Baum and Whiteman, well known international food and restaurant
consultants, have made their predictions for 2014. There are some startling
innovations coming down the pike, and those who place themselves correctly will
stand to benefit.
Dining Tables in Retail Stores
This is the premier trend cited by B and W. From small bars to full
scale restaurants, large department stores are breaking taboos and deliberately
bringing food inside. This not only gives shoppers an opportunity to recharge
while spending, it gives long suffering spouses something to do while their
High End Tasting Menus at Restaurant Dining Tables
While many have found that their budgets remain limited, they want the
best when they go out to eat. Some restaurateurs have answered the call by
creating tasting menus from the very finest ingredients. Such meals are served
at special times, with great fanfare, and command remarkable prices.
No Caesar Salads for These Fish
Small fish were very unpopular for a long time. Only ever placed on
Caesar salads or pizzas, most diners are familiar with them just as toppings.
This year, though, you can expect them to take center stage. In Europe and the
Mediterranean, small fishes are regular parts of the menu. Soon, they will be
here as well. Look for innovative and
unusual ways to bring out their rich flavors and you will lead the pack in no
This Isn’t Your Father’s Butter Dish
What do you want to serve with your bread basket? Butter is far from
the only choice. EVOO and flavored vinegars are pretty worn out too. Hummus,
butters accented with roasted vegetables, porcini or peppers and even salsas
are making their way to the table. Push those butter boundaries as far as you
The New and Unusual
In one of the most pointed departures from typical fare is a move to
tantalize all five senses with a meal. Strange serving utensils, such as bulbs,
spiky spoons and intense flavors are all part of this trend. Other aspects of
the trend involve serving in the dark, requiring complete silence during the
meal or injecting scents at appropriate moments. The goal is simple; create a
remarkable and memorable experience for your guests.
Asia or the Middle East
Flavors, which until
recently were considered entirely regional, are moving into American cuisine.
Fermented ingredients, Vietnamese fish sauce, dumplings from all cultures and
the flavors of Israel are increasingly popular. It is this fusion of
international tastes that will help make the next year’s dining as much a
treat for the palate as the soul.
Not sure how to incorporate all these innovations into your current
menu? The first step is to give things a try. Encourage your chef to experiment
with all the new ideas you see, and chances are, you will have a new hit on
your hands shortly.