As 2018 approaches, the food world is buzzing about what will be the top trends in the coming year. New cuts of meat, house-made condiments and street food-inspired dishes will continue to gain popularity in the new year, according to the nearly 700 chefs from the American Culinary Federation surveyed by The National Restaurant Association for its annual What’s Hot culinary report. Chefs also weighed in on what concepts and ingredients they’ll put on the back burner -- or do away with entirely -- in 2018.
While chefs expect to feature more house-made condiments, they may take the place of other in-house offerings. Chefs placed house-made charcuterie, sausage and ice cream on the list of trends expected to cool down in 2018. One exception may be a rolled style of ice cream from Thailand that is gaining a following in the US. The dessert, which is made by spreading ice cream base onto a super-chilled metal surface and scraping it off into long ribbons, landed at number 14 on this year’s What’s Hot list.
Another previously hot trend expected to cool down in 2018 is meal kits. Pre-packed kits of ingredients and instructions that give consumers a cooking shortcut were among the top 10 concept trends in last year’s What’s Hot report, but the coming year will be a test for the plethora of newly launched meal kit companies as they compete to stay afloat in the crowded market. Blue Apron, which entered the market in 2012, has been in the headlines several times this year after its share price fell dramatically following its initial public offering and the company’s chief executive and founder announced he was stepping down.
In addition to cooling trends, chefs also identified dishes and foods that they have already written off their menus for 2018. Topping the list of dishes dubbed “yesterday’s news” is meals served in Mason jars. Jarred salads gained popularity in large part through Pinterest, which also helped create a following for another erstwhile trend: spiralized vegetables. Zucchini, sweet potatoes or other produce cut into thin ribbons became a popular pasta substitute for people looking to cut carbs, avoid gluten or simply eat more vegetables. While the spiral shape may be tired, the idea of vegetables standing in for carbohydrate-heavy foods is still going strong. Vegetable carb substitutes such as cauliflower “rice” and radish “chips” are number seven on the 2018 What’s Hot list.
On the flavor front, chef’s said they are over pumpkin spice. Made popular by Starbucks’ seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, the autumnal mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices has showed up in just about every food and beverage category, from ice cream and Oreos to potato chips. Pumpkin spice began to lose its status as fall’s reigning flavor this year, according to reports that marked an uptick in maple flavored items on fall menus.
For more insights from chefs, read the full What's Hot 2018 Culinary Forecast.
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