WASHINGTON — An annual survey of chefs from the American Culinary Federation ranked cannabis and cannabidiol (C.B.D.) as two leading restaurant trends heading into 2019. The survey was conducted by the National Restaurant Association and published in the group’s annual “What’s hot: 2019 culinary forecast.” Zero-waste cooking, globally-inspired breakfast dishes and global flavors in children’s meals rounded out the top five trends.
“The association’s 2019 ‘What’s hot’ report reflects contemporary consumer cravings in tandem with emerging societal dining trends,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice-president of research for the N.R.A. “We’re seeing a more eco-friendly perspective and greater emphasis on global flavors/cuisines as well as enhanced availability of healthful items/children’s meals and the exploration of new food sourcing options.”
Nearly 77% of the chefs ranked cannabis/C.B.D.-infused drinks as the No. 1 trend, and 76% of them tapped cannabis/C.B.D.-infused food as the second most popular. Chefs who participated in the survey said infusing foods with the ingredients could create unique cuisine opportunities and potential new markets for experiential dining occasions.
Seventy per cent ranked zero-waste cooking as the third most popular trend. Chefs are taking a second look at items they have thrown out in the past, such as using coffee grinds to flavor homemade ice cream and showcasing cabbage butts in crowd-pleasing stir-fries.
“Zero-waste cooking is a sign of the times,” Mr. Riehle said. “Millennial and Gen Z customers in particular expect the restaurants they patronize to be more eco-friendly, so sustainability is high on their list. It’s also good for business. Not only is food waste reduction more cost effective, it creates brand loyalty and helps protect the planet. It’s a big win for everyone.”
The report covers the top five trends as ranked by the chefs, but also breaks it out into a variety of different categories, including children’s meals, snacks/sweets, produce, condiments, grains, pasta, etc. In many of the categories, global flavors stood out as leading trends. Whether it was Thai-rolled ice cream, which was ranked as the No. 1 trend in sweets and snacks, such North African condiments as dukka, zhug, harissa or ras el hanout (No. 2 in condiments) or gazoz, an Israeli spritzer, which ranked No. 2 in the non-alcoholic beverage category, the diner’s taste for adventure could be found throughout the survey.
The What’s hot report is a survey of approximately 650 chefs who are members of the American Culinary Federation. To learn more about the report, click here.