Happy New Year!

I’m a member of the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Culinary Professionals Working Group. Basically, we discuss nutrition with a food service bent, such as finding out the nutritional value of obscure foods, celebrating new publications, or examining the newest foods on the market. One of the members sent the 2011 Food Trends, and I want to share some excerpts with you. These trends are based on the National Restaurant Association’s surveys of chefs in the American Culinary Federation. You can get your copy at the National Restaurant Association website.

Top Three Appetizer Trends:

1) Ethnic/Street Food-inspired appetizers (like tempura or taquitos)

2) Amuse bouche or bite-sized hors d’oeuvres

3) Warm appetizer salads

Top Sides and Starches

1) Black or forbidden rice

2) Quinoa

3) Red Rice

Top Main Dishes

1) Locally-sourced meats and seafood

2) Sustainable seafood

3) Half-portions or smaller portions for a smaller price

Top Ethnic Cuisines or Flavors

1) Regional ethnic cuisine

2) Ethnic fusion cuisine

3) Southeast Asian (Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malay)

Top Kids Meals

1) Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes

2) Fruit/Vegetable children’s side items

3) Kid cuisine or gourmet children’s dishes

Top 10 of the Top Twenty Trends Overall

1) Locally sourced meats and seafood

2) Locally grown produce

3) Sustainability

4) Nutritionally-balanced children’s dishes

5) Hyper-local food (restaurant gardens and do-you-own-butchering)

6) Children’s nutrition

7) Sustainable seafood

8) Gluten-free or food allergy conscious

9) Simplicity or Back to the Basics

10) Farm or Estate-branded food and ingredients