Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | July 25, 2010

Chef’s Survey: Veganism is HOT in 2010

Veganism is HOT! The National Restaurant Association (NRA) surveys a group of professional chefs (members of the American Culinary Federation) to determine the “hot” foods and menu items each year. Over 1,800 chefs were surveyed in 2009 and ranked 214 items by how trendy they would be in 2010. Check out the complete list of hot items here: http://www.restaurant.org/pdfs/research/whats_hot_2010.pdf

Hospitality companies (hotels, restaurants, airlines, etc.) should provide vegetarianism and veganism food options, not only to accommodate all types of guests but also to follow the trend. Vegetarian/meatless entrées ranked 72 of the 214 hot items; vegan entrées ranked 86 (48% of chefs surveys believe veganism is a hot trend). In the individual category for Main Dishes/Center of the Plate, vegan entrées scored 13 of the 27 trends noted. If so many chefs believe that vegan entrées are a trend, why aren’t there more vegan entrées on restaurant menus (especially in hotels)? My guess is that even though vegan entrées are a trend, many chefs aren’t sure what types of vegan entrées to put on the menu. What vegan entrée would sell to both vegans and non-vegans?

I was really happy to see that every “hot” side dish mentioned is or can be made vegan:

  1. Quinoa (55% of chefs think it is a hot item)
  2. Braised vegetables (45%)
  3. Brown/wild rice (44%)
  4. Steamed/grilled/roasted vegetables (43%)
  5. Buckwheat items (42%)
  6. Barley (40%)
  7. Mashed/pureed vegetables (e.g. potatoes, cauliflower, parsnip) (37%)
  8. Lentils (36%)
  9. Couscous (33%)
  10. Polenta (31%)
  11. Grits (25%)
  12. Potatoes/French fires (16%)

I’ve noticed in Houston, however, that many of the sides listed above are made with butter. Butter seems to be added to most vegetables, rice, and also to grits! Chefs could try to make their sides healthier (and vegan) by skipping the butter on vegetables and adding a little olive oil instead. Could vegan entrées and side dishes help lower the U.S. obesity rate?

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