Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive


Chef Survey: What's Hot in 2010

December 29, 2009 - Keeping up with food and beverage trends is crucial to develop the right menu mix. That’s why restaurateurs turn to the National Restaurant Association to help them stay abreast of the hottest menu trends. The Association each year surveys professional chef members of the American Culinary Federation. The latest survey, conducted in 2009, was based on the input of more than 1,800 chefs. Respondents ranked 214 items by how trendy they would be in 2010. 

Top 20 Trends

1  Locally grown produce
2  Locally sourced meats and seafood
3  Sustainability
4  Bite-size/mini desserts
5  Locally-produced wine and beer
6  Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes
7  Half-portions/smaller portion for a smaller price
8  Farm/estate-branded ingredients
9  Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
10 Sustainable seafood
11 Superfruits (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen, purslane)
12 Organic produce
13 Culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, fresh ingredients)
14 Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
15 Nutrition/health
16 Simplicity/back to basics
17 Regional ethnic cuisine
18 Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
19 Newly fabricated cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, Petite Tender)
20 Fruit/vegetable children’s side items
Top Trends by Category
1 Amuse bouche
2 Mini-burgers/sliders
3 Appetizer combos/ platters
4 Appetizer salads
5 Asian appetizers (e.g. tempura, spring rolls/ egg rolls, satay, dumplings)

Main Dishes/Center of the Plate
1 Locally sourced meats and seafood
2 Half-portions/smaller portion for a smaller price
3 Sustainable seafood
4 Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
5 Newly fabricated cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, Petite Tender)

1 Quinoa
2 Braised vegetables
3 Brown/wild rice
4 Steamed/grilled/roasted vegetables
5 Buckwheat items

1 Bite-size/mini desserts
2 Artisan/house-made ice cream
3 Dessert flights/combos
4 Savory desserts
5 Gelato/sorbet

1 Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. Asian- flavored syrups, chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
2 Traditional ethnic breakfast items (e.g. huevos rancheros, shakshuka, ashta, Japanese)
3 Fresh fruit breakfast items
4 Seafood breakfast items (e.g. smoked salmon, oysters, crab cake)
5 Prix fixe brunches

Kids’ Meals
1 Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes
2 Fruit/vegetable children’s side items
3 “Kid cuisine”/gourmet children’s dishes
4 Children’s entrée salads
5 Ethnic-inspired children’s dishes

1 Locally grown produce
2 Superfruits (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen, purslane)
3 Organic produce
4 Exotic fruit (e.g. durian, passion fruit, dragon fruit, paw paw, guava)
5 Micro-vegetables/ micro-greens

Ethnic Cuisines and Flavors
1 Regional ethnic cuisine
2 Ethnic fusion
3 North African/Maghreb
4 Latin American/Nuevo Latino
5 Southeast Asian (e.g. Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malaysian)

Other Food Items/Ingredients
1 Artisanal cheeses
2 Black garlic
3 Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth)
4 Flatbreads (e.g. naan, papadum, lavash, pita, tortilla)
5 Flower syrup/essence

1 Liquid nitrogen chilling/ freezing
2 Braising
3 Sous vide
4 Smoking
5 Oil-poaching/confit

Culinary Themes
1 Sustainability
2 Farm/estate-branded ingredients
3 Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
4 Nutrition/health
5 Simplicity/back to basics

1 Specialty iced tea (e.g. Thai-style, Southern/ sweet, flavored)
2 Organic coffee
3 Agua fresca
4 Green tea
5 Flavored/enhanced water

Alcohol andCocktails
1 Locally-produced wine and beer
2 Culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, fresh ingredients)
3 Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
4 Organic wine/beer/ liquor
5 Food-beer pairings

Additional Questions

What will be the hottest kitchen equipment trend in 2010?

Environmentally friendly (e.g. saving energy, conserving water) 55%
Productivity-enhancing (e.g. speeds cooking, labor-saving) 23%
Multi-purpose 15%
Specialty/novelty 4%
Mobile/portable 3%
Other 1%
What will be the hottest restaurant concept trend in 2010?
Restaurants with gardens (e.g. rooftop, back-yard, communal) 33%
Cooking classes/demonstrations 18%
Street food and mobile food trucks/carts 15%
Restaurants on farms 13%
Gastropubs 12%
Other 6%
Featured butchers 3%
What is the best source of hot, new food/beverage ideas?
Television (e.g. Food Network, cooking shows) 23%
Trade shows/conferences/seminars 22%
Independent restaurants 21%
Magazines 14%
Other 7%
Culinary schools 6%
Celebrity chefs 6%
Retail 2%
Chain restaurants 1%

The National Restaurant Association conducted an Internet survey of 1,854 professional chefs — members of the American Culinary Federation — in October 2009. Chefs were given a list of 214 food items, beverage items, culinary themes and preparation methods, and were asked to rate items as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite” on restaurant menus in 2010.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is comprised of 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foun¬dation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at

The American Culinary Federation, Inc., established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 22,000 members spanning 230 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit


National Restaurant Association

The American Culinary Federation, Inc.

Also See: Chef Salaries Drop for the First Time in Four Years / May 2009

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| One-on-One |
Viewpoint Forum | Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.