ESquared Hospitality, the international restaurant group that houses more than 25 locations worldwide, including the high-profile BLT Restaurants, is looking to 2013 as a year of vegetables, haute butchers, pit cooking and the discovery of new ingredients. With three highly anticipated new restaurants scheduled to open in 2013, including Juni, a new harvest-inspired creation from Michelin-starred Chef Shaun Hergatt, the ESquared Hospitality power-chefs have forecasted the following restaurant industry trends for 2013.
1. Vegetables: With consumers demonstrating an increased interest in more healthful, fresher ingredients, vegetables are the star of the 2013 menu with dishes inspired by the bounty of the harvest on the dinner plate, the dessert menu and in the cocktail glass.
2. Haute Butchers: As a counter-point to the veggie-centric movement, there remains a strong interest in meat – consumers want to know where their protein comes from, that the animals were raised responsibly and specific details as to the quality and cut. Super-premium cuts such as wagyu will continue to be popular, and out of this fascination will emerge a new class of high-end, haute butcher shops, with service and style to rival a first-class boutique or gallery.
3. Natural: Restaurants will move beyond simply sourcing natural ingredients to explore cooking with minimal manipulation, in order to preserve the natural beauty and flavor of those ingredients on the plate. More natural options for cocktails are anticipated, replacing syrups, juices, honey and sugar with infusions made from organically grown fruits and vegetables.
4. Pit Cooking: What’s old is new, and one of the oldest methods of cooking will experience a renaissance in 2013. Building on trend of whole animal feasts, whole animals will be buried with potatoes, vegetables and even desserts to slow-roast over hot coals producing a savory, multi-course feast.
5. Discovery of New Ingredients: In a culinary scene that thrives on new and different, all eyes are on the previously undiscovered ingredients coming out of the Amazon and less cultivated parts of Asia. In 2013, we’ll see chefs infusing new Asian and South American ingredients into menu staples to produce truly fresh and innovative culinary creations.
6. Sommelier as Friend: As consumers show the desire to learn and try new wines, the sommelier will play an increasingly prominent role in the dining experience. Look for guests to become even more comfortable relying on the sommelier for recommendations regardless of their taste preference, spending amount of surrounded company.
posted by Tiffany Haslacker