We just had a look at the National Restaurant Association's top-ten food trends for 2007, and our immediate response? Thank God it’s almost 2008. The list, drawn from a broad national chef survey, is as follows:
1. Bite-size desserts
2. Locally grown produce
3. Organic produce
4. Small plates/tapas/mezze
5. Specialty sandwiches
6. Craft/artisan/microbrew beer
7. Sustainable seafood
8. Grass-fed items
9. Energy drink cocktails
10. Salts (e.g. sea, smoked, colored, kosher)
Are you still awake? Has a business that spawned Asian fusion, celebrity chefs, big-box restaurants, cooks covered in meringue body-stockings, nude sushi, boutique meat, and secret supper clubs really come to this? A list where salt is the most interesting thing?
The list looks like the penciled manifesto taped to the wall of an Ashram teepee. Hippie ethics and tiny portions are the name of the game here, and we can’t say we’re thrilled about it. The trend part of the NRA report isn’t much more encouraging, underscoring the “small is big” and “every ingredient has a story” pablum, and adding in the “ethnic flavors are going places” report that has marked every trend report for the last 40 years. “Specialty alcohol shaking things up” is the last trend, and after reading this report, a Red Bull Mojito might be exactly what we need.
Survey: What’s Hot, What’s Not on Menu [Restaurants and Institutions]