The National Restaurant Association just released its annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast. The future looks bright, and it makes me hungry. The results of the food trend survey (compiled from the responses of nearly 1,300 professional chefs) had a lot in common with last year’s outcomes. Read on for my favorite bits…
First, The Top 10 Restaurant Food Trends For 2014
For those of us hoping to “Eat Drink Better” at a restaurant, the top trends look mighty fine. Local meat, seafood, and produce again made the top 10 cut as did hyper-local sourcing and environmental sustainability. Providing healthy foods for our little ones continues to bear importance for our food purveyors. Here’s the top 10. What do you think?
- Locally sourced meats and seafood
- Locally grown produce
- Environmental sustainability
- Healthful kids’ meals
- Gluten-free cuisine
- Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
- Children’s nutrition
- Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
- Sustainable seafood
- Farm/estate branded items
Interesting Outcomes In The Top 11 to 20
- Number 11 goes to the restaurant trend of nose-to-tail or root-to-stalk cooking to reduce waste by using the entire animal or plant. The landfills and environment say: “¡Gracias!”
- Restaurants will also be cooking and serving more ancient grains, like kamut, spelt, and amaranth. Whole grains are good for you — why not try some older varieties?
- Small plates instead of eating larger meals (which the survey terms “grazing”) is also in the top 20. As is the trend of restaurants serving smaller or half-portions at reduced prices. More great ways to minimize food waste and save a few bucks!
Finally, Some Intriguing Category Outcomes
- In the dessert category, we’ll be seeing them served savory versus sweet in 2014. I’m trying to process that unsuccessfully. Any idea what this might look like? Ditto edible cocktails (which is number 4 in the cocktail trend category).
- Unusual herbs, like lovage, chervil, and lemon balm, hit the top 5 in the produce category. So obviously this is my year to start the herb farm!
- Pickling, fermenting, and smoking are the top three trending preparation methods.
Good trends? Bad trends? In-between trends? What do you think of the restaurant industry’s crystal ball?
Image Credit: Food Trends via Shutterstock