The National Restaurant Association has just released its 2011 “What’s Hot’ chef survey and its good news for those of us growing, serving, selling and promoting local foods.
Of the top 20 trends for the coming year, more than half directly relate to locally sourced food and beverages. So what are they?
#1 Locally sourced meats and seafood
#2 Locally grown produce
#5 Hyper-local (i.e. restaurant gardens, do your own butchering, etc.)
#9 Simplicity/back to basics
#10 Farm/estate-branded ingredients
#11 Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
#12 Locally produced wine and beer
#14 Organic produce
#20 Artisan cheeses
Over 225 trends were identified by more than 1500 chefs.
Other trends that caught my eye – and bring to mind vendors at the Athens Farmers Market and many food-related enterprises in the 30 Mile Meal region – include free-range and grass fed meat animals, ancient grains such as spelt and amaranth, heirloom beans and tomatoes, root vegetables, meatless/vegetarian/vegan entrees, micro greens, root vegetables, and Asian mushrooms.
You can read the entire survey here.