Last month’s roundtable discussions, held by Symrise in Miami, revealed a few trends including a preference and urge to return to the classics; less is more and vegetables at the center of the plate. Based on their experiences both locally and abroad, a group of elite chefs and mixologists shared their thoughts on the newest trends.
Chef Bradley Kilgore of Alter recently removed the steak off the menus, and replaced it with a mushroom artichoke dish. “It was a risky move. If it doesn’t sell, I’ll run through what I have and move on…” Thankfully, that hasn’t been an issue; the dish now sells three times as much. Alex Chang of Vagabond echoed the pro-veggie movement. There’s a trend for different reasons, right? It’s not really sustainable for everyone to eat 10oz of meat a day.” He explained that perhaps the exposure of popular Nordic-style cuisine to many might have helped inspire the change. But also chefs are striving to be more aware of what’s going on around the world. It makes sense to use more vegetables and treat them the same way you would treat meat. “We love to put vegetables on the menu.”
John Lermayer of Sweet Liberty Cocktail Bar in Miami Beach says bitter, spice, and savory profiles are trending in cocktails. Apparently, there’s something about a drink being served with an umbrella that brings out a playful side of the customers. “Tiki is coming back. Cool glassware, original glassware, and funky garnishes. Fun stuff, umbrellas are back…it’s cool, they take the umbrellas, put them in their hair… it’s a party.”
“Dirty martinis are not a thing anymore, at least at our bar,” says Christian Rolon of The Regent Cocktail Club. “People are looking for more refreshing drinks, not too sweet … I did some traveling too, this year. I went to New York, San Francisco … I personally love Mexican drinks and food. Something that blew my mind was a place in New York. The whole menu is inspired on spices and flavors. It was amazing.”
Last summer Chef Diego Oka of Miami’s La Mar traveled to go stage at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana (rate #2 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants annual list) in Modena, Italy. Of course he tried to bring Peruvian flavors into all he learned while there. He created a tiradido with 22-month aged Parmesan cheese and added umami flavors using colatura (anchovy juice). A couple of old-school rules were successfully broken; raw cold fish and cheese, with lemon. You heard it here first, folks.
Kilgore recently traveled to New York City and picked up some inspiration as well. “My friend (Alex Leonard of Lowlife) is doing a grilled asparagus sauce emulsified with buttermilk. Instead of using salt, he uses raw oysters and it’s starting to go in the direction of things that have natural salinity and brininess to it …”
Several times a year, Lermayer travels to check out new bars. Oregon, New York and London rank highly as his favorite cocktail cities. Recently, while in New York, he visited Suffolk Arms: a bar doing a Hot Ramos Gin Fizz and a Whiskey Sour (dropped into a pint of Guinness). “… Which is delicious!” he excitedly recalled.
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