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Kimpton Hotels weighs in on top 2018 culinary, cocktail trends

Regional, Chifa, inspired Mexican, garden to glass, among 2018 trends getting the nod from Kimpton culinary team

Kimpton Hotels and Resorts released its 2018 Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast. The hospitality company surveys leading chefs, sommeliers, general managers and bartenders at more than 80 restaurants, bars and lounges in more than 37 cities. The forecast draws from a lot of culinary and innovation experience at the Kimpton organization identifying top culinary trends and philosophies. The forecast synchronizes with predictions of major trend experts and foodservice organizations, and trends drawn from the report are visible in many states and territories across the U.S., in addition to the nation’s capital.

Chifa cuisine

Chifa cuisine, which is a Peruvian cuisine subset, drawing from Cantonese and Peruvian-fused preparations, is a top Kimpton trend, and full of flavorful dishes with timeless, South American heritage.

What to experience: At Toro Toro in D.C., the Chaufa Spare Ribs with gochujang, soy and pickled cucumber, are a top choice.

Regional (global) cuisine is “in”

Influenced by Nordic cuisine, carrots, cabbage and beets will continue their journey on menus, and alternative berries including juniper and lingonberries, will play a bigger role in foodservice kitchens.

What to experience: Beet-cured salmon with dill cream cheese, cucumber, shaved fennel and pickled mustard seeds to pan-seared arctic char emphasize Nordic flavor and draw from technique cues. Restaurants spotlighted by Kimpton include Outlier, Seattle, and Copper Grouse, Manchester, Vt.

Plant-based foods

Agreeing with trend experts in the foodservice industry, including Baum+Whiteman and American Culinary Chefs, Kimpton expects the plant-based protein and meal trend to continue. Substitutes for meat, including tempeh and beet burgers, will remain popular. Nut and seed spreads, including sunflower and cashew, will give Avocado Toast a run for its money.

What to experience: The Vegetarian quinoa patty burger and a sweet potato-based burger have received positive reviews by customers at Bareburger and are available at its Washington, D.C. location. The Inside Out Quinoa Burger can be found at True Food Kitchen, N. Bethesda, Md.: hummus, tzatziki, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado and feta. Toast with fruit and almond and nut & seed butters at South Block Juice, Arlington, Va.

Reimagined Mexican

Inventive iterations of classic Mexican dishes will proliferate during 2018.

What to experience: Chorizo-stuffed dates or octopus tacos can be sampled at Pacific Hideaway, in Huntington Beach, Calif. and Curadero, San Diego.

Garden to glass at the bar

The garden-to-glass cocktail trend continues strong into 2018.

What to experience: Kimpton bartenders see the use of vegetables in cocktails gaining momentum and the use of nontraditional vegetables, like beets, carrots, green beans, butternut squash, corn and radishes, gaining traction. Ninety-one percent of bartenders will be using more vegetables in cocktails in 2018.

What to experience: Market Maria at Jane Q, Los Angeles

Sweet-savory preparations

Dessert flavors combine with savory dishes.

What to experience: Meyer lemon, strawberry, blueberry and blood orange are combined with savory courses. The result? Kimpton has identified crispy artichokes and Dungeness crab with ember-blistered lemon curd and an avocado parfait with yogurt and cucumber as such examples. Citizen Rail in Denver and Proof D.C. are only two of many dining destinations in which to experience this trend.

Out-of-the-ordinary and emerging spices

With several food experts, including the chefs of the American Culinary Federation, voting global spices a top trend, it’s easy to see Kimpton giving a nod to emerging spices as a prediction with legs. The hotel chain said in a statement, “Spices like Za’atar, a traditional Middle Eastern blend of familiar and obscure flavors from sumac to thyme, and Vadouvan, the French interpretation of Indian curry and Kampot pepper—an elusive spice found only in the Kampot Province of Cambodia.”

What to experience: Emerging spices at Bambara in Cambridge, Mass. are a good choice.

Sustainability at the bar and feel-good iterations of the drink

Bartenders feel the wave of social and consumer change. Kimpton’s survey reveals bartenders will be including more ingredients, including the “healthy” Turmeric spice, and ginger, which helps reduce adding sugary ingredients that may add calories. A total of 71 percent of bartenders anticipate sustainable practices in bar design in 2018.

What to experience: Healthy and antioxidant-rich ingredients in cocktails, in addition to natural ingredients to substitute for sugar content, will be trending. Furthermore, recyclable and compostable supplies used at bars and cocktails lounges will grow and fruits and vegetables will be used from peel to core.

Pop-up and takeovers

Expect to see more pop-ups and takeovers, not less. The trend is going strong and gives diners choices, and optimizes underutilized space.

Photo credit: China Chilcano

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