American cuisine increasingly driven by broader acceptance of new ingredients, regional cooking styles, and fresh, local and seasonal produce/ingredients, says panel of top chef-restaurateurs

LOS ANGELES , March 31, 2012 () – American cuisine is increasingly driven by broader acceptance of new ingredients, regional cooking styles, and fresh, local and seasonal produce/ingredients, said a panel of top chef-restaurateurs, Nation’s Restaurant News reported March 29.

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) hosted the panel prior to the Institute’s “Augie” awards.

The chefs said that the shift away from canned and frozen vegetables to fresh, local and seasonable produce in U.S. restaurants began in the late 1970s. Additionally, a focus on meat and seafood revolutionized the American upscale restaurant sector.

Wolfgang Puck noted that Americans are interested in trying new ingredients.

Even when local produce is not available, chefs tend to focus on products that are, such as fish. Jasper White of Jasper’s White Summer Shack in Boston said that a good way to introduce a new species of fish is to use it in an appetizer for roughly a year.

Dean Fearing noted that Americans were much more accustomed to spice than in previous years.

Upscale American dining has becoming more diverse, the chefs noted. Upscale dining, once synonymous with French restaurants, has expanded to include such cuisines as Italian, Indian and Chinese.

Paul Prudhomme of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen said that his cuisine was informed by knowledge and inspiration gained by cooking with local chefs around the world.

Culinary Institute of America President and panel moderator Tim Ryan said that roughly 50% of meals in the U.S. are consumed outside of the home. Consumers have been more focused on ingredients, which has increased awareness of healthy eating and increased the demand for higher-quality food.

The chefs acknowledged that they had a duty to educate consumers in regards to healthy eating.

Larry Forgione said that the increased emphasis on high-quality ingredients was a good starting point for educating consumers about healthy eating, because an increase in the healthiness of food is a natural result of increased focus on ingredients.

The primary source of this article is Nation’s Restaurant News, New York, New York, on March 29, 2012.




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