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The 9 culinary trends that shaped our pandemic year

Make it comfort food, but portable…and also plant-based? Customers want the warm hug of fresh-baked bread…until they want to lose the ‘quarantine 15.’ The frenetic food mood swings have taken food service pros on a roller coaster ride, and it’s enough to make anyone queasy. But there have been some defining, decidedly delicious moments worth dwelling on and moving forward with.

A typical onsite chef pre-pandemic may have found themselves in the middle of all the action day to day: hosting a live demo in the dining hall, visiting with patients to hear what they think of the new menu, heading into the classroom to show kids that radishes are rad…it all seems so far away now.

When the pandemic shut down and limited dining, those same chefs were tasked with the same question that somehow felt very different: What’s for lunch? And new questions too: How do I keep my team and my customers safe? Will those nachos travel well in a pizza box? Should we dust off the food truck?

Through resilience and creativity, the culinary community has answered that question in many different ways. We’ve seen portable food, Mediterranean food, comfort food and more making the difference and building things back up throughout the year. Here are the key signposts that marked culinary rollercoaster from one year ago until this very minute.

Contact Tara at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @Tara_Fitzie

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