Food Trends to Wow Taste-Makers
Blue Plate Executive Chef, Charles Haracz, lets us in on what’s got his tastebuds and taste-buds (aka the rest of the Culinary team) excited.
At Blue Plate, we take pride in staying ahead of the culinary curve, and as we approach the end of 2023, we eagerly anticipate the trends that will define the food industry in 2024. Join us on a journey through the evolving flavors and innovations that will shape your dining experiences in the year ahead.
Chef Charles’ Insights: A Gourmet Journey
Our culinary maestro, Executive Chef Charles Haracz, shares his perspective on the ever-changing food landscape. “This year, we’ve witnessed remarkable trends that have transformed the way we approach food,” Chef Charles reflects. “One of the highlights was our exploration of mushrooms, especially the Lions Mane variety, sourced just eight blocks away from Blue Plate, in the heart of Chicago.”
The Mushroom Renaissance
Diving into the world of fungi, Chef Charles explains, “The recipe was inspired by our desire to partner with a local supplier, Four Star Mushrooms. We ventured into the extraordinary, crafting a Crème Brûlée with Mushrooms—a delightful departure from the ordinary.” It’s the Lion’s Mane Mushroom that truly stole the spotlight, adding a unique flavor profile to our dishes while delivering exceptional health benefits. Notably, research has shown that Lion’s Mane stimulates the growth of new brain cells, enhances the immune system, and contributes to improved mental well-being. Chef Charles believes this mushroom’s popularity isn’t fleeting; it’s here to stay, making its mark not only in restaurant kitchens but also in health and wellness circles.
“We’ve had tremendous fun experimenting with mushrooms throughout the year,” Chef Charles adds. “Our Lion’s Mane Mushroom Sandwich, smoked and soaked in Koji, then roasted, offers a delightful texture and taste reminiscent of smoked turkey breast. We’re excited to continue exploring inventive ways to reintroduce local and healthy food options.”
Chef Charles also highlights the versatility of mushrooms, particularly mycelium—the root-like structures of fungi. Mycelium is a nutrient-dense, protein-rich, and environmentally efficient alternative to traditional protein sources. Products featuring mycelium require minimal processing due to their natural “meaty” texture and taste, appealing to consumers seeking less processed plant-based meat options.
A World of Flavors: The Asian Influence
Beyond mushrooms, 2023 showcased the rising influence of Asian cuisines in the culinary world. “We saw the rise of fish steaks, particularly swordfish, and witnessed a growing fondness for curry,” Chef Charles remarks. “The curry market has experienced steady growth in recent years, but in 2023, driven by consumer demand, we observed a surge in popularity as new Asian restaurants emerged.”
Throughout 2023, we ventured into diverse culinary territories, exploring an array of cuisines, including Sri Lankan flavors for weddings and a delightful infusion of Indian spices in our kitchen. This culinary exploration not only introduced new flavors but also catered to a variety of palates on our culinary journey. At Blue Plate, our commitment is to offer culinary delights to satisfy every need, and as we head into 2024, this commitment continues to flourish. It has enabled us to introduce a diverse range of new options across the city, ensuring a vibrant dining experience for all.
Sustainable Dining: A Conscious Choice
As we move into 2024, the food and beverage industry is championing sustainability like never before. Sustainable packaging solutions are gaining traction, responding to the global call for eco-conscious alternatives. From plant-based plastics to zero-waste packaging, businesses are innovating to reduce their environmental footprint. The sustainable packaging market for F&B is expected to surpass 100 billion USD in value over the next five years, with startups leading the charge in developing edible and biodegradable plant-based packaging.
With the arrival of 2024, we look forward to a year filled with culinary delights and innovations. At Blue Plate Chicago, we’re dedicated to crafting unforgettable dining experiences that capture the essence of these trends. Join us on this gastronomic journey where flavor and health converge to redefine your relationship with food. Together, let’s savor every bite of what the future holds.