So, you’re an aspiring chef looking for the latest trends in the industry. Good thinking–keeping up with trends in food can help give you a professional edge and liven up your culinary career.
If you are working toward a career in the kitchen, or perhaps even planning on opening your own restaurant, you should know what’s currently shaping the industry. From mushrooms to cashews, seaweed to honey, these are the culinary trends shaping the food industry in 2023–in no particular order.
One quick note: you may notice that all of the food trends listed here are plant-based. This is because, as people move toward a more sustainable lifestyle, plant-based cooking is rising in popularity. Plant-based cuisine may also boast health benefits due to its nutrient density.
1. Mighty Mushrooms
Last year, The New York Times named mushrooms the “Ingredient of the Year” and this year they are still placing high as a culinary trend. Because of their broad range of amino acids–similar to animal proteins–versatility, and unique earthy flavor, mushrooms have been a staple in many cuisines for centuries and are a hearty way to enhance any dish. Some fun dishes to try with mushrooms are quesadillas, strata, and lasagna.
2. Seaweed Umami
Umami is the flavor typically associated with meat, but it doesn’t need to come from meat. A trending way to spark the umami flavor in your dishes is seaweed. Endorsed by famous chefs such as James Martin, Gregg Wallace, Nigel Slater, and Jamie Oliver, seaweed is a superfood rich in various proteins, minerals, and trace elements.
Thus, it can be used to enrich your meals with a host of health benefits. It’s also a sustainable alternative to many foods because it grows naturally in oceans and is eco-friendly to farm. Jump on this trend by using seaweed in a risotto, a soup, or a fresh seaweed salad.
3. Urban Produce
More and more restaurants are adding local and urban produce to their menu items this year to attract a larger crowd. Fresh, local ingredients typically have a better flavor and are more sustainable because they reduce greenhouse gasses, create resilient food systems, and preserve biodiversity.
Urban produce, in particular, is rising in popularity. Urban produce is particularly sustainable because it is grown within city infrastructures where food wouldn’t otherwise be grown, and can use up to 98% less water. It can also utilize gray water, which produces a healthier crop.
4. Creamy Cashews
This year, we are seeing a renewed interest in nuts. These versatile ingredients are especially popular in sauces like peanut sauce, pesto sauce, and, more recently, creamy sauce made with trending cashews. A popular ingredient in plant-based cooking, cashews are nutritious with a delicious creamy texture.
Multiple studies have shown cashews to lower cholesterol, boost immunity, and fortify muscles and nerves. According to Technavio, the cashew market is expected to grow 5.3% in the next few years. Get on board with the trend with dishes like cashew macaroni and cashew dip for chips, crackers, and veggies.
5. Instagram-Worthy Ube
With Instagram cuisine still increasing in popularity this year as more chefs and aspiring chefs join the platform, many are experimenting with eye-catching dishes using ube. Ube is a purple yam that originated in the Philippines. It has a warm, vanilla-like flavor and works well in both sweet and savory dishes.
There has been rising interest in the purple yam from culinary artists across the country due to its pleasant flavor, visual appeal, and supposedly numerous health benefits. Ube is not only vibrantly colored, but contains a host of antioxidants. Try your hand at ube cuisine with some ube pancakes, a batch of ube perogies, or an ube pie.
6. “Swicy” Honey
“Swicy” food is a combination of sweet and spicy and it’s all the rage in the culinary world right now. One ingredient that is excellent for helping satisfy the “swicy” palate is honey. Depending on the source of its nectar, the taste of honey can vary from floral and fruity to nutty and earthy–so different types of honey can be used to complement various spicy dishes.
Phytochemical, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties paired with a unique flavor make honey perfect to combine with a selection of spices to achieve a “swicy” and incredibly healthy dish. Recipes like hot honey sauce and “swicy” honey-roasted carrots are great opportunities to try out this new trend.
7. Climate-Conscious Lentils
Climate-conscious eating decisions continue to trend this year in light of climate change. One extremely climate-conscious ingredient you should be using is lentils. Lentils have a negative carbon footprint because they sequester more carbon into the soil than they emit. Plus, lentils–like all legumes–are low in fat and full of vitamins. Just one half-cup serving packs 9 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber.
The Washington Post predicts lentils will gain popularity as Americans realize how sustainable they are as well as their many health benefits, along with the variety of legumes available. Perfecting the art of cooking lentils now could put you ahead of the game when this happens. Have a go with dishes like meatless sloppy joes and sweet potato lentil chili.
8. Barbecue-Ready Jackfruit
The popularity of barbecued food has been on the rise in recent years, and this year is no exception. Barbecuing provides an opportunity for chefs to showcase their creativity with new and unexpected flavors and trending jackfruit offers an ideal outlet for this. Jackfruit’s neutral flavor enables it to absorb the flavors it’s cooked in, making it a very versatile ingredient, particularly for barbecuing.
Jackfruit contains phytonutrients said to work against cancer, hypertension, ulcers, and aging. Unripe jackfruit tends to be on the stringy side, making it a perfect plant-based alternative for meat dishes like pulled pork. Try barbecuing jackfruit into some sandwiches or tacos to get a head start on this trend.
9. Plant-Based Bakers
Plant-based baking is growing in popularity this year. We’re seeing more bakers move away from traditional methods, replacing eggs and milk with ingredients like bananas, chia seeds, and almonds. If you are still deciding on a culinary career path, you may pursue a career in plant-based baking. Escoffier’s diplomas and degrees in Baking and Pastry Arts or Plant-Based Culinary Arts can help prepare you for a career in this niche.
“I encourage anyone who wants to invest in their culinary career to attend Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts! Their online program is top-tier, and the staff work tirelessly to support students because our success is theirs, too. I worked 60 hours a week as an employee while simultaneously running my business and keeping up with my personal life while attending this school.”*
Shamaya Williams Coats, Escoffier Online Culinary Arts Student & Leaf Grain General Manager
10. Opening a Plant-Based Restaurant
If you are planning on opening a restaurant in the near future, you should know that plant-based restaurants are dining locations of choice for food connoisseurs this year. Having a plant-based restaurant may even give you a better chance at receiving a Michelin Star, since Michelin has moved to award more stars to vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
Are You Ready to Leverage Trends and Further Your Culinary Career?
At Escoffier, we offer programs dedicated entirely to plant-based cooking that can help you explore culinary techniques and trends. Many of these programs are available online and can be completed from anywhere in the world with internet connectivity.
If you’re looking to experiment with food trends and take your culinary dreams to the next level, you may consider applying! Contact us for more information to get started.
Explore more culinary trends with these articles:
- 6 Pastries Every Professional Baker Should Know How to Make
- 10 Dishes Every Vegan Chef Should Know How to Make
- 13 Great Careers in the Food Industry
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.