Food Spotting: 2017 Trends

Latest culinary fads to expect



Chefs will experiment with more ethnic spices in 2017.

Jacek Nowak/123 RF Stock Photo

It’s already starting to happen: Big-name chefs are opening fast-casual food establishments. It’s a national trend and it’s coming to Hawai‘i. D.K. Kodama recently threw his apron in the ring when he took over the Stella Blues Café in Kīhei’s Azeka Shopping Center.

“It’s called Shearwater Tavern and it’s an urban gastropub,” Kodama says. “It’s a good family kind of place where you can eat everything, from burgers and pizzas to fresh pastas and ramen. It’s going to be simple but good.”

Michael Mina is putting down roots for a second restaurant at the International Market Place. And he’s dubbing it a “Social House.” Few details have been released except that THE STREET will be a “multi-concept gourmet food hall, which will feature diverse food and beverage offerings, from Japanese ramen and classic American barbecue to specialty handcrafted cocktails and highly curated ‘omiyage’ culinary souvenirs. Inspired by a sense of community and the idea of bringing people together through the universal language of great food, THE STREET will showcase its unique offerings, including those from several local Hawaiian purveyors, all under one roof.”

Parents can teach their kids how to prepare a healthy meal. ©Prasit Rodphan/123 RF Stock Photo

While predicted last year in the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2016” survey, chef-driven fast-casual food will continue to trend in 2017. And so will the use of locally-sourced and estate-branded meats, sustainable seafood and new cuts of protein (think Denver cut, culotte/sirloin cap and pork T-Bone chop, to name but a few). 

“True trends evolve over time, especially when it comes to lifestyle-based choices that extend into other areas of our everyday life,” said National Restaurant Association’s senior vice president Hudson Riehle of research in a released statement. “Chefs and restaurateurs are in tune with over-arching consumer trends when it comes to menu planning, but add their own twist of culinary creativity to drive those trends in new directions. No one has a better view into the window of the future of food trends than the culinary professionals who lead our industry.”

Other top trends to look for are locally-grown produce; healthy kids’ meals; natural ingredients/minimally processed food; hyper-local sourcing (restaurant gardens); environmental sustainability; fresh house-made sausages; artisan butchery; food waste reduction/management; authentic ethnic cuisine; ethnic condiments (e.g. harissa and peri peri); and ethnic-inspired breakfast items.

In the ‘liquid kitchen,’ the top 10 drink menu trends for 2013 include culinary cocktails (think  savory, fresh ingredients); edible cocktails; craft spirits; locally produced beer/wine/spirits; onsite barrel-aged drinks; beer-based cocktails; and  food-liquor/cocktail pairings.

It appears as if we have a lot to look forward to in 2017.

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