Just like fashionistas keep track of fashion trends, foodies keep track of food trends. Trends can be influenced by current events, medical and nutritional information, and an awareness of how we fuel our bodies. Here’s what we’re seeing as some of the top food trends in 2014:
The National Restaurant Association’s recently released “What’s Hot in 2014.” The chef survey found local sourcing figured in four of the top ten trends. The hottest trend NRA identified: Locally sourced meats and seafood, followed closely by locally grown produce. These Portland restaurants prioritize local ingredients. “Today there is almost an expectation of local, seasonal ingredients at weddings. Caterers are thinking more toward the lines of organic and farm fresh foods.” – Anja Winikka, TheKnot.com site director.
In addition to locally sourced food and veggies, about one-third of restaurant chains now have, at least, one vegetarian entree. That’s done so that a group eating out won’t veto their eatery because there’s nothing appealing for the vegetarian in the group. A 2012 Harris Poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group found nearly half of Americans eat at least one, non-meat meal per week, up from 40 percent back in 2007. Onions and tomatoes are enjoying a strong showing in new and exciting vegetarian recipes – try this “Heirloom Tomato and Onion Quiche” if you aren’t vegan, or this “Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad with Mint” if you are. What’s up and coming? Foraged foods such as local mushrooms. Watch for vegetables to even turn up in cocktails…mmmmm Bloody Mary anyone?
Healthier Kids’ Meals
We all know it’s a problem – childhood obesity. Jumping on the locally sourced and veggie trends will help give your kids an appreciation of food and where it comes from. Parents are fighting back and want healthy restaurant choices. Healthful kids’ meals was one of the top-10 trends identified in the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2014” survey. Watch for more sides of apples, yogurt, and baked fries instead of French fries in 2014.
Fancy Comfort Food
Sometimes we’ve just had enough veggies and want good old comfort food! In 2014, watch for old-time comfort foods done with more upscale ingredients — such as “French Onion Macaroni and Cheese Soup” “Highbrow versions of classic comfort foods are popping up all over menus, from appetizers to dessert,” says San Francisco hospitality consultant and trend-spotter Andrew Freeman.
If you thought the gluten-free craze was a flash in the pan, think again. Whether it’s due to marketing or a huge shift in what we think is right for our insides – gluten-free cuisine is making a large appearance in restaurant menus. You’ll see more use of pasta noodles made from buckwheat and other grains. Also, expect more ancient, super-nutritious grains such as quinoa and amaranth to pop up in dishes that might once have used wheat flour. Always on trend with food, Portland has a ton of options for gluten-free restaurants that give you food AND drink options. All of the above trends can also be incorporated into a gluten-free diet, so there’s no need to be relegated to your kitchen when what you really want is to be out with friends enjoying the Portland foodie scene.
At Chef du Jour, we can seamlessly incorporate any of these trends, as well as customize a menu for gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options. Call us today to find out how we can make the latest and greatest in food a part of your event.