Hot trends show restaurant chefs listening to what customers want: survey

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Expect to see more organic produce and locally sourced food on Canadian restaurant menus, a survey of professional chefs reveals.

Conducted by the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association and released last week, the survey of close to 400 chefs took place in January and February by BrandSpark International, a Canadian market research firm with expertise in the food-service industry. It was carried out in co-operation with the Canadian Culinary Federation.

Expect to see more organic produce and locally sourced food on Canadian restaurant menus, a survey of professional chefs reveals.

Conducted by the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association and released last week, the survey of close to 400 chefs took place in January and February by BrandSpark International, a Canadian market research firm with expertise in the food-service industry. It was carried out in co-operation with the Canadian Culinary Federation.

The top menu trends across the country as identified by the chefs include sustainability, artisanal cheeses, simplicity and back to the basics, nutrition and healthy cuisine.

Also on the list were free-range poultry and pork, small plates such as tapas, mezze and dim sum, as well as superfruits, including acai, goji berry and mangosteen.

Toronto food trend tracker Dana McCauley says that although she agrees with most of the trends in restaurant meals named by the chefs, small plates is not one she sees as "trending up."

"The small plates we are seeing are those that have more to do with portion and calorie control," she says.

The survey also tagged the top 10 up-and-coming Canadian menu trends.

These included ancient grains such as spelt and amaranth, gluten-free beer, vegan entrees, organic alcohol and wines, African cuisine, gluten-free cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, quinoa and non-traditional fish such as branzino, Arctic char and barramundi.

McCauley says the look-ahead trend list is "very good."

"In the past, menu trends have come from the chefs, but here I see a lot of these items like ancient grains and gluten-free cuisine coming from the consumer and cookbook side," she says. "This is influencing chefs and it looks like the dynamic is shifting a bit and maybe restaurant chefs are listening to what people are asking for."

Organizations: Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association, Canadian Culinary Federation

Geographic location: Toronto, Arctic

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