WORLD FLAVORS: CASUAL BY DESIGN
Fast casual, upscale casual, street food and food hall casual, world casual, quality casual in food trucks, supermarkets, and home delivery services--in the aggregate, casual food and state-of-the-art casual dining are igniting the passions of both consumers and professionals with a focus on freshness, flavor discovery, and food ethics.
Other concepts and sectors of the foodservice industry--from the inventive, modern cuisines of Michelin-starred and "world's best" kitchens to tried-and-true QSRs, legacy family dining, traditional corporate and institutional foodservice, and more--will continue to win the hearts and minds of Americans. But viewed from the perspective of the entire industry, there's just something special in the action around what we could call "next-generation casual."
As Americans have become more food savvy and adventurous, and more exposed to a wider world of food through television and digital media (and trained on what to like by our most accomplished chefs), this has driven a democratization of food quality the likes of which we have never seen before.
In many cases, the best of these new, modern, fresh casual concepts are being launched by the very same chefs who have already distinguished themselves with award-winning, upscale restaurants. For many of today's chefs, especially the young disruptors, accessibility and scale are replacing exclusivity and acclaim from the elite food critics as business strategies.
However, high-quality food in more casual settings usually means lower price points and new challenges, as well as opportunities, with budgets. Design becomes critical: from the menu, food experience, and brand promise around value (and values) to back-of-the-house operations, including supplier networks. Success leverages the intersection of design thinking, culinary insight, and, increasingly, a deep understanding of the right-now aspirations of Millennials and other generations.
Our 19th annual Worlds of Flavor International Conference and Festival will take an in-depth look at this rapidly changing landscape shaped by the public's embrace of world cuisines from Asia to the Mediterranean and Latin America; lifestyles that balance indulgence with commitments to health and sustainability; and a driving interest in connectivity and community--all wrapped up in a relaxed, fun, and casual ethos. We'll explore these themes with general sessions that include translating fine dining concepts into casual experiences, what the market wants now of multi-model operators, creating vegetable dishes that push the boundaries of flavor and excitement, how to be an integral part of your neighborhood---and much more! Presenters will be joining us (see the full list here) from all sectors of dining, from across the country and around the world; these extraordinarily talented people include Niklas Ekstedt from Sweden, Jaime Pesaque from Peru, Digby Stridiron from St. Croix, Elizabeth Blau from Las Vegas, Asha Gomez and Eli Kirshtein from Atlanta, Amanda Cohen and Erik Ramirez from New York, Francisco Migoya from the kitchens of Modernist Cuisine in Seattle, Abraham Conlon and Matthias Merges from Chicago, Maneet Chauhan from Nashville, and many, many more!
Join us April 26-28, 2017 for the next edition of this influential conference series that has fueled countless waves of innovation in our industry.