1. Chefs in Schools
The Chefs Move to Schools program, run through the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, helps chefs and the schools in their communities connect and explore healthy ideas and create better school meals.
An emerging trend in the K-12 segment is “not just teaching kids about good eating choices, but also focusing on them as consumers by making offerings as fresh and attractive as possible, with more grab-and-go options,” says Chef Ed Colleran of Universal Studios, Orlando, FL, who has been working with Liberty Middle School (Orlando).
2. Pie is the New Cupcake
Be it apple or cherry…or such regional pies as Boston cream, pecan or key lime, pies are on the cusp of being the next big thing. Pie has got retro appeal going for it; look for many new artisanal pies, along with homemade ice cream in the coming year. (source: Mintel, Packaged Facts)
3. Raw Fish: Beyond Sushi
Sushi introduced the American palate to raw fish and customers are ready to experiment further with dishes like ceviche and the like. “Crudo (slices of raw, seasoned fish) has become the rage in upscale Italian restaurants,” says Ed Brown, senior VP of F&B for Restaurant Associates. “Chefs can work with that flavor using the juice of blood orange, olive oil, sea salt, torn herbs and chiles for heat.”
Raw fish can be readily served to large groups if you already have trained sushi chefs, he adds. To control food costs, consider wrapping the raw fish around arugula, heart of palm or tender sweet pea leaves.
4. ‘See Food’
Action stations alone are so ‘fin de siecle.’ Today, visual and in-your-face merchandising to appeal to all senses is the new frontier. Finding ways to achieve this without raising costs is the challenge.
5. Veggies Take Center Stage
Cary Neff, V.P. Culinary Services, Morrison Management, increased menuing of items like butternut squash and faro risotto with wilted Brussels sprout petals to underscore the growing importance of fresh, seasonal vegetables. “The protein will be taking a back seat to fresh vegetables and whole grains.”
Condiments made from heirloom tomatoes, historically authentic local ingredients (pickles, vinegars, sauces and spreads) will romance taste buds and food descriptions in 2011.
7. Flavor Crossovers Get Edgier
Savory flavors will venture more and more into desserts.
Want to experiment with some unexpected flavor pairings? McCormick's Flavor Forecast 2011 offers these ideas:
Herbes de Provence & Popcorn…Thyme & Stone Fruits…Cilantro & Nut Butter…and Pickling Spice & Rice Vinegar
8. Regional and Local Items on the Menu Add Major Appeal
According to a James Beard Foundation survey, 91% of Americans believe there is an ‘American cuisine’ and a majority define it as ‘regional.’ This means listing where your apples came from if they are from down the road.
93 “Fine-Fast” Sandwiches
Great sandwiches will continue to lure the lunchtime crowd. For those seeking adventure, banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich featuring grilled meat or pate served on French bread) and bao (a Taiwanese pork-based sandwich, served on a white flour bun) fit the bill.
10. Where Have You ‘Bean?’
“I think colleges and universities will really push the flexitarian diet,” says Ida Shen, assistant director/executive chef, UC Berkeley. Shen predicts that college operators will substitute beans to reduce the use of expensive protein items in a wider variety of dishes.
11. Rural Life in the Spotlight
‘Celebrity farmers’ will have their year in 2011. Having a guest farmer doing a demonstration at your operation will place you on the cutting edge of cool.