Colorado Table

Food News: Boulder trend watcher names top 2013 taste trends

Local chef at Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg predicts the rise of veggie-dominated entrees. (Photo by Kim Long/ American Forecaster)

Boulder’s Sterling-Rice Group has released its top 10 food trends for 2013 in restaurants, supermarkets and home kitchens based on interviews with chefs, industry experst and diehard foodies.

We’re sweet on sour: Sour gets its day as food palates move beyond sweet, salty and fatty to tart, acidic and bitter. With DIY pickling and brining, you will see more sauerkrauts, pickles and tart flavors at restaurants as well as vinegar drinks.

Chefs go light: Chefs are changing their habits and exchanging their butter and bacon for broth and beets. The result, better-for-you food that actually tastes good.

Asian infiltrates American comfort food: The spicy and fresh flavors of Thailand, Vietnam and Korea will give consumers new takes on comfort classics such as Vietnamese chicken sandwiches, sriracha mayo, or Korean-glazed pork ribs.

Starring the veggies: No longer prepared as just a side or salad, vegetables will get their chance to star as entrées (cauliflower steaks), starches (squash noodles), and even beverages (celery juice cocktails). According to Hosea Rosenberg, “Top Chef Season 5” winner and metro caterer: “The more we learn about the state of our oceans and the state of our commercial agribusinesses’ mistreatment of animals, a lot of people are turning to vegetables as their main course. In addition to that, we now have more farmers’ markets, more produce selections at the stores, and more information than ever before about the health benefits.”

Kids’ menus get cool: Mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets be gone! In their place are kid-friendly versions of adult dining options such as real fish and chips using tilapia with more interesting herbed bread crumb coatings, foods on skewers, and Asian items like potstickers and noodle bowls.

The rise of American artisans: A new wave of culinary artisans is budding in cities across America. Foodies can think globally, but travel locally with artisan cheese, salumi, charcruterie, spirits and pickles.

Small get bigger: Small plates for sharing will be replaced with smaller, singular servings of meat, veggies, or starches – for a truly customized dining experience.

Fruit goes savory: Look for fruit used with savory flavors, incorporated as a touch in appetizers, soups and meat dishes.

Something for everyone: More and more restaurants will offer all-inclusive menus and services to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten-freers, wheat-freers, kiddos, and eco-conscious diners.

Popcorn is THE snack of 2013: Sweet or savory, the all-time favorite (and healthy) snack will pop up everywhere — in ice cream, as croutons. In place of a bread basket, Denver’s Linger delivers popcorn with seasonings like Oaxacan molé and Madras curry and dill.

“I’ll have a Big Mac meal and pureed peas, please”

According to Darrel Suderman who has worked for KFC, Boston Market, Church’s Chicken and Quiznos:

“The only remaining question is when will a major restaurant chain like McDonalds or Chick-fil-A starts selling branded baby food. I am convinced that baby food sales will take place in (fast-food) restaurant chains; it is just a matter of when. I can envision marketing tie-ins with baby food instead of toys. Why not start building a bond with younger future customers?”

- Staff and wire service reports

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