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Top Trends from International Chef's Congress 2013

“Guts and Glory” was the theme of the 8th annual International Chefs Congress (ICC), which brought together hundreds of chefs, chocolate makers, sommeliers, cheese mongers, bartenders, brewers, pastry specialists, sous chefs, and other food aficionados for three-day’s worth of seminars in everything from the birth of the modern cocktail to Southern sausage making to Gouchujang in the pastry kitchen.

The event, held September 29-October 1 2013 at Super Pier in New York City, featured a variety of well-known and up-and-coming international chefs, celebrating the hard work, dedication, and collaboration that makes this industry so innovative and strong.

This presentation will cover the top trends, chefs, food, and drink from ICC 2013 through the eyes of the Symrise North America Marketing and Consumer Insights Team.

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Top Trends from International Chef's Congress 2013

  2. 2. 2 GUTS & GLORY: STARCHEFS.COM ICC 2013 “Guts and Glory” was the theme of the 8th annual International Chefs Congress (ICC) (, which brought together hundreds of chefs, chocolate makers, sommeliers, cheese mongers, bartenders, brewers, pastry specialists, sous chefs, and other food aficionados for three-day’s worth of seminars in everything from the birth of the modern cocktail to Southern sausage making to Gouchujang in the pastry kitchen. The event, held September 29-October 1 at Super Pier in New York City, featured a variety of well-known and up-and-coming international chefs, celebrating the hard work, dedication, and collaboration that makes this industry so innovative and strong. Check our photo wrap-up HERE! Among those in attendance: Johnny Iuzzini, Sugar Fuel, Inc. ( Andy Husbands, Tremont 647 ( Matt and Ted Lee, The Charleston Kitchen @TheLeeBros ( Dale DeGroff, @kingcocktl ( Elizabeth Falkner, formerly of Citizen Cake @cheffalkner ( Janice Wong, 2 am dessert bar @JaniceWong2am ( Francois Payard, FP Pâtisserie @francoispayard ( Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn @dominiquecrenn ( In short: it was a smorgasbord of top chefs.
  3. 3. 3 GUTS & GLORY: STARCHEFS.COM ICC 2013 A Showcase of Culinary Trends Along with the many presentations, there was also a large sampling of food, wine, beer, and cocktails. In the spirit of the continually evolving food truck movement, chefs from across the country presented their dishes from moveable carts. Many of these dishes reflected the trends on display at the Congress; chefs showcased the return to simplicity, ethnic influences (primarily Asian and Spanish), the elevation of barbecue to “smoke,” the increase in house-made charcuterie, and the return of the classic cocktail. The trend towards sustainability and seasonality continues to be a focus for most chefs, and many were extending the flavors from last season through house-made pickling. Evan Hennessey from Stages at One Washington ( (Dover, NH) showed off his farm-to-table finesse with lacquered New Hampshire pig leg, hay-smoked creamed corn, black garlic, heirloom tomatoes, and marcona almonds, while Mike Isabella of the G Sandwich Shop ( (Washington, D.C.) demonstrated flair for the “new chicken” by using spiced baby goat in his sandwich (which also featured harissa, lemon potatoes, and oregano). Charcuterie was well represented with dishes such as venison blood sausage, yellow eyed beans, Hoja Santa, and pickled melon from John Bates and Brandon Martinez of the Noble Sandwich Co. ( (Austin, TX) and James Merker of Mile End Delicatessen ( (Brooklyn, NY), who cures his own lamb bacon for use in sandwiches and salads sold in his shop.
  4. 4. 4 GUTS & GLORY: STARCHEFS.COM ICC 2013 Finding Inspiration Many chefs credited travel among their primary sources of inspiration, trying to replicate the hidden flavors and aromas of what they’ve experienced on the streets and restaurants of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and China (among other locales) to their home dishes. It’s all part of a movement to experiment with food, revive old traditions, and to get back to basics with simple ingredients. The bottom line Today’s chefs are all about collaboration and getting inspiration from what they find in their colleague's kitchen. “We’re all trying to learn from each other, master different techniques and be on the cutting edge,” says Johnny Iuzzini of Sugar Fuel, Inc. He credits the wide-ranging reach of the Internet and the ability to readily access what everyone else is doing as one way to “get motivated and reach out Janice Wong of 2AM Dessert Bar explains how she used Symrise flavors in her edible art
  5. 5. 5 THE SUSTAINABILITY TREND CONTINUES It’s not easy to keep hundreds of spectators on the edge of their seats while discussing carrot jerky. But those in attendance at the 8th Annual International Chefs Congress (ICC) ( held in late September in NYC were not your ordinary audience. In a large test kitchen on the forum’s “Main Stage,” Chef Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn ( (San Francisco, CA) demonstrated her love for local, seasonal ingredients as she explained the intricate process of curing the root vegetable. Because, after all, "vegetable is king of the dish." The Congress proved the farm-to-table movement and focus on micro-regionalism continue to be important components in how chefs create menu items and select ingredients. Many chefs noted an intense affinity towards artisanal, seasonal products as well as the importance of strong relationships with small growers and farmers. Matt & Ted Lee present a workshop at ICC 2013
  6. 6. 6 THE SUSTAINABILITY TREND CONTINUES Chef and Farmer Such was the motivation behind Chef Vivian Howard and the opening of her restaurant, Chef and the Farmer ( (Kingston, NC). She was so inspired by the focus on sustainability, she moved from New York City to her home state of North Carolina to revitalize Kingston’s farm community and reinvigorate local appetites with her artisanal spin on traditional Southern staples. And at April Bloomfield’s trio of restaurants: The Spotted Pig (, The Breslin (, and The John Dory Oyster Bar ( (all located in NYC), emphasis has always been on what’s local. “We like to have a relationship with the products we’re working with,” explains Christina Lecki, head chef of The Breslin during an ICC demonstration that centered on de-boning and filleting a 30-pound striped bass that had been caught off the coast of Long Island. “The smaller the purveyor, the better. Having as much information about our products is part of our standards,” she emphasizes. This trend transcends beyond traditional entrées to desserts and yes, even cocktails. Dale Degroff of ( sent out avocado—currently in season—and tequila shots during his demonstration. Janice Wong, of 2am:Dessert Bar ( in Singapore, says she was so inspired after visiting Japanese farmers producing miso, she wanted to use the traditionally savory ingredient in her desserts, blending it with caramel. Chef April Bloomfield (photo:
  7. 7. 7 THE SUSTAINABILITY TREND CONTINUES Preserving the Seasons Chefs are currently being tantalized by fall's flavors. Johnny Iuzzini of Sugar Fuel Inc. ( says he’s all about Concord grapes. Others echoed his grape obsession with Justin Walker of Earth at Hidden Pond ( (Kennebunkport, ME) noting that he's currently experimenting with the wild variety. Sustainability has become so important to chefs, they're turning to pickling and fermenting techniques to extend the flavors of seasons past. This "preservation movement" helps chefs "look back at summer's ingredients without sacrificing freshness or quality," says Chef David Santos of Louro ( (NYC). He is currently working on his own version of umeboshi—Japanese pickled fruit—using apricots, peaches and cherries. Bryan Voltaggio (, Top Chef and Top Chef Masters competitor, says seasonality and extending the life of farm fresh vegetables by fermenting them “is better for you because there’s great taste, and it lasts longer.” He’s presently offering fermented turnips and cabbage on his restaurant menus. “Once I fall in love with a dish, I’ll want to put it everywhere so everyone gets to try it,” he says. “The idea is to pack a whole lot of flavor with simple ingredients.” Chef Johnny Iuzzini & Sam Mason making ice cream with liquid nitrogen on stage at ICC 2013
  8. 8. 8 PALATABLE PROTEINS: THE NEW TRENDS IN MEAT Summer may be over, but the grill is hotter than ever. Barbecue has risen out of regionalism and is spreading like wildfire through the industry. So much so, that it was one of the key points outlined by CEO and editor of, Antoinette Bruno, in her ( opening remarks at the 8th annual International Chefs Congress (ICC) Congress. ( But the smoke-infused flavors of barbecue wasn’t the only trend chefs showcased— house-made charcuteries, lamb and goat dishes, and a continued focus on sustainability, were all evident during the three-day expo. Smokin' BBQ Flavors For the first time ever there was a barbecue competition—SMOKE@ICC—with 40 competitors dedicated to the art of smoke, fire, heat and meat. Chef Josh Watkins and his team from The Carillon Restaurant ( (Austin, TX) "smoked" the competition with a secret ingredient—pecan shells. Although the Texans scored the prize in the competition, chefs north of the Mason Dixon line were also on fire. NYC Chefs like The Brooklyn Star’s Joaquin Baca ( and Maysville's Kyle Knall ( invited expo attendees to try dishes infused with smoke. Baca’s fried oysters and waffles featured smoked cream corn, while Knall served up an expo favorite—smoked Yukon potato puree. Smoked whitefish mousse, smoked lamb neck, and whole smoked trout appear currently on the Maysville menu. Chef Kyle Knall of Maysville
  9. 9. 9 PALATABLE PROTEINS: THE NEW TRENDS IN MEAT The Rise of Charcuterie Part of that smoke wave includes an increase in house-made charcuteries. Experimentation with the cured meats has served up interesting flavor profiles. John Bates and Brandon Martinez of Noble Sandwich Co. ( (Austin, TX)—who served venison blood sausage, yellow-eyed beans, hoja santa and pickled melon—feel that charcuterie is a lost art. At his traditional German Beirhall, Chef Jeremy Nolan of Brauhaus Schmitz ( (Philadelphia, PA) makes his charcuterie in his own drying room, where they usually have ten different varieties of meat being prepped at a time. His team is currently using ingredients like juniper, caraway and paprika to add more flavors to the meats. “We’re looking at bold flavors to create a nice composition,” he says. Lamb and Goat: The Protein of Choice Lamb and goat were featured in numerous incarnations on the ICC food trucks, with some chefs calling these meats “the new chicken.” Aaron Gottesman of Border Springs Farm ( (Philadelphia, PA) served tacos with slow roasted American lamb and honey habanero sauce. “Lamb is a unique protein with a unique flavor because it’s a young animal,” he says. And while historically it’s been seasoned with Mediterranean flavors, he’s among a new crop of chefs adding diverse flavors to complement the different cuts. Mike Isaballa of G Sandwich ( (Washington, DC) offered spiced baby goat sandwich with harissa lemon potatoes and oregano, while James Merker of Mile End Delicatessen in Brooklyn, NY, ( was among a bevy of chefs who combined the two trends, using lamb in various charcuteries. Merker specifically uses the breast, smoking the meat to create lamb bacon.
  10. 10. 10 ETHNIC INFLUENCES If there was one word that stood out at the 8th annual International Chefs Congress (ICC) ( held in New York City in late September, it was “Asian,” with “Spanish” as a close second, and “food cart-type meals” as a third. The overarching theme: Ethnic foods are pervading chef’s kitchens as they fuse a melting pot of cultures into their creations. Many chefs are also influenced by the street car food found on their international travels. Inspiration from the Far East (or Asian Rules) Kimchi, gouchujang, and miso are high on the list of ingredients chefs are using as are Szechuan peppercorns and yuzo. David Santos of Louro ( (NYC) is currently working on his own version of umeboshi—Japanese pickled fruit—using apricots, peaches and cherries. Dany Mena is fusing the flavors of Mexico City at Sembrado ( (NYC) with Asian influences with his enthusiasm for the versatility of yuzo. He’s also really into xoconostle, a cousin of the prickly pear that allows for several forms of acidity. David Gilbert of Tuk Tuk Taproom ( (San Antonio, TX) is so enamored with Southeast Asia that he flies in ingredients to ensure the food is really authentic. “I want the same subtle, good quality ingredients they are using,” he says. His dish at ICC: “Tod-mn-pla,” red curry Thai fish cake (made with flounder) served with a cucumber salad. He’s not alone. David Myers of Hinoki & the Bird ( (Los Angeles, CA), brings in charcoal powder from Japan to help in the creation of a charcoal brioche used in his restaurant’s lobster roll. He also prefers using Japanese sweet potatoes as they hold the ingredients better after you roast them. In his opinion, both Tokyo and Kyoto are really pushing the envelope when it comes to food. Chef Gaston Acurio of "Astrid y Gaston" presents 2 great dishes on the main stage.
  11. 11. 11 ETHNIC INFLUENCES For others, all eyes are on Singapore where, according to Janice Wong of 2am Dessert Bar, the city is exploding with new restaurants. And then there’s the street food influences of Vietnam, Thailand, and China where, according to Gilbert, the idea is to pack a whole lot of flavor with simple ingredients. Sourcing from Spain On the Spanish side, Mena says chili, whether dried or fresh, is a big component in his kitchen while Dani Garcia, who is from the south of Spain, says he loves using “camarones” (baby shrimp), used often in Spanish cuisine, as they are packed with flavor. “The most important thing is flavor,” he stresses. “Technique should always be use service of taste.” Many chefs note they are inspired by their travels. Before opening Sembrado, Mena traveled to Mexico City to stay true to the culinary roots. "With Spanish cuisine, it really depends where you go, because it's influenced by different regions, and they all tackle a dish somewhat differently. Where you find some places making authentic corn tortillas, you can go a few miles north (in Mexico) and find them using flour." Chef Dani Garcia serving a dish at Eat ICC
  12. 12. 12 RETURN ON THE CLASSIC COCKTAIL Cocktails have moved front and center with spirit-centric bars that feature twists on the old classics—giving them an edge, making them bolder and sexier—expanding people’s minds and palates in the process. Mixologist Joe Raya is part of this movement with his focus on pre-Prohibition at Gin Joint ( (Charleston, SC) while Dean James of Peccadillo ( (Carrboro, NC) dives deeper into the craft with slight variations on a Negroni, a Manhattan and a Martini. Seen (and tasted!) at the 8th annual International Chefs Congress (ICC): lots of rums, gins, whiskies and bourbons used in twists on Old Fashioneds, Tom Collins and Manhattans. Among favorites sampled: Frontier Whiskey’s Rye Manhattan and Bittermilk’s ( whiskey sour that used Bittermilk No. 3, a smoked honey sour. Also interesting: The “Booty Collins” made with green tea vodka, passion fruit puree, lemon juice, simply syrup, cayenne and yohimba, from Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay from Tippling Bros. ( (NYC). According to Dale Degroff of (, it’s all about thinking about drinks in culinary terms, not restricting yourself to traditional beverage ingredients, and learning to use the same “jewels” chefs use in their kitchens. His “it” ingredient at the moment is sherry—all different varieties—as well as souchou, ginger, and savory herbs and spices such as poncho chilies, Chinese parsley and thyme. Beverage master Derek Brown takes the sherry craze to more extreme proportions with his latest venture, Mockingbird Hill ( (Washington, DC). The bar, which boasts more than 50 different sherries (and Iberico ham), was inspired by the small bars of Madrid.
  13. 13. 13 CHEFS & TRENDS: QUICK PROFILES OF WHAT’S COOKIN’ Janice Wong, 2am dessert bar, Singapore, author of Perfection Imperfection Philosophy: “Ingredients aren’t defined as savory or sweet. It’s what you pair with them that makes the difference. It’s all about the marriage of flavor and not predefining them into a specific flavor category.” Ingredients Inspired By: Miso, yuzo, quince, citrus (she made a miso and yuzu ice cream because she liked the sweet, salty and sour combinations) Trend She's Trying: Wong creates food as art on the plate, that changes as each person experiences (or tastes) the piece. “Creativity means taking things you don’t know and making them into new things.” Current Obsession: Wong used Symrise flavorings of blueberry, strawberry and tutti-frutti in the food art on showcase at this year's annual International Chefs Congress (ICC). Watch Her In Action: and Dani Garcia, Manzanilla, NYC, author of Cooking Contradictions Philosophy: Using textures. “Technique should always be used in service of taste.” Ingredients Inspired By: Extra virgin olive oil and tomato Trend He's Trying: Garcia made the vegetable as center of the plate as he plated a lobster salad, olive oil popcorn and nitro gazpacho tomato. The dish features lots of flavors “but the lobster is secondary to the olive oil popcorn and tomato.” Current Obsession: "Camarones" (baby shrimp) for their strong flavor and barnacles because you get a “crazy flavor of the sea.” Janice Wong on stage at ICC 2013
  14. 14. 14 CHEFS & TRENDS: QUICK PROFILES OF WHAT’S COOKIN’ Francois Payard, FP Pâtisserie, NYC Philosophy: “In pastry, it’s always about improving tips and technique to make it better. It’s also about the texture.” Trend He's Trying: Payard likes to mix savory and sweet. While preparing the puffed rice, milk chocolate, and crispy chocolate phyllo to the stylish chocolate rice crispy treat he demonstrated at ICC, he added salt to caramel. “You’re seeing more and more salt in pastry,” he says. "Adding salt to caramel enhances the flavor." Trend He Sees: A return to simplicity. “More and more we are trying to come back to the basics because it’s all about the flavor. It’s better to be simple and taste good, rather than be all flash and not taste good.” Current Obsession: Caramel. “Caramel is a real flavor. It’s a lot like chocolate or coffee. If it’s not cooked, it just tastes like water and sugar. When it’s cooked perfectly, it becomes the flavor.” Dominique Crenn and Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco Philosophy: Showcasing the produce and ingredients produced from local farms in northern California. "Some of our dishes on our menu have been inspired by conversations with farmers." Ingredients Inspired By: The grapes of the region. Contreras created a dessert featuring several local grape varieties, served in half of a glass wine bottle. Trend They Are Trying: "Vegetable as king of the dish;" in Crenn's carrot jerky, the root vegetable is the main focus of the dish. Current Obsession: Bees. Contreras has been perfecting a dessert featuring the design and flavor of honeycomb. Chef Francois Payard with his creation at ICC 2013
  15. 15. 15 TOP 5 FOOD TRENDS FROM STARCHEFS.COM ICC 2013 Between the worships, seminars, contests and food trucks at the 8th annual International Chef Congress (ICC) (, chefs from across the world echoed five distinct food trends: • Ethnic Influences: Interest in Asian flavors and ingredients, primarily miso, yuzo, kimchi, and Szechuan peppercorns. Chefs are inspired by the street foods of Vietnam, Japan, and Thailand. Spanish food is also making gastronomic inroads thanks with the use of sherry, Iberico ham, olives and more. • Smoking Meats: Barbecue has been elevated to “smoke,” with chefs increasingly doing their own smoking. There’s also a trend towards house-made charcuterie. Lamb and goat seem to be the new "chicken" with different cuts of the protein featured on menus across the country. • Farm to Table Remains a Big Influence: Chefs prefer cooking with local ingredients and maintaining relationships with area farmers. Sustainability remains a top priority with many using pickling and fermenting to extend the season. • Return of the Classic Cocktail: The trend is thinking about cocktails in culinary terms, in venturing beyond traditional beverage ingredients to those chefs are using in the kitchen (hello savory herbs and spices). • Return to Simplicity: Getting back to basics was a consistent theme at ICC. It’s all about using pure, simple ingredients with lots of flavors. Within this simplicity theme was a nod towards nostalgia, of creating taste sensations that bring back childhood memories. Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot of "Ideas in Food" present "In Pursuit of Maximum Flavor" on the main stage.
  16. 16. 16 CHECK OUT MORE FROM STARCHEFS.COM ICC 2013 Check out all of our photos from the event at: Check out our complete coverage of #ICC13 at: For similar content visit:
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