1,800 F#@&ing Idiots Have Spoken: National Restaurant Association Names the Hottest Menu Trends for 2010"/>
They interviewed over 1,800 chefs from all over the country. They ranked 214 culinary items--everything from local booze to quinoa to ethnic fusion to bacon--as a "hot trend," "yesterday's news" or a "perennial favorite." They even made a video that seems totally inspired by those awful 1980's industrial training films that taught us all how to properly wear a hairnet or handle someone getting their wiener caught in the assembly line.
Hay. It's what's for dinner.
And when all was said and done, the National Restaurant Association tabulated the results and produced their report: "What's Hot in 2010."
And do you know what's hot in 2010? Pretty much exactly what was hot in 2009. And what was hot in 2009 was startlingly similar to what was hot in 2008. But where things get really freaky is at the bottom of the list. The results after the jump.
Video courtesy National Restaurant Association
Sustainability. Locally-sourced produce, meats and seafood. Alcohol. Tilt pans. Casio keyboard soundtracks. That's what's hot in 2010, kids. That's what all the cool people are going to be doing. In other words, pretty much exactly what everyone is already doing. Not a lot of room here for innovation. For things that are, you know, actually hot trends.
Some of the other results:
According to the results of the survey, the top-of-the-book scores came in for exactly what you probably suspected. "The top 5 trends are locally grown produce; locally sourced meats and seafood; sustainability as a culinary theme; mini-desserts; and locally produced wine and beer," says the NRA. "Rounding out the top 10 list are nutritious kids' meals; half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price; farm-branded ingredients; gluten-free/food-allergy conscious meals; and sustainable seafood."
So basically, what we're talking about here is 6 of the top 10 ranked culinary items having to do with locality/sustainability, with the other four calling for better grub for children (which I am completely in favor of), turning every dining room into an allergy clinic and a return to the small plates/tapas disasters of the late 90's/early 2000's. Brilliant. I can't wait for my small plate ancho chile-spiced tuna tartare followed by that mini flourless chocolate torte.
Liquid nitrogen freezing came in at the top of the list for hot preparation methods (beating out braising, sous vide, smoking and oil-poaching/confit). So, you know... Welcome back to 2005.
60%(!) of respondents marked "ethnic fusion" as a "hot trend." This makes me want to shoot myself in the face.
48% of respondents marked sliders as a "hot trend." This makes me want to shoot someone else in the face--namely those 48% of respondents who've apparently been in some kind of Seconal coma for the past seven or eight years.
29% of respondents tagged charcuterie as "yesterday's news" and 57%(!!) said the same about offal. This just makes me want to get a list of these 1,800 chefs questioned so I can be sure to never go to 57% of their restaurants ever again. I mean, charcuterie? Offal? That's like saying all of classical French cuisine is yesterday's news.
I am not shitting you here. French food--the mother cuisine, the absolute bastion of technique, the first and final word on classical prep and the tradition from which all that sous vide and confit and greenmarket local/sustainable menu nonsense has been taken--was called "yesterday's news" by 30% of you idiots surveyed. More than half of you called it only a "perennial favorite," which is just so much bullshit. My grandmother is a "perennial favorite." Paula Deen and backseat handjobs and ham with pineapple rings are all "perennial favorites." French cuisine, on the other hand, is the culinary tradition that invented everything from the knife you're holding to the white jacket you wear. Show a little goddamn respect.
In terms of overall hotness, French cooking ranked 204th on a list of 214. Boxed wine was considered less hot (but just barely). Chicken nuggets were ranked lower (though not by much). Bottled motherfucking water was ranked as a hotter trend.
You can check out the full survey results here to see for yourself how things shook out. But I am, for one of the very few times in my life, rendered completely speechless and ashamed by my former brothers-in-arms.
If anyone needs me, I'll be at Le Pichet.