What will be hot in 2015?
The National Restaurant Association has some suggestions, gathered from a survey of professional chef members of the American Culinary Federation about which food, cuisines, beverages and culinary themes will be hot trends on restaurant menus in 2015.
When it came to beverage alcohol, the chefs predicted that the top trends would include micro-distilled or artisan spirits, locally produced beer, wine and spirits, "new make" (or unaged) whiskey, food and beer pairings and house-brewed beer.
For cocktails and cocktail ingredients, the chefs picked as their top five trends onsite were
1. Barrel-aged drinks
2. Regional signature cocktails
3. Culinary cocktails
4. Food-liquor and cocktail pairings
5. Edible cocktails.
Other non-alcohol beverages thought to be hot in 2015 are gourmet lemonade, specialty iced tea, house-made soft drinks and sodas, organic coffee and coconut water.
Overall, the top ten food trends predicted to have an impact next year by the chef survey were heavily weighted toward ecologically-influenced trends: locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, healthful kids' meals, natural ingredients/minimally processed food, new cuts of meat, hyper-local sourcing, sustainable seafood, food waste reduction/management
and farm/estate branded items.
On the kitchen preparation side, the chefs predicted that a number of techniques already familiar to cutting-edge bartenders, would become more popular in kitchens as well. The methods include pickling, fermenting, fire-roasting, smoking and sous-vide.
The What’s Hot in 2015 survey was conducted in the fall of 2014 among nearly 1,300 chefs and pulls together the top 20 food trends overall, as well as breaking down trends from a wide variety of categories. Categories include the top featured desserts, appetizers and brunch items; what’s trending in alcoholic beverages; and what chefs are doing to cater to dietary restrictions. The surveyed chefs give their take on what food items are on the rise (like ramen and pickles) and which are on the decline (like Greek yogurt and kale salad). The entire survey results can be seen here.