The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association recently released the result of its 2011 Canadian Chef Survey. This is a survey conducted among professional chefs who rated the popularity of various menu items and cooking methods, identifying hot trends, up and comers, perennial favourites and yesterday’s news. Keep in mind this is a national survey so it’s reflecting the trends across the country. A top 10 list was announced for each category and here are the top 3 highlights along with my thoughts:
Menu items and cooking methods that are at the peak of popularity. Customers are excited about these items and eating them more than ever.
- Locally produced food and locally inspired dishes
- Nutrition and health
Thoughts: It’s no surprise that local food and sustainability is still on the top of this list. I think it’s great that they’re on top of diners’ mind, and this is definitely to BC’s advantage since we produce a huge variety of fresh ingredients ranging from seafood to fruit and vegetables to dairy and meat.
Up and Coming
Menu items that could be the next Hot Trend as interest in these items is quickly increasing.
- Gluten-free beer
- African cuisine
- Red rice
Thoughts: This is the up and coming list, but these items align perfectly with the Hot Trends list. It’s about healthy eating and choosing the right ingredients. It also shows that customers are more sophisticated now and are looking for exotic menu items/something out of the ordinary.
Menu items that are always popular and are long-time menu favourites.
- Chocolate desserts
- Cold appetizer salads
- Fresh fruit
Thoughts: Awesome – really, you could never go wrong with chocolate, salad and fruit. These are staple items on every restaurant menu and it’s just not the same without them. I think what differentiates one restaurant from the other will be the creative/innovative way of preparing these things. Customers these days will not tolerate boring dishes.
If you want to what else makes the top 10 lists, here is a link to the CRFA press release about the Canadian Chef Survey 2011.