Looking forward to a much needed new year though I bet that next year around this time I’ll be writing the same words.
It was a tumultuous year, as we all know, and although the pre-trial Bill Cosby said wisely never to say, “it could be worse,” it could be worse.
2018 will bring out the best in people, and it will bring out the worst. It’s likely to be a year of extremes, and, as Isaac Bashevis Singer once wrote, “If you can imagine it happened, it happened.” But how does one prepare?
In the world of food, writers will continue to collude with industry and ignore the realities of one of the last unregulated industries based primarily on servitude and a military model of relatedness. There’s a reason why the front of the house in restaurants are called servers–it’s a nice way of saying, “servants.” And in the back of the house, cooks work in, “brigades.”
The big trends in 2017, put forward by industry and outsiders, are little things like eating out more, eating at home more, more Asian cuisines, smaller plates, fermentation, etc.
But the real trends, consistent with servitude and the military, are, first, the increasing takeover of the industry by private equity and hedge funds. The biggest profit margins are in bread, coffee, pizza, noodles, and baked goods–you’ll see more investment in each of these. You’ll also see greater uniformity in overall dining–business plans–and a huge push to sell alcohol, which is where more profitability exists than in food.
You’ll also see more chefs and restaurateurs toppled by women coming forward to report the sexual harassment and abuse that takes place in their establishments.
And then, in 2019…