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Culinary And Restaurant Trends For 2013

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 12/12/2012

The National Restaurant Association releases its forecast of the hot menu trends for the coming year.

Seasoned restaurant entrepreneurs, as well as entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a restaurant, need to maintain a constant awareness of the latest culinary trends. In extreme cases, a failure to discern current menu preferences can spell disaster -- taking a restaurant from boom to bust in a single year.

Culinary and Restaurant Trends for 2013

To help restaurant owners stay on top of the marketplace, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) recently released its annual "What's Hot" report of restaurant trends for 2013. In a survey of more than 1,800 professional chefs, it was revealed that locally sourced menu items and children's nutrition continue to be dominant culinary themes throughout the restaurant industry.

Joy Dubost, director of Nutrition & Healthy Living for the NRA said, "It is encouraging to see that children's nutrition remains a top priority for chefs and that they continue to put their creativity in healthful kids meals to work on restaurant menus,"

The complete list of the top 10 culinary trends for 2013 includes:

  • 1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  • 2. Locally grown produce
  • 3. Healthful kids' menus
  • 4. Environmental sustainability
  • 5. Children's nutrition
  • 6. New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat-iron, teres major)
  • 7. Hyper-local sourcing (restaurant-based gardens)
  • 8. Gluten-free cuisine
  • 9. Sustainable seafood
  • 10. Whole grain items in kids' meals

The NRA also surveyed 200 professional bartenders (members of the U.S. Bartenders' Guild) to catch a glimpse into the hot new drink trends. The survey indicated that onsite barrel-aged drinks, food-liquor pairings and culinary cocktails top the list of drinks items that will have the most appeal for consumers in 2013.

"Increasing recognition of mixology has elevated restaurant drink menus to a new level that allows bartenders to showcase their skills in blending textures and flavors similarly to how chefs approach food in the kitchen. This is good news for today's increasingly sophisticated and adventurous consumers, who have a wider variety of alcoholic beverages from which to choose when dining out," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and knowledge for the National Restaurant Association.

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