It’s a brand new year! One of the hottest growth industries for this, or any decade, the restaurant industry, has put out it’s predictions for this year’s culinary trends. 2016 will be a growth year for the job market in this industry. Let’s take a look at the culinary forecast for 2016. The National Restaurant Association surveyed around 1,600 chefs to compile what they expect to be some of the hottest food and menu trends for next year. (Source: restaurant.org) Keep it Fresh Topping the list of the top trends is freshness. Hyper-local sourcing of ingredients was in the Top 3. Organic, locally grown and locally sourced produce, meat and fish. The new generation of chefs strive to be environmentally sustainable. Whether it be for produce or seafood, it has to be sourced from sustainable farming or fishing practices. Authenticity Cultural authenticity is important. Restaurants can no longer co-opt ethnic dishes and Anglicize or Americanize them. Chefs want authentic cultural ingredients and to stay true to origins of ethnic dishes. That’s not to say that they won’t be putting their own signature “spin” on an ethnic dish, but at the heart of the presentation is the original spice palette and the true colors and flavors of the country of origin. House-Made One of the biggest trends predicted for 2016 is to make everything that’s possible to make on-site and in-house.This not only gives chefs control over the process, but also ties in with the freshness and authenticity we just mentioned. Everything from signature spice blends, pickles, sauces, artisan breads, new cuts of meat, sausage, ice-cream and dessert to cocktails will be created on site. Natural To continue along the same lines, the chefs surveyed noted that natural and minimally processed foods are the trend in the coming year. Farm to table, healthy and fresh, all come together for a wonderful dining experience for patrons. Menus will contain ingredient lists and cater to dietary needs such as vegan or paleo. The chefs were also concerned that more healthy options for kids be available. More fresh, local and minimally processed options will be available than ever before. Street Food Another trend that’s been on the rise is catering trucks and street food. This trend appears to be continuing in 2016 with street food and food trucks making the survey at the bottom of the list. Many well-known restaurants have jumped on the street food bandwagon so-to-speak and are putting out their own catering trucks with a limited menu. Authentic street food is hot in metropolitan areas with catering trucks and food carts doing a booming business with everything from street tacos to gourmet mac and cheese everything in between. Ethnic foods such as Thai, Mexican and Indian foods are some of the most popular in urban areas. I don’t know about you, but we’re sure looking forward to all the culinary trends for next year. So join us in getting out there and experiencing all the great food this year has to offer. Take a bite out of life. Happy Eating from PBFY!
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