2017 Culinary Trends

Our Executive Chef Jason Mazur fearlessly predicts culinary trends for 2017. Seafood, grains, exotic spices, sustainability and local ingredients will drive So Cal restaurant menus, and Bluewater is leading the charge.

Newport Beach, California (Jan. 17, 2017)

Seafood will continue to grow as a preferred protein alternative. More diners will seek traceable and sustainable foods. And restaurant chefs will increasingly reach for grains, fresh vegetables and spices from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to create their signature entrées and menus in 2017.

And the one consumer food trend that isn’t going away anytime soon? The demand for locally sourced ingredients—from produce from farmer’s markets to locally grown wines and locally harvested fish that will allow chefs to create uniquely geo-targeted menus.

These are the 2017 culinary predictions from Jason Mazur, executive chef of our Bluewater Grill family of restaurants in California and Arizona. The Newport Beach, California-based Mazur is taking stock of the latest trends as he prepares localized menus for the seven existing Bluewaters and two new locations opening this summer in the demanding foodie cities of Carlsbad and Santa Barbara.

“We pride ourselves on being a local neighborhood restaurant serving hyper-fresh, hyper-local seafood, shellfish and other ingredients so there’s an expectation to offer the latest, most interesting and compelling dishes,” he explained. “While each Bluewater location serves the same ‘core’ menu, we know from experience that Coronado diners have slightly different tastes and expectations than Temecula diners who want something different than our Phoenix customers. Keeping up on the latest food and ingredient trends—both overall and locally—is crucial.”

Chef Jason has identified six culinary trends that Southern California diners can expect throughout 2017:

1. Seafood as the New Chicken

As part of a national consumption trend, Southern Californians will continue to consider seafood as a preferred protein alternative to beef, pork and poultry, and in answer to last year’s monumental Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 which called on the public to significantly increase their consumption of seafood. Seafood dishes will grow on 2017 menus, even at non-seafood restaurants.

2. Traceability and Sustainability

Diners’ need to know the origins of their food, and even their restaurant entrees, will move from a luxury to a necessity in 2017. A pioneer in the seafood sustainability movement, Bluewater Grill works with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program and other organizations to ensure that 90% of our menu is certified sustainable. We are also one of a few seafood restaurants to publish our own Fish Origins Chart showing the wild or farmed origins of every item on our menu.

3. Not Just Local—Hyper Local

So Cal foodies will continue to want locally sourced ingredients, and restaurants will continue to respond by frequenting neighborhood farmer’s markets or growing their own produce, spices and other ingredients. But the local trend is spreading to wines and seafood as well. Bluewater operates The Pilikia, its own swordfish harpoon boat, to offer the most pristine, local seafood directly to is customers, often hours after capture. Bluewaters in Temecula and the soon-to-open Carlsbad and Santa Barbara offer local wines and seafood harvested from extremely local waters including Swordfish, Black Cod, Sea Bass, Halibut, Mako, Thrasher and Yellowfin, Bluefin and Bigeye tuna.

4. Great Grains

Restaurants will continue to discover the versatility of grains, including quinoa, faro and barley. They are versatile, can accommodate hot and cold preparation and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

5. Getting Your Veggies

Finally, after years of encouraging Americans to eat their vegetables, diners are obliging by ordering more vegetables as side and main dishes. Fresh, locally grown vegetables, are reasonably priced, versatile, nutritious, and—thanks to innovative new offerings at vegan and non-vegan restaurants—surprisingly indulgent.

6. Spices and Sauces Go Global

Chefs will go deeper globally to find unique and hotter spices and sauces with Africa, Asia and the Middle East continuing as the main geographic emphasis. Diners want the option of new, different and increasingly spicier flavors, and restaurants will blend these new tastes will local ingredients to create customized menu offerings.



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