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Trend Report-May

Phil Mott, a hospitality and restaurant business instructor at Kendall College in Chicago, outlines his picks for this year's food trends, and some of the equipment and design implications that go hand-in-hand.

Food Trend: Sandwiches Go International
Mexican tortas, Chinese baos (meat-stuffed buns), Latin American cemitas, Vietnamese banh mi. Our favorite portable food gets globalized.

Equipment: Refrigerated prep tables and stainless steel work tables for all, professional baking rack ovens for homemade breads, steamers for baos, planchas or flat-top grills for tortas and cemitas.

Design: Assembly line, assembly line, assembly line. Food safe separation of meat, vegetables, cheese and bread.


Food Trend: Premium Chicken
It's not just breaded and fried. It's wood-roasted, spit-roasted, grilled, seared, sliced, chopped, hacked and served whole. Soon it'll take QSR by storm.

Equipment: Wood-fired ovens and ranges for smokier roasting and indoor grilling. Flattops for perfect searing. Vertical rotisseries for spit-roasting. Combi ovens for broasting and braising.

Design: Out-front equipment applications like wood-fired ovens and rotisseries for display cooking and added entertainment.


Food Trend: Sustainable Seafood
Fish bars, fish joints, raw bars and fish-focused gastropubs. Seafood's becoming more approachable, affordable and sustainably sourced. With aquacultures threatened around the globe, chefs, purchasers and operators look to find safe purveyors.

Equipment: Reach-in and under-counter refrigerators, refrigerated prep tables, custom-fabricated, refrigerated seafood-prep stations, colored chopping boards, walk-in coolers with custom shelving and storage options for fish.

Design: Heavy separation of prep, cook and serving stations for food safety and freshness. Placement of work stations closer to handsinks and retrofitted with undercounter refrigeration or set near reach-in fridges.