Portion control: Small
plates are hot.
With each new year, F&B experts weigh in on
what’s coming in the food world. Their lists are notoriously
discrepant, if only because they attempt to find commonality in
such a multifarious industry. This year, M&C compared
four such lists from Marriott International, restaurant consultancy
Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Co., conference center manager
Benchmark Hospitality and cooking website Epicurious to fish out
which trends the experts agreed upon.
1)Tapas-style dining. Every source found that
grazing on small plates is preferred over sitting down to a full
meal. Miniature sandwiches and flights of soups allow diners to
experience a lot more creativity in a meal, and it takes the
unnecessary formality out of dining.
2)The end of diets. All the lists herald the end
of Atkins’ reign. Though Baum & Whiteman predicts an all-out
fat and carb fest, the others say diners are looking for healthful
food that follows just one diet: a balanced one.
3)Organic products. All four lists see a turn to
natural foods pulled directly from the garden, and more focus on
whole, organic products.
4)Modernized ethnic foods. Indian and Spanish
cuisines are haute.
5)Old-fashioned desserts. Two trend lists argue
that nostalgia desserts like gelatin and pudding are all the rage,
though they are sometimes made more formal with exotic flavors and
6)Upscale cocktails. Marriott and Epicurious
expect a rash of new libations with fresh-squeezed juices and
top-line liquors. Menus will pair dishes with cocktails, the way
many upscale restaurants do with wines.