What’s in your kitchen?

Chefs share the trends that are driving their kitchen decisions.

Published in FSD Update

quinoa-salad

Every year around this time, foodservice research companies like Technomic, groups such as the National Restaurant Association, and a host of trade and consumer magazines disseminate their lists of the major food trends for the coming year.

The editors at FoodService Director decided to conduct our own informal panel of non-commercial chefs and operators to share their thoughts on what foods are trending in their markets. We asked our respondents to comment on five areas: fruits, vegetables, meats, grains and alternative proteins. Here’s what they had to say.

Fruits

In no segment of non-commercial foodservice will there be a more aggressive approach to fruit than in schools. Government mandates virtually ensure this. The trick, chefs say, is to find fruits that kids will want to eat.

“We do a lot of mixed fruits, which seem to be popular, like melon cups,” says Steven Burke, department chef for the Austin Independent School District, in Texas. “One new thing we tried this year that has gone over very well is [wild USDA] blueberries. We’ve used them in multiple aspects. One was a blueberry cup, lightly seasoned with a little bit of honey and lemon juice. We top that with sour cream with a little bit of vanilla added. Then we take graham crackers and crumble them up and sprinkle them over the top.”

In the Dallas Independent School District, Brad Trudeau, director of production, logistics and procurement, says he’s had surprising success with grapefruit. “You would never think children would like grapefruit,” Trudeau says. “But there’s a local Rio Grande Valley red grapefruit that is very sweet. We make wedges out of them, and the kids absolutely love it.”

Sometimes, it’s not so much what school cafeterias serve as it is how it is served.

“As silly as it sounds, a major development for us is different [fruit and vegetable] cuts to get the kids to eat,” says Lisa Feldman, director of culinary services for Sodexo Schools. “Kids like to dip. So if you have a carrot and you cut it into sticks and give them something to dip it in that’s maybe a protein source, they’re more inclined to eat that than if you give them a steamed carrot. So our development is making fruits and vegetables attractive.”

Trudeau agrees. “Kids, especially the younger ones, have a hard time eating a whole apple or orange,” he says. “If you make wedges out of it the consumption goes up incredibly.”

Making fruits fun can also increase consumption, adds Jason Morse, executive chef for Douglas County School District, in Colorado.

“We freeze grapes and call them grapesicles,” Morse explains. “When it gets crazy hot we offer them at all the elementary sites. Then it becomes a choice and not a forced option.”

In healthcare, as well, the emphasis has not necessarily been on introducing new types of fruit but on promoting increased fruit consumption.

Pages

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

Sponsored Content
Pierce boneless wings

From Pierce Chicken.

Spicy chicken wings have taken off as an iconic American food since their debut at the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964. They reached a new milestone during Super Bowl 50 weekend in February, when more than 1.3 billion wings were consumed, according to the National Chicken Council.

The emergence of boneless wings—breaded, boneless chunks of chicken breast with zesty flavors—has made a good thing even better. In fact, research shows that boneless wings complement traditional bone-in wings on restaurant menus, boosting the entire wing...

FSD Resources