Food trends change as often as fashion trends. Enter National Restaurant Association’s annual Culinary Forecast, which surveys 1,300 professional chefs on culinary themes that will be hot trends on restaurant menus for the year ahead.
Let their survey results serve as your guide to planning menus this year. First up, top trends overall.
FOOD TRENDS HEATING UP
This simple Hawaiian dish—think of it as deconstructed sushi in a bowl—has been making waves across the country over the last year. Try adding a poke bowl food station to a dinner reception, taking inspiration from restaurants like Pokeworks, which has locations in seven states and counting.
At Goldener Hirsch Inn in Park City, Utah, fondue receptions can include a charcuterie station to dip meat in the sauces. Meat + cheese = always a winner.
Street food-inspired dishes
The Troubadour hotel opened in December in New Orleans with an eclectic rooftop bar called Monkey Board (also a private event space) that serves street food-inspired bites like chilaquiles.
The forthcoming ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach in Hawaii will include a casual-dining restaurant serving ramen dishes that’s also available for private events.
Dine-arounds have never been easier to arrange, thanks to the boom of food halls the last few years. Openings to watch for: Fareground in Austin, Texas, this spring, plus Isabella Eatery in Washington, D.C., and Van Aken District Food Hall outside Cleveland, both this fall.
Wolfgang Puck Catering venues host breakfast burrito bars with a variety of tortillas plus fillings like scrambled eggs, black beans, avocado, roasted corn, turkey sausage, caramelized onions and more.
Verge Restaurant inside Toll House Hotel (no affiliation with the cookie) near San Jose, California, rolled out bloody mary and mimosa carts filled with house-made condiments like pickled beets and fennel shrub syrup. Wheel out this concept for a brunch instead of breakfast.
Start mornings on a hearty note by serving a traditional lumberjack breakfast of items like French toast, bacon, ham, sausage, hash browns and eggs. Or let Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont take it to a new level with a cozy setup around a wood-burning fireplace, complete with iron kettle coffee.