The National Restaurant Association asked over 1500 chefs, all members of the non-profit American Culinary Federation, to predict the top restaurant trends for 2011, and the resounding answer was local.
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, which partners with the NRA, locally sourced meats and seafood and locally grown produce tied as the number one trends, with a whopping 86% of chefs naming them as key movements in the food industry.
Many of the other trends had similar bents – “simplicity,” “farm-raised,” and “artisan” were big buzzwords. “[The trends] for 2011 are reflecting larger societal trends, underscoring that American diners are becoming more and more interested in what’s on their plate,” Hudson Riehle, senior VP of NRA’s research group, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “Sustainability and nutrition are becoming key themes in our nation’s nearly one million restaurants.”
Ethnic food and ingredients also made the list as growing trends, and the surveyed chefs predicted that food trucks and pop-up trends would continue to surge in popularity.
Here’s the top 20 trends for 2011:
1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
2. Locally grown produce
4. Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes
5. “Hyper local,” such as restaurants with their own gardens and chefs who do their own butchering.
6. Children’s nutrition
7. Sustainable seafood
8. Gluten-free food and being food allergy conscious
9. Simplicity/back to basics
10. Farm/estate-branded ingredients
11. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
12. Locally produced wine and beer
13. Smaller portions for smaller prices
14. Organic produce
16. “Culinary” cocktails, for example ones that have savory or fresh ingredients
17. Newly fabricated cuts of meat such as the pork flat iron and the beef petit tender
18. Fruit and vegetables as children’s side items
19. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items, such as Asian-flavored syrups, chorizo scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes
20. Artisan cheeses