As a follow up to the popular “smoked” food trend of recent years, chefs nationwide are leaving food on the flame a little longer, transforming it into “burnt” or “charred” in gourmet ways. Consider this – flame can be applied to virtually any food, from tomatoes to meats to poultry and even cocktail ingredients! Using charred and burnt, roasted and toasted flavors are a natural fit with vegetables, meats and even pasta.
Fried chicken sandwiches are quickly gaining in popularity over hamburgers and hot dogs in casual food environments. Even though the chicken is fried, consumers still view chicken as a healthier alternative to beef. Nashville-style hot chicken – made by marinating chicken in a spicy mixture before breading and frying it – is also spreading in popularity across the country. A fried chicken breast topped with cheese, lettuce and tomato with a gourmet condiment on an artisan bun is a refreshing change from traditional burgers. When people think of leisurely activities they think of grilling!