Top Dining Trends for 2014

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar


Part of my job as an International Incentive Travel Planner is to know trends in entertaining and food preparation. To take and entertain 250 people in London and Paris for a couple of nights is like 5 days of fancy brunches, luncheon, high tea and wedding receptions with all the drama but not the bride. I totally love/hate my job!

Recently I ran across some information that I thought I would pass along. Our LGBT Community is generally “in the know” about such things but I figured, just in case someone fell through the cracks I would enlighten: These are what trends those of us in the entertainment business will be seeing and using where our F&B (food & beverage) is concerned.

CHEF CRAFTED: Perhaps the biggest trend in food today is chefs taking hands-on responsibility for every component and ingredient in their kitchen to have total control over quality and flavor, from putting up jams and relishes to over seeing their own farms. Many restaurants have rooftop gardens. Chefs are truly in charge. I know a hotel in Toronto (Fairmont Royal York) that harvests its own honey, right on the roof! I think this is great.

CELEBRITY PROTEIN: (stop grinning!) This is in reference to a new friend “quinoa”, a gluten-free protein grain that is the current top ingredient with chefs all over the world. It can be eaten for breakfast as muesli, or for lunch or dinner as a side dish. The United Nations General Assembly (evidently without much pressing business on the agenda) declared this The International Year of the Quinoa. Don’t say you were not told. Ya just gotta love that protein!

PARENTAL CONTROLS: Moms and Dads will be demanding more and more healthful preparations for traditional children’s menu selections, increasingly requesting grilled or roasted over fried and opting for hummus and fresh fruit dips over fat-laden sauces. This has been long past due. No more fat kids means no more fat old folks.

EVERYTHING IS GETTING SMOKED: The latest (really the oldest) preservative known to man is back! Smoked meats and fish, naturally but, smoked olive oils, smoked heavy cream for sauces. Even smoked cocktails! As a fan of a good smoky/peaty Scotch, I will drink to this one.

PEDIGREE PLEASE: Guests are becoming increasingly more insistent on knowing about the specific origin of the food that they enjoy, including the waters that their salmon was fished, the boat involved and even the captain who caught it. This is where a good/quick imagination comes in very handy. I personally never eat any Caviar unless it is from the Caspian Sea, a sure guarantee that I pretty much never get it then.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  Dining today is becoming more and more interactive with guests peppering wait staff and chef with questions about sustainability, responsible husbandry and the use of local chef prepared ingredients. And you thought it was all about a good meal! Having watched the Philadelphia restaurant evolution of the last quarter of a century, the “business of tying on the old feed-bag” has been amazing. Le Bec Fin/Bookbinders gone. Celebrity TV Chefs abound. Even the cheesesteak (wit) WIZ is cool! Face it gals and guys, when it comes to “Good Eats” Philly Rocks! BON APPETITE!     

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