Kimpton Shares Insight Into 2018 Culinary & Cocktails Trends
If you read our recent look at the history of F&B at Kimpton and how the brand helped redefine hotel restaurants, it should come as no surprise that they keep their finger firmly on the pulse of shifting trends at all times.
Chifa and Nordic-influenced cuisine, nut-based spreads, visual filters, sour beers, and upcycling of ingredients are among the top dining trends of 2018 according to Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ fourth annual Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast, released in December 2017. This year’s forecast not only covers the culinary and cocktail flavors and ingredients chefs and bartenders plan to experiment with in 2018, but also showcases what’s next in culinary and cocktail philosophies, experiential dining and design, as well as new and innovative trends in beer, wine, and coffee. The forecast findings were uncovered via an extensive survey of leading chefs, sommeliers, general managers, and bartenders from 80-plus acclaimed Kimpton restaurants, bars and lounges across 37 cities in the U.S. as well as Kimpton properties in Europe and the Caribbean.
"Kimpton chefs and bartenders pushed the envelope with their exploration of international spices, regional influences and unexpected flavor profiles, as well as the social and cultural drivers transforming today’s dining experience,” said Alex Taylor, senior VP of restaurants and bars. “We’re excited to see these trends brought to life everywhere from five-star establishments to food trucks and home kitchens.”
These are the palate-expanding trends that will capture the hearts and minds of culinary, cocktail and dining enthusiasts in 2018.
Top Culinary Trends:
Meat Alternatives Going Mainstream
- A majority of Kimpton chefs said plant-based proteins such as tempeh or beet burgers will disrupt menus and win the hearts of vegetarians and omnivores alike.
- Thirty-one percent of chefs think vegan and nut- or seed-based spreads like sunflower butter and cashew cream cheese will give avocado toast (the reigning darling of healthy brunches) a run for its money.
- Expect to see more Nordic food influences, featuring fresh and colorful ingredients like carrots, cabbage, and beets and the embrace of alternative berries including juniper and lingonberries. From beet-cured salmon with dill cream cheese, cucumber, shaved fennel, and pickled mustard seeds to pan-seared arctic char, Nordic flavors and techniques will be in full swing in 2018.
- Experience it at Outlier – Seattle and Copper Grouse – Manchester
- A rise in Chifa cuisine, the fusion of Cantonese and Peruvian food, provides more evidence of South America’s growing influence on the global culinary scene.
- Experience it at Boleo – Chicago
- Reimagined Mexican cuisine and creative twists on classic Mexican dishes will find their way onto menus in 2018. Try the trend with chorizo-stuffed dates or octopus tacos.
- Experience it at Pacific Hideaway – Huntington Beach and Curadero – San Diego
- 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.
- Experience it at Bambara – Cambridge and Outlier – Seattle
- Thirty-eight percent of chefs agreed that sweet dessert flavors such as Meyer lemon, strawberry, blueberry, and blood orange will infiltrate savory courses to create dishes like crispy artichokes and Dungeness crab with ember-blistered lemon curd or an avocado parfait with yogurt and cucumber.
- Experience it at Citizen Rail – Denver and Jane Q – Los Angeles
Throwback to Classic Dishes
- Think French onion soup, bone-in steak, tartare, and pork chops. These dishes bring nostalgic food memories to the table but with a fresh perspective.
- Experience it at The Katharine – Winston Salem and 4 Saints – Palm Springs
- Instagram culture is here to stay. A majority of Kimpton chefs said their 2018 menu planning will include consideration of full sensory dishes that treat diners to socially shareable moments, incorporating imaginative and artful visual elements.
Leading Cocktail Trends:
Variations on a Classic
- Ninety-one percent of Kimpton bartenders say they plan to use vegetables in a cocktail in 2018 – and not just as garnishes. Bartenders are embracing nontraditional vegetables like beets, carrots, green beans, butternut squash, corn, and radishes.
- Experience it at Jane Q – Los Angeles
- Nine out of 10 Kimpton bartenders say they’ll go beyond traditional Irish coffee to create coffee cocktails with a twist, from a Turkish espresso with aged rum and agave infused with cacao nibs to a surprisingly sophisticated cardamom-coffee vermouth Manhattan.
- Experience it at Double Take – Los Angeles, Coccoloba – Grand Cayman, and Stratus Lounge – Philadelphia
- Nordic influences will find their way onto drink menus with Scandinavian ingredients such as bramble shrub, dill, rhubarb, and aquavit. For a classic sour with Scandinavian and traditional fall flavors, try the Aurora Kiruna, featuring Brennivin cask aged aquavit, Absolut Elyx, spiced cranberry syrup and lemon, topped with candied rosemary.
- Experience it at Boleo – Chicago
- A growing interest in Japanese whisky, popular with whisky drinkers looking for a lighter, cleaner, floral alternative American whisky. There are cocktails inspired by Japanese highballs with influences of soft fruit and spice all the way up to herbaceous and smokey.
- Experience it at Zentan – Washington, DC and Boleo – Chicago
- Eighty percent of Kimpton bartenders said they would create a cocktail in part for their visual appeal on social media with vibrant colors, unique vessels and inventive garnishes ranging from elegant (a flowering herb bouquet) to eclectic (a miniature rubber ducky).
- Experience it at Highball Lounge – Boston, MA
- Health-conscious consumers will increase demand for cocktails with healthy add-ins like turmeric or ginger that provide alternatives to sugary drinks and minimize the extra liquid calories.
- An emphasis on sustainability has led to creative upcycling of ingredients and reduced waste, with 71 percent of Kimpton bartenders noting sustainability as a key consideration for cocktail design in 2018. Examples of sustainability in action include making citrus stock from used citrus peels, using compostable straws, and using whole fruits and vegetables in cocktails – from the juice to the pulp to the skin.
New Wine, Beer, and Coffee Trends:
- New ways with rosé -- Rosé will continue its rise with increased interest in dry rosé, sparkling rosé, and the emergence of new single-vineyard unique rose varietals.
- “The art of the blend” -- taking the art of mixology to the world of wine by creating new exciting flavor combinations as well as personalized blends for every palate.
- Alternative wine packaging for small batch and unique varietals – watch for interesting ways to enjoy these special wine experiences through the exploration of nontraditional vessels such as edible glassware and repurposed household items like teapots, mini flower pots, and vases.
- An upswing in German-style Gose beers, or other sour beers, which offer adventurous beer drinkers a crisp beer with a touch of tartness and herbal sub-tones (typically from the coriander added to most Gose beers).
The Latest in Philosophies, Experiential Dining, and Design
- Pop-ups and chef takeovers are still going strong, with creative new executions.
- Honest materials and earthen ceramics will add authenticity and warmth to dining experiences, such as a salad with local lettuces and flowers served on an earthen plate, or solid wood platings.
- Experiential – today’s diners expect more out of a restaurant than just the food itself. From ambient lighting to the functional purse hook and the curation of the music selection, it’s all about the holistic dining and drinking experience.
Kimpton #CCTrends In the Wild
To really bring the 2018 Culinary & Cocktail trends to life, Kimpton is launching a social trendspotting adventure that inspires diners to capture these trends “in the wild.”
To join the trendspotting fun, diners can share their photos featuring a Kimpton Culinary & Cocktail trend on their social channels (Instagram and Twitter) using #CCTrends. Surprises & delights may be in store for a few lucky trendspotters. Visit https://www.kimptonhotels.com/culinary-trends-2018 for some helpful hints on where to spot, savor and share Kimpton’s #CCTrends.
For more information on this year’s Culinary & Cocktail Trend forecast including survey findings, recipes, Kimpton restaurants serving these trends, infographics and more insights from Kimpton chefs and bartenders, please visit https://www.kimptonhotels.com/culinary-trends-2018.
This feature originally appeared at www.hotelfandb.com in December 2017.