Locally Grown, More Sophisticated Palates and Choice Highlight Hampton Roads Food Trends for 2012


Food Channels, Social Media, Local Military Help Drive Tastes

Virginia Beach, Va. - More locally-sourced produce, meat, seafood and alcohol products; black and red rice instead of wheat; exotic whole grains; gourmet yogurt; pickled vegetables of all kinds: French macarons supplanting cupcakes: Just a sampling of the expected food trends and tastes for 2012.

"While demand for locally-grown, raised, caught or brewed will continue to be the most prevalent trend, the 2012 lineup will bring many new flavors and priorities to the table, "says Howard Gevertz, veteran chef/restaurateur of 50 years and Food Service Management Instructor at ECPI University's Culinary Institute of Virginia (CIV). "Cuisine is really a fashion business, literally an evolving lineup of tastes that continue to become more locally-oriented, sophisticated and experimental. The proliferation of cable food channels, blogs and social media is a driving factor as more people are more exposed to the culinary arts."

From herbs grown in a Ghent restaurant's garden to Eastern Shore oysters, North Carolina shrimp, mid-Atlantic mackerel, Toano buffalo, Surry Edwards ham, Pungo collard greens and beer from O'Connor's brewery in Norfolk, consumers across Hampton Roads and the country increasingly want to know where their food originates -- preferably close by.

"The preference is local, but information now is so readily available that tastes continue to become more sophisticated," Gevertz says. "Plus, the large number of military personnel gives this region's populace international exposure to exotic food rare for a metro area of this size. You see the Asian and Mediterranean influences in the pickling of vegetables, for example. The industry is competitive and there will be a growing variety of options in and out of local and regional markets."

Food shows and social media are piquing interest and have shortened the learning curve. New recipes and twists on traditional dishes that used to take two years to catch on here from large urban centers and Europe now can take only weeks. Independent restaurants have the ability to adapt quickly and will do so, Gevertz says.

This year, Hampton Roads connoisseurs will want such fashionable items as:

  • Dried sea salt, pink salt, black salt.
  • The pickling of carrots, cabbage, asparagus, beans and vegetables of all kinds.
  • Super fruits, including acai and goji berries.
  • Black, purple and red rice will often be options to wheat products.
  • Whole and ancient grains (first-cultivated centuries ago) such as Farro, Quinoa,Amaranth.
  • Macarons, a French craze that Gevertz says in 2012 will take a bite out of the cupcake business. The macaron is a dainty French cream-filled sandwich cookie.

"Nearly every street corner in Paris has a macaron stand," Gevertz says. "There already are a couple of locations in our area, with others coming."

Gevertz expects the business locally to remain healthy, despite somewhat stagnant predictions nationally in 2012.

"Consumers are still cautious with their wallets, but at the same time ready to spend on quality and be a little more adventuresome," says Gevertz, who has owned and operated eateries from Florida to Maine, was the director of food and beverage for Euro Disney in Paris and the director of food, merchandise, sales and services for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. "People want something authentic and interesting to talk about and share across the table and online."

For more information or to speak with Howard Gevertz, contact Scott McCaskey at Goldman & Associates at: scott@goldmanandassociates.com or at 757-625-2518. The Culinary Institute of Virginia is located at 2428 Almeda Ave. in Norfolk, VA. The website is: www.chefva.com

CIV, ECPI University's School of Culinary Arts, offers students a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Food Service Management, as well as an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts for students seeking culinary careers.

About The Culinary Institute of Virginia

Culinary Institute of Virginia, the School of Culinary Arts at ECPI College of Technology, opened for enrollment in fall 2006. Graduates can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in culinary science in less than two years. The curriculum offers a European educational model that combines classroom instruction with hands-on [ Continue Reading... ]

About ECPI University

ECPI University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees and diploma programs. With campuses in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, ECPI, a private university established in 1966, offers convenient classes during the day, evening, [ Continue Reading... ]


Release Date: 
Sunday, January 8, 2012