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2015 trends: Chefs get casual

Restaurant Hospitality editors have been watching these trends cook all year. Here are 15 trends that are ready to come out of the oven in 2015.

Chef Ben Ford. Photo: Frank Ockenfels

What we’re seeing:

You’ve heard of fast casual, but we’re calling this new segment “chef casual”: chefs breaking from fine dining to open their own fast-casual concepts. Are they doing it because that’s where the demand is or so they can showcase their craft to a greater number of people? We suspect a little bit of both.

What they’re saying:

Ben Ford: I have never liked the disparity between taking care of my customer’s wellbeing and providing what they can afford to eat on a regular basis. You need to be clever to engineer a menu that uses responsible ingredients in a creative manner.

In the kitchen:

Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu of La Casita Mexicana in Bell, CA, are opening their fast-casual debut, Flautas, which will be a gourmet yet affordable dining option offering rolled tacos.

• Despite sharing few details, Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup has announced it will roll out a fast-casual concept in early 2015.

Loco’l is Roy Choi’s new healthful fast food project, where diners can expect a burger cut with grains and tofu and a special sauce. ”Imagine your favorite restaurant run by chefs and everything is around $2,” Choi says. “We’re using our knowledge as chefs to try to re-create a really great fast food burger, because that’s what people are addicted to and accustomed to.”

• After successfully opening full-service restaurant Cava Mezze in Washington, DC, with a modern-American spin on Greek cuisine, Ike Grigoropoulos, Ted Xenohristos, and Dimitri Moshovitis launched a fast-casual spinoff, Cava Grill. Moshovitis says it was his way to tailor the product to an audience with a limited schedule or budget.

Next: Menu size matters
Previous: Reclaiming design

TAGS: Food Trends
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