Cuisine & Food Trends for 2015
As we jump into the New Year, let’s take a sneak peek at some of the trends that will be shaping the culinary and food scene for 2015. This is not just limited to Southern California, but more broad-reaching, with input from across the country. Researching this topic included —interviews with local chefs, restaurant consultants, annual studies and food & restaurant association insights.
Andrew Freeman, for one, just completed his eighth annual Trend Prediction Report for 2015. He believes that pleasure-seeking guests are looking for “instant gratification, education and participation” in their food & beverage experiences. He also expects the minimum wage debate to continue, as restaurants attempt to find a balance between the front & back-of-the-house pay scales. More restaurants are forgoing tipping altogether and that will continue in 2015.
So, let’s take a look at what’s hot and what’s not for 2015….
- Vegetables Take Center Stage- They are the center of the plate and proteins are more as condiments. Also increased vegetarian dishes, including grains such as: old grains such as Freekeh, Spelt, Millet, Quinoa and Kamut, Farro, as well as green lentils, and barley.
- Chefs Techniques Add Flavor- Chefs are using old-world cooking techniques, like using skewers, rotisseries and smoke, to add nuance and depth to dishes
- Global & Ethnic Cuisine – however it will be centered around “locally sourced” and “organic” ingredients.
- Food Gets Spiced Up- Chefs are moving way beyond Sriracha to using a host of interesting spices from around the globe, to bring up the heat. For example: Urfa Biber pepper, Marash red pepper, habanero honey, Szechuan pepper (from the prickly ash tree), cardamom and the like.
- Spanish Cuisine Is Hot- Tapas and the cuisine of Spain will dominate. Many American chefs have trained in Spain and are bringing their knowledge home.
- High-end and Modern Elevates Mexican Cuisine- From gourmet tacos, to making their own tortillas & sauces, this cuisine is elevated to a new level this year.
- Know the Source- Guests are much more interested in where their food is sourced from—and hopefully “local” in most cases.
- Good Fats Are Now Our Friends- Sugar the enemy. For example, Bulletproof Coffee made with rich Kerrygold Butter and Coconut oil with claims to enhance brain functioning.
Specific Food Items on Trend
- Yogurt Goes Savory- Imagine such flavors as: butternut squash, beet, carrot, and tomato, and topped with hummus, spinach and garlic dip, and cucumber, olive oil and mint leaves.
- From Salsa to Hummus- Google says that hummus has out-trended salsa, which is no small thing since salsa dethroned ketchup. Hummus is high in protein and fiber and low in fat, so it touches lots of dietary bases.
- Root Vegetables Abound- Celery root, parsnips golden beets, and kohlrabi are grabbing the attention in restaurant kitchens and home cooks alike. Roasted, fried, mashed, pureed, au gratin, are all ways to prepare them, with lots more inherent flavor.
- An Abundance of Oysters- We will rediscover oysters. Bays, inlets and tidal basins are being detoxed, so farmers are reseeding old oyster beds, and discovering new ones across the country.
- Scrambled eggs- Forget poached or deviled, the new “it” egg is scrambled and served for dinner.
- Meat Spreads Take Hold- ‘Nduja is a Calabrian spreadable cured pork meat with spices from Italy, and this will join charcuterie plates, be stuffed into ravioli, and so forth.
- Artisanal candy- Expect to see retro artisanal candy, such as ice cream gummies, or goat’s milk caramels with sea salt and bourbon.
- Soft serve is the new dessert- featuring seasonal flavors and innovative sundae combinations, such as: a chocolate soft serve with caramel, toffee and salt.
- Sour flavors Hit Menus- Sour flavors will appear in everything from the bar menu to desserts. Shrubs, created by preserving fruit with vinegar, sugar and water, are appearing in cocktails.
- Patty Melts- According to Freeman, the patty melt will be the sandwich to beat this year.
Things We Can’t Wait to Bid Farewell To in 2015
- Restaurant staff lacking service, knowledge of the menu and sourcing.
- Bartenders who put an entire vegetable garden on top of a cocktail, or spend 15 minutes carving out the perfect ice cubes—really, we’re thirsty already!
- Loud restaurants and bars.
- Pork Belly inside and outside everything, and Egg Yolks on top of everything.
- The endless union of Kale and Quinoa and over use of Brussel Sprouts.
- Molecular cuisine will continue to fade.
So there you have it, my dining friends. What’s hot and what is not in the food category for 2015. Next up will be some exciting innovations and Dining Trends for 2015! Please come back to read all about it.
Sources: Personal interviews with chefs and owners, restaurant consultants with a pulse on worldly trends, National Restaurant Association, Nation’s Restaurant News, a trends study by Baum + Whiteman a well-known food and restaurant consulting company, Andrew Freeman in his eighth annual trend prediction report for 2015, by his firm Andrew Freeman & Co., based in San Francisco and of course my personal opinion as a very observant foodie aficionado.