Top 10 Food Trends of 2010 By custom culinary
Keeping up with food trends is crucial in finding the right menu mix for your restaurant. So every year, the chefs at Custom Culinary, Inc put together what they see as the top 10 food trends. Many of these trends were gathering steam before the recession, which served to accelerate the move toward value and have-it-your-way consumer appeal: 10. The Quiet Vegetarian – Operators are figuring out how to satisfy vegetarian diners with meatless specialties (many of them ethnic-inspired) that also appeal to carnivores—it’s not just about tofu anymore. 9. New Wave Bar Menus – Handcrafted cocktails and ambitious specialty beer and wine-by-the-glass programs are being joined by sophisticated, bar nibbles (marinated olives, gourmet deviled eggs, crostini, etc.) to create an upscale new bar experience that even includes new chef-driven tavern concepts like the Breslin Bar in New York City. 8. Breakfast and Brunch – The “most important meal of the day” has become even more important, as consumers hanker for a more approachablypriced dining out experience, and operators seek ways to leverage existing resources into new sales; it doesn’t hurt that both eggs and bacon have become hugely popular (and inspiring) ingredients.
4. Sandwich Innovations – Sandwiches of all kinds offer value and menu appeal, especially when their makers explore such trends as artisanal ingredients (hearth-baked breads and housemade condiments), ethnic influences (from Vietnamese banh mi to Mexican tortas) and regional specialties (including Louisiana muffalettas and Philly cheesesteaks). 3. Basics, Upgraded – Burgers, pizza, hot dogs and fries: there seems to be no limit to the specialty form that these perennially popular economy eats can take, from Neapolitan pies and Kobe beef sliders to lard-basted dogs and multi-veggie fries. 2. Comfort Food Classics – Mac-and-cheese, fried chicken, meatballs… chefs are tapping the comforting appeal of these traditional favorites, adding their own signature spin (lobster mac-and-cheese, anyone?) to familiar items that patrons always want more of. 1. Shareable Specialties – The popularity of small plates and other mix-and-match menu concepts has led to a full-blown trend of shareable menu items, from snacks and small plates to family-style portions for the table, allowing customers to build their own sociable dining experience.
7. Meat Makes a Comeback - Cured meats, housemade sausages, butcher’s cuts like hanger steak and short ribs, pork aplenty: The availability of specialty proteins like heirloom pork and pastured poultry has led to a cult of protein that has put more meat on the table—and not just in steakhouses 6. Mini-Desserts – Smaller-format desserts represent a way for patrons to sample sweets with less guilt (and cost) and for operators to build add-on sales with irresistible items like cupcakes, samplersize portions, and other desserts. 5. Farm-to-Fork – The sustainable/seasonal/local/ artisan trend marches on, and could be emerging as the decade’s biggest game-changer; in the long run, the trend also speaks to more authenticity and ingredient-driven cooking styles. www.worldchefs.org 45