From raw to paleo to simple clean eating, consumers everywhere are becoming increasingly interested in their health and nutrition. Even chefs stand witness to consumers requesting lighter and healthier menu options.
The magnitude of this food movement couldn’t be more evident than on the annual U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) Blueberry Boot Camp held at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in Helena, Calif. USHBC invited 16 innovative chefs from top restaurants, hotels, colleges and corporations to experiment with blueberries firsthand in the state-of-the-art CIA kitchen.
So, what did they come up with? A true smorgasbord! Oyster mignonette with blueberry vinegar, blueberry falafel and flank steak with blueberry chimichurri just to name a few.
In addition to their time in the kitchen, the three-day event was an opportunity for chefs to study the health benefits of blueberries. After many discussions and countless taste tests, one thing is clear: healthy must be tasty. It is true, consumers are certainly interested in eating healthier, but raw seaweed just won’t do it. Today, leading chefs are aware that their challenge lies in finding the point at which delicious and nutritious coexist.
After attending the 2013 Blueberry Boot Camp, one chef in particular caught our eye – Jeremy Bringardner, the Executive Chef of LYFE Kitchen (Love Your Food Everyday). A pioneer in healthy eating and self-proclaimed “freak of flavor,” Jeremy’s mission is to show people that good-for-you food can also taste great.
With 10 units today and growth skyrocketing to 60 units by the end of 2016, LYFE Kitchen’s goal is to be on every street corner in every major city.
Want something that’s good for you right now? Don’t worry, chefs at restaurants across the country are taking on the healthy challenge and responding to their customers’ requests. Whether you’re a bonafide healthy hustler or a fried–food fiend, here are three healthy eating trends that we see taking over the restaurant scene:
- RAW – Think uncooked, unprocessed, mostly organic foods. Your food pyramid consists of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains. With no oven use, you may just save some money on your energy bill! Master Raw Food Chef Ma’at of Tassili’s Raw Reality in Atlanta is boosting her raw menu by taking colors, shapes and cuts of particular foods into consideration. A must try? The Spicy Kale Salad!
- PALEO – Taking the food scene by storm, paleo is one of the fastest growing trends today. The fundamental concept is that our optimal diet is one to which we are genetically adapted – a.k.a. caveman cuisine. Paleo encourages you to eat more like a hunter or gatherer rather than a farmer. New York City’s Hu Kitchen is a big believer in the pre-Industrial diet – check out their impressive menu of locally sourced, sustainably produced meat, fish and produce!
- CLEAN EATING – Not to be confused with washing your fruits and vegetables (which you should!). “Clean eating” is synonymous with “healthy eating.” Eating more whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, limiting processed foods and choosing whole grains are the basics. The nitty gritty: good, healthy nourishment. Food trends may come and go, but healthy eating is here to stay. Swing by Plant in Asheville, N.C., which proudly offers flavorful food using carefully chosen ingredients sourced from the earth. Celery soda? Why not!
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