Tag food trucks

Parties That Cook’s Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2012

People do this every year. No matter how accurate or far off our hunches may have been the previous year, we love trying to predict future trends. Last year, I must say, the general food community pretty much nailed it! Check out our Food Trend Predictions for 2011, and judge for yourself!

Moving on to 2012, predictions are much more varied. Still, we at Parties That Cook are happy to take a stab at it. Here are our Top 10 (or so) Food Trend Predictions for 2012!

1. Kale – In everything. Whether it’s dried kale chips, kale Caesar salads, green smoothies, etc., kale is moving up in the world and back into our lives this year. Insider Tip: Parties That Cook will be putting a kale on our upcoming menus. Keep your eyes peeled for the recipe!

2. Fusion Foods – This controversial trend includes such bright ideas as tikka masala burritos and Asian tacos. Some folks would rather see the end of these culinary experiments, while others welcome the possibility that dim sum might be branching out with California twists.

3. German Food – With the recent surge of beer gardens popping up on the scene, one can only speculate that German food will rise in popularity. Side note: Peruvian food is another ethnic food category with high expectations in 2012.

4. Pretzels – Only time will tell how HOT these will be, but if appearances on menus late in 2011 are any indication, it’s fiery. Check them out on our menu in both sweet and savory forms!

5. Mushrooms – Sustainable foods seem to be a priority deserving of their own category, so it’s only fair that mushrooms take a spin in the spotlight. People are foraging and growing mushrooms from popular DIY kits. Bring on the mushrooms!

6. Coconut – No, not water. This year, it’s all about deliciously sweet coconut jam! Bibby served this jam at our office holiday party. Way to be ahead of the curve!

7. Social Cooking – With the increasing ease of sharing EVERYTHING via social media, we’re going to see a continuing rise in food photography, social eating, and social COOKING!

8. Pickling – If the 2012 Fancy Food Show (in San Francisco) offers any hints at coming trends, pickles and home-pickling are set to make a big scene this year.

9. All These Things! – Courtesy of the PTC team, here’s a quick list of this year’s up and coming items: “Buratta has gone mainstream… It’s on every menu!” “Meatballs are going to be BIG in 2012. All kinds!” “Ethnic spices. Definitely check out Williams-Sonoma’s collection of World Spices.”

10. Things that were trending in 2011, and will CONTINUE to trend in 2012:
Food trucks: Take ‘em or leave ‘em, they haven’t saturated the market in enough cities to officially be “OVER”.
Pies: While the rise in popularity over the cupcake was arguable in 2011, this year brings fun twists to these already versatile treats (i.e. Pie Pops).
CSAs and Buying Local: Haven’t heard the word hyper-local yet? Don’t worry, you will.
Bacon: Might never come down from its chart-topping position. Now, with bacon chocolate, bacon beer/cocktails, bacon baked goods, and bacon things that shall not be mentioned in this blog, bacon has more ways than ever to stay on our plates and on our mind.
Eating Healthy: Little Miss Muffet’s secret is out! Whey is the next step in healthy eating and weight control. Find it in water, smoothies, and sauces this year.

Have your own trend predictions for this year? We’d love to hear them! Let us know what you think the next BIG thing might be in the comments!

Parties That Cook Goes to Austin for the IACP Conference


The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) is a worldwide forum for the development and exchange of information, knowledge, and inspiration within the professional food and beverage community. We were lucky enough to send our very own Director of Marketing, Crissy Gershey, to the heart of the Lone Star State — Austin, Texas.  She braved the 110-degree heat and took on the city known for its musical and culinary history. Let’s take this opportunity for a virtual vacation in Texas…

The Live Music Capital of the World!

But first… It wouldn’t be Texas without the customary longhorn photo:

Did you know that their horns can extend up to 7 feet from tip to tip?

While in Austin, Crissy made sure to hit up all the hot spots. One such locale is the vibrant, creative and hip neighborhood known as SoCo. There, she checked out the famous Tesoros Trading Co., a store featuring a wide selection of Mexican and Latin American folk art, Moroccan mirrors, jewelry from all over the world, and more! There were SO many cool nick nacks! Crissy considered buying a pair of stylish boots from the well-known Allen’s Boots, but instead, opted for ice cream at Amy’s, which has been serving scoops of deliciousness for over 25 years. (A much better way to cool off in the sweltering heat!) Crissy then snapped a photo of The Driskill Hotel, where she sipped a Sazerac and enjoyed some local live music.

The Driskill Hotel — built in 1886 as the showplace of cattle baron Jesse Driskill.

The Texas Capitol Building.

Speaking of Capitols: In celebration of the 1st anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chef’s Move to Schools Initiative, the IACP invited White House Senior Food Policy Advisor Sam Kass as a guess speaker. Nice!

The Congress Avenue Bridge: famous for its resident bats!

Let’s talk food for a bit — well, mobile food. Trailer, cart, truck, silver bullet, wagon, Austin has ’em all! Crissy found food carts set up in parking lots, on sidewalks, in groups or standing by themselves, “They were everywhere!” Some of the freshest and most crave-worthy food in Austin is served from these carts. You can get delicious hot dogs, tacos, pho, crepes and a multitude of other ethnic foods.  It’s no wonder why Austin loves its food carts!

So you wanna start a food cart?

As far as restaurants go, Austin brings home the gold in culinary expertise — and there’s no shortage of options! Crissy ate one of the top 10 meals of her life at Uchiko, a restaurant featuring contemporary Japanese food and sushi. She and our friends from Simple Gourmet in Los Angeles also hit up El Arbol, where they got a taste of South American cuisine.

Taji, Crissy, and Melanie

What’s a trip to Texas without a stop at The Salt Lick BBQ? It doesn’t get any more authentic than this…

Crissy opted for a BBQ brisket sandwich. Yum!

But wait! We can’t forget about the IACP Conference! After attending a session on community gardens and urban farms, Crissy was inspired to check out Boggy Creek Farm. She couldn’t believe its location— right smack in the middle of East Austin! Chicken coop and all…

Sad to say, it doesn’t look like these chickens have a cool enough coop for The Funky Chicken Coop Tour.

We love urban farming!

Texas: Go Big or Go Home!

Last up was a trip to the Central Market, one of the freshest market chains in the country! The great thing about these markets is that they’re not only a place to exchange goods and services, but also ideas. Central Markets offer community gathering spaces, cooking classes, and live music at every location.

Crissy snapped this photo of fresh and dried chilies — Keepin’ it hot in Texas!

With new found knowledge about video blogging, plenty of DIY marketing tips, and lots of fun memories, Crissy boarded the plane back to San Francisco. What do you think, is Austin Parties That Cook’s next stop for corporate team building?