naturally from her experience growing up in an Asian-American home. “I love how it connects elements of our past, and the culture of my ancestors, to the way we live life today.”
Columbus® Genoa salami origami is proof that sometimes, when it comes to finding the next big thing, we only need to embrace the people, culture and values we love the most.