Top 20 Food Trends for 2009

Catering ServiceNot sure what to serve at your next cocktail party, wedding reception or catered affair? You could use some advice from the people who know best, the professional chefs of the American Culinary Federation.

The National Restaurant Association surveyed of 1,600 of these chefs on what menu items are going to be hot in 2009. Here are the top 20 trends:

1. Locally-grown produce
2. Bit-size/mini desserts
3. Organic produce
4. Nutritionally balanced children's dishes
5. New/fabricated cuts of meat such as Denver steak, pork flat iron and bone-in Tuscan veal chop
6. Fruit/vegetable children's side items
7. Superfruits such as acai, goji berry and mangosteen
8. Small plates/tapas/mezze/dim sum
9. Micro-distilled artisan liquor
10. Sustainable seafood
11. Nutrition/health (reduced sodium or low-fat items, for example)
12. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious cuisine
13. Non-traditional fish such as Arctic char and barramundi
14. Artisanal cheese
15. Exotic fruit such as passion fruit and guava
16. Culinary cocktails
17. Micro-vegetables/micro-greens
18. Organic wine
19. Dessert flights/combos/platters
20. Free-range poultry/pork

For planners, a number of these trends can not only make your events chic, but they can also help your budget. A few passed small plates or tapas can create an inexpensive cocktail menu. Locally-grown produce, the number one trend, will cut back on catering costs normally associated with shipping food in from far distances. It will also further your efforts to host a green meeting.
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