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Chefs Predict “What’s Hot” for Menu Trends in 2017

hot1Each year, the National Restaurant Association surveys nearly 1,300 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – to explore food and beverage trends at restaurants in the coming year. The annual “What’s Hot” list gives a peak into which food, beverages and culinary themes will be the new items on restaurant menus that everyone is talking about in 2017.

According to the survey, menu trends that will be heating up in 2017 include poke, house-made charcuterie, street food, food halls and ramen. Trends that are cooling down include quinoa, black rice, and vegetarian and vegan cuisines.

TOP 20 FOOD TRENDS

  1. New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak, Merlot cut)
  2. Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kabobs, dumplings, pupusas)
  3. Healthful kids' meals
  4. House-made charcuterie
  5. Sustainable seafood
  6. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g., chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
  7. House-made condiments
  8. Authentic ethnic cuisine
  9. Heirloom fruit and vegetables
  10. African flavors
  11. Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi)
  12. House-made sausage
  13. House-made pickles
  14. Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin)
  15. House-made/artisan ice cream
  16. Whole grain items in kids' meals
  17. Protein-rich grains/seeds (e.g., hemp, chia, quinoa, flax)
  18. Artisan cheeses
  19. Savory desserts
  20. Gourmet items in kids' meals
  21. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens, onsite beer brewing, house-made items)
  22. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
  23. Natural ingredients/clean menus
  24. Environmental sustainability
  25. Locally sourced produce
  26. Locally sourced meat and seafood
  27. Food waste reduction
  28. Meal kits (e.g. pre-measured/prepped raw ingredients for home preparation)
  29. Simplicity/back to basics
  30. Nutrition

TOP 10 CONCEPT TRENDS

hot2“Menu trends today are beginning to shift from ingredient-based items to concept-based ideas, mirroring how consumers tend to adapt their activities to their overall lifestyle philosophies, such as environmental sustainability and nutrition,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the National Restaurant Association. “Also among the top trends for 2017, we’re seeing several examples of house-made food items and various global flavors, indicating that chefs and restaurateurs are further experimenting with from-scratch preparation and a broad base of flavors.”

“Chefs are on an endless quest to redefine how consumers eat,”commented ACF National President Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC.  “By masterfully transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, culinary professionals are at the forefront of changing the culinary landscape.”

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,298 American Culinary Federation members in October 2016, asking them to rate 169 items as a “hot trend”  “yesterdays news,”or “perennial favorite”on menus in 2017.

About the National Restaurant AssociationFounded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than one million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 14.4 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 20-23 2017, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on, FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About the American Culinary FederationThe American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning more than 150 chapters nationwide, ACF is the leading culinary association offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef®, Certified Executive Pastry Chef® and Certified Culinary Educator® designations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to Chef & Child, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org. Find ACF on Facebook and on Twitter.