Comfort cuisine

It seems the season of food trend reports and forecasts for 2014 is upon us. Earlier this week HOTELS covered Baum+Whiteman’s annual predictions in our daily news, and San Francisco-based Andrew Freeman & Co. weighed in with its yearly trends report a few days ago as well.

AF&Co.’s report is packed with information ranging from food trends to restaurant trends to general marketing predictions. What stuck out to me, though, was Freeman’s point that with technology growing increasingly pervasive, guests are seeking deeper personal connections and meaningful experiences. By extension, a number of the food trends in the report centered on that theme:

  • Chefs are going back to childhood and having fun with familiar favorites, producing highbrow versions of classic comfort foods, such as peanut butter panna cotta with berry jam at 1760 in San Francisco.
  • The ice cream sandwich is replacing cupcakes and doughnuts as the go-to comfort-inspired dessert, with restaurants such as Ramen Shop in Oakland, California, adding their own creative spins including combinations like ginger and black sesame.
  • Chips and dip, somewhat low-brow but also the stuff of comfort, is getting elevated with alternatives to the traditional potato chip, including jicama, cucumbers or even crisped chicken skin.

It may not be entirely new, but I can see why this idea of marrying comfort food with haute cuisine could become increasingly relevant in 2014.

What do you think? Also, are there any other trends from AF&Co.’s report that jump out at you, and why?