04/23/2012 04:22 EDT | Updated 04/24/2012 02:23 EDT

Top Food Trends 2012: Canadian Chefs List Menu Favourites


What will you be finding on restaurant menus this year? If the chefs who responded to the annual Canadian Chef Survey have anything to say about it, it'll be plenty of locally found items.

For the third year in a row, the questionnaire given by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association revealed locally sourced foods as the favoured choice for dishes, in produce, meat and seafood. The annual survey is given to 300 professional chefs across the country.

The findings delved into specific ingredients and practices, and are right in line with many other lists developed this year, including an emphasis on using quality salt, offering gluten-free products, and serving up mini desserts.

The survey also looked at upcoming trends, and called out items like African cuisine, black garlic and gluten-free beer as the ones to keep an eye on in the coming months. Meanwhile, the fads that have fallen off the menu completely include foams, Kobe beef and mini burgers -- so long $25 sliders!

SEE: The top trends as designated by chefs for menus in 2012:

Top Restaurant And Food Trends

#1: Locally Produced And Locally Inspired Dishes

#2: Sustainability

#3: Gluten-Free/Food Allergy Conscious

#4: Farm/Estate-branded Ingredients

#5: Simplicity/Back To Basics

#6: Nutrition/Health

#7: Ethnic/Street Food-Inspired Appetizers

#8: Food Trucks/Street Food

#9: Artisanal Cheeses

#10: Mini Desserts

Preparation Methods

1. Slow cooking

2. Smoking

3. Sous vide

4. Pickling

5. Braising

Ethnic Cuisines And Flavours

1. Ethnic fusion

2. Thai cuisine

3. Korean cuisine

4. Indian cuisine

5. Sushi

White Meat

1. Locally produced white meat

2. Free-range poultry / pork

3. Organic poultry

4. Pork belly

5. Pork face

Red Meat/Game

1. Locally produced red meat

2. Grass-fed beef

3. New / fabricated cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, bone-in Tuscan veal chop)

4. Game meats (e.g. venison, bison, elk, rabbit, boar)

5. Aged meats (e.g. prosciutto, Iberian ham)


1. Locally caught seafood / fish

2. Sustainable seafood

3. Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)

4. Fresh local oysters

5. Spot prawns

Side Dishes

1. Artisanal cheeses

2. Quinoa / ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth)

3. Artisan / specialty bacon

4. Ethnic condiments (e.g. raita, raitha, chimichurri, Sriracha, chutney, soy sauce)

5. Charcuterie


1. Ethnic / street food inspired appetizers (e.g. tempura, taquitos)

2. Charcuterie plates / samplers

3. Vegetable / vegetarian appetizers

4. Amuse bouche

5. Appetizer combos / platters


1. Bite-size / mini desserts

2. Sweet and salty desserts

3. Artisan / house-made ice cream

4. Deconstructed classic desserts

5. Dessert flights / combos / platters


1. Salt (e.g. flavoured, smoked, regional)

2. Hot / spicy flavours

3. Beer

4. Marinades / rubs

5. Honey

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

1. Organic / Fair-trade coffee

2. Green tea

3. Specialty iced tea (e.g. Thai-style, Southern/sweet, flavoured)

4. Filtered tap water

5. Energy drinks

Alcoholic Beverages

1. Locally produced wine and beer

2. Craft beer / microbrews

3. Culinary cocktails (e.g. savoury, customized to specific dishes)

4. Food - beer pairings

5. Muddled cocktails (e.g. mixed with fresh fruit / berries, herbs, vegetables)