A Look At 2017’s Restaurant Trends: 9 Months In

Keeping track of food trends is an important consideration for chefs.

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September 19, 2017 3 min read

Food has some significant parallels to fashion, especially in the ways styles change and leaders in the fields set trends. The speed with which new ideas in both industries rise, take hold and fade away is similar, with yearly and seasonal innovation common. While old staples – be it a little black dress or perfectly prepared steak – won’t go away any time soon, there’s also plenty of room for new, exciting ideas.

Chefs seeking a cooking certificate online should always stay abreast of the latest developments in the industry. Here’s a look at where some of 2017’s predicted food trends stand as the year enters its final quarter.

The rise of cauliflower

This well-known plant, of the same species as cabbage and collard greens, was supposed to be the next big thing for vegetables. Bon Appetit predicted cauliflower’s widening uses, such as frying and whole-roasting, would bring it on par with the trends for kale and Brussels sprouts – another close relative to cauliflower – seen in recent years.

Some recent, widely recognized uses of cauliflower come from its applications as a versatile substitute for grain and flour. VegNews reported on an Ohio-based company not only creating a cauliflower pizza dough but also using a 3D printer to create novelty shapes such as flowers, in a blending of two food trends.

Riced cauliflower, an effective substitute made by home cooks, restaurants and grocer Trader Joe’s, has also seen an upsurge in popularity. Demand at Trader Joe’s reached a fever pitch during the summer, with the retailer rationing sales due to to heavy competition to purchase it among customers, Food & Wine reported. While cauliflower doesn’t yet have the ubiquitous presence of other trendy vegetables, its star is certainly on the rise.

Street food’s ascension

The National Restaurant Association placed street food-inspired dishes No. 2 on its list of top predicted trends for 2017. This concept has already gained steam with food trucks and restaurants serving dressed-up versions of classic dishes, from tacos to lobster rolls, in recent years. The mix of comfort food with creative concepts from inspired chefs is a powerful and versatile one.

A look at Thrillist’s review of the best new restaurant dishes for 2017 clearly shows a street-food influence, with Chicago-style hot dogs, poutine, fried chicken sandwiches and similar items occupying many slots. Street food inspirations are an enduring concept for restaurants, but short-term popularity seems to be on an upswing.

Pizza keeps evolving

Pizza is a bedrock of a wide variety of restaurants and chefs, from classic parlors and pizzerias to super-specialized versions. Pizza is so foundational that it has its own microcosm of trends, with different styles waxing and waning in popularity as time goes on.

Some of the concepts identified in 2017 trend reporting include the spread of Detroit-style pizza, a square, thick-crusted variation made with the toppings sitting under the cheese. Food & Wine pointed to Detroit-style outposts in Denver and New York, far away from the pizza’s birthplace in the Motor City.

Bon Appetit offered a more thematic take on the next development in the world of pizza, noting the return of the classic American pizza joint was a growing trend. Offering nostalgia and an unpretentious although modernized atmosphere, this version of the pizza restaurant is a callback both in appearance and the style of pie offered, with medium-thick crust, traditional cheese blend and many other classic elements flourishing.

Food trends constantly change, which means chefs have to keep up with industry news to decide which elements they want to experiment with and incorporate into their menus.

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