How Nose-to-Tail Dining Is Making a Resurgence in 2021

Among the top dining trends to watch in 2021 is a resurgence of nose-to-tail dining. This trend has been around for much longer than many may realize, first emerging alongside the farm-to-table movement in the early 2000s. Dishes like pork belly sandwiches and beef cheek have been on menus at more niche restaurants for a while now, and the movement is only gaining momentum.  

With restaurants gearing up for a return of inhouse service, nose-to-tail dining offers a way to make a statement and attract customers looking for more eco-friendly dishes made from lesser cuts.

What Is Nose-to-Tail Dining?

Nose-to-tail (also called tail-to-snout) cooking is the idea that a chef includes as much of an animal as possible on their menu. Often, restaurants will purchase a full animal from a local butcher or farmer. From there, they butcher or process the animal on-site based on their recipes and menu ideas. However, this might involve processing or rendering processes which many restaurants do not have the space or equipment to accommodate.

In these cases, restaurants might elect to purchase what is called the fifth quarter of an animal. The fifth quarter is the remaining pieces of a carcass not used for typical meat production. This might include organs, feet, the head, bones, fats, and anything left once the typical cuts of meat are taken away.

Chefs use these often-overlooked ingredients to dust off older recipes or experiment with something new. Whichever route a chef might take to gather new ingredients, this style of cooking is profitable and beneficial both to businesses and consumers.

What Makes Nose-to-Tail Dining Successful?

In the last few years, there have been calls for more sustainable ways of growing, cooking, and preparing food. The philosophy of this dining trend attracts diners looking for more sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. The emphasis on using every part of the animal and letting nothing go to waste appeals to many of today’s diners.

Not only is nose-to-tail dining a popular concept, but it can also prove highly profitable. Millennials have emerged as the primary buyers over the last few years, making up the largest percentage of purchasing decisions. Maru/Matchbox reports that 66% of millennials are willing to pay more money for more sustainable foods.

Nose-to-tail dining can also help boost a restaurant’s bottom line. Purchasing an entire animal offers new options and drives down the cost of more expensive cuts of meat.

Additional Notes on Nose-to-Tail Dining

  • Promotes nostalgia: Many of the recipes included in nose-to-tail cooking are staple recipes of the past. Eating like your older relatives or ancestors is an appealing idea.
  • Start with the basics: If you are new to cooking with less common ingredients, start with one or two staple dishes using ingredients such as the tongue or cheek before moving up to something more complex.
  • Consult the pros: Contact local farmers or butchers in your area. They have likely been using these cooking practices for many years.
  • Sample new recipes. Try creating a charcuterie board with artisanal sausages, pates, or terrines to add creative new recipes alongside classic cheeses, fruits, and nuts. This will help customers feel welcomed to trying something new.

For restaurants or chefs looking to try a new trend or add new recipes to their menu, nose-to-tail cooking options and ideas are a great place to start.

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