Inside the culinary crystal ball
Pomegranate or Blueberry? Pulled pork or Brisket? Hummus or Salsa?
What are the next tastes & trends that will be showing up on innovative menus or on fabulous gourmet retail shelves?
Christine Couvelier is passionate about food. She shares her passion and enthusiasm for food with everyone she works with. Christine is a Global Culinary Trendologist, an Executive Chef and a Culinary Executive. As a Global Culinary Trendologist, Christine uses her ‘culinary crystal ball’ for forecasting upcoming food trends. At her company, Culinary Concierge, she provides culinary solutions that assist clients in launching on-trend, on-time great tasting food products and menu items.
What’s a Culinary Trendologist? Christine tours the Globe to taste what is coming next, cooking with chefs, attending food shows, visiting greenmarkets and gourmet retailers. She develops her sought-after Trend Watch Report focusing on emerging, developing and existing trends.
So let’s open up the culinary crystal ball!
Watch for flavours that combine sweet and heat. Spicy flavours are popular on restaurant menus & grocery shelves, but today’s adventurous consumer wants more complex flavours. Some tastes to try are sriracha & maple syrup or jalapeno honey or how about smoked paprika, chili, lime & maple butter on grilled corn this summer!
Crickets are the new kale
Yes, you read that right. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Association have stated that crickets are “the future of food & the key to Global food sustainability.” So, first let’s get past the ‘yuck’ factor! Crickets are high in protein, omega, calcium & iron, and low in fat & calories. Culinary crickets are being raised & turned into cricket flour, protein bars & more. Every cricket has more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach & 2x more protein than one ounce of beef.
Move over green juice! It’s all about bone broth now. Bone broths offer fabulous health benefits that help your stomach, joints, strengthen bones & your immune system & gives you more energy. What’s not to love? Broth is like a stock that has been cooked for 24 – 72 hours. You can customize your bone broths by adding turmeric, ginger juice, coconut milk, beet juice & more.
Hummus is the new salsa
Hummus is high in protein, high in fibre & low in fat. Hummus can be an appetizer, a dip, a spread, a condiment or a main course, so experiment & see what creations you like.
Some innovative hummus flavors & tastes are black bean hummus, spicy red lentil chipotle hummus, edamame hummus with roasted red pepper & what about zesty sriracha carrot hummus!
Salt is still the new pepper
Watch for crunchy, flaky, tinted crystal from out of the ordinary places. Today, artisanal salts elevate ordinary food & make extraordinary dishes taste out of this world. How about gourmet salt flavours to entice you like; sour cherry, bacon & thyme salt or pickled ginger, green tea & chile sea salt or how about Merlot sea salt. Merlot sea salt is great sprinkled on roasted baby potatoes = wow!
Do we need to have salt sommeliers?
Vegetables are the new bacon
A huge trend that is only getting bigger is all about vegetables as the star of the plate. This is vegetable cuisine without being expressly vegetarian.
Think about all methods of preparation: grilling, smoking, roasting & charring to achieve crispy, caramelized, colourful & flavourful vegetables. Chefs across North America & throughout Europe are tantalizing diners with vegetable creations that are not just a side dish. Dishes like charred green beans with cherry tomatoes, Fresno chilies, mint & dukkah, or what about carrots wellington, and don’t miss out on asparagus, miso & fig leaf with green garlic mayonnaise & peach thinning relish… fabulous!
Look to be educated by ‘vegetable butchers’ in gourmet retail stores that provide shoppers with tips & tricks of how to purchase, prepare & taste new vegetable creations.
There is an evolution of yogurt tastes. Yogurt is not just sweet anymore. Savoury flavours like butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot or beet can be turned into wonderful cheesecakes, frittatas, smoothies or drizzled over salads & swirled into soups.
So, are you hungry now?
As you head out to the grocery store, to a new restaurant or depart on a culinary adventure & make culinary memories, be sure to travel with your fork!
Watch for these buzzwords & tastes to be aware of:
- Juice bars are the new coffee shops.
- Kelp is the new kale.
- Food halls are the new farmer’s markets.
- Fried chicken is the new pork belly.
Don’t forget ~ it’s all about Taste! Taste! Taste!
Christine Couvelier is a Global Culinary Trendologist, Executive Chef and Culinary Executive. Christine is the past Executive Chef of President’s Choice, the Director of Culinary & Beverage/Executive Chef at Cara Operations, and the Chair of The Chef School of George Brown College. She worked on global innovation for Unilever and was the first Director of Culinary Strategy at Maple Leaf Foods. Currently Christine continues to educate, teach, and inspire her customers through her consulting company Culinary Concierge, where she provides culinary solutions to assist clients in launching on-trend, on-time great tasting food products and menu items. For more information, contact Christine by email at taste@ culinaryconcierge.ca or visit www.culinaryconcierge.ca.