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The New Pumpkin: 12 Chefs Offer 16 Fresh New Fall Flavors

BY: Shannon Jewitt | Sep 23, 2015

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Remember butter coffee? What about kale chips or the Atkins diet? Exactly. By definition, food trends are fleeting. Well, most of them. Pumpkin is quite a different story, and frankly, it’s one we’re not interested in telling. (Admittedly, this was a totally different story two years ago. And last year.) But it’s 2015 now, pumpkin, and it’s time to pass the torch to some new fall flavors.

And with such big shoes (or gourds) to fill, we had trouble determining pumpkin’s most worthy successor, so we asked chefs from across North America to give us their post-pumpkin picks.

(1) Romanesco [broccoli]—it’s very flexible and can be made into anything from soup to a side dish or mash, and it’s beautiful.

– David Fhima, executive chef at Faces Mears Park in Saint Paul

I think (2) vanilla, (3) caramel, (4) maple, and (5) gingerbread are often overlooked in the fall because pumpkin has such a presence. We incorporate these flavors into our cocktails at the bar, our desserts, and some poultry dishes—especially the maple!

– Chef Patricio, sous chef at Austin’s Ale House in Queens, NY

(6) Beets and (7) rutabagas are very versatile in any culinary application. They are hard to fabricate at first, but the taste is rewarding. I love to confit and salt-bake them.

– Ryan Primo Nuqui, chef de cuisine at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

(8) Sweet potatoes are my favorite. [Sweet potato is my] favorite pie—pumpkin has always gotten all the shine, but sweet potatoes are great and very versatile. I would like sweet potatoes, white chocolate, and candied pecans to make a debut this season. Seems traditional, but as you see, what's old is the new new.

Lakesha Reed, executive chef and owner of Beaucoup Bar & Grill in Houston

(9) Squash: kabocha, spaghetti, acorn, butternut, calabaza, delicata, hubbard. There are so many great varieties!

– Holly Willoughby, chef and owner of Aquitaine in Chicago

My all-time favorite fall ingredient is (10) apples. The fall variety of apples like honeycrisp, pink lady, and granny smith are some of my favorites. The apple is so versatile and can be used
in so many ways. It can be used as an amazing salad topper or an added flavor in roasted winter-squash soup. It also doesn't hurt that the classic apple pie is my favorite Thanksgiving dessert.

– Elizabeth Vibostak, executive chef at Level 20 in Bethel Park, PA

I'm hoping it will be Malahat (11) spiced rum! It has the fall flavors in it, is amazing, and it’s a local San Diego distillery. I put it in my fall dishes whenever I can, and it adds a great flavor. Then I have a drink. It works on so many levels!

– Justin Frank, director of operations at S&M Sausage and Meat in San Diego

The one thing that will always be my go-to place for warmth and comfort food during the fall is (12) pho. I love me some pho and it is becoming more trendy, but it’s amazing how many people still have not tried a bowl.

– Russell Auckbaraullee, chef and owner of Penthouse Catering in Toronto

(13) Pomegranates. They are lighter and more refreshing than typical fall foods. It's a nice departure from the nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove flavor profiles that come along with many other popular fall ingredients.

– Kristin Beringson, executive chef at City Winery in Nashville

(14) Cardamom. It’s warm and comforting. It has the right kind of flair to mix with coffees, hot chocolates, pumpkin pies, cheesecakes, and in savory applications (rice, quinoa, marinades). It's a captivating spice.

– Kristina Walgenbach, kitchen manager at DeaFined Restaurant in Vancouver, BC

(15) Anise, because it reminds me of my childhood and the holiday dishes I grew up eating.

– Demi Carmona, executive chef at La Table du Marché in South Miami

Nothing speaks fall like (16) pumpkin! No matter what new trend there is, pumpkin will always be my favorite!

Ali Omar, chef and owner of Ceedo’s Eatery in Stow, OH

Illustration by Kelly MacDowell, Groupon

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