The most noticeable themes amongst 2014’s culinary trends all fall under the umbrella term “healthy eating.” Emphasizing locally grown foods, sustainable options and whole grains, chefs are now focusing on creating flavorful cuisines that please both the palate and the conscience. Creativity and sustainability play a part in the development of cookery, perfecting the balance between what tastes good and what is actually good for you without compromising either. A major factor to consider when choosing ingredients and producers is the value that comes with selecting locally sourced produce and meats. These trends signify that consumers are starting to realize that the impact of their culinary choices affect more than what ends up on their plates. With these trends in play throughout the 2014 culinary year, chefs and restaurateurs alike are finding the balance between delicious food and food that is good for you without compromising either.
Given this information, it is important to notice what a role that sustainable practices play in the restaurant industry – a factor that affects the customer’s decision to dine at a venue even before they set foot in the establishment. The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Program known for “serving up sustainability” provides statistics on these trends. In the 18-34 year old age demographic, 43% said that environmentally safe food is an important factor in making a dining choice. In addition, 55% of consumers would be more prone to select a restaurant if their menu items were produced in an organic or environmentally-friendly way.
Restaurant.org’s “Top 20 Trends” list further details these trends mentioned above:
1 . Locally sourced meats and seafood
2. Locally grown produce
3. Environmental sustainability
4. Healthful kids’ meals
5. Gluten-free cuisine
6. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
7. Children’s nutrition
8. Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
9. Sustainable seafood
10. Farm/estate branded items
11. Nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking (e.g. reduce food waste by using entire animal/plant)
14. New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, tri-tip)
15. Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth)
16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. Asian-flavored syrups, Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
17. Grazing (e.g. small-plate sharing/snacking instead of traditional meals)
18. Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
19. Fruit/vegetable children’s side items
20. Half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price
Our Chefs of the Month can testify to these popular trends taking the American culinary landscape by storm. Chef Anish Rana (June’s Chef of the Month) of popular Ft. Lauderdale restaurant Bistro Mezzeluna has noticed the popularity of healthy foods, small plates, gluten-free options, and kid’s meals in 2014. February’s Chef of the Month, Ron Duprat (made famous for competing on season 6 of Bravo’s Top Chef) said this of 2014’s culinary trends: “I see a few dining trends occurring in 2014 including incorporating locally sourced meat and seafood, locally grown produce, environmentally sustainable food products, healthy food options that are also kid-friendly, gluten-free cuisines, and the new Haitian cuisine.”
As we are halfway through the 2014 year, ChefUniforms.com would like to hear your thoughts on this year’s culinary trends and if these predictions ring true!