Carbs aren't king, but they're not a pariah anymore either. Interest in the carbohydrate-free Atkins diet is on the wane, say the culinary experts at Benchmark Hospitality International, who compiled a list of five dining trends for meetings and events in the coming year.

While the Atkins diet is out, European cuisine and eating habits are in. Diners are more interested in Old World foods such as antipasti meats, vegetables in marinade, and smoked fish — as well as moderation in intake.

Another trend identified by The Woodlands, Texas-based company, which owns 25 hotels and conference centers in the United States, is pampering in the restaurant. That means a greater variety of food choices and more personalized service. Comfort foods such as cheeses, breads, meatballs, and tapas are coming back as refreshment break items, and cooking gatherings and culinary teambuilding events are becoming a preferred way to bring people together.