Culinary Trends for 2015 from California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen's senior vice president of culinary innovation, Brian Sullivan, dishes on the trends to watch in 2015.

  • Do me a flavor and flavor my salt: Salt will be infused with with anything from pinot noir to fresh herbs, chile, citrus, sriracha, Jack Daniels, dried mushrooms, coffee, and much more. Restaurants will use innovative salts to garnish a piece of meat or add a surprising salt rim to a cocktail.
  • Eggs on eggs on eggs: Fried eggs might be the new bacon in 2015 in the sense that they will be on everything, including pizza, burgers, ramen, salads, and french fries: 2015 will be the year of the chicken. 
  • Ancient grains, growing up without growing old: Ancient grains have been around for as long as it sounds, but they can be used in so many different ways that they can be continually reinvented. From farro to quinoa, these super grains add an abundance of nutrients and variety to a meal.
  • Excuse me sir, there’s an avocado in my cocktail: Culinary cocktails will continue to be big and restaurants have only tapped the tip of the ice bin with ingredients like avocado purée, candied ginger, cucumber, fresh berries and herbs, and beyond. Also, keep an eye out for more hand-crafted, non-alcoholic beverages. No alcohol, no problem.
  • You get more bees with infused honey: Infusions are the perfect example of how creative restaurants can get with different but complementary flavors in unexpected ways. From the bold, balanced spiciness of Chipotle or Serrano honeys to the delicate sweetness of lavender honey, the options here are sure to be sweet.    
  • Where is my food coming from? Local sourcing will continue its rise of relevance and importance, because the demand for real, fresh, and healthful food has never been higher. Another important factor in sourcing is sustainability, such as sourcing fish from areas that are not overfished or growing your own herbs.
  • Produce, Produce, Produce: The more unexpected and rare, the better. Heirloom carrots of purple, yellow, and pale white add a twist to an old favorite. Peppery red watercress or bitter greens totally amp up the flavor in a salad. And speaking of salad, baby kale has unseated its leafy big sister as the new organic star.
  • Veggies roasting in an open hearth: How something is cooked cane just as exciting as what is cooked. Roasting veggies in an open hearth produces a wonderful caramelized texture and flavor. And it’s not just veggies. Roasting fish and meat in a hearth, as opposed to grilling or searing, is a great way to achieve slow-building, intense flavor, without over-drying.  

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