What's Hot, What's Not, and What's... Perennial?

Updated: May 29, 2019

When it comes to food, my thoughts revolve around what's healthy. So when I am asked to determine what should be followed because of a current trend, I feel like I am showcasing my interests for the next edition of fashion weekly.

The American Culinary Federation sent out a "What's Hot" survey. While taking this massive survey consisting of everything from appetizers, entrees, food production, I had to think to myself, these questions should not be asked to determine current "fashions" in the culinary industry, but more so a moral standard. Nobody should determine if watermelon is outdated, but instead when and where they could use it.

Granted, many chefs rely on the creativity of those around them to keep trudging forward, but to tell someone that fennel foam or vegetable ceviche are outdated does not leave any room for furthering the flow of creativity.

Genuine resourcefulness, seasonality, sustainability and originality should be the fad of fashion within the culinary arts. Chefs strive to bring forth integrity from the kitchen to the table.

During the great task of sorting through cookbooks and random scraps of paper laden with scribbled recipes, I came upon recipes I had altered for breakfast sandwiches, dips in bread bowls, veggie rolls, soups, sushi, salads, etc. Then stopped reading mid recipe; are these out of style? Would these recipes that I held so close to heart and mouth be considered old school, a hot topic or a perennial favorite? It was at that moment that I realized it does not matter what people say is outdated. I don't changed my fashion sense due to a shift in the fashion industry, so why change a menu to accommodate any culinary mafioso?

The culinary arts should and have always been just that- an art. Art is created from the soul. A limitless expression to release and glorify one's needs or feelings. There should be no rules on what should be used, except the ones created by nature.

When tomatoes are in season, they should be used, celebrated and then released from their position until their next ripe season. Summer fruit earns a place at the table within it's due time frame, not whenever the need for it arises. Animals should not be exhaustively bred to feed people who will eat 1/2 of their portion because it lacks the richness and principle that meat should contain.

All food is perennial. We eat the food that is harvested by us to survive. All food should be respected, not overlooked due to the misuse and abuse of the product the year before.

That leads me to my conclusion. Here in lies my final "what's hot list in the culinary industry":

1. Integrity.

2. Creativity.

3. Seasonal menu (to the very best ability of the chef).

4. Local production (a.k.a. produce, dairy, wine, beer, livestock, etc.)

5. Sustainability.

6. Regard for guests.

7. Open-toed ankle boots... er, wait.. Safety.

8. Positive work environment.

9. Enforcing teamwork and creative sessions between all members of the staff.

10. Perenniality interlaced with change.

Variations and related recipes? Yes, please! A Rose-y Outlook on Food Apples: One Fruit, Three Ways Roasted Pepper & Tomato Skillet

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