In with the new, out with the old! Happy New Year from Chef's Blade! We've consulted top ranking professionals, reviewed surveys, and used our own know-how to bring you these 10, 2010 food trend predictions! Some predictions stem from 2009 trends while others are totally new; see if you agree with us!
Move Over Celebrity Chefs
Racheal Ray. Paula Dean. Bobby Flay. Anthony Bourdain. Tom Colicchio. These celebrity chefs are household names these days, but with the rise of home cooking food bloggers like Julie Powell of Julie and Julia and Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate and Zucchini, maybe we don't want limit ourselves to the outside egos of celebrity chefs. And you know what they say — the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Watch out!
The trend started in 2009 but shows no signs of slowing down. Last year we fell in love with Southern comfort food and now can't wait to integrate these home-cooked specialties into our own regional cuisines. Plus, you know how southerners believe bigger is always better? That goes for portion size too, which means more delicious, buttery leftovers for tomorrow. Yum!
Diners don't want to try just one dish, they want to try as many things as possible. Variety is the spice of life, right? So small plates — which have just recently exploded in popularity — should continue on as a major trend in 2010.
Taste Buds for Latin American Foods
Maybe it's the small plates, maybe it's boredom with Asian and European cuisines, but Latin American cuisine is set to be the trendsetter in 2010 according to Dr. Victor Gielisse, the Associate Vice President of Business Development at the Culinary Institute of America. Latin American cuisine derives influence from Native American, European, Asian, and African cuisine and incorporates ancient grains, such as quinoa, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, often stewing these foods for hours to create wonderful blends of flavors.
Bang for Your Buck
With 2009, came recession specials, but the hard times still aren’t over so you're going to have to make your diners keep feeling like they're getting the best bang for their buck. But keep in mind that your diners are probably sick and tired of hearing about the recession and may not want their discounts labeled with the R-word. After all, it's been a year already, and what makes that discount special any more?
Twitter, Facebook, and Chef's Blade
The Culinary Institute of America surveyed its readers and they predicted that one of the greatest resources for 2010 would be social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, and (of course!) Chef's Blade. You won’t be limited to contacting your immediate network, instead you'll be able to reach most of your target audience, excluding the few poor souls that still haven't yet engaged with social media. If you use these tools properly plus be able to learn a lot from your own peers!
>Sustainability has been a big issue in the restaurant industry for the last few years, but chefs should continue to develop their knowledge of issues involving not only sustainability but also organics, GMOS, and health and wellness. These are all very complicated issues and diners are educated more then ever, so the wise chef will have to be an informed one to be able to answer all his or her diners’ enthusiastic and prying questions.
Mike Gibbons, the head of the National Restaurant Association, says his number one advice to restaurants is to provide diners with a superior guest experience. While economic recovery is expected, it won't happen overnight and the restaurants that provide the most personal experience will certainly be the ones diners will come back to again and again.
Health Care Reform
This is the biggest thing that could affect your business this year. On one hand, we all want our workers healthy but, on the other, many restaurant owners haven't been paying for their employees' health insurance. Now there's a good chance they will have to. How each restaurant deals with this could cause minor to major changes in the kitchen.
Get Savvy: Smartphones
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know what a smartphone is and you've realized a good majority of your customers are using them. And that's not going to stop anytime soon. How many of your customers say they've found you on Yelp? Hopefully some, because if they aren't, start a profile today. Word of mouth alone isn't going to do it these days and whether you like it or not, people on the go will be using applications and websites such as OpenTable, Yelp, and MenuPages to figure out where they're dining. You had better be there for them to search for, otherwise, you'll just be missing out.