Chef survey: Unusual cuts of beef to heat up menus in 2017

WASHINGTON — An annual survey of chef’s by the National Restaurant Association points to what consumers will see more of, and less of, on restaurant menus in the new year.

The District-based association surveyed about 1,300 chefs who are members of the American Culinary Federation, and found that menu trends heating up in 2017 include new cuts of meat, poke, house-made charcuterie, street food, food halls and ramen.

Trends that are falling out of favor include quinoa, black rice plus vegetarian and vegan cuisines.

“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,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association.

“Menu trends today are beginning to shift from ingredient-based items to concept-based ideas,” he said.

Here are 2017’s Top 20 Food Trends, according to the National Restaurant Association’s chef survey:

  • New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas strip steak, merlot cut)
  • Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kebabs, dumplings, pupusas)
  • Healthful kids’ meals
  • House-made charcuterie
  • Sustainable seafood
  • Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g., chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
  • House-made condiments
  • Authentic ethnic cuisine
  • Heirloom fruit and vegetables
  • African flavors
  • Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi)
  • House-made sausage
  • House-made pickles
  • Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupine)
  • House-made/artisan ice cream
  • Whole grain items in kids’ meals
  • Protein-rich grains/seeds (e.g., hemp, chia, quinoa, flax)
  • Artisan cheeses
  • Savory desserts
  • Gourmet items in kids’ meals

And here are what the association calls the Top 10 Concept Trends for 2017:

  • Hyperlocal sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens, on-site beer brewing, house-made items)
  • Chef-driven, fast-casual concepts
  • Natural ingredients/clean menus
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Locally sourced produce
  • Locally sourced meat and seafood
  • Food waste reduction
  • Meal kits (e.g. pre-measured/prepped raw ingredients for home preparation)
  • Simplicity/back to basics
  • Nutrition

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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