Special Report | April 2010 | By Staff

2010 Chef Survey

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Beyond traditional American-Chinese offerings, what flavors will affect the Asian segment going forward?

“There will be more use of traditional Asian flavors as secondary layers of flavor, especially when combined with traditionally non-Asian recipes.”—Chris Martone, Executive Chef, Subway

“We’ll see Asian-American food go back to the basics like street food–inspired dishes made with authentic Asian ingredients and special fruits such as mangosteen.”—Susan Edwards, Director, Culinary, Cryovac

“Korean grilled meats such as bulgogi and kalbi have been hot on the coasts for some time. The heartland might just be ready to experience these accessibly exotic flavors.”—Jim Villemaire, Director, Research & Development, FOCUS Brands

“Vietnamese street food—global comfort food with an informal and authentic nod.”—Joe Cerniglia, Director, Culinary Innovation, Villa Enterprises

“Regions will play a bigger and bigger role as their geography and flavors become more mainstream.  Asia is a big place and lesser-known food will be investigated.”—Carron Harris, Vice President, Product Development, Papa Murphy’s

Are consumers ready for luxury items to return to menus?

“What yesterday was considered luxury and expensive is now a very special treat in many consumers’ minds.”—Carron Harris, Vice President, Product Development, Papa Murphy’s

“Consumers have always wanted choice. Luxury items have their place, as long as you are also offering something with a lower price of entry.”—Jim Villemaire, Director, Research & Development, FOCUS Brands

“Customers will pay more to know where their food came from or that the ingredients are all-natural and additive-free.”—Susan Edwards, Director, Culinary, Cryovac

“Perhaps in time luxury items will come back, but in smaller portions and quantities.”—Chris Martone, Executive Chef, Subway

“They see value in paying for only what they want, not what a restaurant wants to portion them.  Customers will notice the freshness, quality, and nutritional level of an establishment.”—Patrick Fox, Chef, Owner, Cava Greens

“Consumer will begin to mix their ‘low’ with the ‘high’ menu items. Specials like fried chicken and champagne dinners that offer value combine an element of luxury.”—Joe Cerniglia, Director, Culinary Innovation, Villa Enterprises

“In this economy, folks are willing to splurge a little bit because those splurges make the big sacrifices bearable.”—General Mill Foodservice Culinary Center Chefs

“They are looking for value-priced versions of those luxury items and will continue to hold restaurants to the same standards as in the past.”—Joan Scharff, Executive Director, Brand and Menu Strategy, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

What’s the “it” ingredient this year?

“Ginger. It can be used in either sweet or savory applications.”—Carron Harris, Vice President, Product Development, Papa Murphy’s

“Nuts cross all categories.”—Susan Edwards, Director, Culinary, Cryovac

“Quality bacon like thicker bacon, artisan bacon, or bacon smoked over real wood.”—Jim Villemaire, Director, Research & Development, FOCUS Brands

“Consumers will become increasingly aware of not only where their food comes from, but also how it is treated until processing.”—Joe Cerniglia, Director, Culinary Innovation, Villa Enterprises

“Quinoa! It’s packed with protein, high in unsaturated fats, rich with complex carbohydrates, and offers a balanced source of nutrients.”—Patrick Fox, Chef, Owner, Cava Greens

“Whole grains offer unique health benefits.”—General Mills Foodservice Culinary Center Chefs

“Anything real, a focus on additive-free.”—Joan Scharff, Executive Director, Brand and Menu Strategy, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

What previously popular menu trend won’t make it in the new decade?

“We’re victims of bacon overload. This year and beyond we will see a return to bacon in its truest form (i.e. not candied).”—Joe Cerniglia, Director, Culinary Innovation, Villa Enterprises

“The addition of sugar to every menu item.”—Patrick Fox, Chef, Owner, Cava Greens

“I think Mexican has achieved a peak.”—Susan Edwards, Director, Culinary, Cryovac

“Molecular gastronomy.”—General Mills Foodservice Culinary Center Chefs

“Restaurants where guests cook their own food are out.”—Chris Martone, Executive Chef, Subway

“Menu items with artificial trans fats will be quickly disappearing.”—Joan Scharff, Executive Director, Brand and Menu Strategy, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

What flavors and ingredients will define the new decade?

“Consumers are gravitating to kosher products and are finding them in more and more mainstream places.”—Chris Martone, Executive Chef, Subway

“‘Reduced sodium’ will be the biggest windmill we’ll all be fighting for the foreseeable future. Whatever becomes the ‘Flavor of the Decade,’ it will be a little less salty than it would have been otherwise.”—Jim Villemaire, Director, Research & Development, FOCUS Brands

“Korean flavors will have a moment. The spicy taste including red pepper, green onion, soy sauce, bean paste, garlic, ginger, sesame, mustard, and vinegar are all ingredients consumers have proven they enjoy.”—Joe Cerniglia, Director, Culinary Innovation, Villa Enterprises

“Local and seasonal ingredients will figure prominently in the new decade. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, regional specialties, and items from local producers will be popular.”—General Mills Foodservice Culinary Center Chefs

“Chefs will focus on ingredient integrity and cooking techniques that will bring out the best flavor of the ingredients.”—Patrick Fox, Chef, Owner, Cava Greens

“As more and more ethnic foods become mainstream, we will see that translate into higher demand from consumers at all levels. People just don’t want Mexican food anymore, they want Yucatan or Oaxacan.”—Carron Harris, Vice President, Product Development, Papa Murphy’s

“We will see new twists on traditional comfort foods, a continued emphasis on customization and topping options to personalize meals. Another big trend will be the use of flowers, like Hibiscus, flavoring beverages.”—Joan Scharff, executive director of brand and menu strategy, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

To participate in next year’s Chef Survey, contact Blair Chancey