Our chefs are always looking for new ideas and trends to bring to our tables. We’ve asked them for their insights on food trends that we’ll see for 2021.

GREAT PERFORMANCES' CHEFS PREDICT FOOD TRENDS FOR THE NEW YEAR

VEGETARIAN FOOD

In general, customers will be more inclined towards vegetarian food.

We’ve seen in the news and ourselves that Covid 19 attacks those who are weak and with underlying illnesses. We also know many of these illnesses are tied to having a poor diet. I predict that there will be an increased demand in vegetarian food, green salads, whole grains, and low sugar foods.

We’ll see decreases in the use of red meat as I think many customers will prefer to add heart-healthy fish to their dishes.

Chef Juan Carlos

REMIXED PANTRY, INTERNATIONAL FOODS

People are struggling with cabin fever, and winter is only starting. We’re seeing it as severe procrastination, a lost sense of time, and uncontrollable eating habits. People are reverting to ordering out instead of cooking, and those who have been cooking regularly are getting bored. People are ready to mix things up and break the fever!

We’re going to see more recipes remixing classic pantry and refrigerator staples! Homemade hummus and black bean dips; roasting vegetables with unusual or new spice combinations; one pan dinners; transforming nuts into candied, toasted or spiced nuts, perfect as a new snack or breakfast topping.

We’re also going to see a lot of international flavors coming into our kitchens from all parts of the globe. I’m excited about flavors and foods from Brazil, Pakistan, and Ethiopia to name a few!

Chef Aya

HEALTHY COMFORT FOOD; INTERNATIONAL FOODS

Consumers are more and more interested in various world cuisines, whether they are ordering them via take-out or as shipped meals, or attempting to prepare them at home themselves. This comes via the explosion of cooking videos and tutorials across all the different channels. My gut instinct tells me Thai cuisine is one of the leaders.

And although there’s interest in healthy meals, comfort food is NOT going away!

Chef Georgette

COMFORT FOOD MEAL KITS

I’ve been seeing a lot of comfort cooking at home, which blends pre-Covid trends with the current social limitations. We’ll see more cooking demonstrations to support meal kits, and the inclusion of specialty or custom ingredients.

Chef Dana Marie

MEAL KITS, CONNECTEDNESS, HEALTH FOODS, UPCYCLING

To go food I believe is still going to take the top spot here for food trends of 2021, at least for the first half. Restaurant style for every day eating, or elevated to meet the needs of a zoom event.

I think people are looking for connection and intimacy. From connecting to a story, to farms and vendors, or even guest chef programs, it’s creating that personal connection between the food and the consumer.

We’re also going to see more health foods infused in regular cooking. Superfoods such as bell peppers, hemp seeds, and walnuts are being added to sauces, smoothies and other foods to boost their nutritional content.

Upcycled food is still cool. Think things like the Momofuku Milk Bar Composte Cookie and the things spare food is creating. In local breweries this is even more prevalent. For example this upcycled watermelon beer from Folksbier has notes like a prosecco, made of spent grains and juice. Great story, local, upcycle, high end beer!

Chef Justin

By Chef Rob Valencia

Image by Dean Bergey

The team at Great Performances is at the forefront of what’s new and exciting in catering and events. We identify trends before most people know about them and we have even launched a few trends of our own.

In February we celebrate love and our own culinary director Chef Rob Valencia offers his tips on the hottest wedding food trends this year and how to create an unforgettable experience for the lucky couple and their guests.

TOP WEDDING FOOD TRENDS OF 2020

1. Food as a Prominent Guest Next to the lucky couple, food is the “other” center of attention at every wedding. It’s the most photographed subject on Instagram, making it a prominent (and much loved) guest at any celebration. Great Performances believes that “Life Happens Around Food”, and it’s important to make the right food selections for momentous celebrations like these!

2. Vegetable Forward Menus Although this has been trending for well over the past decade, this year, we’re seeing plant-based options move from the “Silent Vegetarian” option to become a primary choice on menus. Vegetarian doesn’t mean boring and bland anymore; our forward-thinking chefs create vegetarian dishes that are vibrant, visually appealing, and incredibly delicious!

3. Food Stations Instead of seating your guests at one table throughout the reception, themed food stations like savory items, artisanal cheese selections and desserts create a flow that encourages people to move around and experience a variety of different foods all while mingling with other guests in a fun, conversational way! 

4. Zero Proof Cocktails Forget mocktails! “Zero proof” is the new buzzword for exciting non-alcoholic cocktails that taste sophisticated and capture the spirit of their alcoholic cousins, but without the side effects. 

5. Family Style Service Family style dishes allow people to interact with each other in a fun and lively manner. Passing food around the table or serving your fellow guests really enhances the meal and creates contagious communal energy and a sense of sharing!

6. Tradition Weddings celebrate the union of two people lives, including their heritage and culture. Including cuisine from each person’s background brings it all together is a great way to honor their families! More and more people are sharing their family recipes with the chef or otherwise requesting traditional dishes from their childhoods.

7. Sustainability Couples are putting more thought into how their menu selections impact the environment. They care about the story behind their food, and knowing where it comes from provides a tangible connection to the earth. Locally-sourced food tastes better (it’s fresher because it has traveled less), produces less environmental impact and supports local farmers. Great Performances is proud of its proactive approach to sustainability.

Image Credits: ©Great Performances, ©Clay Williams

It’s been a delicious year at Great Performances! We introduced even more plant-forward dishes (including our vegan demi-glace) and have thrown a record number of events including corporate events, brand activations, movie and Broadway premiers, weddings, conferences, and of course, holiday parties!

FOOD CONSUMPTION BY CATEGORY

As we looked back at what people ate this year, we noticed a couple trends. First, our customers, clients and diners are spending more on Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Seeds and Nuts compared to any other category. Additionally, we’ve noted an almost 15% increase in the consumption of plant-focused meals, which aligns with the continued growth of plant-based, vegetarian and vegan eaters. It also seems to indicate that people are ready to embrace a balanced plate even at indulgent events! We’ve definitely noticed an uptick in the request for vegetarian friendly dishes as a primary offering at weddings, and our talented chefs have been busy creating new, innovative dishes that look as beautiful as they are delicious.

Focusing on our vegetable and fruit consumption, all the usual suspects made our popularity list.

As we looked back at what people ate this year, we noticed a couple trends. First, our customers, clients and diners are spending more on Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Seeds and Nuts compared to any other category. Additionally, we’ve noted an almost 15% increase in the consumption of plant-focused meals, which aligns with the continued growth of plant-based, vegetarian and vegan eaters. It also seems to indicate that people are ready to embrace a balanced plate even at indulgent events! We’ve definitely noticed an uptick in the request for vegetarian friendly dishes as a primary offering at weddings, and our talented chefs have been busy creating new, innovative dishes that look as beautiful as they are delicious.

Focusing on our vegetable and fruit consumption, all the usual suspects made our popularity list.

TOP VEGETABLES OF FRUITS OF 2019

Vegetables

  • Greens

  • Tubers

  • Tomatoes

  • Legumes

  • Squash

  • Alliums

  • Carrots

  • Peppers

  • Cucumbers

  • Mushrooms

  • Corn

  • Beets

  • Eggplant

  • Asparagus

Fruit

  • Citrus

  • Pineapples

  • Berries

  • Bananas

  • Apples

  • Melons

  • Mangoes

  • Grapes

  • Pears

  • Peaches

  • Plums

  • Kiwi

  • Pomegranate

  • Rhubarb

Although there were no real surprises for us, it was exciting to see the distribution of the consumption of the different varieties of food and how very specific items, including tomatoes, carrots and beets, compared to aggregated items, like greens, legumes and alliums. We consumed more greens than tomatoes, carrots and beets combined, which makes sense when considering that greens make the perfect foil for all of our vibrant and delicious produce!

Last year, we explored some of our favorite local products delivered thanks to our partners and friends including Gotham Greens, Koppert Cress, Fossil Farms, Goffle Poultry, our friends at the Green Market and of course, Katchkie Farm. Here’s how we stacked up this year:

  • 6,040 pounds of New York State apples

  • 115,200 cage free chicken eggs

  • 975 pounds of New York State ground polenta, sourced from GrowNYC’s Regional Grain Project

We’re excited to taste and see what 2020 brings!

 

By Carina Hayek

We’ve scoured social media, consulted clients and assessed articles to identify the top trends for weddings and events.

 

Vegetables are taking center stage. Vegetarian dishes are no longer an afterthought – more and more hosts are relying on plant-based dishes to feed all of their guests. From our Eggplant Chermoula with Cauliflower Couscous to our Za’atar Roasted Portobello Steak and Spring Roots, we’ve got a variety of tastes to satisfy even the most meat-loving guest.

 

Be sensitive to food sensitivities. People with food sensitivities should know which foods they can enjoy

and which they can’t. Consult with your planner to ensure you have a variety of dishes, including ones that are free of some or all of the eight major allergens (eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, shellfish, and fish).

 

Source local, eat global. Locally sourced produce tastes better, helps preserve the environment, and contributes to the local economy. But that doesn’t mean our flavors need to remain local. We’re seeing hosts looking for an international experience from their hors d’oeuvres through their desserts. We use spices and cooking techniques from Asia, North and South America and Europe in dishes like our Pulled Chicken; King Trumpet Oyster Mushroom Carpaccio; and Five-Spice Beluga Lentils and Roast Butternut Squash; and Soft and Chewy S’mores.

Have fun with food. Finger foods, sharing plates and a unique spin on cocktails can help set a relaxed, fun tone for an event. Keep guests moving – and guessing – with a variety of hors oeuvres and snacks. From passed English Pea Blini to Pretzel Trees, providing guests with different food presentations can help make your event even more memorable. And don’t forget the cocktails! We kept our guests cool with these ice pops in sparkling wine, a refreshing and fun way to kick off an outdoor gala.

Waste not, want not. Whether you call it zero-waste, frond-to-root, or nose-to-tail cooking, it all boils down to using the entire ingredient. We call it tradition, cooking the way our grandparents cooked to ensure nothing was wasted. Look for dishes that incorporate some of the less-often used parts of plants like carrot tops, pea tendrils and kale stems. These are delicious, nutritious, and ensure we honor our ingredients.


 

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Mac and Cheese

One of Dizzy’s signature sides, people travel far and wide for this extra cheesy mac. If you can’t make it to Dizzy’s Club, recreate the magic with a batch of mac-n-cheese and your favorite jazz in the background.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 20 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz shredded swiss cheese
  • 4 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add the macaroni. Boil until al dente, drain and cool.
  3. In a large bowl mix macaroni with remaining ingredients until well blended.
  4. Portion macaroni into individual serving ramekins or one large baking dish.
  5. When ready to cook, top with extra shredded cheddar and bake until hot and bubbly.