Craft beer named as top trend in chefs’ sur­vey for third straight year

Food smok­ing and sous vide cook­ing also cracked top 10 list

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - LOIS ABRA­HAM

TORONTO — Craft beer and mi­cro­brews were cho­sen by Cana­dian chefs as the restau­rant in­dus­try’s top trend for a third year in a row.

“Craft beer is still trend­ing be­cause it’s still grow­ing. There’s more craft brew­ers open­ing ev­ery day all over the place. It’s gen­er­at­ing rev­enue for the en­tire mar­ket,” says Char­lotte Lan­g­ley, culi­nary cu­ra­tor of a trade show be­ing put on this week­end in Toronto by Restau­rants Canada.

More than 560 pro­fes­sional chefs across the coun­try were asked to iden­tify the menu items and cook­ing meth­ods at the peak of pop­u­lar­ity in the as­so­ci­a­tion’s eighth an­nual sur­vey. Food smok­ing and sous vide cook­ing are two tech­niques that cracked this year’s top 10 list.

Though char­cu­terie was on last year’s list, Lan­g­ley points to its con­tin­u­ing evo­lu­tion.

“Rob Gen­tile from Buca has taken char­cu­terie to a whole new level in Toronto where it’s all fish char­cu­terie,” she says, adding that the ac­claimed chef — who also over­sees Bri­tish chef Jamie Oliver’s two Cana­dian Jamie’s Ital­ian lo­ca­tions — cures many types of fish and even egg roe from lob­ster with “tasty” re­sults.

Chefs also cited lo­cally sourced foods and sus­tain­able seafood in the top 10 list.

“One thing that’s part of lo­cally sourced food is trace­abil­ity,” says Lan­g­ley, adding peo­ple want to know the prove­nance of their food.

Lan­g­ley also sees many chefs work­ing with sea­weed.

It fits with a plant-for­ward diet, which she con­sid­ers an­other trend, and is “an eth­i­cally sourced prod­uct that’s great for you and our food econ­omy.”

The sur­vey also high­lighted pick­ling, eth­nic condi­ments (raita/ raitha, chimichurri, soy sauce, sam­bal), Asian twists on condi­ments (sriracha ketchup, kim­chi mayo) and gluten-free/food al­lergy con­scious items.

“Pick­ling has evolved into more fer­men­ta­tion at this stage of the game,” says Lan­g­ley.

“Maybe we’re head­ing back to the ‘70s when ev­ery­one wanted to grow and fer­ment ev­ery­thing, which is great. But I think that you see more fer­mented prod­ucts in gro­cery stores and re­tail out­lets than you ever have be­fore. It’s not just kim­chi any­more.”

BARRY GRAY, SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

Craft beer and mi­cro­brews were cho­sen by Cana­dian chefs as the restau­rant in­dus­try’s top trend for a third year in a row.

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