Chef Symposiums and Restaurant Gardens Top 10 Trends

By Dawnie January 18, 2013

We tour all around different cities looking for what might be a winner and hot topic to talk about with our food tour participants.  Trying to stay ahead of the kitchen mallet as to what is trending compared to what is here to stay in the culinary arena has its perks and challenges.  Local Roots Food Tours has compiled their top finds on what you might experience in 2013 while on your “foodie adventures.”

Top 10 Culinary Trends For 2013:
1.  Chef’s behind closed curtains is a thing of the past.  2013 will continue to bring celebrity (as well as local chefs) front and center hosting special themed culinary events, symposiums and contribute to hands-on cooking classes.  No more hiding behind the frying pan – their talents and passion will continue to be exposed with many culinary events.  We are looking forward to seeing more of our local executive chefs come out and support Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Capital of America efforts by offering some pretty awesome cooking events in and out of their kitchens in 2013.

2.  Restaurant gardens – Whether it be in back alley gutters or a transformed back lot, gardens are popping up all over the nation.  Chefs cite many logical reasons why restaurant gardens are a good idea: cost, convenience, control, sustainability. The concept of in-house farming is hardly new and the trend has hit far and wide—there are countless restaurants tilling their own soil and planting the seeds for vegetables that will eventually appear on a customer’s plate.  A small farm adjacent to an eating establishment keeps that path from farm to table about as short as it can get.  One example we love is share is Mineral Restaurant in Murphys, CA.  Executive Chef Steve Rinauro and partner/co-owner Maya Rinauro have been busy planting, weeding, watering and harvesting their restaurant garden in 2012.  Their farm to table philosophy is lived vivaciously every day in their vegetarian menu.  For those restaurants who don’t have the option of a garden out their back door, buying plots of land in local farms creates a great option.  One local farm in Sacramento, Feeding Crane Farms offers such plots to local Sacramento chefs…..the next best thing to offer local farm ingredients.

3. Nordic food is out – Peruvian and Korean food is in for 2013.

Watch Peruvian food become highlighted on Food Network and cooking class symposiums.  Sacramento is lucky to offer a Peruvian Food Festival every September as well as local chefs who do an excellent job hosting Peruvian Nights with themed dinners – one such favorite local restaurant we love is Formoli’s Bistro in East Sacramento.  Chef Aimal and his culinary team are creative, passionate and fun when it comes to their Peruvian themed dinners.  Check them out.
One of our favorite Korean BBQ hang-outs in a funky old gas station is Tako’s Korean BBQ in East Sacramento.  Their street tacos are the bomb with their bulgogi beef tacos!  Located on corner of T street and Alhambra Blvd.

4.  Coconut oil and milk will become sought out after ingredients for consumers looking for its health benefits.  Coconut milk pancakes in, buttermilk to the way side.  Coconut milk is quite the buzz due to its health benefits.  A good source of calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and iron. Coconut milk and coconut oil contain lauric acid, which is considered antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal.

5.  Agritourism is one of the most popular sought out after family vacation ideas for 2013.  Farm stays are the new “Hiltons” for travelers wanting to get back to their roots and experience farm life in a weekend.  Northern California is a hot spot for its bountiful agriculture. Many passionate small farm farmers  have realized opening their farm gates to the community is one of the best ways to stay in business.  Several local tour companies are offering day trips out to farms and agricultural learning facilities.  Local Roots Food & Farm Tours offers daily farm and vineyard tours all around Northern California.  Their bus tours take participants out and about to local farms, orchards, and vineyards getting up close and personal with farmers and their families.  4 course gourmet lunch is offered on tour along with paired wine tasting.  West Marin Farm & Food Tours is another great option for exploring the hills and valleys of Northern California- a great memory for everyone involved, including kids!

6.  First there was Pickling, vinegars and anything acidic….in comes the granddaddy of them all: Fermenting.  Fermenting foods dates back to 6,000 B.C…..before there was canning and freezing of foods. Skilled chefs are learning all the right techniques to bring fermented foods to their menus in 2013.  Foods like kimchi  (Hence the Korean Food Trend of 2013!) and sauerkraut will continue to expand in popularity due to their unusual meld of umami and sour tastes.  Watch a whole new dessert line up as well with fermented fruits…never in your wildest sweet dreams did you think a fermented peach would taste so good!

7.  Pop in a movie, pull up your boot straps and get ready for the new crouton of 2013…Popcorn will become the new snack food popping up on menus as garnishes on main meals and desserts:  Fennel powder dusted popcorn?  In place of a bread basket you might find complementary popcorn with seasonings like Oaxacan Mole’ and Madras Curry.  The possibilities are endless and very economical for restaurants to get in on all the popping!  Candied popcorn croutons perhaps?

8.  Desserts with micro beer implemented into batters!  Choosing the right beer is truly a matter of tasting and testing. The array of micro-brew flavors gives you a nearly endless opportunity to combine dessert and drink. Chocolate stout, oatmeal stout and pumpkin ale are as dessert-like as beverages — imagine them added to your favorite chocolate cake, oatmeal cookie or pumpkin pie recipes. Yum! And don’t forget the fruity or honey ales — they add depth to a standard fruit pie. In baking, a good rule of thumb is to substitute your favorite brew for half the liquid called for in your dessert recipe.  We are anxiously awaiting the reappearance of the ever popular Paragary Bakery’s Guinness Stout Cupcake in March!! (drool!)

9.  Speaking of brewing… A New craft brew program is hitting the culinary scene: Whiskey Barrel-Aged Gourmet Hot Sauces.  Across the country, brew pubs (like San Francisco’s Magnolia) are experimenting with using discarded whiskey barrels to age their hot sauce. The oak in the barrels seeps into sauce, giving the flavor some added complexity.  Can you only imagine the intensity of hot wings at your local sports bar? Mmm, mmm, good!

10.  Eggstraspecial – duck eggs are in the egg basket in 2013.  Ultimate richness that chefs are begging for in their batters and souffles.  So what is the big deal switching over?  What most people do not know is that duck eggs are far superior to chicken eggs with the same taste and richer smoother consistency yet better than a chicken egg in many ways.  Duck eggs have twice the nutritional value of a chicken egg and stay fresher longer due to their thicker shell.  Duck eggs are richer with more Albumen making cakes and pastries fluffier and richer.  Duck eggs have more Omega 3 fatty acids ..something you can actually see in the salted pickled eggs the Chinese love to eat. Omega 3 is thought to improve everything from Brain health to healthy skin and duck eggs are an Alkaline producing food, one of the few foods that leave your body more alkaline which is a great benefit to cancer patients as cancer cells do not thrive in an alkaline environment. Chicken eggs are an acid food leaving your body more acid.  Here’s to more quacking good eggs!