Top 20 Food Trends: Chefs Predict What’s Hot for Menu Trends in 2017

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,298 American Culinary Federation members in October 2016, asking them to rate 169 items as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” or “perennial favorite” on menus in 2017.


Menu trends today are beginning to shift from ingredient-based items to concept-based ideas. House-made food items and various global flavors, indicating that chefs and restaurateurs are further experimenting with from-scratch preparation and a broad base of flavors.”

Each year, the National Restaurant Association surveys nearly 1,300 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – to explore food and beverage trends at restaurants in the coming year. The annual “What’s Hot” list gives a peak into which food, beverages and culinary
themes will be the new items on restaurant menus that everyone is talking about in 2017.


Ham, an example of house-made charcuterie

According to the survey, menu trends that will be heating up in 2017 include poke, house-made charcuterie, street food, food halls and ramen. Trends that are cooling down include quinoa, black rice, and vegetarian and vegan cuisines.

TOP 20 FOOD TRENDS for 2017, accoding to National Restaurant Association:

  • New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak, Merlot cut);
  • Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kabobs, dumplings, pupusas);
  • Healthful kids’ meals;
  • House-made charcuterie;
  • Sustainable seafood;
  • Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g., chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes);
  • House-made condiments;
  • Authentic ethnic cuisine;
  • Heirloom fruit and vegetables;
  • African flavors;
  • Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi);
  • House-made sausage;
  • House-made pickles;
  • Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin);
  • House-made/artisan ice cream;
  • Whole grain items in kids’ meals;
  • Protein-rich grains/seeds (e.g., hemp, chia, quinoa, flax);
  • Artisan cheeses;
  • Savory desserts;
  • Gourmet items in kids’ meals.

“Chefs are on an endless quest to redefine how consumers eat,” commented ACF National President Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC. “By masterfully transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, culinary professionals are at the forefront of changing the culinary landscape.”


Dumplings, an example of street food-inspired dishes and authentic ethnic cuisine


  • Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens, onsite beer brewing, house-made items);
  • Chef-driven fast-casual concepts;
  • Natural ingredients/clean menus;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • Locally sourced produce;
  • Locally sourced meat and seafood;
  • Food waste reduction;
  • Meal kits (e.g. pre-measured/prepped raw ingredients for home preparation);
  • Simplicity/back to basics;
  • Nutrition.