Bill Brady discusses local food trends
By Kevin Swenson
When you think of Worcester, what do you think of? The colleges? The Hanover? What about the food? Worcester’s food is iconic to both locals and newbies to the city. But what food should we be checking out? Well, lately some trends have been really taking hold. Tapas, gourmet burgers, gourmet cupcakes and smoothies ~ but what makes these things stick?
Bill Brady, chef and owner of Sonoma Restaurant in Princeton, works alongside food and knows what is “in” and what is “out” when it comes to food. As a culinary arts teacher at Worcester Technical High School, he also trains future chefs. He took a minute to share his insights on these trends, as well as what he thinks the next big thing will be.
Brady believes that “communal dining” is something this city is going to see emerge quite quickly. He believes that dining is becoming more and more designed for people share and enjoy. “I see a lot of growth potential in the communal style of eating. Also the resurgence of hot pot cookery will gain in popularity.”
However, Brady believes that “fine dining” is not getting placed on the back burner either. “I also feel that upscale fine dining will remain strong as people start trading duel entertainment nights like dinner and a movie or dinner theater to indulge themselves in a great meal with great service.”
But what about the food? Well, Brady has some thoughts on the various food trends that have been storming the city.
Tapas, or little dishes, have been around for a while in the city, and it doesn’t look like the trend is leaving any time soon.
“Tapas, what’s not to like? Being able to share small bites with friends has been a long-standing tradition in many cultures: Spain (where it began), Asian dumpling houses, Nordic smorgasbords and the like. It is great way to socialize with friends and try many varied foods” said Brady, who emphasized the “communal” part of dining through tapas.
An American classic, the burger has been around for as long as anyone can remember. Now, restaurants are focusing on a more upscale form of the barbecue staple.
“Gourmet burgers. We are on the far side of the wave with the proliferation of the burger joints, e.g. Smash Burger, Five Guys, Burger Dive etc. and now you have the big guys like McDonald’s and Burger King fighting back with their own upscale burger versions. It’s been a growing market for over 50 years, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon,” Brady said.
But what is all this great food without dessert? Cupcakes are an affordable and filling treat after any type of meal. But what’s the deal with gourmet cupcakes?
“As I see it, I think everyone has fallen in love with the cupcake because they are incredibly appealing. So much indulgence, but it is in an individual bite ~ no guilt. There have even been numerous shows dedicated to them. The trend is waning, and they are not going to be a “trend” as much as a staple,” Brady said.
Finally, for those of you who want something cool to drink this summer without the calorie woes, we have smoothies! Smoothies have been around since the blender, and they are getting better and better.
“Smoothies ~ again, what a great concept. All the ‘ahhs’ of an ice cream shake with none of the guilt” Brady said, noting the growth that this market can achieve.
Whatever you’re in the mood for, Worcester has the food trends that you should be watching out for this year and the years to come!