Food & Beverage

The Top Ten Dining Trends for 2019

Dining and food trends can change faster than night and day. To keep up with what 2019 will bring to the culinary world, our management company, BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, engaged their executive chefs and culinary experts at the company’s 80+ luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants coast to coast, off shore and in Europe. Check out what they have to say about the upcoming food trends they foresee for 2019!

2019 Dining Trend #1

The Tea Party. While three cups of tea are consumed worldwide for every cup of coffee, here in the U.S. coffee drinkers are dramatically becoming cuppa fans. This is not a new trend, but what is new is how people are beginning to think of tea with the same reverence as coffee due to its many varieties, applications and benefits. One’s local coffee roaster may soon have a new neighbor in the form of a “tea bar”. Craft tea blending, nitro tea on tap and even tea cocktails will start to proliferate on Main Street.

2019 Dining Trend #2

Meat Lovers. Not yet available to buy commercially, heme (from the Greek word for ‘blood’) is at the cutting edge of food science and is a possible stepping stone to a more environmentally sustainable meat and protein alternative. Tech-food companies are using it to bring a meaty quality to their wheat and potato protein burger with the “bloodiness” of meat cooked rare. Not to worry, if you still enjoy good old-fashioned beef – select steak restaurants will be expanding their repertoire to include new cuts like Vegas Strip steak (from the shoulder area), merlot cut (from the heel) and bavette (the bottom part of sirloin known as flap meat).

2019 Dining Trend #3

Fermented. Big brand kombucha (fermented tea) has cemented itself in the new age of alternative beverages, but consumers will soon see various styles of home-grown kombucha coming out of boutique/lifestyle hotels and chef-driven, trendy eateries. Further to the fermented craze, these same businesses will expand their line to include more kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir, but also carrots and cream, and many other foods fermented, cooked and offered to customers. All with the focus on consuming the least processed food possible – increasing probiotics to improve the immune system.

2019 Dining Trend #4

Tastes like Crickets! As food costs continue to rise, chefs are looking for new sources of protein. Insects appear more and more as a sensible choice on many levels. They exist in large quantities and can be found everywhere. In fact, 80% of the world consumes insects – low in fat and 3-4 times as much protein as beef, insect powders can enhance your cocktails and even cricket flour can be used to make breads and pastries. Their products will soon flood the shelves of grocery stores and restaurants alike.

2019 Dining Trend #5

Farm to Table 2.0. One trend that has been in the works for some time now, of course, is the farm to table movement. It has recently taken a brand-new path and that is the chef/farmer movement of custom farming in regard to specifying what seeds are being planted for new menu development. Benchmark’s Willows Lodge has partnered with a farm in their valley, which is helping to cultivate a new type of a relationship that will change the way each supports the other to sustain farming inside their community, ultimately, saving the small, sustainable farms for generations to come.

2019 Dining Trend #6

Are You In or Out? In an age of online and mobile food-ordering services, diners have moved away from eateries to placing more value on being home-bound and the convenience of delivery. However, we project that diners will stop unwrapping their plastic packages of cutlery and again recognize that restaurant dining offers more compelling and satisfying experiences, which truly nurtures the soul. Whether it is celebrity spotting, educating your taste buds on adventurous cuisine or building relationships in social atmospheres – outside eateries offer all things you just can’t get at home.

2019 Dining Trend #7

The Vegetarian Factor. What was once seen as the random individual that a restaurant chef or an event manager had to appease, now has become more than a minority in the way chef’s approach menu offerings. With today’s diners increasingly aware of their “macro diets” combined with culinarians applying unique and creative takes on mom’s succotash, menus will soon see a large portion dedicated to vegetarians and what is plant-based and coming from the ground. Dishes are even becoming vegetable focused, with proteins as the complement. Even vegetarian tasting menus are quickly becoming the staple in many accredited establishments.

2019 Dining Trend #8

Food & The Greater Good. The Food & Beverage and hospitality industries are no strangers to supporting the hungry and less fortunate – from children to shut-ins. However, with a global focus on the natural disasters humanity faces – the collective culinary community is starting to put their food where their mouth is and put greater efforts behind charities that provide sustainable support. Chefs are beginning to make more meaningful connections around food – less about social media and more about that they take on the deeper issues and how food is involved.

2019 Dining Trend #9

Substitutions Please. Chefs are ready for a remix of the typical ingredients diners have become all too familiar with. Citrus is a widely used component in many dishes and libations, but soon we will see regular cameos by unique and eclectic relatives to the lime and lemon – citron, cumquat and shaddock. Kale has outlived its welcome and will soon be replaced by such wild weeds as sorrel, dandelion greens and amaranth. Finally, put away the honey and agave as life will become a bit sweeter with derivatives from sources like carrot, sweet potato, golden beet, butternut squash and corn.

2019 Dining Trend #10

Dietitian, the New Celebrity Chef. Culinarians speak about healthy eating, but this is far from nutrition, which is much more rooted in the science of food. Professional dietitians will rank alongside celebrity chefs–as the benefits of understanding nutrition combined with leveraging technology will allow consumers to personalize their food experiences. Consumers will begin to craft personal portion sizing relative to their dietary and nutritional needs. The convergence of mobile and Internet technologies will allow providers and core consumers to have access to personal dietary requirements at restaurants, retail locations and quick-service eateries. Personally-assigned nutrition will become commonplace and a major influence on diet.

Food & Beverage

Feel the Thrill of the Grill! Executive Chef John Billings Celebrates National Grill Month at Eaglewood Resort

It’s the season of smoking and searing, fire and spice, grillin’ and chillin’ and feeling the burn of homemade barbecue sauce passed down through ages of summer celebrations. The backyard grill is an American icon, honored each July by National Grilling Month. This year, Executive Chef John Billings is getting his grill on with one of his favorite, classic Midwest grill recipes – the T-Bone Steak.

As a keeper of the culinary flame, Chef Billings brings skill, imagination and a commitment to authenticity to the grill. Locally sourced meat and vegetables sizzle over the coals, enhanced by chef’s classic marinade with this mouthwatering meat-centric recipe.

“T-Boned” Prairie Supper Club Steak Recipe – Serves 6

Ingredients:

MEAT

  • 6 20 oz. Angus T-Bone Steaks

MARINADE

  • 1 lb. Olive Oil
  • .5 oz. Chopped Garlic Cloves
  • .5 oz. Fresh Basil
  • .5 oz. Fresh Thyme
  • .5 oz. Fresh Rosemary
  • .5 oz. Whole Shallots
  • .5 oz. Kosher Salt
  • .5 oz. Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1.5 Bunches of Italian Parsley

Marinade Method

Place all the marinade ingredients into a bain marie. A “bain marie” is essentially a hot water bath. It’s used for cooking delicate foods and is a good technique to create a gentle, uniform heat around the food.

Here’s how to make one: Place all the ingredients into a glass bowl and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir and heat until all ingredients are combined in the olive oil and start to break down from the heat.

Once warmed throughout, pour ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth consistency.

Steak Method

Rub herb marinade onto the steaks, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the steaks onto a char grill and cook to desired temperature. Cut off the New York Strip and filet portions away from the bone. Place the bone into a 350-degree oven and roast for 5 minutes. Cut the New York Strip into three pieces and arrange on the plate with the bone for a whimsical presentation and plating of this “T-Boned” steak!

 

If you don’t want to spend the time making this recipe at home, then visit us at Prairie River Restaurant to try this mouthwatering meat dish! During the month of July, we’ll have 3 grill-centric specials for our guests to pick from. Check them out here!

Food & Beverage, Meetings & Events

What’s Cooking in 2018?

A Q&A with our Chef on the Latest Food Trends

Food trends change faster than night and day. To keep up with what 2018 will bring in the culinary world, we sat down with our Executive Chef & Assistant Director of Food & Beverage, John Billings. Check out what he had to say about the latest food trends!

What is the biggest buzz as far as food/beverage trends for conventions and corporate meetings? 

The craze of “Iconic Food” is trending! Traditional & favorite meals from the past have been infused into Eaglewood’s menus. Our food is produced in-house from “pit to plate” – fermentation, pickling, and curing – with locally sourced ingredients that will keep you intrigued and asking yourself: can I do this at home? Today, society is in a rapid growth with technology and the ideology of “not enough time,” in which we often tend to compromise our ability to cook a great meal. Bringing back iconic foods can re-teach society how much fun cooking can be and establish the feeling of accomplishment from scratch and homemade cookery.

Can you provide an example of something that is trending and growing?

Expo kitchens & action stations are kicking “food theater” up a notch –  or two, or three. Exhibition kitchens have been around in some form since the invention of brunch. But today, we’re talking full-blown food theater. Driven by food TV in all its incarnations and the prevalence of social media outlets that are ideal for everything food and beverage, restaurant kitchens today offer a front row seat at a dining performance, and guests are crowding around to take in the aromas, flavors, cooking tips and high energy of the stars of the show: the chefs! It’s a visual and sensual spectacle that entertains, nourishes, and satisfies everyone in the entire dining room.

Why is it important to keep up with food trends in this industry—especially as it relates to creating food experiences for groups?

“Cooking for Millennials” – WOW, really a trend. We are now in their world and they are looking for complex, healthy, and personalized food. Meals should be healthy – using natural ingredients and light on the carbs – but still flavorful.

How often do things change? And what’s the best way to keep up on what the latest food trends are?

Foods trends change often. To keep up with them, you need to research daily what is going on in the F&B world. I would suggest flipping through magazines, sourcing the internet, and watching food networks to see what is trending.

What else is important that those planning meetings should know about this subject?

This is where either the F&B Director or the Executive Chef need to sit with the meeting planners and go over what is trending and get to know the mix of the groups coming in.

Food & Beverage, Leisure Travel, Things to Do

From the City to the Suburbs: A Guide to Chicago Food Festivals

When people think of Chicago, several things usually come to mind: wind, Al Capone, and the Sears (not Willis) Tower, to name a few.

chicago food festivals Photo by arnold | inuyaki
Photo by arnold | inuyaki

But what’s the most important source of pride for Chicagoans? Ask any native and the answer will most likely boil down to one thing…food! Whether it’s finding the best local spot for a hot dog with “the works” or deciding between deep dish and thin crust pizza, Chicagoans love celebrating that which brings us all together.

This summer, tackle one of the many food festivals around the city and suburbs for a fresh taste of Chicagoland culture!