Find out “What’s Hot in 2014” in the Food World

We use food to celebrate birthdays, weddings, graduations, and to mourn deaths. We share a meal after work, school, and long days to catch up with family and loved ones. We prepare food as peace offerings, signs of affection, and thanks. We watch food on our TVs, read about it in newspapers, and collect endless books on its preparation and sourcing. In short, food is an integral part of our everyday lives and, for many, a passion.

As we look toward 2014 and reflect on the year that has passed, many of the best memories were likely around a table, surrounded by friends, family, and a loyal companion: Food. In honor of that trusty foundation of social gatherings, let’s take a look at what the 2014 food scene is projected to look like.

Every year, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) asks industry experts to offer an in-depth culinary forecast of food trends from every course of the meal, through ingredient sourcing, and restaurant establishment trends. In their “What’s Hot in 2014” survey, the NRA reported on the opinions of 1,300 chefs from various backgrounds including members of the American Culinary Federation. This year looks like it’s going to be quite delicious!

2014 Culinary Forecast


1. House-cured meats/charcuterie

2. Vegetarian appetizers

3. Ethnic/street food-inspired appetizers

4. Ethnic dips

5. Amuse-bouche/bite-sized hors d’oeuvre

Starches/Side Items

1. Non-wheat pasta/noodles

2. Quinoa

3. Black/forbidden rice

4. Red rice

5. Pickled vegetables

Main Dishes/Center of the Plate

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood

2. Sustainable Seafood

3. New cuts of meat

4. Non-traditional fish

5. Half-portions/ Smaller portions for a smaller price


1. Hybrid desserts

2. Savory desserts

3. House-made/artisan ice cream

4. Bite-size/mini-dessert

5. Deconstructed classic desserts


1. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items

2. Traditional ethnic breakfast items

3. Fresh fruit breakfast items

4. Egg white omelets/sandwiches

5. Yogurt parfait/Greek yogurt parfaits

Kids’ Meals

1. Healthful Kids’ meals

2. Whole grain items in kids’ meals

3. Fruit/vegetable children’s sides

4. Ethnic-inspired children’s dishes

5. Oven-baked items in kids’ meals


1. Locally grown produce

2. Unusual/uncommon herbs

3. Dark greens

4. Organic produce

5. Heirloom apples

Ethnic Cuisines and Flavors

1. Peruvian cuisine

2. Korean cuisine

3. Southeast Asian cuisine

4. Regional ethnic cuisine

5. Ethnic fusion cuisine

Top 20 Overall Food Trends

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood

2. Locally grown produce

3. Environmental sustainability

4. Healthful Kids’ meals

5. Gluten-free cuisine

6. Hyper-local sourcing

7. Children’s nutrition

8. Non-wheat noodles/pasta

9. Sustainable seafood

10. Farm/estate branded items

11. Nose-to-tail and root-to-stalk cooking

12. Whole grain items in kids’ meals

13. Health/nutrition

14. New cuts of meat

15. Ancient grains

16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items

17. Grazing

18. Non-traditional fish

19. Fruit/vegetable children’s side items

20. Half-portions/smaller portions for a smaller price

You can find the full culinary forecast on the NRA website.

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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