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.