Veggies.
El Che Seakhouse & Bar cocktails.
El Che Seakhouse & Bar.
Veggies.
The Foundry pizza.
The Foundry bar.
Esmé food.
Customer using phone.
The Foundry outside.
The Women in Restaurant Leadership event will take place this February in Nashville.
El Che Seakhouse & Bar oysters.

Plant-Forward Eating & Drinking

One of the top food trends of this year is plant-forward eating. I feel that more and more people are interested in including more produce in their diet. Along with this comes the hyper-local approach toward ingredients and restaurants. This is pushing the public in desiring recyclable or reusable product packaging. I feel like no one ingredient will be having a moment, but it will be more technological advances in food. For example, advances in plant based proteins (beyond burger). Active ingredients, bioactive molecules that increase health. Sustainable ingredients like microalgae.

— Ken Shiro Lumpkin, Executive Chef, Tzeva

Retro Cocktails Making a Comeback

Avocado snacks and desserts. Pistachio milk and sesame milk. Tequila and margaritas will continue to be No. 1 as a top consumed liquor and cocktail in the U.S

— Cristian Martiez, Beverage and Food Manager, The Foundry

I think the Martini trend is definitely here to stay, although done in more creative ways, really leaning into updated versions of 90’s classic cocktail culture. I think beverage programs will certainly use those ingredients and profiles as a guideline for what the cocktail should taste like, but with more unique ingredient modifiers.

Alex Cuper, Wine Director, El Che Seakhouse & Bar

Natural Wines

I also believe the natural wine and lower ABV wine movement will continue to grow and refine itself. At El Che we are always trying to spread this word that wine does not need to be a heavy tanic monster to go with steak, but sometimes a refreshing, crisp red like a carignan can be the consistent reset to allow you to take another bite of food. I am hoping the interest in natural wines persists, but with the idea that we are growing in terms of knowledge and not all natural wines need to be funky and neon colored.

Alex Cuper, Wine Director, El Che Seakhouse & Bar

Sustainable Products

Mindful usage of products or sustainable practices. In regard to liquor, I hope buyers are more conscious of where their product comes from and how it affects those that produce it as well as the category itself. Looking at you mezcal.” “We’re implementing better sustainability practices by cross utilizing ingredients from the kitchen and other bars to the point that this is now standard practice. We are mindful of who we purchase from and what products we promote. In regard to being ahead of the curve—we’re continuing to push a more culinary approach into our cocktails programs.

— Guillermo Bravo, Beverage Director, Kimpton Gray Hotel

Sustainability through tradition. Utilizing our ancestors knowledge and the foundation of Cucina Povera we predict a trend in the world of restaurant sustainability by looking back at the traditions of our ancestors who had common practices of limiting food waste, utilizing local ingredients, whole animal butchering, and making use of humble ingredients to create memorable dishes.

— Francesco Panella, Owner, Antica Pesa

Ingredients and Cuisines That Will Stand Out In 2024

Pasture-raised meat and eggs. International BBQ like Picanha, Wagyu, and Argentinian Asado.

Peruvian Cuisine I believe is going to be a big trend again around the world.

— Cristian Martiez, Beverage & Food Manager, The Foundry

I hope more exotic citrus are brought into the game. I hope to see more south Asian pacific ingredients—pandan, makrut lime leaf, curry leaves.

— Guillermo Bravo, Beverage Director, Kimpton Gray Hotel

As the population becomes more global, no one cuisine stands out. I feel there will be even more fusion of styles and ingredients. For example, “international” BBQ: fusion BBQ flavors with South America, Asia, Mediterranean, and Middle East. Or putting unique concepts and flavors together, i.e. a pastry with chili-raspberry and Mexican hot chocolate. Caribbean spices will have spotlight in the mix.

— Ken Shiro Lumpkin, Executive Chef, Tzeva

Cocktails Having Their Moment In 2024

Mezcal Old Fashioned.

— Cristian Martiez, Beverage & Food Manager, The Foundry

I’m calling it now—Midori Sours—probably not going to happen. A more realistic answer would be the Gibson—I want to see more beautiful pickled olives—there’s a lot to play with when it comes to pickling cocktail garnishes.

— Guillermo Bravo, Beverage Director, Kimpton Gray Hotel

Taking Experiential Dining a Step Further

At our Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant, we recently rolled out experiential programming with a community-based subscription service for our diners. The membership will allow guests to dine at a discounted rate but also allow them different experiences such as cooking classes, field trips, meet and greets with local artists we partner with, and so much more. In the coming months, we will see more and more restaurants taking dining experiences up a notch.

— Katrina Bravo, Creative Director/Proprietor, Esmé

Diners are wanting transparency of every aspect of their dining experience. They want to know where it came from, how it was processed, what’s in it, and the people that produced it are treated fairly.

— Ken Shiro Lumpkin, Executive Chef, Tzeva

Experiences. Customers go to restaurants not just to have something to eat, but as a way to entertain themselves and their families. Customers are looking for storytelling behind the dishes and cocktails.”

— Cristian Martiez, Beverage & Food Manager, The Foundry

Diners are going to start looking for the ‘dinner party’ feel more. I think a lot of shared dishes and larger plates that can be shared among multiple people will begin to be more and more common. That, coupled with the continued decrease in formality and the increase of casual, recognizable, and delicious food will continue to emerge and take shape.

Alex Cuper, Wine Director, El Che Seakhouse & Bar

I think in 2024 we will start seeing more shared tasting menus and restaurants that have ‘value’ and offer more to the community.

— Andrés Clavero, GM and co-owner, Galit

Privacy and Intimate Dining Experiences Without the Phone

Privacy in hospitality. With the over saturation of TikTok recommendations and dishes created for Instagram only, we are noticing a return to quality time over dinner and predict diners will become even more focused on being present while dining (less screen time). Meaning less focus on over-the-top presentation of dishes solely “for the gram” and more focus on quality intimate in-person experiences to appreciate the nuances of the environment created within the restaurant (menu programming, ingredients curated by the chef, ambiance, etc.)

— Francesco Panella, Owner, Antica Pesa

Showcasing Flavors and Ingredients In Unique Ways

Flavors in new forms. We are constantly adding to the familiar flavors in our dishes by adding layers of flavor throughout. Our newest menu in Brooklyn utilizes a few dishes with powdered flavors. These are concentrated blasts of flavor in subtle powder form to give a boost to the taste buds without adding so much texture. In our newest mushroom risotto we use liquorice powder, which gives a subtle tingly liquorice sensation to balance the richness of the mushrooms, we also use an orange powder in our fennel salad made from orange peels, so it’s like a more concentrated flavor of orange zest without the bitterness.

— Francesco Panella, Owner, Antica Pesa

Our restaurant is working very close to the trends when it comes to presentation, techniques, and international flavors. We also try to give priority to ingredients from the Ohio Region in order to offer sustainability, freshness, and quality to our guests.

— Cristian Martiez, Beverage & Food Manager, The Foundry

A New Norm: Work/Life Balance Throughout the Industry

I see the hospitality/F&B industries increasingly becoming more humane. They will be driven by the population wanting to be respected. No more toxic environments. The people want their food to be organic, regional, sustainable, and to know that the people that produced it are treated well. My team and I are ahead of the curve by creating an environment that is pleasant to work. Giving people work/life balance. And I feel with the type of fusion of styles and ingredients we are setting the bar. We fuse Asian ingredients and styles with Mediterranean ingredients and styles. We are exploring the southern and eastern regions of the Mediterranean, not the typical France, Spain, Italy.

— Ken Shiro Lumpkin, Executive Chef, Tzeva

Better benefits to workers—actual healthcare solutions that don’t require the use of GoFundme or similar services to pay for medical bills. But, really, that’s the U.S. medical system as a whole. While that’s not going to change overnight—I hope to see more resources for hospitality workers to be able to take medical leave without going into crippling debt. Also, the inclusivity of our spaces and our teams. At least I hope it continues to be a focus to the point that it becomes standard.

— Guillermo Bravo, Beverage Director, Kimpton Gray Hotel

Tipped minimum wage laws, the survival of restaurants without financial support and understanding of the impact said laws have on the industry and communities.

— Andrés Clavero, GM and co-owner, Galit

Hyper-Focused Menus

We are ahead of the curve in our sheer focus on a specific cuisine and region of the world.  Gone are the ways of ‘global cuisine’ and here to stay is the very cut and dry focus of specific foods and cuisine.  I also think (hope) that more places start to put this focus into their wine and beverage programs. You don’t always need California Cabernet with everything.

Alex Cuper, Wine Director, El Che Seakhouse & Bar

Chef Profiles, Consumer Trends, Feature, Menu Innovations, Slideshow