Excuse Me Garçon... Is This Chicken Local?

Winter might be bringing in a cold front to most of the province, but Canadian restaurants are feeling the heat.

The results of two recent annual surveys – What’s Hot in 2013 by the U.S. based National Restaurant Association; and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association’s 2012 Hot Trends, both based on chef responses – have locally-sourced food products taking a bow from center stage.  So friends, you’re in demand.  You’re ‘in Vogue.’  You’re trending.  

For the past few years, these and similar surveys have been charting local food’s rise to celebrity status.  Asking a server about the origin of the food on your plate has gone from the domain of the critics and gourmands, to the top consideration amongst even the most casual of restaurant-goers. 

With more and more people demanding local food for their dining experience, Ontariofresh.ca has been working with hardworking farmers, food producers and processors, distributors, and buyers to adapt to the changing climate in Ontario's markets.

Whatever the reasons may be – environmental, social, economical, gastronomical, or fashionable – local is here to stay, making you, the members of Ontariofresh.ca, an increasingly ‘hot commodity.’

Ontariofresh.ca will be hosting 50 local food businesses in an Ontario Pavilion at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association Annual Tradeshow from March 3-5.  Find out more onOntariofresh.ca and join the conversation at #ONpavilion.

- Ryan Hilborn, Research Assistant

Top 10 menu trends from What’s Hot in 2013 by the U.S. based National Restaurant Association: Top 10 menu trends from 2012 Hot Trends by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association:
1. Locally sourced meats and seafood.
2. locally grown produce.
3. Healthful kids’ meals.
4. Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme.
5. Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme.
6. New cuts of meat.
7. Hyper-local sourcing, such as restaurant gardens.
8. Gluten-free cuisine.
9. Sustainable seafood.
10. Whole grain items in kids’ meals.
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 (e.g. low-fat, reduced sodium, antioxidants, high-fibre)
7. Ethnic / street food inspired appetizers (e.g. tempura, taquitos)
8. Food trucks / street food
9. Artisanal cheeses
10. Bite-size / mini desserts