As we welcome the new year, SAGE Executive Chef Rob Coutu shares food trends you might see popping up on menus in 2022.
Chili crunch: Chili crunch has taken the lead in the world of global condiments. Loaded with Szechuan chili flakes, crispy garlic, shallots, sesame seeds, and other spices, this fiery condiment could be replacing the crushed pepper shakers you see in pizza restaurants. People are using this on everything from pasta and dumplings to eggs and ice cream.
Food with cultural roots: Heritage cooking will remain on the forefront of the culinary scene as first- and second-generation chefs continue to delight guests with their traditional cuisines and cooking techniques. You can also expect generalized recipe titles, such as “Mexican,” to be replaced by more specific regions (e.g., Oaxaca, Veracruz, or Yucatán).
Korean egg drop sandwiches: This Korean street food is made of brioche or challah bread, griddled in butter, stuffed with folded scrambled eggs and other fillings, and topped with a sweet mayonnaise. Various types of breakfast meats, vegetables, or sauces can be added to customize the sandwich.
Birria: Birria is a popular Mexican dish that originated from the Jalisco state. Traditionally made with lamb and served as birria de res con consommé (meat simmered in broth), restaurant and food truck chefs have used birria meat in everything from tacos to quesadillas to loaded fries.
Upcycling: According to the Upcycled Food Association, food that’s upcycled is made with “ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption.” To help minimize waste, companies are finding ways of using the leftover byproducts from food and beverage production. Examples of upcycling include using spent grains from breweries and distilleries to create a high-fiber flour or turning imperfect produce into chips and cookie brittle.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms have been on the rise in popularity. Requiring minimal space, water, and energy to grow, they’re considered to be one of the most sustainably produced foods. Look for mushrooms in blended burgers, as fried “chicken” on vegetarian menus, and as powders added to teas and beverages.
Spicy baked goods: In the new year, chipotle, habanero, and cayenne will become part of the new culinary landscape in baking. Look out for cakes, cookies, and pies made with flavors like mango-habanero or chili-raspberry. Spice adds a depth of flavor and earthiness to what is an otherwise simple baked good.
Yuzu: Yuzu is a small citrus fruit found in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines. Often used in juice and jams, yuzu will likely replace lemons and limes in a variety of recipes. You’ll see it in desserts, vinaigrettes, mocktails, and even mayonnaise.
Look for some of these exciting trends to make their way onto your menus in the coming year!