Saturday, January 14, 2012

Food Trends

The shape of things to come…food wise that is

Food Trends for 2012

Food Trends are molded by several factors; health awareness, life style changes, dietary restrictions and economic issues.  In this post we will briefly look at the trends we just lived through in 2011 and what’s in store for the New Year, 2012.

My Daughter Maggie
Last year’s trends, in response to an increasingly sophisticated palate, were impressive.  Many of the 2012 trends will continue to focus on the sophisticated. Some will morph into a new shape and some will simply be renamed as a fad and quietly go away. Remember neuvelle cuisine?

2011 was the year of Artesian, “hand crafted”, locavore, sustainable, farm to table, retro desserts, molecular gastronomy, comfort foods, Prohibition cocktails and food trucks.

Here’s how 2011 Food Trends will fare in 2012:

Artisan & Hand Crafted – These have become the new buzzwords in the description of today’s food. They will be with us for a long, long time.

Locavore & “Farm to Table – Locavore, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a contraction of two words; local & flavor. The notion of eating within your zip code will continue.  In fact it will be taken to new heights. More on this later in the blog.
“Farm to Table” fortifies eating locally and spurred the resurgence of the Farmer’s Markets. In 2012, be on the look out for the “step up” from the Farmer’s Market.  It’s called the Food Hub.  A Food Hub is a co-op of several neighboring farmers’ selling their harvest at a single location. It’s similar to a Farmer’s Market but everything is under roof and divided by food groups. Not only produce but meats, dairy and seafood, as well. To date there are over 100 Food Hubs in the United States and many more to come.

Retro Dessert & Comfort Food – Yay! They get to stay…again, more on this later.

Molecular Gastronomy – The Chefs have had their fun. Now they are putting down the liquid nitrogen freezers and “meat glue”. But it’s not going away; the bartender’s are picking up the ball.  For example, at 41° in Barcelona (a cutting edge Bistro) you can nibble on bar snacks such as Tuna Nigiri served over marshmallow instead of rice or Parmesan Ice Cream Sandwiches, all while sipping on a Smoked Gin & Tonic. (I’m not sure about this one.)

Food Trucks – As long as they rule on the Food Network, they will survive another year.  Thank goodness, because it’s my son’s favorite TV show (go figure!). They are kinda’ cool though.

That was last year, now let’s look at 2012

Fin to Tail – In the U.S., we have become more responsible with our natural resources; thus the sustainable food movement.  In addition, we now utilize a greater percentage of our proteins, whether it is a cow, pig, chicken, etc.  This movement has been labeled the “nose to tail” movement. Move over cows, fish are getting in on the act. Fin to tail will produce menu delicacies such as Fish Skin Crisps (like a fish potato chip) and BBQ Fish Bones.  These are actually delicious, coming from first hand experience.  In Southwest Florida, there are old time watermen bars that serve fried and salted mullet bones as a bar snack.

Let’s Play Ball - Round foods are in.  Expect to see a lot of these as bar food.  Examples include Arancini (an Italian rice ball), continuing gourmet meatball madness, fried goat cheese balls, Bacalao croquettes and crispy oxtail risotto balls.

A Taste of Honey With the health movement in full swing, expect to see honey as a sweetening alternative to high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Gourmet honeys such as orange blossom and lavender will become more mainstream. Additionally, honey will become more familiar for medicinal purposes such as treating coughs, scars and aging skin.

Heirloom is in Bloom Just as “Artisan” has become a hot “foodie” buzz word, so too has heirloom. Generally meaning an older variety that is genetically different from today’s commercial products, this term is becoming shorthand for quality and natural. But there’s a price to pay for that.

Are you Comfy? The Comfort food trend continues. Look for new heights in fried chicken, biscuits, grits, fried pies, corn bread and barbecue.  Southern fare such as smothered pork chops, okra and fried green tomatoes come on strong. Some of the southern ingredients go upscale, as well.  Look for Artisan corn meal, rice, beans and lard.

Peru or bust! Peruvian food comes of age this year.  With influences from Incan, Spanish, African, Chinese, Japanese and Italian kitchens, this cuisine is considered one of the richest and most diverse.  Peru is also the birthplace of some of the finest produce and seafood in the world. Examples of menu items and ingredients include Peruvian Seafood Tiraditos, potatoes, rocoto chiles, the fiery aji pepper and Pesco.

Pass the Cheese The Hospitality spotlight has shifted once again. First it was the bartender, then the butcher, now it’s the cheese monger’s turn. The hot professions in the field this year are cheese experts and Artisan cheese maker. Look for extensive selections of cheese offerings in restaurants this year.

It’s all about flavor
Here’s a look at flavorful items and ingredients you’ll be seeing a lot.

Yuzu Kosho

Yuzu Kosho is a 
comprised of citrus zest,
 sea salt, garlic and 

Finger Limes
This Australian fruit is 
loaded with caviar like 
capsules filled with lemon-
lime juice.

Scotch Eggs
Remember we talked about 
spherical food? These are eggs en-
robed in a flavorful sausage, rolled 
in breadcrumbs and fried.  What 
doesn't sound good about that!

A nutty flavored super 
grain packed with calcium
and iron.

Wholly Mackerel! Whether served hot as an entrée or pickled as an appetizer, expect a surge in mackerel sightings on menus this summer.

This flavorful fish is not
 only sustainable; it’s very versatile as well. Chefs like that!

Introducing the Canele
Gourmet Cupcakes move over, there’s a new sheriff in town. This classic French pastry is similar to a cupcake but has some unique attributes. Flavored  with rum, vanilla and caramel, these beauties have a crisp shell and an inside similar to brioche. Often, they are filled with rich pastry cream. Hungry yet?

Well there you have it; what to expect in food for 2012. When you see some of these things, remember this post and drop me an email.  You’ll have to excuse me now.  I have some caneles to bake.


Chef Joe

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