When traveling for work or leisure, the culinary scene is a big part of the experience for many. Benchmark Hospitality’s executive chefs and culinary experts at the company’s 40 hotels, resorts and restaurants, including Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, identified dining trends for this year.
1. Small Plates – Served any time of day and through expo-style cooking, including show kitchens, action stations, EVO grilling and mobile kitchens, small plates get gobbled up.
2. Roll & Go – Bun-less creations that are rolled in plain or flavored tortillas instead of presented as traditional sandwiches are gaining favor.
3. Lose the Fat – Increased awareness of fat, as well as the emphasis on gluten free and vegan foods, has forever altered cooking styles. Instead of fat, chefs are changing to beer braising, cider poaching and quick pickling.
4. Back to the Future – Comeback items such as meatloaf, liver and onions, shepherd’s pie and pan-fried chicken. Classics like shrimp Louie and oysters Rockefeller are shoving chicken Caesar and spinach dip off the menu.
5. Grab-n-Go – Favorites for a quick meal or snack include wilted spinach, maple seared salmon brioche and golden jewel-grained edamame guacamole.
6. Raging Ramen – Once thought to be a food for cash-starved college students, ramen is now breaking into a “low end = high end” street food scenario.
7. Slow Ride, Cook it Easy – Many people are now on the slow food bandwagon at home. Restaurants are putting the process right into the dining room with charcuterie drying, cheese caves, vinegar barrels, etc.
8. Curacao Cocktails – As travel becomes second nature to nearly everyone, travelers want to relive their experiences. An Irish whiskey sampler brings Dublin home, while a Ghirardelli chocolate martini brings San Francisco to the backyard or terrace.
9. Tea Mixology – Create tantalizing flavors for simple teas from a variety of herbs and spices and then infusing. The use of rose hips, lavender and basil creates an aromatic scent and a soothing, calming beverage.
10. Branding the Chef – Bottling items, like a signature lemon curd ale and barbecue or chipotle bourbon sauces straight off the chef’s house menu, are replacing traditional store-bought items in customers’ pantries.