Chefs Identify the Hot Food Trends for 2011


[Photo:  Lunch at Canoe in Toronto by jhritz on]

The trends keep coming.  It is that time of year, after all.

My latest restaurant and dining trend story summarized the predictions from several sources.  This time the 2011 trends are from a survey of 1,500+ chefs conducted by the National Restaurant Association.

The survey was recently covered by Bret Thorn in Nation’s Restaurant News.

It’s interesting to see the similarities and the differences between all of these predictions.  For example, this new NRA survey predicts big things for organic produce, yet Independent Restaurateur thinks organic will decline on restaurant menus in the coming year.

It’s great that several trend trackers predict children’s nutrition and improved kids’ menus will be top priorities in 2011.  Other consistent predictions:  locally sourced ingredients, farm/estate branded ingredients, smaller portions, food trucks, ethnic-inspired and artisan menu items.                                                   [Photo:  La Tartine Gourmande on flickr]

Top 30 Trends

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood165291189_c376c24264_o
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Sustainability
  4. Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes
  5. Hyper-local (restaurant gardens, do your own butchering)
  6. Children’s nutrition
  7. Sustainable seafood
  8. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
  9. Simplicity/back to basics
  10. Farm/estate-branded ingredients
  11. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
  12. Locally-produced wine and beer
  13. Half-portions/smaller portion for a smaller price
  14. Organic produce
  15. Nutrition/health
  16. Culinary cocktails (savory, fresh ingredients)
  17. Newly fabricated cuts of meat (Denver steak, pork flat iron, Petite Tender)
  18. Fruit/vegetable children’s side items
  19. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (Asian-flavored syrups, chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
  20. Artisan cheeses
  21. Non-traditional fish (branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
  22. “Kid cuisine”/gourmet children’s dishes
  23. Ethnic cheeses (queso fresco, paneer, lebneh, halloumi)
  24. “Mini meals” (smaller versions of adult menu items)
  25. Artisan/specialty bacon
  26. Ethnic/street food-inspired appetizers (tempura, taquitos, kabobs, hummus)
  27. Black/forbidden rice
  28. Superfruits (acai, goji berry, mangosteen, purslane)
  29. Quinoa
  30. Ancient grains (kamut, spelt, amaranth)
2456975647_3d11f050af[photo: Lebneh with mint and vegetable pickles by Snapdragon in Lebanon on]

Top Trends by Category

Main Dishes/Center of the Plate

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Sustainable seafood
  3. Half-portions/smaller portion for a smaller price
  4. Newly fabricated cuts of meats (Denver steak, pork flat iron, Petite Tender)
  5. Non-traditional fish (branzino, Artic char, barramundi)

black quinoa

[photo:  Black quinoa with root vegetables by La Tartine Gourmande on]


  1. Black/forbidden rice
  2. Quinoa
  3. Red rice
  4. Vegetable pickles
  5. Asian noodles (soba, udon, rice noodles)


  1. Ethnic/street food-inspired appetizers (tempura, taquitos, kabobs, hummus)
  2. Amuse bouche/bite size hors d’oeure
  3. Warm appetizer salads
  4. Appetizer combos/platters
  5. Dumplings/dim sum


  1. Artisan/house-made ice cream
  2. Bite-size/mini desserts
  3. Dessert flights/combos
  4. Deconstructed classic desserts
  5. Savory desserts
[photo: Black rice stuffed zucchini by La Tartine Gourmande on]


[photo: Red Velvet Sweet Shots (mini dessert trend, dessert shots) by Delicious Desserts on]

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