Will Sriracha be pushed aside for another “hot” condiment, or will quinoa make way for a mysterious new grain? FoodService Director polled the magazine’s 50 Chefs’ Council members to get their take on what would be the next food trend. Before 2017 budgets and menu planning are finalized, take a look at some of their predictions.
1. Ugly vegetables get star treatment
With cost control and sustainability top of mind for many noncommercial operators, sourcing produce formerly considered “seconds” is becoming a priority. Ron DeSantis, director of culinary excellence for Yale University, predicts that ugly fruits and vegetables—those bruised or misshapen specimens that might have ended up in the compost heap—will be finding their way onto more menus. Yale’s catering menus, in particular, are being designed to support the use of reclaimed produce, he says.
2. The emergence of Native American cuisine
Operators continue to dig deeper into the dishes of Asian, Mediterranean and Latin countries for global menu inspiration, but several chefs cited Native American as the cuisine that will grab the spotlight in 2017. Jim Mazzaraco, executive chef of corporate dining at Corning Inc., plans to explore indigenous Native American foods and add a couple to the menu, he says.
3. Global spice and pepper blends hit the mainstream
Za’atar and ras el hanout are some flavoring ingredients that Brent Trudeau of Cypress-Fairbanks school district in Houston plans to experiment with. Ryan McNulty of Metz Culinary Management also chose those two, adding sambal and sumac to the mix. These spices and sauces are in step with some of the cuisines the respondents mention as trending upward, including Moroccan, Arabic and Korean.
4. Yogurt and ice cream go savory
With students’ taste buds becoming more sophisticated, savory yogurts and ice creams will have a bigger presence at breakfast stations and snack bars in noncommercial venues, predicts Carrie Anderson, executive chef for residential dining at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
5. Curing meats in-house
Bill Laychur, corporate executive chef at Pennsylvania State University, cites the return of sausage as a top trend in 2017. “Sausage will be back, but not your average run-of-the-mill varieties,” he says. “They will be house-cured and fresh, made with interesting ingredients.” Kurt Kwiatkowski, corporate chef at Michigan State University, intends to continue saving the trim and scraps from meat prep to grind into housemade sausages.
6. The pupusa is the new taco
Authenticity and portability continue to be in demand by customers, and grab-and-go street foods meet that demand. Next up: the pupusa, according to Jose Martinez, senior executive chef for Cal Dining of University of California at Berkeley. This street food from El Salvador consists of a thick, griddled corn tortilla—more like an oversized arepa—typically wrapped around a filling of pork, cheese and refried beans. But as with tortillas, flexibility reigns when it comes to filling ingredients.