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The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, September 2013 … Benchmark Hospitality International®, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company with two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, has just released its Top Dining Trends for 2013.   The trends were observed by Benchmark's executive chefs and culinary experts at the company's 39 luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants coast to coast and off shore.  These range from the luxurious Bardessono in Napa Valley to the landmark Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore to the extraordinary ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa in Miami and the exotic Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao.

"There is nothing more personal than food," says Executive Chef Victor Scargle of Bardessono Hotel and its acclaimed restaurant, Lucy.  "Consumers today have an amazing personal connection with what they put into their bodies.  Fresh, local, in season - it's what every informed consumer looks for."  Chef Scargle continued, "This really isn't new - it's what our grandmothers did day after day.  They knew exactly what their family dined on as they had grown it in the garden and purchased it from the local butcher.  It was fresh, in season, and bursting with flavor."  Mr. Scargle concluded, "Across the nation, this is what consumers want today - not much has changed from grandma's table!"

Dining Trend #1  

Chef Crafted … It's one of the hottest trends in the culinary world.  Whether smoking, canning, putting up jams and relishes, pickling, or farming … Chefs today are personally creating every component and ingredient in their kitchen for total control over quality and flavor with what they're serving each evening.  Many learned these skills organically at the knee of their grandmothers and are taking these forward into the 21st century culinary experience.

Dining Trend #2  

3000 Years of Protein Perfection!  The gluten-free, superfood Quinoa is among the top ingredients chef's use this year.  It's no wonder as quinoa is ideal for breakfast as a muesli, or for lunch and dinner as a side dish.  The rich protein grain was first domesticated three millennia ago by the Andean peoples.  The Incas considered the high protein food to be sacred.  And, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the "International Year of Quinoa!"

Dining Trend #3  

Parental Controls!  Moms and dads are demanding healthier preparations for traditional children's menu selections -- grilled over fried for the perennial kids' favorite, chicken fingers; baked over deep fried for potato "fries" of all varieties; hummus and fresh fruit dips over fat-laden sauces.  As any parent knows, breaking kids eating habits is nigh impossible, so they're making sure these habits are as healthy as possible. 

Dining Trend #4  

Smoke, anyone?  Smoking has been around as a preservative since the first fire was set.  But it's only now that "smoked" has moved out of the smokehouse and into everything else.  How about smoked cocktails, or smoked olive oils, or smoked heavy cream for sauces … or even smoked water - yes, smoked H2O!  And the cooking with tea trend of the last few years - it's evolved to smoking with coffee and cocoa.

Dining Trend #5 

Tell me again, specifically which boat was involved?  Guests are becoming increasingly more insistent on knowing about the specific origin of food they enjoy, including the waters where their salmon was fished, the name of boat and the name of captain.  To say "Wild Caught" no longer suffices.  In the same vein, guests want to know the history of a restaurant they're about to dine within, and even of the surrounding region.  

Dining has become a comprehensive experience, much like a century ago when the oysters eaten for dinner were observed being gathered that morning in the harbor just beyond, and the restaurant reflected the character of its neighborhood.  Dining today is interactive with guests peppering the wait staff and chef with questions about sustainability, responsible husbandry, and local chef-prepared ingredients.

About Benchmark Hospitality International®

Benchmark Hospitality International® is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers.  The company's two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in unique destinations across the United States, in the Caribbean and Japan.  As a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers, Benchmark Conference Centers® maintain the highest standards for certification in meeting excellence.  Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980 as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State, Japan and Chile.  For additional company information visit www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com/development.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels.

Contact: Ken Ellens

KenEllens@aol.com / 201-758-2864

About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® represents the finest in lodging, dining, recreational and meeting accommodations. Many are certified by the International Association of Conference Centers, the leading professional organization governing the multi-billion dollar conference center industry on five continents, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence.  Benchmark Resorts & Hotels deliver highly specialized service that anticipates guests' needs and ensures a hospitality experience unsurpassed and long remembered. www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels

About Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®

Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels® includes unique hand-picked properties in spectacular U.S. destinations coast to coast. Each hotel and resort delivers personal luxury in a spirit true to its own distinctive locale, yet in keeping with the collection's shared mission. They represent a select portfolio of Benchmark Hospitality International®, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for over 30 years.  Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels is the preferred choice of guests who yearn for transformation over accommodation, customization over conformity, and inspiration over predictability.  With Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels, luxury is always personal. www.personalluxuryresortsandhotels.com.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/PersonalLuxuryResortsandHotels, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PersLuxResorts.

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