Qdoba chef educates guests on the flavors of Mexico

Ted Stoner is a busy man. As Qdoba's head chef and director of strategic product development, Stoner spends his time traveling North and South America looking for new and innovative flavor trends in an effort to give guests more menu variety.

On September 13, Stoner landed in Louisville, Ky., for an event intended to showcase the company's latest limited-time-offer, Mexican Lettuce Wraps. The wraps are being offered in three varieties and each one is 350 calories or less.

The varieties include chicken with mango salsa and cilantro-lime dressing, chicken with cucumber red pepper salsa and ancho chile BBQ sauce, and savory garden veggie with guacamole, southwest zucchini salsa and fat-free picante ranch dressing.

In addition to discussing the new menu item, Stoner showed attendees how to select ripe avocados, tell the difference between a variety of peppers and how to roast them.

Stoner said there are many foods that aren't necessarily bad for consumers, but they aren't healthy, either. He credits the new wraps with offering consumers foods that work well together, such as the southwest zucchini salsa, that blends corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro and zucchini.

"They're great ingredients that are good for you and beneficial," Stoner said.

Louisville is one of two markets (the other is Colorado Springs, Colo.) testing the new lettuce wraps.

Don Doyle, president of ZT of Louisville LLC, owns and operates with his partner, Mike Grisanti, 22 Qdoba locations throughout four states. Doyle also is a member of Qdoba's franchise advisory board, and said he believes the wraps are a good idea for the brand.

Click below to view a slideshow of the new store design and chef Ted Stoner.

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