The results of the Restaurants Canada’s annual Chef’s Survey are here and we would like to start by thanking all the Canadian chefs who participated in shinning the light on 2018’s trendy foods and the up and comer flavours.

More than 430 professional chefs, including members of the Canadian Culinary Federation, Terroir and Restaurants Canada, participated in this survey in January 2018 to ensure that voices from all regions of the country were equally represented With no further ado, let’s dig into the results!

Craft Beer Stays On Top Of the Canadian Chef Survey

Canadians’ love for craft beer continues to grow as craft beer/microbrews is once again the hottest trend.

“Canadians’ thirst for locally brewed beer appears unquenchable and their desire to find rich, original and local flavours continues to gain popularity, with no signs of slowing down,” says Shanna Munro, President and CEO.“The other hot trends paint a clear picture that healthy eating and fresh products are top-of-mind for Canadian consumers.”

And the supply keeps on growing. Craft breweries are popping everywhere in the country, bringing a new life to previously isolated neighbourhoods and new flavour profiles for chefs to play with.


Growing health concerns shape the menu

In 2018, food smoking is making strong headway into mainstream restaurants. These techniques spark customers’ interest and allow chefs to be creative with simple ingredients. Smoked vegetables, for example, provides another layer of flavour in vegetarian dishes.

House-made condiments and pickling allow restaurants to offer unique items and flavours for their customers. They can even become a distinguishing asset that keeps customers coming back when they realize they can’t find your creation anywhere else.

Well-known movements like sustainable seafood, locally sourced ingredients and gluten-free/allergy conscious items are becoming stronger and are climbing the trend ladder year after year.

Healthy eating is growing concern in the Canadian market, so it is no surprise that chefs are turning towards cooking with more dark leafy greens and fermented foods.


Top Ten Hot Trends

1. Craft beer/microbrews
2. Food smoking
3. Pickling
4. House-made condiments/sauces
5. Sustainable seafood
6. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
7. Fermenting
8. Dark Leafy greens (e.g., kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens)
9. Sous vide
10. Locally sourced foods (Locavore)

Canadian chefs just told us what's trendy
Chefs Survey 2018 preview


A large spectrum of trends

The number one upcoming trend is quite surprising: algae. It is available in many different forms; Fresh, dry or in powder, you will most likely come across this item a lot more often in restaurants.

Ancient grains continue to gain popularity as well. They] provide the opportunity for chefs to use them in various recipes, which explains why they are the growing interest for local and terroir.

Ethnic products are gaining popularity as well. Expect to hear more this year about Filipino cuisine and cheeses from other cultures.

Liquid over solid?

Innovative beverages also made a strong showing, with gourmet lemonade, specialty iced tea and drinkable desserts all breaking into the top 10. This could be the beginning of a growing trend where beverages, and not solid foods, reign supreme on menus across the country this summer!

Top Ten Up and Comers

1. Algae (e.g., seaweed)
2. Filipino cuisine
3. Artisan/house-made ice cream
4. Imperfect/’ugly’ produce
5. Ancient grains (e.g., kamut, spelt, amaranth, freekeh, lupin)
6. Drinkable desserts
7. Ethnic cheeses (e.g., queso fresco, paneer, lebneh, halloumi)
8. New cuts of meat (e.g., shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip steak, Merlot cut)
9. Gourmet lemonade (e.g., made in house, freshly muddled)
10. Specialty iced tea (e.g., Thai-style, Southern/sweet, flavoured)


The detailed results are available to Restaurants Canada members.
To learn about our benefits and sign up for a membership, click here.

Restaurants Canada to learn about Canada’s hottest food trends and upcoming flavors, watch our free webinar click here.