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Craft beer, charcuterie and ethnic sauces among top trends in chef survey


February 10, 2016
By Canadian Pizza

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Toronto – Craft beer and microbrews remain atop Restaurants Canada’s 2016 Canadian Chef Survey, with charcuterie and ethnic sauces not far behind. Alternative pulse proteins, ethnic cheeses and house-made artisan pickles are among the emerging food trends.

Close to 500 professional chefs across the country identified the menu items and cooking methods at the peak of popularity, as well as up-and-coming culinary trends, Restaurants Canada said in a news release. The category “house-made condiments/sauces” is new to both lists for 2016, underscoring the strong interest among chefs and consumers in unique food and beverage flavours.

Top 10 hot trends 
1. Craft beer/ microbrews
2. Charcuterie/ house-cured meats
3. Ethnic sauces (for example, sriracha, raita/raitha, chimichurri, soy sauce)
4. Locally sourced foods (locavore) 
5. Food smoking
6. House-made condiments/sauces
7. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
8. Inexpensive/ underused cuts of meat (for example, beef cheek, brisket, pork shoulder, skirt steak)
9. Organic produce
10. Leafy greens (for example, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, dandelion, beet greens)

In addition to house-made condiments, the “Up-and-Comers” list features several other first-time items: alternative pulse proteins, chef-driven fast casual concepts, ethnic cheeses, and house-made/artisan pickles:

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Top 10 up-and-comers
1. House-made condiments/sauces
2. Ancient grains (for example, kamut, spelt, amaranth, freekeh)
3. Alternative pulse proteins (for example, pigeon peas, cranberry beans, black beluga lentils)
4. Inexpensive/underused cuts of meat (for example, beef cheek, brisket, pork shoulder, skirt steak)
5. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
6. Ethnic/street-food-inspired appetizers (for example, tempura, taquitos)
7. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
8. Unusual/uncommon herbs (for example, chervil, lovage, papalo, lemon balm)
9. Ethnic cheeses (for example, queso fresco, paneer, labneh, halloumi)
10. House-made/artisan pickles 

A total of 494 professional chefs participated in Restaurants Canada’s seventh annual Canadian Chef Survey, conducted by independent market research firm BrandSpark International between Jan. 11 and Feb. 1, 2016. 

View an infographic poster.

The survey includes responses from members of Restaurants Canada, the Canadian Culinary Federation, and the industry at large, and was sponsored by Saputo. Detailed results will be available to Restaurants Canada members later in February.