Make These Food Trends Part of Your Next Event

From globally inspired sandwiches to elevated sauce selections, kick your menu up a notch with these insights from the American Culinary Federation’s 2023 What’s Hot forecast.

Charcuterie board (photo by iStock)

The National Restaurant Association’s 17th annual What’s Hot 2023 Culinary Forecast surveyed 500 experts, including American Culinary Federation professionals and chefs associated with the organization’s programs, about what they saw as the leading menu trends for 2023. Learn more about the report at

Top Food Trends:

  1. Food experiences/local culture
  2. Fried and spicy/sweet-heat flavors of chicken sandwiches
  3. Charcuterie boards
  4. Comfort fare
  5. Flatbread sandwiches/healthier wraps

Meat and Cheese, Please

For an upscale way to upgrade the classic veggie tray or meat and cheese platter, opt for charcuterie boards. An easy way for guests to grab a snack during the cocktail hour before the main event, charcuterie boards can include meats, cheeses, crackers, dried fruit and nuts, crackers, olives and pickled items as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Tray of chicken sandwiches (photo by iStock)Bring the Heat

Hot chicken isn’t just for Nashville anymore. The offering has gained a popularity that now reaches far beyond Tennessee’s Music City, where it is a local favorite. Not only a leading overall restaurant industry trend for the year, fried chicken and spicy/sweet-heat flavored chicken topped the list of lunch options in the 2023 survey.

All Dressed Up

Condiments offer a chance to bring the flavor in fun ways, and choices from around the globe offer a trip for the taste buds. The list of this year’s top condiments, sauces, spices and seasonings includes variations of the ever-popular Sriracha, a spicy condiment that originated in Thailand; Ganjang, a Korean soy sauce; and Guajillo chili sauce, a classic Mexican salsa. 

Plate of crudités (photo by iStock)Cooling Off 

Dill pickles were once all the rage, topping pizzas and being sliced up and deep fried, but culinary professionals named those two preparations specifically as fads that are beginning to fade. Other former favorites on the decline include fruit-flavored coffees such as banana and strawberry as well as crudité platters, otherwise known as raw vegetables with dips. 

Ones to Watch

If you’re looking to embrace a new food trend, check out these choices that culinary professionals say are on the rise. Topping the list are globally inspired sandwiches like Chinese Rou Jia (Chinese hamburger made with pork), Jianbing (a Chinese street food similar to crepes) and choripan (an Argentinian sandwich of chorizo sausage on bread).

Spinach and cheese omelet (photo by iStock)Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Here are offerings those surveyed identified as popular in the restaurant industry for 2023. 


» Value meals

» Unique handhelds (French toast sticks, chicken and waffles sandwiches) 

» Veggie-forward breakfasts


» Fried chicken (spicy and sweet-heat fusion flavors)

» Fried chicken sandwiches

» Flatbread sandwiches/healthier wraps


» Less expensive meat cuts (chicken thighs, beef chuck, pork shoulder) 

» Cauliflower carb alternatives (rice, pizza crusts) 

» Meal kits/family meals