9 restaurant trends noncommercial chefs are bringing on board
Read on for a look at the dining movements that members of FSD’s Culinary Council say they’re keeping an eye on.
Organic, among others
Primarily here in the Houston metro area, the most diverse city in Texas, these are the trends from restaurants we try to interject into our menus: organic produce if possible, but locally sourced produce is now becoming more the norm; Asian-inspired dishes, predominantly Chinese or Indian; infusing fresh herbs into our recipes to increase natural oils; and seasonal menu inserts that change often to offer more variety to our longer stays.
MD Anderson Cancer Center
We have several specialty doughnut and pie concepts popping up in our local community—food truck and brick-and-mortar. Customization seems to be key for the doughnut businesses, and nods to nostalgia and local ingredients seem to be the driving force behind the pie businesses. I am frequenting these establishments and doing my best to stay abreast on all local media that is released around them.
Administrative Executive Chef for Residential Dining
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Global, but granular
We are getting specific in our cultural designations, really identifying regions and particular ingredients and spices in our foods. We've had theme meals devoted to Greece and Cyprus, Korea and an upcoming one for Ethiopia. Also, we've been "plant-forward" for a long time at UC Santa Barbara and continue to make it a priority. Our dining commons are consistently purchasing 55% or more of their produce either local or organic (or both). It just makes sense to showcase what's grown down the road from our campus and the products we are able to procure are both beautiful and delicious.
Senior Executive Chef
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, Calif.
From farm to table
The trend that most inspires me and the operations I support is farm to table. I wouldn't call it a trend. I would call it the right way to procure food for your operation and your home. Sourcing fresh, local ingredients provides you and your operation with fresher, better products to work with, and it also helps reduce the impact on the environment. Sourcing locally grown foods reduces the amount of shipping that is required for the items and, in return, reduces your overall carbon footprint.
Not to mention the food items harvested locally are superior due to the fact that the food has been handled less and is allowed to ripen on the vine, which increases flavor and freshness of the products. Farmers work extremely hard to produce food for us all, and the least we can do as chefs is respect the product and try not to screw it up too much. I learned early in my career as a chef that sourcing great quality products is the first step in creating amazing food.
Senior Regional Executive Chef
TouchPoint Support Services
Sandy Springs, Ga.
Sustainable and local
As a K-12 operation, we have been on-trend in many areas and are looking into further evolvements around local sourcing, environmental sustainability and reducing food waste. Some examples include adding to our list of farmer/producer partnerships, switching all disposable plates to biodegradable products and composting organic waste.
Culinary Manager/ Executive Chef
Minneapolis Public Schools
Betting on bowls
Bowls seems to have become a trend in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have introduced several bowl options on our retail menus, including: Comfort Food Bowls (American-inspired); Bibimbap Chicken Gochujang Bowl; Bibimbap Tofu Gochujang Bowl; Chicken Curry with Biriyani Rice Bowl (Indian-inspired); Vietnamese 5-Spice Chicken Salad Bowl; Harvest Bowl with Red Quinoa or Farro; and made-to-order salad bowls with roasted fresh vegetables.
There seems to be an increasing demand for mushroom varieties (due to health benefits and versatile usage) as well as an increase in hemp/CBD for health.
FoodService Partners Inc.
Fresh takes on fusion
On our menus for the campus, we have been using different blends of the latest cuisines. Fusion is still a mainstay. We prepare Indian-style dal for vegan dishes and Southeast Asian broths for marinades and soups, and old-fashioned comfort foods are blended in as well—maybe with a healthy twist. We also use plant-forward (not vegetarian) on our menus with a heavy emphasis on healthy low-salt and low-sugar choices every day.
Vi at Bentley Village
At Penn State University, we are serving poke bowls, and they are very popular. Bowls in general are really popular. We are serving grain bowls, burrito bowls and other traditional bowl styles. We are also developing a breakfast bowl. We are also doing a lot with our premium coffee and tea service. We are using a specialty roaster out of NYC and are serving nitrogen cold brew.
Penn State Food Services
State College, Pa.