Only a few days ago, it seems only hours, but I hear time has a peculiar set of distortions, I listed five top food trends I think we can expect to see in the coming year.
To summarize: Animal Parts, More Ingredients, The Wow Factor, Drinks, and Salt.
Doesn’t this all sound like we’re playing Jeopardy? I mean:
Contestant: “Animal Parts for $50, Alex.”
Alex: “An appetizer at a hot new restaurant in Boston for $17.”
Contestant: “What are coxscombs?”
Bing, bing, bing!
Contestant: “OK, Alex, Drinks for $100!”
Alex: “House infused lemon ginger vodka, Limoncello, Luxardo Maraschino & raspberry for $11.”
Contestant: “What is an Italian Teardrop Martini?”
Bing, bing, bing!
There are a few other trends in food we’re going to see this year:
6. The Chef as Cuisine. We’re gonna go global as chefs from culinary school, or tired of playing by the rules of classic cuisines, will exert their personalities and create food that reflects their moods, whims, and ideas. It’s comparable to the changes in American fiction stemming from MFA programs. Elif Batuman wrote this up in The London Review of Books recently. We have people who know form, but do not know content. They know how to tell a story, but can’t see outside themselves.
7. Food Poisoning. The FDA tried to create an infrastructure last year to monitor and examine food produced here and coming into the U.S. Didn’t happen, legislation failed to pass. Anecdotally, I can’t begin to tell you the number of people who told me they got sick over the holidays either eating at home or in restaurants. More broadly, last year we saw the banning of seeds from Egypt into the EU, fish from Japan too hot to handle, and greens from Mexico with E coli. The question will be: What gets through?
8. Appliances. I love the idea of transforming ordinary kitchens into time-saving technology driven labs. This year I got ahold of a pressure cooker and a juicer. Chef Tony Maws turned me onto the power of the pressure cooker. It has changed my life. Pea soup with two minutes of prep and on the table in fifteen. Short ribs with three minutes of prep and on the table in eighteen minutes. The juicer? OMG. I get a wholesale crate of Florida oranges for $23 and it’s big glasses of juice all week.
9. Restaurants Turning Asian. Expect to see more upscale restaurants using spices, preparations, and ingredients from all over Asia. Spengler was right: The West is dead. Honestly, how many of you have had David Chang’s version of Korean fried chicken? Show of hands, please. You steam the chicken and then after 45 minutes let it cool. Heat up Canola oil. Fry fast. This is the crispiest bird on earth.
10. The End of the Restaurant Reviewer. Who needs a reviewer when we have the Internet? Let’s face it, word of mouth is what really counts.