Benchmark Hospitality International has released annual Top Dining Trends for 2015. The trends were observed by Benchmark’s executive chefs and culinary experts at the company’s 40 hotels, resorts and restaurants around the world.
The trends include:
Small plates: Expo-style cooking, including show kitchens, action stations, extra virgin olive oil grilling and mobile kitchens. Slow cooked brisket, braised pork shoulder and ceviche-style seafood are among the most popular dishes. Small plates can be served at any time and are seen as ways to help dieters avoid overindulging.
Roll and go: Bun-less creations that are rolled instead of presented as traditional sandwiches are growing in popularity. For example, chefs are increasingly taking popular sandwiches such as the Reuben, club, Monti Cristo and even the traditional hamburger filling and rolling the contents in flour tortillas.
Lose the fat–infuse: There has been an increased awareness over the past several years of the downside of fat, as well as the emphasis on gluten free and vegan foods. As a result, chefs are changing to beer braising, cider poaching and quick pickling to infuse flavor while avoiding exposing food to fat.
Back to the future: Traditional items are making a comeback on today’s menu such as meatloaf, liver and onions, shepherd’s pie and pan-fried chicken.
Grab-n-go: Grab-n-go dining is increasingly popular and spans from fresh exotic fruits to house-roasted Himalayan salted pumpkin seeds. Travelers are looking for healthy and convenient ways to satisfy their need to recharge, and stay on track.
Curacao cocktails: As travel increases in popularity, travelers want to relive their experiences while away.
Raging ramen: Once thought to be a food for cash-starved college students, ramen is now breaking into the street food fad. Ramen applications include stir-fry and salad.
Tea mixology: Tea mixology involves infusing simple tea with a variety of herbs and spices.
Slow ride, cook it easy: Many customers are now on the slow food bandwagon at home. This has dramatically increased public interest in restaurants that practice slow food cooking methods. Consumers who appreciate and are willing to pay for slow foods are equally interested in the process used to create them. Many restaurants are showcasing these by putting the process right in the dining room with charcuterie drying, cheese caves and vinegar barrels.
Branding the chef: Guests today want to take home a little more from their favorite eatery. Many chefs are creating their own signature products that they bottle and package for home use. Bottling items, like signature sauces and dressings are replacing traditional store-bought items in customers’ pantries.