F&B Trends from a Hotel Chef

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Craig Steffenson, Executive Chef at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, shares how F&B is evolving—and how to stay ahead of the game.

F&B Supply Chain Issues

In part due to the pandemic, the world is seeing an increase in supply shortages. What is usually a standard menu item can go out of stock quickly and without warning, which is why it is extremely important to plan everything out in advance. Luckily, when planners work directly with their Chef and culinary team, the planning process becomes streamlined.

I encourage planners to take advantage of the flavors of the local area. Chefs are truly the experts when it comes to the local food scene and can implement creative, locally inspired dining options with the freshest ingredients sourced directly from area farms without having to leave the property. At Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, we’ve further developed our relationships with local farmers and distributors to streamline the process and provide diverse flavors that are distinct to the Northern Florida area, with tropical, southern, low country, and Spanish influences.

Safety is Still a Top Priority

In order to provide safe events, food and beverage teams are implementing elaborate food stations with individually plated items rather than traditional buffets. At our hotel, we have seen a lot of creativity in the proces,s with everything from display reception items being plated separately, to salads served in unique containers, prepackaged desserts and more.

Consider Delivery-Style Food Options

Food trucks and food delivery services are a safe dining space for groups. I’ve seen groups opt for delivery options for their entire team that they can then enjoy on one of our River Deck balconies. Another fun option is to leverage the continued popularity of food trucks. Many hotels have partnerships with famous local food trucks or can even recreate the food truck experience with live cooking stations in event spaces.

Creative Beverages

There is a new market for infused syrups and locally curated mixers to provide a unique experience for groups wanting to create their own drinks. Apart from handcrafted cocktails, seltzers continue to be incredibly popular options for our guests. The ability to transform a traditional mojito or vodka soda into a lighter seltzer beverage provides a unique opportunity for chefs and bartenders to try their old favorites with a new twist.

A Top Trend

Thanks to social media, there is a rise in popularity in charcuterie boards. I encourage planners to get creative and incorporate all of the classic charcuterie board elements to menus including assortments of cheeses, cured meats, and even fruits and locally inspired jams.

Craig Steffenson is the Executive Chef at Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. He has over 10 years of experience in the culinary industry and has worked at a variety of Hyatt properties throughout the country including Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Hyatt Regency Denver and Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

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