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Craft beer named as top trend in chefs’ survey for third straight year

By Lois Abraham, THE CANADIAN PRESS

CloseUpBC_YFMSummer15_Brown (16)TORONTO – Craft beer and microbrews were chosen by Canadian chefs as the restaurant industry’s top trend for a third year in a row.

“Craft beer is still trending because it’s still growing. There’s more craft brewers opening every day all over the place. It’s generating revenue for the entire market,” says Charlotte Langley, culinary curator of a trade show being put on this weekend in Toronto by Restaurants Canada.

More than 560 professional chefs across the country were asked to identify the menu items and cooking methods at the peak of popularity in the association’s eighth annual survey.

Food smoking and sous vide cooking are two techniques that cracked this year’s top 10 list.

Though charcuterie was on last year’s list, Langley points to its continuing evolution.

“Rob Gentile from Buca has taken charcuterie to a whole new level in Toronto where it’s all fish charcuterie,” she says, adding that the acclaimed chef – who also oversees British chef Jamie Oliver’s two Canadian Jamie’s Italian locations – cures many types of fish and even egg roe from lobster with “tasty” results.

Chefs also cited locally sourced foods and sustainable seafood in the top 10 list.

“One thing that’s part of locally sourced food is traceability,” says Langley, adding people want to know the provenance of their food.

Langley also sees many chefs working with seaweed. It fits with a plant-forward diet, which she considers another trend, and is “an ethically sourced product that’s great for you and our food economy.”

The survey also highlighted pickling, ethnic condiments (raita/raitha, chimichurri, soy sauce, sambal), Asian twists on condiments (Sriracha ketchup, kimchi mayo) and gluten-free/food allergy conscious items.

“Pickling has evolved into more fermentation at this stage of the game. Maybe we’re heading back to the ’70s when everyone wanted to grow and ferment everything, which is great. But I think that you see more fermented products in grocery stores and retail outlets than you ever have before,” says Langley. “It’s not just kimchi anymore.”