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Train for the Top Culinary Trends for 2011 at Culinary Schools in America

In the Fire

Lettuce grown on rooftop gardens. Children's meals that include fresh, whole foods. Fish species whose harvest doesn't damage ocean ecosystems.

Each of these food items is more likely to appear on restaurant menus in 2011, according to the National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot in 2011" (www.restaurant.org, 2011). The Association's annual survey asked member chefs from the American Culinary Federation to rate a list of items as a "hot trend," "yesterday's news," or "perennial favorite."

Based on responses from 1,527 chefs, hot trends for 2011 include:

  • Locally-sourced foods. Look for meats, seafood, produce, and even wine and beer from local sources--including rooftop gardens and in-house butchering (no public participation required).
  • Nutritionally-balanced children's dishes. Children's nutrition will be top of mind in 2011, so restaurants may be more likely to 86 the French fries from the children's menu and replace them with sides of fruits and vegetables.
  • Gluten-free and food allergy-conscious options. Restaurant servers should be spared the trouble of reciting lists of ingredients to food-sensitive customers, as restaurants increasingly identify allergens--and their absence--on the menu.

Chefs were also asked to identify the top operational trends in the restaurant business. The front runners in 2011 include:

  • Mobile food trucks and pop-up restaurants
  • Restaurants with gardens
  • Social media-based marketing

As these trends reflect larger societal trends and the preferences of increasingly discriminating diners, chefs and restaurateurs may find it prudent to jump on the bandwagon, rather than find their menus becoming "yesterday's news."

Keeping Up with the Trends through Culinary Schools in America

But what, exactly, are children's nutritional needs? What is a viable business model for a pop-up restaurant? How can chefs work with vendors to procure local and sustainably harvested ingredients?

If you're asking any of these questions, then culinary schools in the USA may be able to help. The most dynamic culinary schools in America should offer curricula designed to provide you with a broad base of knowledge and get you up to speed on the trends.

Culinary schools in America can teach you restaurant management, and how to keep your business profitable--a skill you will need as you determine how to integrate a rooftop garden into your business plan. As more chefs make use of social media, you'll want to have a background in marketing to become savvy in promoting your business. And as nutrition becomes increasingly important to discerning customers, chefs need to know how to assess the nutritional value of the dishes they prepare--knowledge that can be learned through culinary school.

Culinary Education: Another Hot Trend

A 2010 article in the New York Post noted that culinary schools across the country are seeing a huge increase in applicants. More chefs and food workers are pursuing formal training programs in order to become more competitive for jobs, and learn the business skills that can enable them to succeed in the workforce.

Culinary education is, therefore, another hot trend--and probably one that is destined to become a "perennial favorite."