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Trendy Food is Good, and Good for You

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Dec 13, 2006 10:05PM

More than 1000 chefs were surveyed about industry trends for the coming years by the National Restaurant Association, and the results announced yesterday provide a glimpse of what diners in both Chicago and nationwide can expect to see on their plates.

2006_12_mini.jpgFrom the Sun-Times piece: bite-sized desserts like mini cheesecakes are in, as are "locally grown and organic produce, flatbread, exotic mushrooms, salts, pomegranates and grass-fed and free-range meat." On the out list? Don't order starfruit, organ meats, kiwi, edible flowers, blackened items, okra, catfish and foams, or you will be tres passe. Some of the food on the outs — starfruit, edible flowers and foams — have never been high on Chicagoist's list. Starfruit, while pretty, don't taste like much. Edible flowers are like starfruit. And foam? We'll leave that one to the pros.

As for the hot trends for the upcoming year: we might be reading into them a little too much, but the common theme that jumped out at us is that people are concerned about their own health, as well as the health of the environment. We won't complain about an increased emphasis on locally and organically grown produce and grass-fed beef. As for pomegranates, their popularity can be traced directly back to some ingenious marketing by these guys.

Though we tend to eschew gimmicks, the bite-sized dessert trend is one that we wholeheartedly embrace. Chicagoist thinks it can be traced back to the cupcake trend — this is just taking it one step further. Since many people (a.k.a. Chicagoist's mom) will insist that they don't want dessert and the proceed to take bites off of her dining companion's plates, we think this trend will make many diners happy.

We would tell you where to go in Chicago to find these trends on a plate, but by now most are so ubiquitous that you just can't miss them. We wonder what's next ...

Image via King Arthur Flour.