Hot Food and Beverage Trends for 2014

Baum + Whiteman is the latest trend tracker to unveil its annual predictions for the New Year. The Brooklyn-based restaurant-consulting firm says luxury is the common thread among their top dining trends — from high-priced tasting menus ($1,000 for two) to theatrical dining experiences (redefining eatertainment) and upscale food halls (such as Eataly) to haute chicken that’s priced like steak.  Department stores are  jumping back into the restaurant business, and you’ll find more high-priced fast food restaurants that deliver.   There’s also been a rise of the single-item restaurants — a baked potato shop, Greek Yogurt bar, oatmeal only restaurant, and a Nutella bar coming to Eataly Chicago.  Better-for-you dining is also getting big.  Now paleo dieters add to the gluten-free demand, and there are more high-end vegetarian restaurants.

One trend that I’m especially happy to see is the rise of Middle Eastern cuisine, something consistent with the predictions I just wrote about from Sterling-Rice Group. Baum + Whiteman also predicts that za’atar will be big, along with pomegranate molasses (two staples for me at home). A flavorful crimson-colored syrup, pomegranate molasses  is one of the key ingredients in Muhammara, a roasted red pepper and walnut dip with Aleppo pepper that’s predicted to break through in 2014. Another Middle Eastern dish shakshuka (eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce topped with feta and parsley) will be showing up on America’s breakfast and brunch menus.  And as I’ve been predicting for quite some time, B + W think freekeh will likely be the new quinoa.


shakshuka by joemahoney

Other hot food and beverage trends for restaurants and hotel dining for 2014:

Filipino food

Mexican sandwiches, tortas and cemitas

Jewish fusion

Bahn mi makes it onto Western menus

Hipster Asian restaurants, with new wave of Asian flavors — okonomiyaki, gochujang, Korean dumplings, twice-fried Korean chicken


Korean dumplings by KFoodaddict

House-fermented food

Kale still rules, but cauliflower is working forward


Cauliflower with Chutney Cheese Sauce by Andrew Scrivani

Jerusalem artichokes

Buckwheat is grain of the year

Fluke is fish of the year, with octopus second and trout third

Fishy fish (anchovies, fresh sardines, mackerel)

Teres major steak (a seldom used muscle in the shoulder that is second only to the tenderloin in tenderness)

Boneless lamb neck

Chicken skin

Sweetbreads make a comeback

Newfound protein obsessions

New uses for pretzels

Coconut everything

Made-to-order nitro ice cream


Nitro Ice Cream by Karl Madden

Sorghum becomes a trendy sweetener

Creative chef-driven spreads with bread baskets — black garlic mostarda, vanilla tapendade, tomato jam, whipped lardo, smoked ricotta, whipped beet butter, rosemary hummus, whipped chicken liver butter, porcini oil


Butter and Whipped Lardo by Nicknamemikit on flickr

House-made fruit vinegars for vinaigrettes and cocktails

Hand-crafted sodas, small-batch carbonated cocktails

Drinkers rediscover gin — gin bars and gin-tonic bars

Sweetened and flavored whiskeys — smoked, mapled and honeyed

Sour beer (innoculating beers with wild yeasts and aging them in wood)

Cold-pressed juices


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