SAN FRANCISCO – Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants released its sixth annual Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast this week, and it is predicting more plant-based menus and lower-alcohol spritzes in 2020.
Every year, the forecast predicts the new “it” dishes and cocktails through a survey of more than 130 chefs, sommeliers, general managers, and bartenders from more than 75 Kimpton restaurants and bars. As a result, many of the predictions are often incorporated into its menus.
“Diners continue to be more educated, mindful and globally connected than ever before. We polled our talented experts around the world to get their insights on how consumer dining habits and dietary preferences will shape restaurants and bars in the year ahead,” said Scott Gingerich, Kimpton’s senior vice-president of restaurants and bars. “This forecast has been able to pinpoint cult classics à la last year’s Aperol Frosé and predict the next big thing in flavors and ingredients like black garlic, s’chug and nutritional yeast for 2020.”
The top culinary trend predicted by those polled is the rise of alternative diets, so expect to see more gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, and keto options on menus in the future. Close to a third of chefs surveyed said it’s not enough to have a couple of these types of options. The forecast also said many carb-heavy dishes like pasta and breads will get a makeover with alternatives such as almond flour and riced cauliflower.
Oat, hemp, and nut milks and cheeses will also dominate menus according to the chefs polled.
No-so-obscure Health Ingredients
Health ingredients will also be moving into the spotlight like nutritional yeast, ashwagandha, collagen peptides, and seaweed. Fermented foods with probiotics are also continuing to grow like tempeh, pickled vegetables, infused vinegars and fermented dairy products.
More than half of those polled for the survey said that plant-based meat alternatives will no longer just have a “cult following” in 2020 and we’ll see more plant-based takes on traditional meat dishes. Thirty per cent of chefs predicted vegetable tartare will be infiltrating restaurant menus in in the new year.
Hiding healthy ingredients will also become more mainstream, with more chefs “sneaking” vegetables into pasta, pizza, breads, and sauces and even creating full-vegetable burgers, jerky and chips, etc.
Levantine cuisine such as Israeli, Turkish, and Lebanese, is predicted as the most popular style for menus in 2020, according to almost 40% of those polled.
Kimpton also predicted locally-sourced ingredients that bridge traditional culinary lines will continue to grow in 2020. More than half of chefs reported incorporating cross-cultural fusion dishes in menus. Examples include mixing Mexican and Southeast Asian cuisine, French and Scandinavian, Cantonese Chinese and Peruvian (or Chifa) and American South and Japanese.
Foods with sour flavours will also grow in popularity (like rhubarb and vinegar) with close to a quarter of chefs selecting sour as their favourite flavour to play with.
Restaurants with Purpose
Partnering up with local artists, distillers, farmers, purveyors, community members and the like will be important to diners and restaurants in 2020. Social trends predicted included transparency with ingredients and sustainability with restaurant and bar managers, chefs and bartenders still discussing composting, incorporating zero-waste techniques, and eliminating single-use plastic items.
According to a fifth of chefs polled, grown up sundaes will top the dessert trends next year. Veganism will also influence dessert menus next year according to close to half of respondents. Think lemon tarts made with cashews and coconut, or vegan cheesecakes. Savoury ingredients will also be popular in dessert once again, like black pepper or sesame ice cream.
Grilled, roasted, and fire-blasted fruits, and as tea-infused spirits and syrups, are the top trending ingredients. Aromatic and inedible garnishes were also listed as one of the up-and-coming trends bartenders are most excited to experiment with in 2020. Examples include spice sachets with cloves and allspice, burning sticks of wood, or even absorbent, scented squares of paper clipped to glassware.
Kimpton bartenders also predicted that bars will continue to be educated by chefs (and vice versa) in cocktail prep.
Light, refreshing, low-alcohol spritzes will be all over bar menus in 2020 according to nearly half of respondents.
Alternative-grain spirits, like Baiju, Shōchū, and Soju, will begin to trend in the new year, according to those polled. More than a third of respondents predicted mezcal will be the spirit if choice next year.
Whisky highballs are predicted to gain a cult following next year, followed by spiked seltzers and the return of the Paloma.
Beer + Wine Trends
More than 25% of bartenders are most excited about sour beers in 2020, followed by hazy or juicy IPAs and high-alcohol kombuchas as a beer alternative.
The biggest wine trend for 2020 will be the coming out of more natural wines, and wines farmed more organically. Orange wines and Pét-Nat sparkling wines are also becoming more popular.
Non-alcoholic Beverage Trends
Many experts are forecasting coffee spritzes as the top drink of 2020. The other coffee trends for 2020 include nitro coffee on tap, cold brew alternatives, and CBD coffee. Botanical-infused sparkling drinks is also expected to be very popular in the new year.