Four Trends You’ll Learn About at a School of Culinary Arts
Explore industry, business and cuisine trends.
Build on the Basics
Aspiring chefs will study a wide range of topics at their chosen school of culinary arts. From menu planning to safety and sanitation, it’s imperative to earn a comprehensive education that covers more than cooking basics.
At the same time that you’re learning to chop, coddle and chiffonade, you’ll also get acquainted with the latest trends in the culinary world, from popular cooking techniques to sought-after ingredients.
1. Business Trends
Many schools of culinary arts encourage their students to take business classes in order to learn fundamental restaurant management skills and brush up on the latest trends. Industry organizations such as the National Restaurant Association are also a great source of information about trends in the food business. Food trucks, emerging technology and new equipment, for example, were a major theme at the most recent NRA trade show. Keeping an eye on where the industry is headed ensures that you’ll be well-informed when you enter the job market.
2. Top Chef Techniques
You’ll learn a lot of tried-and-true techniques at a school of culinary arts, but you’ll also want to make sure to learn the cooking methods that are considered cutting-edge. Techniques like liquid nitrogen chilling, oil poaching and sous vide, which involves cooking food in vacuum-packed pouches, are currently popular in restaurants and hotels. Braising and smoking are also “in.”
3. Trendy Themes
From produce to seafood to wine, the way to go is local, organic and sustainable. The National Restaurant Association, in its 2016 culinary forecast reports the hottest trends today are:
- Locally sourced meats and seafood
- Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
- Locally grown produce
- Hyper-local sourcing
- Natural ingredients/minimally processed food
If you’re feeling out of your depth, don’t worry: a school of culinary arts can teach you how to plan menus with locally sourced food.
4. Fresh Dishes, Fresh Ingredients
Menu courses and even individual ingredients are subject to industry trends and surges in popularity. Some of the dishes in vogue include the following:
- Vegetarian appetizers
- Ethnic street foods
- Warm appetizer salads
- Non-traditional fish such as branzino, Arctic char and barramundi
- Heirloom apples
- Artisan/house-made ice cream
- Ethnic-inspired breakfasts such as chorizo scrambled eggs or coconut milk pancakes
Chefs are also gravitating towards ethnic cuisines and flavors, including Peruvian cuisine, Cuban cuisine and ethnic fusion cuisine.