17 May Coast to Coast Fine-Dining: Notable Food Trends for 2016
The culinary experience is an ever-evolving industry, and the trends that appear organically encourage a collective move toward an artfully inspired dining experience. While relying on food trends may be a tricky limitation to a chef’s creativity, staying informed can keep masters of the industry from plateauing in the culinary sphere. The food scenes on both coasts are brimming with innovative styles—from revived classics to extravagant ingenuity, the expectations of fine-dining are shifting. Let’s take a look at the most notable food trends for 2016.
Local, Seasonal Ingredients
Healthy lifestyle influences dominate the scene, especially on the west coast. The “farm to table” trend has gained solid roots in the restaurant industry, and it is now common for guests to ask where their food was grown. Cooking with locally sourced ingredients personalizes the dining experience and speaks to the chef’s attention to detail. Learn more about our seasonal garden favorites here.
On the other side of the spectrum, health bombs are popping up in new-age bakeshops and craft snackeries. French toast doughnuts, sushi burritos, and over the top milkshakes are finding their way into fine-dining.
Let Go of the Fat Fiasco
Not quite as extreme as the ultra-indulgent trend, culinary masters are presenting innovative uses for fat in fine-dining. The fear of fat is slowly dissipating, hallelujah.
The Art of Craft
Drink is no longer secondary to the meal. In fact, mixology has evolved as an art form in it’s own right, and chefs are broadening their skill-set to include thoughtfully made cocktails to accompany the meal. Parallel to the popularity of locally sourced ingredients, microbreweries and distilleries are also enormously popular in high-end establishments.
Small is getting big. Not long ago, expansive dining areas and large portions were the way of the food world, but the pendulum is swinging the other way, and people are speaking for a more personalized fine-dining experience in a smaller, more intimate setting.
Snobbish, no more.
There is a shift in the attitude of fine-dining in general, where the elitist mentality has become outdated and lackluster. For restaurants, especially on the West Coast and in the Bay Area, “casual” is a huge part of the culture, so it is only natural that fine-dining would accommodate for this lifestyle. Essence of casual is more appropriately characteristic of this trend, as portions remain small, packed with flavor and excellently prepared (byway of personalized, locally inspired ingredients), and service continues to be highly detail-oriented.
Burgers have gotten a major face-lift since the 50’s, and high-end restaurants are embracing it. The restoration of classic American cuisine rings patriotic and elevates these previously casual foods to the fine-dining menu.