Lured by independent wineries, micro breweries and cuisine indigenous to local culture, travelers seek out destinations where they can immerse themselves into the regional food scene. For many foodies with discerning palates, discovering the latest culinary trends has become a popular form of self-expression.
According to some of the world’s most renowned chefs, travelers can expect to find several new food conceptions on their plates this year. South African Chef Oliver Cattermole believes that wheat free foods will have a big impact on menus throughout the world. He is sprouting a lot of seeds and pods for bread baking, and is using the ancient grains: spelt, wheat germ, quinoa, and ground husk. Chefs are dehydrating pea skins, beet skins for crisps, fruits and chick pea shells. Also, savory yogurts, beets, butternut, kale and smoked garlic are also likely to become more prevalent at restaurants and resorts this year. The many trends are as diverse as the food itself.
Cutting Edge New York City Chefs
Always on the cutting edge of innovative menu items, versatile New York City chefs are continually incorporating the latest culinary trends into their arsenal of gastronomic delights. Chef Rob Newton at the Black Walnut Restaurant in the Hilton Brooklyn predicts that diners will demand more vegetarian cuisines and there will be a continued movement toward smaller amounts of meat in dishes. Also, Chinese regional cuisines will continue to gain traction. Based on requests, Chef Greg Lombardi at Del Frisco’s Grille New York has added a quilt-free dish that offers a unique take on lighter fare. Quinoa Tacos incorporate charred corn, roasted tomato salsa, crumbled tofu and house-made salsas wrapped in Napa cabbage. Chef Adam Leonti at The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn expects that chefs will return to classical European cooking, including more rooted French, Italian and German dishes. Also, he feels that chefs – in response to consumer requests — are dropping the number of proteins off their menu.
With America’s love for libations rivaling its love for food, menus are forever changing to include the best of both worlds. From pizza with toppings soaked in alcohol to hard cider apple pie, alcohol-infused foods are creating quite a “buzz.” Enjoy sweet views and even sweeter treats at Tidal Restaurant at Paradise Point Resort & Spa, San Diego, California, where banana waffle doughnuts with rum-banana foster glaze, candied walnuts and vanilla make a decadent rum dessert. The evolving menu at Pouring Glory, Fort Worth, Texas, features the “Hopapeno Hop Fusion,” a grilled chuck burger topped with fried egg, Hopfusion Hairpin Session Ale, pickled jalapeño relish, sliced avocado, and queso fresco on ciabatta bread and is served with Pouring Gloring home slices.
Native American cuisine takes center stage at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe. Native American food, which coined the original farm-to-table, is in the midst of a culinary resurgence. The resort’s chef, Kai Autenrieth, has slightly diverted from his European roots and has brought a new dimension to the resort’s menus by incorporating indigenous staples like bison, venison and local ingredients such as red and green chili to make traditional flavorful sauces.
Boutique hotels are redefining the continental breakfast. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 62 percent of hotels nationwide now offer a free breakfast with your stay. With interest in high-quality, highly unique food nearing peak levels, such hotels as The Spectator and French Quarter Inn in Charleston, SC, are upping the ante with an abundance of locally-sourced, artisanal options to satisfy guests and increase the chance of repeat clientele.
The Art of Cooking Vacations
The art of cooking has evolved beyond a hobby and into a passion for many travelers these days. Knowledge about what people are putting into their bodies, how it is being prepared, and finding the best way to add the most nutrients are topics of interest for many people. The newly opened Thompson Seattle offers an opportunity to really get to know your chef. Guests who book a “Chef’s Counter” dinner experience have the opportunity to sit in front of Chef Quinton Stewart and interact with him as he prepares a 10-14 course tasting menu experience. The Lodge at Woodloch, a luxurious destination spa in the Pocono Mountains, embraces a philosophy that food that is good for you can be artfully presented and graciously served. The Lodge’s intimate kitchen allows guests to enjoy special cooking demos with Executive Chef Josh Tomson and a talented team of chefs who present new cooking techniques, healthy and surprising ingredient alternatives, and elegant presentation skills. You’ll learn how to plan a menu around seasonal produce and herbs from the Chef’s Garden.
Eye of the Beholder
The methods of preparing food and our food choices are always evolving, thanks in part to creative chefs who dare to venture into brave new culinary worlds. Then again, the most recent food trends often mean returning to simpler, less complicated dishes. Like beauty, fine dining is in the eye of the beholder.