This nutty, rich sauce is one of Katz’s top picks for new trends. “I’m excited about tahini in general as it hits on all the current food diets (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, sugar-free) and provides a richness in our recipes.” He calls tahini “a new magic for chefs,” and recommends mixing equal parts tahini and pickle juice for about 45 seconds and giving it a taste. “You will start to think of all the ways it can be used in a new and unique way.”
Mediterranean still mighty
Sodexo Chef Adena Muskin of Rollins College created this falafel board, a great, shareable way to showcase the best of the cuisine. Za’atar, the spice blend with lemony punch and funky depth, is predicted to gain traction in the new year, so stock up.
Gas station food/ingredients
Cheetos dust was just the beginning. Some of the coolest chefs out there are embracing the side of them that raids 7-11 at 3 a.m. Mason Hereford of Turkey & The Wolf in New Orleans has several recipes in his new cookbook that awaken the inner stoner-with-munchies in all of us: Gas Station Tostadas are pictured here.
Asian grocery store inspo for c-stores
“Learn from H-Mart.” That’s Bon Appetit Chef/GM Michael Cleary of St. John’s College in Annapolis. “How many customers have gone to the store looking for ingredients for basics like mapo tofu only to find nothing? Where is the pixian chili bean paste? Or, for that matter, where are the fermented black beans and XO sauce?”
American chef/living legend Carla Hall shared her amazing Comeback sauce recipe with the Feed Feed. She calls it “an addictive mix that’s Thousand Island meets remoulade.” Served with cracked shrimp? Consider us hooked!
Fruit stands and farmer’s markets
The Bistro at Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College is inspired by Florida’s regional fruit stands and farmer’s markets. Executive Chef Kaytlin Dangaran and the Constellation Culinary Group team are now serving a fall menu that foretells some future trends like Waldorf chopped salad and baguettes with butternut squash and ricotta.
More, better, meltier cheese
The Griddle Cheese sandwich with fontina mornay sauce, sharp white cheddar and tomato jam on pullman bread is another menu star from the Sarasota Art Museum’s in-house eatery, The Bistro. Putting cheese on center stage means getting better cheese and highlighting it as such. Cheeses like burrata, halloumi, “bread cheese,” and lots more deserve top billing on the menu.
Riffing and refining on down-home, old-school picnic food, deviled eggs will continue to play devil’s advocate on menus, offering an individual-yet-convivial bite that’s easy to make and easy to dress up or down with ingredients like this pretty plate at The Chap, a British pub in Hollywood that mashes up cult classic London-style food (and beer) with California vibes and ingredients.
Upcycling for sustainability and reducing food waste
Day-old bread? Hello, bread pudding with a crème brulee top. Chefs will continue to use—and highlight—neglected items like “ugly” veggies, carrot tops or watermelon rind. James Beard Foundation’s Waste Not project has lot of info, ideas and 100 recipes that aim to take a bite out of food waste.
Fried chicken burritos
Over at FM’s sister pub, Nation’s Restaurant News, trend tracker Bret Thorn predicts this combo for the coming year: “Fried chicken sandwiches have enjoyed rising popularity since before the start of the pandemic, and so have burritos. Yet we rarely see the two combined, at least in the U.S. — they are popping up, usually without rice, in schnitzel-loving Central Europe.”
As nationwide chains know, a fun LTO with tech tie-ins can go a long way in building loyalty and “likes” on social media. This also works for Sodexo Chef Adena Muskin of Rollins College, where she manages Dave’s Boathouse, a nautical concept. “Student feedback is very important to us,” she says. “In addition to two annual student surveys, we provide QR codes at our dining locations for feedback and suggestions. Our LTO program of rotating specials is often based on these suggestions.” This led to September’s meatball sub and November’s apple bread pudding. Way to crowdsource, Adena!
French fry boards
Charcuterie boards of all kinds have flourished in the past year, and while they’re beautiful and artfully done, it’s hard to find something surprising in this area. Enter the drive-thru. French fry boards with dips really hit that “high-low” balance just right.
Nostalgia-fueled desserts like Baked Alaska have been blazing through kitchen doors all year and we expect the fire to intensify for retro sweets and treats like root beer floats, Southern banana pudding, strawberry shortcake and cobblers of all kinds.
Cracker crisp, square cut and shareable. Could this be the next big pie? Food genius J. Kenji Lopez-Alt says it best in a recent Instagram post: “…people are ready to go out and start sharing some pizzas and a few pitchers of beer, tavern pizza is gonna have a moment and I’m completely here for it.” Cheers to that, Kenji!