LEGENDS OF FLAVOR: World Cuisines, Immigrant Kitchens, and the Future of American Food
What will the next 20 years of American professional cooking look like? What legends of flavor—old or new, from the far corners of the planet or closer to home—will capture our imagination and set us on a hunt for new flavors and ideas? How will tomorrow’s story of world flavors in American cooking change as a result of the brilliance coming out of today’s American immigrant kitchens?
The 20th anniversary of the Worlds of Flavor® International Conference & Festival, held from April 18-20, 2018, gathered 80 influential chefs, journalists, food experts, and trend spotters from around the globe and across the United States to help us predict what we’ll be craving 1, 5,10, and 20 years from now.
We also looked ahead by looking back. Twenty years ago, when we launched Worlds of Flavor, the landscape of American food looked very different. Diners and chefs alike were less worldly, less connected, and less adventurous. The regional nuances and flavor complexities of food cultures from Asia to the Mediterranean and from Europe to Latin America were largely unexplored. We could not rely on YouTube and Instagram to open up new worlds to us.
Central to our 2018 conference, we asked: If we have seen this much change in our menus and our industry in 20 short years, how can we be sure that we are thinking expansively enough about the next 20 years? What innovations are we likely to see as American chefs from a virtual United Nations of countries increasingly ask “what if” and “why not” of the flavors of their homelands? We also explored how the accelerating deconstruction of the American menu, as well as the rise of plant-forward appetites, will unleash new layers of flavor and inventiveness.
Talent for this special 20th edition of Worlds of Flavor brought together expertise and deep flavor knowledge from the Mediterranean and Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. One world table: one incredible platform for concept development and business insight.
During the 20th Worlds of Flavor Conference, we celebrated all that world cuisines and America’s own dynamic immigrant kitchens have to offer for the future of American menus, whether for casual restaurants, fine dining, or non-commercial foodservice.