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TRENDS: What’s Hot At Restaurants

According to a survey of more than 1,200 chefs across America conducted by the National Restaurant Association, the hottest restaurant trends are small plates (including tasting menus of small portions for main courses, dessert, wine flights and other alcohol beverages) and alternative-source ingredients—local produce, organics, sustainable seafood, grass-fed and free-range meat and poultry and alternative red meats (buffalo, ostrich, venison).
Ethnic cuisines continue to be strong, with fusion ethnic cuisine, flatbreads, Asian entrée salads, Asian appetizers, Latin American cuisine, ciabatta bread and Mediterranean cuisine rated high on the list of hot items ranked by the chefs.
– In the alcohol department, craft beer, energy-drink cocktails, martinis, flavored martinis, mojitos, artisan liquors, organic wine and specialty beer (seasonal, spiced, fruit, etc.) are all among the top 20 hot items. Also hot: signature cocktails, food-beer pairings and beer sommeliers, as well as food-wine pairings and wine sommeliers.
– Among non-alcoholic beverages, flavored and enhanced waters have taken the lead over espresso and specialty coffee.
  Smoked Black Cod
Sustainable seafood is hot—like this line-caught black cod from Nantucket Wild Gourmet & Smokehouse.
– Among trends in preparation techniques, braised food is considered more trendy than pan-seared, sautéed and grilled items. Also hot: deglazing/reductions/sauces.That’s what’s hot. So what’s not? Last year’s hotties—bottled water, fresh herbs, exotic mushrooms and whole grain items—while still popular, have dropped out of the top 20 hot items. Rated “most passé foods” are fruit wine, star fruit, low-carb dough and tofu. The National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 935,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of 12.8 million employees. For more information about the survey, visit Restaurant.org.





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