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Trends... revisited

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Some time ago, on a much younger ChefTalk, I started a thread about food trends; where are we headed and what are you doing now that is innovative? That was a few years ago, so I thought it might be interesting to see where we all stand these days.

So, what is the next must-do trend to sweep our industry, if there is one? What are you doing now that is 'cutting edge'?

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #2 of 28
I'm kind of tired of trends.

They all lead back to the classics.

Remember those skin tight jeans of the 70's.Levis just stood back with a grin on there face waiting for people to "get a grip"

I just posted a question on another forum.It is"Point,Girardet,Careme,Escoffier and Adrian on an island.

The chatter starts with Adrian saying "i've lost my immersion blender?! what should I do?"

Get the point? whould love to be a fly on the wall during this conversation.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
I agree. I think. I believe a strong foundation is VITAL for success. However, I think consumers see some trendy menu item somewhere and it becomes a 'must have'; it also helps pay the rent if you respond to demand.
Some of the trendiness does contribute a drop or two to the bucket of epicurean development; we are always evolving, growing and experimenting.
That said, what do you think?

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #4 of 28
I think a trend is a trend........how long will it "Pay the rent?" only as long as it's a trend.

Is cooking with air a trend I don't know,what would F. Point say?

Was Nouvele cuisine a trend? or was it a long thought out experiment with food? I don't know.

Or is a trend really just taking a fundimental approach to cooking and throwing a curve ball?some hold while others swing.

Is "farm purchased"produce a trend? Hmm,is "organic" a trend?

Or are they the norm being rediscovered and coveted by so called "foodies"? I don't know.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #5 of 28
I don't think this is a trend yet, but I'd sure like to see it happen. A return to the style of service epitomized by the Pavillon in its heyday: whole roasts carved at the table; platter, as opposed to plate, presentations and service; etc. Corresponding to the service, wouldn't it be great if diners actually dressed for dinner? Personally, if I'm going to spend upwards of $50 per person for dinner, I'm going to be wearing clothes that cost more than the meal.
post #6 of 28
the only trend I see down here is, buy one entree and get the second at 1/2 price or an all inclusive dinner.
The retail industry has shot itself in the foot with brainwashing consumers into only buying things on sale. I hope this does not take over our industry!
Over the last couple of years I've noticed more and more of this mentality. " If I buy two, do I get a discount!" " Do these ever go on sale?" " That item is $212., would you take $200.?"
I know this is OT, but I see it as a trend:D
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post #7 of 28
If there's anything to be learned from our English friends, it's that North Indian food will soon become very mainstream in America. I predict that in 10 years, Indian food will be as common as Chinese takeout.

The "Italian" segment is continually reinventing itself in order to stay competitive. This has resulted in higher quality and reasonable prices. Most people can "talk" Italian food now without resorting to American translations. I think the trend toward higher quality will continue.

Curry, heat, spice. I think this is an underappreciated trend. Maybe not in Minnesota, but more and more folks on both coasts are discovering their endorphines for the first time.

Baja style Mexican food. Too bad it's already been poorly commercialized by McFood. Prepared a la minute, this has to be the freshest tasting shrimp taco on the planet.

Which reminds me, fish tacos anyone? :)

Kuan
post #8 of 28
Dang it I just lost an exstensive reply... organic and local are not trends , they have been around forever. It is just a means to access incredible fresh meats, produce varieities and fresh products otherwise not availables, I was eating sorrel, and jonathon apples, fingerlings, fresh pastured chicken, pimentos, great lettuce mix and super pitty pans yesterday....you can not find 8 varieties of fingerlings in any store and not from many wholesalers, Good Food is Good Food and you will travel and go to locales for great food...think of Le Ruths in Gretna, or JaBonies in STL, these are in funky neighborhoods the food is great, it is timeless. Not to start an arguement of any kind, cooking is an art form, it is a form of exspression...a super Frito Misto and roasted chicken will get me across town any day. Some are saying Sushi was a trend...I see alot of the sushi chefs playing with the basics, is that trendy ...I gotta think Nope, it is just expansion of the medium.
Small farmers have been selling in markets throughout Europe for over one thousand yearsTrendy? I don't think so.My grandmother has been using Rodale and organic gardening for all of her 92 years....and she lives in VA. not CA. In Franc e and I am sure over most of itaily anyou go to the market every AM to decde what to make. I am not going to corect spelling, cus that is what boots the thread off , sorry for the jusk.
MTC
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 28
This is my point in my previous post.

A trend these days I feel are manafactured more by "Big buisness".

Way before organic was in vouque "in the supermarkets"our grandparents where gardening this way.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #10 of 28
Exaggeration is the key to popularity. Big Business is great at marketing this.
Small markets and family business will be almost extinct in our childrens lifetime.
just my prediction:p
Big Busune4ss has monopolized on the laziness of the younger generation and has geared everything towards convienience.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #11 of 28
CIRA is coming on strong in STL to offset the "chain" especially white linen or cheesecake factory market invasion. I think that I am an exception to the rule, I have not had a TV for over 2 years...I don't get blasted with commercials, I was drinking a beer the other day and watching a football game and the commercials were interesting...when you don't watch for months on end the commercials are what pull your attention. So I guess there is a sense that mass marketing will inspire TRENDS...of course it will. But there was a mindset and I believe this, that what is happening in independant restaurants will trickle down to households within 5 years. Interestingly enough, I saw a bunch of foodies at market yesterday and none new that the sorrel leaf I was feeding them was sorrel....most did not know what to do with it....hmmmmm...several were food writers...the next new trend?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 28
I know this isn't exactly a food trend, but more of a service trend. I absolutely hate it when a server squats down in front of my table in order to be more friendly. I have enough friends without making one more with my waiter. I think this is an attempt by big business to encourage bigger tips and a friendlier atmosphere. It's unprofessional. I want a relationship with my server that includes good service, a professional demeanor, and knowlege of the food being served. I don't see this in upscale places- more of a chain trend.

And while I'm on the subject, I don't want to be called Hon or Dear by anyone other than a 65 year old diner employee. It doesn't fit in any restaurant where the meals are fancier than burgers or 2 over easy and grits. It especially doesn't work when the server is 20 years my junior. I'm not a feeble old lady, nor am I six!

Thanks for listening...
post #13 of 28
I know what you mean lentil, and I agree. However, there have been studies (I swear to God) which demonstrate that servers who squat down to the guests' level, touch the guests, and use smiley faces on the checks or other personal comments get bigger tips than servers who do not. Some of us may be annoyed but apparently others respond well without even realizing it. :rolleyes:
Emily

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Emily

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post #14 of 28
Phoebe,

You're right. Some marketing person devised this plan and it continues BECAUSE servers make more money, but servers need to be allowed to use their own judgement when "squatting" is welcomed. When the customer's attitude goes from pleasant to chilly as soon as the server touches them or sits down with them, they should abandon that behavior asap.

The smiley faces I can live with- they were ubitiquitous in the seventies and remain so; I guess I'm just used to them. God forbid we all get used to the trend of overly friendly servers. I know from years of working in the industry that they're going to go in the kitchen and make the same nasty comments about their customers anyway no matter how much they pretend to like them out front...
post #15 of 28
I wonder if someone did surveys to see if customers like to see a server stick the order pad down the back of their pants. This is enough for me to leave.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #16 of 28
Oh yea!! Pad down the pants is a turn-off! I'll take the smiley faces any day over that. Right up there in the disgusting catagory is a server messing with their hair, scratching any body part, and sticking fingers in their mouths, ears, or near the eyes.

Where has common sense about cleanliness gone? It used to be that as a server, I was never allowed to be seen putting food in my mouth. Now I could pick my teeth in the dining room and it would be acceptable!:confused:
post #17 of 28
An interesting & well debated topic. Shroomgirl I like the cut of your jib. Ive only known about a handfull of people who didnt have TVs but they were all incredibly well read & thoughtful people not distracted or brainwashed by marketing.

Theres a lesson there but im reluctant to throw my Sony flatscreen & 6.1 surroundsound away...id miss the Kerrang channel too much.

Seriously it is true that big bui$$ness controls the populpous eating habits.What start as a concept from some no doubt well intentioned development chef gets convoluted & made bland & appealing at the end.

Trends among professional chefs though are facsinating & always good for ideas & discussion. I really like tapas & hope that this becomes as popular as mexican & indian food have here.

Im sure that indian food will become huge in the states although in reality its westerised versions made by 90% Bangledeshi cooks. But chicken tikka masala is the British national dish ..OFFICIAL.
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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post #18 of 28
Lentil,
I once ran a wine bar restaurant where we would tend to hire surf dude types, laid back ,funny , freethinking etc..

We served simple good food & blasted chilli peppers & punk through the pa.

It was a gas

Then one of my waitresses had trouble uncorking a bottle at a table. She used her teeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG.....

The horror !
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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post #19 of 28
Mike,i hope that waitress knew a good dentist!
Back at the ranch,there is talk of "trends".
Where i live in East London there is a glut of "Indian" restaurants.
As you rightly point out Mike,they are managed and staffed by people from Bangladesh.This was known as East Pakistan to those old enough to remember.
In the regenerated Docklands area,there is a wider choice.
You have: Chinese,Indian,French,Italian,Malaysian,Sri Lankan,Thai and Vietnamese.
I would like to see more African restaurants in London,besides the usual Moroccan style establishments.
post #20 of 28
I should have said that Bangladesh was called East Pakistan for those NOT old enough to remember:(
By the way:
1)There is an dearth of Jewish restaurants,which is a shame because this reduces people`s choice.
2)This part of London once had a very large Jewish community which has diminished over the past 30 years.I know this,because i was grew up here.
post #21 of 28
Ah Leo, memories of Sat mornings in Edgeware,visiting the bagel shops for my beloved onion bagels.
There used to be a good Jewish resataurant on Edgeware high st,where I devoured huge plates of ox tongue hot ,yum,
I guess as communities move & prosper that they move into other things,
Some of the eastern block restaurants are quite interesting Georgian food in particular is like a bit Turkish ,Russian all rolled into one with copious use of pommegranets.
Hows life in the smoke
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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post #22 of 28
Mike! A man after my tongue.... er, heart! (I eat that, too.) Tongue is one of my favorite delicatessen meats. :bounce:
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post #23 of 28

trends revisited

Well it is interesting that this subject has come about i think. I have been seeing a lot of talk about "nutritionally friendly" concepts hitting the food chain industry.
With Weight Watchers partnering with Applebees, and I read a blurb about the Atkins diet being developed in another market ( I am sorry the resturant escapes me right now)....
I am wonding for you out there in the biz working, do you see this as simply a novelity in the franchise market? Or will it roll over into more classical cuisines, and fine dining resturants?
In my last class we had to write a paper about current food trends, and I actually wrote about this. As well I am currently contemplating going after my culinary nutrition degree as opposed to a straight BS in culinary arts.
so what are your thoughts on this trend in particular?
Frizbee
Do what you do with passion....the rest will fall into place..
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  ~Rev. Run
Our Lives are not in the laps of gods, but in  the laps of our cooks.
  ~Lin Yutang
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Do what you do with passion....the rest will fall into place..
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  ~Rev. Run
Our Lives are not in the laps of gods, but in  the laps of our cooks.
  ~Lin Yutang
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post #24 of 28
Well it is interesting that this subject has come about i think. I have been seeing a lot of talk about "nutritionally friendly" concepts hitting the food chain industry.
With Weight Watchers partnering with Applebees, and I read a blurb about the Atkins diet being developed in another market ( I am sorry the resturant escapes me right now)....
I am wonding for you out there in the biz working, do you see this as simply a novelity in the franchise market? Or will it roll over into more classical cuisines, and fine dining resturants?
In my last class we had to write a paper about current food trends, and I actually wrote about this. As well I am currently contemplating going after my culinary nutrition degree as opposed to a straight BS in culinary arts.
so what are your thoughts on this trend in particular?
Frizbee
Do what you do with passion....the rest will fall into place..
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  ~Rev. Run
Our Lives are not in the laps of gods, but in  the laps of our cooks.
  ~Lin Yutang
Reply
Do what you do with passion....the rest will fall into place..
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  ~Rev. Run
Our Lives are not in the laps of gods, but in  the laps of our cooks.
  ~Lin Yutang
Reply
post #25 of 28
I used to do this all the time when I was a server. There were a few reasons why. In a chain restaurant, you WANT the diner to feel as if they are welcomed and, in essence, friendly with you. It's a move that immediatly establishes an informal conenction with the guests. When I moved to a higher end restaurant, I never did it. Because it's a different crowd and different expectations.

Also, on a noisy, crowded floor, it makes hearing the guests when they order a **** of a lot easier. Seriously.

One thing I can't stand is when the server SITS DOWN at a table with the customers. THAT I feel is out of line and going too far.

~Someday
post #26 of 28
Someday, I agree that noise would be a problem and squatting down at the table might be one way to better hear your customers. So would bending at the waist, but I get your point. So maybe my problem might not be so much with the posture of the server, but the friendship he/she is implying by getting in so close. I only want good, professional service and an enjoyable meal, not a lasting relationship.

I don't mean to sound so philosophical about this whole thing, but it's another symptom of our superficial society. You and I both know that it's some marketing person's gimmick devised to make the restaurant more $$. And Americans, like sheep, flock to these places and lay out good sums of money for mediocre food just so they can be part of the "neighborhood".

I'd much rather eat out less often, but better. We've found a great place in an inn nearby, and have had the same waiter a few times by chance. He recognizes us and we probably tip him more because of that, but we primarily tip on the service. Could it be that in the chains, the service isn't always the best and the servers have to rely on their bubbly personalities to make any money? And just one more point; not all of us are "bubbly" . I am embarassed to see someone who is obviously uncomfortable in the role of my new best buddy having to perform for us. It's degrading for us both .

Thanks for your reply. I enjoy getting other's perspectives on the subject.
post #27 of 28
Who said the two have to be mutually exclusive? Squatting doesn't equal bad service, and good service doens't equal not squatting. Would you rather have a non-squatting bad service server, or a squatting good service one?

I would like for you to explain how squatting implies friendship. It implies familiarity, I admit, but friendship? Do your good friends, when they are at your home for a dinner party for instance, often squat down in showing of solidarity?

Mediocre food? Come on dude...I don't know about you, but I sure as **** can't afford to eat out at 3 star restaurants often. Most of us here are good cooks, sure, so we can fend for ourselves at home. But what about all the other people who just want a simple hot meal one night a week that they don't have to cook?

Most good servers anyways will use their discretion. If I saw, for instance, a four top of business men I wouldn't squat. But I might if I got a family of four out for a meal on friday night, maybe I would have.

I'm dubious about the "marketing gimmick" you seem to be hung up on. I was never told by anyone--management, other servers, etc--to squat. It came naturally. I NEVER once perceived any table as finding it offensive or whatever.

I'm going to be honest with you. You seem like kind of a snob. Talking about mediocre chain food and how you wouldn't want the lowly server to be on the same level as you (which is really what you mean--not friendship, but equality).

Chill out man...if you get bad service somewhere it's not because the server squatted next to your table, it's because he waited 20 minutes to put in the wrong order for you table and took a smoke break instead of refilling your glasses.

~Someday
post #28 of 28
Someday, You're absolutely right; familiarity is the word I was searching for. I haven't changed my feelings toward familiarity by those in the service industry be they waiters, cashiers, counter people, or bank tellers, or for that matter, head chefs or loan officers. If that makes me a snob, so be it.

I don't mean to say that they are beneath me socially, economically, or otherwise, only that they are serving me at that particular time and I have a right to expect professionalism from them. If one more person in the service industry calls me "dear" or "hon", I will scream!

I require those who work for me to call those we serve "Ma'am" and "Sir". We're not doing that to be subservient to them, but to keep things professional, and conversely, I will NOT allow customers to treat them with disrespect. In fact, I have confronted those who have.

We don't always eat in 3 star establishments. We're just like everyone else; we eat out too often and often in local restaurants. We don't frequent chains, though. No, not because of the mediocre food or overtly familiar service, but because we choose to spend our dining out dollars in places not corporately owned. We'd prefer to keep our dollars local, so we eat in the diner that's been family owned for 40 years or the Italian place run by the same folks since 1946. We (mostly) refuse to go to Walmart, too. When corporately owned businesses move in, family owned ones go out of business.

And as far as the food goes, I'd prefer a soup prepared that day over one shipped in in a plastic bag from the Midwest. It's not a simple, inexpensive, hot meal that you get in the chains. It's simple and hot, but it will cost close to $30 dollars for 2 people. Locally, I can get a simple, homecooked, hot meal for half that for 2 of us, and in the diner, we can bring our own wine...

Why would you treat a 4 top of businessmen with more professionalism than a family? You said you'd use your own discretion, and I believe from your post that you would. Not all service professionals have that sensitivity. Some are downright intrusive. Haven't you been out with your wife, date, good friend and been put off by "familiar" servers? Sometimes it's fine, but other times, you'd prefer to focus on the people in your own party, wouldn't you? A good server should know when show up at the table and when to buzz off.

I know that it's a marketing gimmick. And yes, I am probably hung up on it. I have a friend who works in a chain. She's forced to introduce herself to every table and God forbid she lets her guard down and lets the wide smile fade. Eating there is a lot like being part of a performance; I can't imagine ever working there! She does because the chains offer benefits that small businesses can no longer afford, but because of corporate mandated overstaffing, there are many days where she only has 4 or 5 parties from 10:30 to 4.

I don't perceive servers to be "lowly". I've been a server and still work for the public. My daughter waitresses during the summers and works in retail during the school year. I love working in the food industry, and even though I've done other jobs, I always end up back here. But, I'd prefer to keep things on a professional level BECAUSE it commands more respect and because it's more real. Face it, being familiar with perfect strangers is a little fake, isn't it?

I'm going to try the solidarity squatting thing at my next dinner party. I think it will go over well.

It's been nice talking with you,
Lentil
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