Food Trend Forecasts Provide Inspiration For Menu Development

Ron DeSantis Certified Master Chef

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“Food trend forecasts that are published every year are great ways to rediscover ingredients and find inspiration for menu development.” This is one of the topics in the following newsletter by Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis.

Food Is Just the Beginning™
by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 1
January 2019

200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405

Come On, Already!

We live in a service economy. Does that really mean I should tip the person that just took my sandwich order?

After placing my order at a sandwich shop the screen was turned to me and the question on the screen was how much I wanted to tip the cashier. Honestly, with Danny Meyer in my mind, I thought, just charge me more and give the cashier a better paycheck. Then, how much should one tip the order-taker? I’m really interested in how others handle counter-service tipping.


Master Chef Insights

2019 Outlook

We’re already 20 years into the 21st Century! Food changes, or so it seems, but does it really? Here’s looking in the rearview mirror at trends over the past 20 years:

  • Bacon
  • Comfort food
  • Sliders
  • Food trucks
  • Farm-to-Table/local/organic
  • Fried chicken
  • Cupcakes
  • Plant forward
  • Under utilized
  • Pulses/quinoa/hummus
  • Kale
  • Eggs

This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are the trends that consistently showed up during numerous searches. Here’s a low-risk prediction: most of these foods will be around for many years to come. What is interesting to me is that the trends are familiar foods and concepts/movements. They are things that are easily understood and can be, for the most part, embraced. They are all good foods (the definition of “healthy” TBD) and good concepts.

The great thing about being a chef is that good food never changes. You know good food as soon as you see it. The trend forecasts that are published every year are great ways to rediscover ingredients and find inspiration for menu development. Trend forecasts help chefs and managers gauge how on-trend their menus are and make adjustments where necessary.

What’s my 2019 outlook? First, good food will always win over the “hot trend”. Second, inspired by the selfless work of Chef Jose Andres (Nobel Peace Prize nominee!), the culinary community will become engaged in global topics and how food plays a role in solving them (9 billion people by 2050!). And lastly, there will be plant-forward backlash. People understand they need to eat more fruits and veggies (and they will), but they’re getting tired of constantly being told about it.

2018 Vintage

CulinaryNXT’s 2018 highlights –

The GOAT of sandwiches (declared by Good Morning NFL hosts on national TV) created for Super Bowl 52 made from 52 unique ingredients. Minnesota Vikings Tight End Adam Thielen confirmed its tastiness.

Host of a podcast series with chefs, charcuterie maker, food scientist, and more chefs.

Guest chef at a location I’m not permitted to talk about and had a short conversation with VP Mike Pence.

Held a culinary demo and tasting at Hope Lodge in New Orleans for cancer patients.

I was sold at auctions this year totaling $50,000 to charities.

Innovations TV with Ed Begley Jr interview for expertise on technology in foodservice.

2019 Food Trends insights provided for Menu & The Flavor magazine.

Lunch at 11,000-foot hike in Colorado Rockies.

Visited the PEZ factory!

Culinary & more…

Culinary Tip

Roasting Vegetables. Some of the most delicious things on a plate are roasted vegetables. How to get that natural sweet, charred flavor? Start by putting the roasting pan in the oven and preheat it. Use high temperature (400-425F), veggies have lots of water. Cut or select vegetables so they are consistent in size. SEASON them! Salt and pepper of course, but try seeds – fennel, cumin, caraway, mustard – experiment. Once the veggies hit the pan, put it back in the oven and leave it alone! At least for 15 minutes, let the heat recover and start the browning. Stir infrequently. Test the veggies for doneness by eating some. If they are how you like them, serve immediately, they will cool down fast.

Ingredient of the Month

Oysters. I thought I’d start with oysters because I just had some of the freshest, plumpest oysters during the holidays from Copps Island Oysters

Oysters are one of nature’s great foods that needs no or very little enhancing. My friend Chef Franco Camacho just served oysters with brunoise apples, yuzu sorbet, and caviar….just enough to make you want more. And I have to add fried oysters as a favorite. Just get them fresh.

Cancer Nutrition Consortium

In a recent email from CNC was a link to a recent study completed by cancer and nutrition experts. The study addresses “…how cancer treatment influences the dietary behaviors and food preferences of older adult cancer patients and explore associations between these dietary changes and common cancer symptoms.” Here is the link The work of the amazing people in CNC and the world-class cancer researchers is life-changing. I’m honored to be part of CNC. If you’d like more information about CNC, check the website or let me know.

Happy New Year

Please accept my sincerest wishes for a happy, healthy, and successful 2019.

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.

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