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Ingredients To F&B Success

Hotel Chefs Weigh In On Emerging Menu Trends Heading Into 2019

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Steve Pike
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As the calendar turns to 2019, culinary thoughts at resorts and hotels turn to how to drive business and added revenue to their restaurants, lounges and bars. However, as a result of the plethora of TV cooking shows now airing, consumers are becoming better informed as to food choices and cooking trends, which makes for greater challenges for hotel/resort chefs and food and beverage managers.

“Guests really want to know where their food is coming from, so that idea of highlighting the region an ingredient comes from and complementing it with other ingredients or dishes from that area is big,” said Jean Delgado, executive chef at Toro Toro Pan Latin restaurant at the InterContinental Miami.

“There’s an abundance of ingredients in the world and I don’t see any one specific losing popularity. But what could happen is we will find new ways to repurpose an already over-played ingredient, say avocado, and make it ‘new’ again.”

That is, Delgado said, creating traditional dishes, but reinventing them with new flavors. For example, the Chuleta Kan Kan at Toro Toro takes traditional aranitas and mixes it with unique add-ins, such as a tomatillo kimchi.

“In 2019, I think we will also see a resurgence of using a variety of different cuts of meat, not just the traditional shoulder or breast, but utilizing all parts of the animal,” Delgado said.

Frederic Delaire, executive chef at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, is going the other way. Delaire is one of several chefs who see the vegan and gluten-free movement gaining more strength in 2019.

“Gluten-free started a while back, but we have seen an increase in vegan dishes, which I think will continue to grow in popularity in the new year,” said Delaire. “We’ve already created and implemented vegan and gluten-free stations for our breakfast guests. We are offering the same for our group guests, as well.

“We also partner with meeting planners and work with them closely on special food guest restrictions, which allows for a more personalized overall culinary experience.”

Gilles Epie, executive chef at Juvia Miami--located on Miami Beach’s popular Lincoln Road and central to dozens of South Florida hotels and resorts--also believes that guests are looking to incorporate more vegetables into their diets.

Epie recently developed he calls a dish he calls a “perfect blend” for this trend.

“It’s called a ‘vegetable tiradito,’” Epie said. “All of the vegetables are cooked sous vide (vacuumed) for two hours, I then slice them and serve with a dressing made of coconut milk with lime and dry soy salt to finish.”

Fermentation appears to be a growing trend for 2019, particularly with kombucha (fermented tea) as a popular alternative to coffee, soda and other beverages. Fermentation is gaining popularity with people who prefer to stay away from processed foods.

“Fermentation is taking over’’ as a new cooking trend, said Chef Jose Mendin, one of South Florida’s more popular chefs who launched Habitat at 1 Hotel South Beach in late 2017.

“I think this trend of incorporating fermented ingredients into recipes will transfer over into the new year,’’ Delgado said.

Is there a new ingredient that will be popular?

“Tropical fruits, such as pineapples, mangos, papayas, will make a comeback,’’ Mendin said. “I’m thinking we’ll see them fermented, pickled or in other ways–we’ll have to wait and see.”

While vegan-style restaurants and more health-forward menus will continue to appear at hotels and resorts, count on themed restaurant staples, such as Mexican and steakhouses, to continue to thrive. After all, each brings a certain amount of culinary comfort to hotel and resort guests.

“Mexican restaurants have continued to evolve and become more refined in both preparation and presentation,’’ Delaire said.

Indeed, Mexican restaurants have opened recently at South Florida hotels and resorts. Most notably, Chef Pablo Salas’ Lona Cocina at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach; Stephen Starr’s El Vez at the W Fort Lauderdale Beach; and Lolo’s Surf Cantina at the Marriott Stanton on Miami Beach.

And for those wondering, “Where’s the Beef?” options include high-end steak houses such as Toro Toro, Packard’s at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, FL, Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas; and Diplomat Prime in the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL.

“That’s the one market that’s always going to be big,” said Mark Vinciguerra, general manager of The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ, whose J&G Steakhouse unveiled a new look along with new seasonal food and drink menus this past September.

“Everybody loves a good steak,” said Vinciguerra. “But you want it to appeal to all demographics. You have to have a good balance of seafood and steak and wine by the glass.’’

Steve Pike
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than ...
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