Sausages, fried foods top menu fare in 2010

by Bryan Salvage
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TIGARD, ORE. — Flavor & The Menu magazine’s newly-released Top 10 Flavor Trends issue predicts signature sausages, globally-inspired sandwiches and a resurgence in fried foods are among the 10 major influences driving menu trends for 2010.

Flavor & The Menu is published five times a year, and distributed to chefs and menu-development professionals nationwide. Its editors watch menu-development, restaurant growth and dining patterns throughout the year, and with input from a team of restaurant industry experts, select 10 trends likely to influence menus and restaurants for the coming year.

Many predicted trends point to a continued search for comfort in food and dining, but with added value and enhanced flavor experiences.

"From sausages, family-style dining and 'rustic' fare to tavern settings and nostalgic desserts, these trends are indicative of how we are living our lives in an uncertain time — seeking small indulgences balanced with large helpings of comfort," said Cathy Nash Holley, publisher/editor-in-chief.

The magazine’s top 10 trends for 2010 include:

Top Ethno-Cuisine Trend: Worldly sandwiches — Ham and Swiss sandwiches will be replaced by banh mi, torta, Cubano, tartines, muffalettas and other ethnic/regional sandwiches from throughout the world.

Top Sauce Trend: Chile-fired sauces — Since Americans are ready for a world view of chiles, chefs will branch out with chile usage, layering several types and infusing heat in more ways.

Top Menu-Making Trend: Blue-plate updates — Family-style dinners, Sunday suppers and other chef-driven ideas address today's quest for casual-dining formats in ways that boost value and enhance the dining experience.

Top Technique Trend: Deep-fried, sanctified — A good piece of fryer work can result in satisfying texture and flavor. This is a great fit with the small-plates and bar-foods trend; fried chicken and hush puppies are good examples.

Top Concept Trend: American tavern — The American tavern revival is resulting in a new standard of pub fare, in concept and menu focus. Pared-down menus are more hand-crafted, offering reasonably priced, flavor-focused food and drinks that are distinctly American.

Top Ingredient Trend: Signature sausages — High-end, cured signature sausages will appear in more proprietary recipes, house-made and artisan versions showcased at center-plate. Hot dogs will evolve into this year's hamburger, featuring premium ingredients.

Top Culinary Trend: Rustic Revolution — “Rustic” (i.e., comfortable and affordable) is the new artisan, encompassing everything from farmhouse tables and pared-down decor to foraged foods, farmstead cheeses and regional, home-style cooking.

Top Dining Trend: Global Grab & Go — Kebabs, dosas, crepes, gorditas and vada puri are among street snacks being reinterpreted in limited-menu formats to provide meals on-the-run for a new generation of diners.
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