Kerstin Kühn: What's Hot in 2015

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 26th December 2014
In LA-based food writer and former restaurant editor of Caterer and Hotelkeeper, Kerstin Kühn's latest piece, she previews what to look out for in the coming year. What’s Hot in 2015: dining trends for the year ahead “I want what I want, when I want it” is what it’ll be all about for the US restaurant industry in 2015, asAndrew Freeman & Co logo millennials – or the “demand generation” – will drive most of the trends, a new report has predicted. According to San Francisco-based hospitality consulting agency Andrew Freeman & Co’s eighth annual trend prediction report “The Pleasure Principle” will be the recurring theme of the year, indicating that guests want “instant gratification, education and participation” in their food-and-beverage experiences. “The economic upturn in 2014, coupled with the desire to attract the millennial patron, has led to a surge of hip new concepts, personalised service and customised experiences geared towards satisfying this “demand” generation,” Freeman says. “Chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers are providing experiences that are less formal yet high in quality, more interactive and rooted in catering to the pleasure seeker.” Bluestem Brasserie, San FranciscoAmong restaurant industry trends in general, Freeman expects to see more “chefs in residence” taking over spaces for a limited time. There’ll also be more “passion projects” from chefs who just want to do their own thing. Smaller cities, like Oakland in California, and San Antonio in Texas, will be getting national attention for innovative new dining concepts, while chefs will be getting more stylish as they’ll be wearing fashionable aprons in 2015. As far as food and menu trends go, Freeman expects there to be a surge in high-end taco concepts, as well as restaurants spicing up their menus and soft serve making waves on dessert menus around the country. Here’s a snapshot of Freeman’s trend predictions for 2015. TOP FIVE RESTAURANT AND CHEF TRENDS Chefs in residence From Rene Redzepi moving Noma from Copenhagen to Tokyo, the Roca brothers taking El Celler Rene Redzepion a world tour and Heston Blumenthal transporting the Fat Duck Down Under, limited-run culinary residences are now de rigueur. “It might be a teaser to a full-blown concept or a quick trip to a new city, either way chefs aren’t afraid to take the show on the road.” Apron Artistry Chefs are turning to artisans to create durable and fashionable aprons to give personality to their chef’s whites. For instance, Los Angeles-based designers Hedley & Bennett are taking the food world by storm, dressing David Chang, Nobu Matsuhisa and Mario Batali, while the chefs at Spiaggia in Chicago are wearing aprons fashioned by Made in Carcere, an Italian company that collaborates with non-profits to produce handcrafted products with prison workers. Rise of the small city Forget New York City and Los Angeles—think Asheville, Oakland and San Antonio. What small cities lack in hustle and bustle, they make up for in affordability, which allows for experimentation and bold choices. Passion Projects Chefs and restaurant owners are no longer adhering to one style or cuisine. They’re letting their passions be their guide and creating places that are an embodiment of what they love. They’re also creating spaces that are less formal and more fun – allowing diners to let loose and feel taken care of. Just Say No Dietary restrictions and food allergies and aversions may be on the up but restaurants are starting to take a firmer stance on special requests. “Sometimes we have to say no to customised dish requests. We can omit elements or ingredients, but doing switches compromises the integrity of the dish and the experience we are trying to create for guests,” says Stacy Jed, owner of the Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco. TOP FIVE FOOD TRENDS Taco mania Rene's Hija de Sanchez in Copenhagen - credit to ThinkstockMexican food is old hat now so chefs are honing in on traditional tacos, including Alex Stupak’s new concept in New York, Empellón al Pastor, James Beard Award winner Sean Brock’s Minero in Charleston, or René Redzepi’s taco shop Hija de Sanchez in Copenhagen. Spice, spice baby These days, restaurants aren’t afraid to bring the heat. And diners aren’t afraid to accept the challenge. With the proliferation and popularity of authentic ethnic eats, there is no shortage of dishes that pack a punch. Flavour without fat Chefs are adding oomph to veggies with old-world cooking techniques such as skewers, rotisseries and smoke, instead of relying on fats like oils, cream or butter.Part of the Hedley and Bennett Team with Allie (left) and Ellen (right) - credit to nalatanalata The Candy Man Can Retro, artisanal and newfangled, candy is coming on strong. Sweet and unique, house-made candies such as ice cream gummies at Amé Amé in New York City or goat’s milk caramels with sea salt and bourbon vanilla at Simple Farm in Scottsdale are perfect way to close out a meal. Mr. Softy Don’t call it ice cream. Soft serve is popping up on dessert menus all over the USA. Seasonal flavours, innovative sundae combinations as served at Daniel Patterson’s Alta CA in San Francisco make this nostalgic item decidedly modern. Kerstin_KuhnKerstin Kühn is a freelance food and travel writer, specialising in restaurant and chef stories. The former restaurant editor of Caterer and Hotelkeeper, she relocated from London to Los Angeles last summer, where she lives with her husband and two cats. With a vast network of chefs from around the world, Kerstin has profiled the likes of Michel Roux, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, the Roca brothers and Massimo Bottura. She has been a contributor to publications including FOUR Magazine, the Evening Standard Food and Travel Magazine, M&C Report, Design Week, Frame Magazine and City and Canary Wharf Magazines and also writes her own blog, La Goulue. You can follow Kerstin on Twitter @LaGoulue _

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 26th December 2014

Kerstin Kühn: What's Hot in 2015