Tastefully Yours Catering

What’s HOT What’s NOT in 2012

Dec 24, 09:44 PM

Every year the newspapers and magazines are full of predictions of coming trends. I thought it would be fun to see what 1800 chefs around the world thought would be the hottest food trends for 2012 and how they might affect aviation.

These chefs were questioned in the fall of 2011 and here is their list of what’s coming our way. Our world is very small and with the newer long range aircraft, travel to distant places has become common place, and the fusion of cuisines is happening at a faster rate than in the past. Catering is being downloaded at the end of a journey and we are able to see what came with the passengers . . . What they consider theirs. What is native to their country or region. There are new emerging markets in aviation, and the food from these cultures is moving into mainstream food trends as rapidly as they emerge. Thus the number one food trend in 2012 is the fusion of ethnic flavors. 

Following is a list of what the chefs named as the Ethnic Cuisines of 2012.

Ethnic Cuisine and Flavors

  1. Ethnic Fusion Cuisine
  2. Peruvian cuisine

A little bit of trivia about Peruvian cuisine from Culture Waves:

  • “Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the most varied and rich of the world. Thanks to the inheritance Incan, Pre-Incan and to the Spanish, African, Chinese-Cantonese, Japanese and Italian immigration, it gathers, it mixes , and it creates a gastronomy and exquisite flavors of four continents, offering an unrivaled variety. On the Peruvian coast alone, there are said to be more than two thousand different soups.

  • Peruvian cuisine features a great deal of seafood, often prepared raw or cured. Its culinary creations are typically highly acidic with ingredients such Key lime juice and red onion. The fruity aji pepper, which brings a tingle to the lips, is another frequent component of the cuisine.”

  • The potato is another prominent player in Peruvian cooking. Potatoes, in fact, have their origins in Peru. Peruvian-style ceviche often includes bits of yellow potato or yams.

  1. Regional ethnic cuisine
  2. Cuban cuisine
  3. Southeast Asian cuisine
  4. Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian
  5. Korean cuisine
  6. Latin American/Nuevo Latino cuisine
  7. Mediterranean cuisine
  8. Nordic/Scandinavian cuisine
  9. Middle Eastern cuisine
  10. Low country cuisine- Southern US
  11. Italian cuisine

There are a number of factors that we, your global food sources, should consider when planning and structuring new menu ideas. The first is that the generation known as baby boomers ( “76 million people age 48-65 who started turning 65 years old in 2011 will control 52% of the total $706 billion spend on food by 2015 – making them the largest food influencers and purchasers”). The Baby Boom generation is expected to have a longer average lifespan- 74.1 years for men and 79.5 years for women – and, as a result, are becoming more interested in those foods and beverages that offer them health and wellness benefits. Nostalgia plays a key role with this generation, and they will expect to see things that remind them of family and traditions on the menu. Boomers tend to be much more brand and store/ food source loyal.

Secondly, there is little doubt that in the coming years, we will continue to see food prices rise based on environmental conditions as well as higher production costs. The costs of fuel, feed, packaging, food safety, coupled with a higher demand for export ,all will factor into the retail price on the shelf. This will be reflected in the costs for inflight catering. As I once mentioned, your direct costs are due to the small portions we need to prepare and the variety of “restaurants” we offer for you under one roof. Because we must regularly shop for you at retail locations, this will be reflected in the pricing. We as your catering source must also be prepared to find creative ways to shave costs for your catering. You may see smaller portions provided as a cost saving method, more al la carte offerings ,or even augmenting our recipes by decreasing the amount of the more expensive meats and seafood and adding more non-meat proteins that are filling and less expensive, including whole-wheat pasta, tofu, lentils, brown rice and vegetables to recipe.

Thirdly, we will see a trend to make food sound better, not in the description of the food but in the sound in your mouth, in the packaging when you open it to the sound of the sizzle on your plate. Sound is a key element in the taste of your food, especially for aviation. Because the air in your pressurized aircraft is drier, your nasal passages which sense smell of the food are duller, your taste buds are compressed and therefore your sense of taste is also diminished, so you need more visual and sound stimulation. Sound can be muted by the sounds of the aircraft itself, so the sound you hear from a crunch in your mouth to opening a bag of snacks will help set those taste buds to watering and improve the pleasure of the meal. Crazy, I know, but, sadly true. You as a consumer judge the freshness of carbonated beverages based on the sound of the gas escaping the container as it opens, and the duration of the sound of the bubbles as they pour. Multisensory perception will be one of the new “food sciences” in 2012 as psychologists and food scientists join forces to design, create and influence the sounds of our foods to convey freshness, taste and even health attributes. Research is now underway at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University to understand how our brains process the information from each of our different senses (smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form our food experiences – which no doubt will add yet another dimension to our clients’ decision-making process.

Fourth, We must also consider planning around the big four tastes for aviation . . . Sweet, Heat, Salty and Tart. The palates of consumers are evolving, and flavor combinations are playing a big role in menu selections. Ingredients such as bacon, soy and jalapenos are finding their way into things such as dessert menus and salty, heat and tart flavors are taking over preboards, appetizers as well as desserts and salads. Speaking of desserts, we may even see a glass of port or scotch served in place of a dessert.

Fifth, let’s continue with the dessert trends expected. Sweets, especially unprocessed sweets will be eaten at all times of the day. Desserts are welcome in 2012 more than 2010 and 2011, but not full size desserts, or large servings of New York Cheesecake, but, tiny little tastes as a reward to one self . . . a single bite. Look for the catering sources to create great assortments of tiny sweet tastes.

And sixth, it is all about the protein and super food. We need to plan menus based on the desired energy outcome of the person consuming the food. Even desserts will have protein added to them, such as nuts, Greek yogurt, egg custards and artesian cheeses. Also here is word of that warning from my endless trivia food safety list. If ordering a custard of any type for the aircraft, be sure to request it with ice packs as this one item has been documented in aviation food borne outbreaks. Special handling IS required. Whole grains and gluten free items must be included in the our new menu ides as well. As food allergy information becomes more available to you and your passengers, we will need to accommodate with special recipe books in the kitchen, isolated production areas in the kitchen, and allergy handling procedures for the aircraft and kitchen as well.

Lastly, we as your global food sources will reinvent sauces and condiments, introducing more innovative and new tastes and blends to your menu choices. These simple items can change chicken into hundreds of different flavors and meals, as well as all other food options. They are relatively inexpensive; they are adjustable and can easily service the flying passengers and crew to overcome numerous restraints found in food service at 40,000 feet ( from the dryness of foods served to the flavor profiles you taste on board).

As our passengers and crew spend more time and eat more meals on board their flights, we as caterers and global food sources should continue to strive to bring forward new ideas and creative nutritional choices that can help keep our passengers and crew healthy. Research, an open mind, and constant innovation should be our motto. We can reinvent the wheel. In an effort the start the innovation process here are new ideas and trends for 2012 presented by the 1800 chefs interviewed last fall.


  1. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g., Asian-flavored syrups, chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)

  2. Traditional ethnic breakfast items (e.g ., huevos rancheros, shakshuka, ashta, Japanese)

  3. Fresh fruit breakfast items

  4. Prix fixe brunches

  5. French toast/stuffed French toast


  1. Vegetable/vegetarian appetizers

  2. Ethnic/street food inspired appetizers (e.g. tempura, taquitos, kabobs, hummus)

  3. Charcuterie plates/samplers

  4. Amuse-bouche/bite size hors d’oeuvre

  5. Warm appetizer

  6. Warm appetizer salads

  7. Ceviche/seviche

  8. Mini-burgers/sliders

  9. Oysters


  1. Artisan/house-made ice cream

  2. Bite-size/mini-desserts

  3. Savory desserts

  4. Deconstructed classic desserts

  5. Dessert flights/combos

  6. Gelato/sorbet

  7. Cupcakes

  8. Fruit desserts (e.g. cobbler, crisp)

  9. Lollipops

  10. Granita

  11. Cotton candy/marshmallows

  12. Macaroons

  13. Pies


  1. Locally grown produce

  2. Organic produce

  3. Superfruits (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangos)

  4. Exotic fruits (e.g. rambutan, dragon fruit, paw paw, guava)

  5. Heirloom apples

  6. Heirloom beans

  7. Specialty potatoes (e.g. purple, fingerling, Baby Dutch Yellow)

  8. Micro-vegetables/micro-greens

  9. Hybrid fruits/vegetables e.g. plumcot, grapple, broccoflower)

  10. Fresh herbs

  11. Heirloom tomatoes

  12. Dark/bitter greens (e.g. collards, kale, beet tops)

  13. Root vegetables (e.g. parsnip, turnip, rutabaga)

  14. Fresh beans/peas (e.g. fava, sweet, snow)

  15. Asian mushrooms (e.g. shiitake, straw, enokitake, cloud ear fungus)

  16. Hot peppers (e.g. habanero, chipotle, jalapeno)

  17. Pomegranates

  18. Fennel

  19. Passion fruit

  20. Edamame/soy beans


  1. Non-wheat noodles/pasta e.g., quinoa, rice, buckwheat)

  2. Black/forbidden rice

  3. Quinoa

  4. Red rice

  5. Vegetable pickles

  6. Asian noodles (e.g. soba, udon)

  7. Braised vegetables

  8. Sweet potato fries

  9. Steamed/grilled/roasted vegetables

  10. Brown/wild rice

  11. Polenta

  12. Grits

  13. Macaroni and cheese

  14. Avocados

  15. Beets

  16. Tomatillos

  17. Radish/daikon

  18. Olives

  19. Pears

  20. Cauliflower

Main dishes

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood

  2. Sustainable seafood

  3. Newly fabricated cuts of meat e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, Petite Tender

  4. Non-traditional fish (e.g., branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)

  5. Half-portions/smaller portion sizes

  6. Street food-inspired main courses e.g. tacos, satay, kabobs)

  7. Grass-fed beef

  8. Lower-sodium entrees

  9. Specialty/gourmet sandwiches

  10. Inexpensive/underused cuts of meat e.g. brisket, shoulder, skirt steak)

  11. Tapas/meze/dim sum, e.g., small plates

  12. Free-range pork/poultry

  13. Meatless/vegetarian items

  14. Alternative red meats e.g. buffalo/bison, ostrich/emu

  15. Game meats (e.g. venison, game birds, boar, rabbit)

  16. Vegan entrees

  17. Asian-inspired entree salads

  18. Low-calorie/low-fat entrees

  19. Non-traditional veal cuts

  20. Lean cuts of meat (e.g. loin, round)

  21. Goat

  22. Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches

  23. Tongue (e.g. beef, duck)

  24. Sushi/sushi-style items

  25. Falafel

  26. Comfort foods (e.g. chicken pot pie, meatloaf, roasted chicken)

  27. Barbecue/barbeque

May the New Year bring you, your passengers and flight crews good health, andelicious days and filled with endless joy and happiness. Happy New Year!

Link to the BlueSky Business Aviation News Article Featuring Paula Kraft of Tastefully Yours

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