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New Hope 360 Blog

Top Chef winner reveals 8 forces behind our culinary trends

I may not have seen last season’s Top Chef winner, Hosea Rosenberg, out cook the competition with his BAM-worthy chicken, duck, and andouille sausage gumbo, but that doesn’t mean hanging with him yesterday was any less cool. Ok, well, it wasn’t just me. The Sterling-Rice Group (aka mega advertising, marketing, recipe developing, think tank with clients as diverse as Kashi and Doritos) rolled out the red carpet for their “Master Innovation & Game-Changing Growth 2010” conference. It was more than the gathering’s name that was a mouthful. The invitee-only event kicked off with, you guessed it, Hosea and four other notable chefs slinging their best hash for your's truly (and a few others).

Among the prize-winning dishes, organic margaritas and acai-laced gin fizzes, my colleague Morgan and I were there to “work.” Being an editor at NFM is not without its perks. Specifically on our radar was research SRG conducted looking at “culinary shifts”—that is, societal changes that drive trends like the salsa craze from the mid-90s (salsa salad dressing anyone?), or our current fascination with comfort food. Apparently, when we address the shift rather than the trend, we can better serve our clients, customers, retailers, etc. Cathryn Olchowy, SRG’s culinary/managing director, who headed up the research, describes with a bit more detail below.

Now enter Hosea. Not only did his Emeril Lagasse-approved gumbo basically seal the deal on Top Chef, but it also perfectly represents one such shift known as cultural curiosity—sound the trumpets. He discusses below.

Our time was short because, let’s face it, there was eating to do. But I was able to fit in a brief overview of the shifts that should be on retailers and manufactures radars. They are as follows:

  • Foods and manufacturers that emphasize a connection to community and local farms

  • Companies that do more with less

  • Foods and products that support greater wellness

  • Technologically advanced kitchen gadgets/futuristic food preparations and presentations

  • Emphasis on more high-quality foods and products

  • A return to a simpler way of life with classic (and discernable) ingredients

  • New and adventurous foods that support the idea of standing out from the crowd

And of course, a picture of Morgan and I with the guest/chef of honor to round out our evening. Life is sweet.

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