Culinary Trends - Ravenous for Rustic Cuisine-Presented by Conagra Foodservice | May 2017


For centuries, resourceful cooks have made it their mission to develop huge flavors from the most humble of foods. Using time-tested techniques and inexpensive ingredients, rustic cuisine evokes history and the nostalgia of a home-cooked meal. Today's chefs are putting their own spins on peasant fare, the latest iteration of the comfort food trend. And with interest in regional ethnic cuisine at an all-time high, menu concepts that play with a mix of the authentic and the familiar are sure to resonate with patrons across foodservice segments.

Chef Tips

Rustic dishes appeal to a wide consumer base, and it's easy to add signature touches to classic recipes that will set your menu apart. Whether it's playing up locally sourced ingredients, adding global flavors to familiar dishes or minimizing waste by using unconventional cuts of meat, the peasant food trend represents a cost effective way to add appeal to your menu.

  • Utilize proteins to the fullest by braising or stewing tougher cuts of meat to achieve desired tenderness.
  • Meals-in-a-bowl are extremely popular across all dayparts. Create one-pot casseroles, stews and soups accented with biscuits, ancient grains or noodles for hearty, unforgettable meals.
  • Look to global cuisine for inspiration: Chinese jiaozi (dumplings) that can be boiled, steamed or pan-fried; white bean-based French cassoulet with pork sausage, goose or duck; Italian polenta, simply boiled or shaped into patties and fried or baked; and Middle Eastern kofta (ground beef, chicken, lamb or pork meatballs).


Premium Bakery Chef® biscuits bring scratch-made taste to your signature menu items. Watch this video and learn how to create a savory Pizza Pot Pie, or visit our website for even more recipe ideas:

Pizza Pot Pie

Transform the mouthwatering flavor of a sausage and mushroom pizza into a unique, hearty entrée topped with fluffy Bakery Chef® biscuits.

Chicken and Biscuit Casserole

This recipe can be prepared in full size pans for dining hall/cafeteria service or served tableside in individual baking dishes for a rustic, homemade touch.

Barbecue Pork Biscuit Sliders

Showcase barbecue in an appetizer or snack application with these tasty sliders, served on Bakery Chef® biscuits.

By the number

Peasant fare continues to make an impact in foodservice, with high menu penetration of many items and strong growth of other classic dishes.

  • 34% restaurant menus featuring meatballs
  • 60% restaurant menus featuring sausage
  • 35% growth of biscuits on menus since 2005
  • 124% growth of grits on menus since 2005

* Datassential MenuTrends, 2016


Quick Dish

Chefs have identified key foodservice trends for the year—and many of them relate to peasant fare.

2017 Hot Culinary Trends
(% of Operators Who Agree)

  • 71%: new cuts of meat
  • 70%: street food–inspired dishes
  • 67%: food waste reduction
  • 64%: house-made sausage
  • 64%: simplicity/back to basics
  • National Restaurant Association: What's Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast

Casual dining restaurants are not afraid to get creative when it comes to elevating traditional peasant food. Take a look at some of the unique dishes and concepts making the most of the trend.

  • Southeastern chain Tupelo Honey Cafe is famous for fusion dishes that showcase Southern flavors, such as a Pork Confit Grilled Cheese sandwich with white cheddar and chipotle-cranberry BBQ sauce on pumpernickel bread.
  • Biskit Junkie serves up shrimp and grits as an open-faced biscuit sandwich—the Nitty Gritty features jumbo shrimp, andouille sausage, bacon, butter grits and Parmesan.
  • A meal at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot is about the food and the experience. Patrons simmer raw meat (including offal), vegetables, seafood and noodles in aromatic broth set at the table.


Looking to serve up the ultimate comfort food? Bakery Chef® biscuits from Conagra Foodservice are made with real buttermilk to deliver consistent scratch-like flavor and texture. These premium, ready-to-heat biscuits come in oven-ready trays with a side-opening case, for convenient preparation with minimal labor requirements.