Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stateside Dining Out Trends

A first look at what is happening stateside:
Dining Out Food Trends…. (Baum +Whiteman, International food and Restaurant Consultants)

1.   …the whole world on a plate: gastronomically everything goes! Fusion has moved to “Global Mixmaster”.  A multi-ethnic, multi sensory dining experience where flavours clash on purpose.
‘a multi-culti zucchini pizza dabbed with hummus and topped with crunchy wasabi peas is from nowhere geographically because it is from EVERYWHERE.

Cooking is at a crossroads where everything collides!

2.   .instead of bread: differentiation is the name of the game.  Look for sandwiches piled on things other than bread.  Waffles, rice cakes, flatbreads, wraps, tostones.  Think of KFC’s famous Double Down but with more inventive ingredients.

The KFC ‘Double Down’, contains two pieces of bacon and two melted slices of cheese, slathered in mayonnaise and sandwiched between two slices of meat.

3.    …Peter Piper Pickles: vegetable and fruit pickles will appear on more and more menus as chefs conconct ever more complex ways of making these preserves.  These are becoming popular as they enliven all those multi-culti sandwiches.  They are not like Grans, but global ingredients such as Asian fish sauce, Mexican peppers, ginger, yuzu, smoked paprika and star anise.  Kimchee has gone free-for-all!  As dark chocolate, strong coffee and brussel sprouts have become the more regular choice for Americans, so their palate has shifted from sweet to bitter and sweet-sweet to tart-sweet.  There are more pickled shallots and leeks atop steaks instead of fatty onion rings.  Asian cuisine has brought a world-wide palate shift for sour-salty flavours.

4.    …comfort food hits the wall: bored by gastro-nostalgia customers and demanding new taste thrills and culinary invention. Asian Bolognese, reworked Mac n Cheese with pork rilletes. There is no limit to what can go on a burger(pastrami & eggs, beef & oysters).  Sushi is getting stuffed with multi-culti ingredients. Plain roast chicken has been surpassed by Korean fried chicken and our beloved Guacomole has been spiked with wasabi paste. Hummus is no longer a simple choice and a dozen or so flavours keep us interested.  Meatloaf has been sidelined for all manner of meatballs at twice the price.

5.    …Round is hot: falafel, arancini, goats cheese balls, meatballs, risotto balls – all deep fried and served with multi-culti sauces and dips – are becoming hot shareable food.  They are contemporary, drink-friendly finger food and no one watches the calories.  Mini sandwiches with Banh-mi flavours, chicken lollipops and next to come are Japanese snacky things.

6.    …beer gardens: outdoor or indoor/outdoor, beer gardens will boom. The bigger the better.  Good cheap beer and unchallenging food like pretzels, hot dogs and burgers.  Moveable roofs and warmers make for a year round business.  Have a look out for Eataly’s Birreria, (Madison Ave) a 10 000sq ft rooftop extravaganza in New York with its own microbrewery, wine from barrels, operable roof and terrific “alpine” food.

7.    …forget skycraper architecture:  chefs are shifting from stacking to stinging out ingredients in a caterpillar-like lines along oblong or rectangular plates 

8.    Peru gains momentum: the home of pisco sours and ceviche, Peruvian cuisine is a mix of Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Italian and Andean flavours.  Top chefs worldwide are dabbling here and predict this as the next cuisine

9.    be careful: misuse of words like “artisan” and “heirloom” and “local” as retail chains pollute their meaning for marketing slogans. Adding “wholegrain” to plant bread does not make it “artisan”.  “greem’ and “sustainable” are in this category too. There is looming oversupply of farmers markets and too many chefs are smoking too many foods

10.                  BUZZWORDS

Fresh sardines
Ultra long dry aging of meat
Duck (but no l’orange)
Bone marrow
Coconut oil
Goat meat
Lamb ribs and belly
Exotic bar bitters
Micro distillers

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