By Nancy Kruse, Menu Trends Contributor and Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
Each year the National Restaurant Association surveys professional chefs who are members of the American Culinary Federation. The most recent "What's Hot in 2012" research garnered input from nearly 1,800 chefs, and after results were tallied, an overriding trend emerged that covered multiple menu categories: ethnic cuisine.
Chefs foresee growing interest in ethnic street-food-inspired appetizers. They predict an uptick in ethnic side dishes, rices, and grains and a boom in ethnic breakfast-and-brunch items. In addition, they forecast growth in ethnic fusion cuisine, as well as Peruvian, Cuban and Asian foods and flavors.
It’s an exciting outlook, but it’s also an extraordinary challenge for restaurateurs to sample and source on a global scale. That’s where attendees of the 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, set for its new dates May 5-8 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, have a real advantage. The NRA Show is a veritable bazaar of international cuisine, and it offers the opportunity to get up- close-and-personal with some of the very best purveyors and practitioners of ethnic foods. It’s a cost-effective, idea-generating look at the world cuisines that will be impacting menu innovation and direction for years to come.