If you want to beef up your menu for the new year, take a cue from members of the recent Chefs Panel that convened at the Certified Angus Beef Education & Culinary Center in Wooster, OH, to discuss beef and other food trends for the coming year.
Panelists and Certified Angus Beef brand chef ambassadors include Brad Barnes of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY; Craig Deihl, Cypress, Charleston, SC; Jorge de la Torre, Johnson & Wales, Denver; John Doherty, consulting chef, NYC; Cindy Hutson, Ortanique, Coral Gables, FL, Grand Cayman and Harbour Island; Ric Rosser, Saltgrass Steakhouse (with 57 regional locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado); Rory Schepisi, Boothill Vega, Vega, TX and Cedric Tovar, Rosemary’s and Bobo, NYC.
Here’s what they see on the menu horizon for 2013.
Strip steak: In 2013, the flavorful strip steak will come into its own, joining traditional favorites like ribeyes and filets.
Slow-cooked: We’ll head back to the future as guests are reintroduced to alternative cuts of beef, slow-cooked the way cultures around the world have been preparing beef for centuries.
Surf and turf: Look for more economical pieces of beef, such as ball tip and teres major cuts, to be paired with seafood.
Global and local: Chefs will use local ingredients to create their internationally inspired dishes. Examples include preparing heirloom Lowcountry rice risotto-style, with a Northern Italian accent.
Craft-driven takes the spotlight: Cocktails, charcuterie, cheese, bourbon and pickles are just a few examples of the craft-driven craze that’s captured consumer attention.
High-end nostalgia fun food: Gourmet versions of favorites like fair food and American junk food are inspiring new menu items, everything from corn dogs with lobster, to pork and beans with pork belly.
Proliferation of proteins: There’s more room on the menu for lesser-known beef cuts, like chuck flap and sirloin flap, and dark meat chicken as Americans broaden their palates.
Saving on specials: Explore the opportunities in turning undervalued cuts —chuck and chuck short ribs, to name two—into creative and profitable specials. Also, reinterpret beef cuts for more value: Cut off the vein end of a strip loin, cure it bresaola-style and thinly slice it to serve as a charcuterie choice.
Tapas for one: Offering individual tapas-style items allows guests to try multiple dishes. Small tastes can make a big impression.
Relaxed but refined: Go for casual style gourmet without the fuss. Guests enjoy elevated menu items like gourmet burgers and artisan sausages served in a casual setting.
Using social media to share stories: Communicate behind-the-scenes info directly with customers. Tell them about product sources, seasonal specials and more.
Neighborhood butcher via smartphone: In the past local butchers educated their customers about cuts of meat, preparation styles and serving suggestions. Your patrons can now get information from you via their smartphones.
Better-educated palates: Create educated palates by offering learning experiences for your restaurant guests. Cooking classes and chef exchange events cater to guests who hunger for the stories behind their favorite dishes. These events also give restaurant-goers information they can share with friends.
• Herb-grilled steak with crab-stuffed mushrooms
• Grilled Denver steak with smoked bacon
• Smoked apple demiglaze for beef
• Spicy steak and eggs breakfast taco
• Strip steak with rigatoni and gorgonzola cream
• Anejo caramelized onions with New York Strip Steak
• Sicilian burger