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Forecasting 2009's top culinary trends

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Every year the National Restaurant Association surveys more than 1,600 American Culinary Federation chefs nationwide and asks them to rank culinary items as a "hot trend," "yesterday's news" or "perennial favorite." What results is the "What's Hot in 2009" culinary forecast. Here are the top 20 trends from their list:

  1. Locally grown produce

  2. Bite-size/mini desserts

  3. Organic produce

  4. Nutritionally balanced children's dishes

  5. New/fabricated cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, bone-in Tuscan veal chop)

  6. Fruit/vegetable children's side items

  7. Superfruits (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen)

  8. Small plates/tapas/mezze/dim sum

  9. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor

  10. Sustainable seafood

  11. Nutrition/health (e.g. low-fat, reduced sodium, antioxidants, high-fiber)

  12. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious

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

  14. Artisanal cheeses

  15. Exotic fruit (e.g. durian, passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava)

  16. Culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, customized to specific dishes)

  17. Micro-vegetables/micro-greens

  18. Organic wine

  19. Dessert flights/combos/platters

  20. Free-range poultry/pork

    I'm glad to see several trends related to sustainable eating, and few that seemed to be flashes-in-the-pan (like acai and goji berry). I didn't see anything on here that particularly surprised me, though perhaps some of the non-traditional meat cuts and fish are new to people. I can't say I have high hopes for the impending popularity of durian...let's just say it's no salted caramel.