Food trend predictions for 2017.
It’s that tasty time of year again for foodies. We’re being flooded with ingredient, dining and flavor trend predictions for 2017.
According to the influential annual report from culinary consultants Baum + Whiteman, we can expect more mind-bending meat-free foods in the coming year. Think vegan ribs at Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher in Sydney, Australia; vegetable “charcuterie” at Ladybird in New York City; and an explosion of vegan cacio y pepe offerings—including a shiitake and salsify version at New York veg spot Nix; Matthew Kenney’s kelp-noodle-and-cashew-cream concoction at Plant Food + Wine in Miami; and a tasty twist at Josh Henderson’s Seattle restaurant Vestal that showcases the gustatory goodness of nutritional yeast.
Fried Chicken Forever
Chef riffs on the Chick-Fil-A sandwich are the darling of fast-casual favorites like Fuku and Shake Shack. And with the increasing ubiquity of Nashville Hot, our yen for breaded bird shows no sign of slowing. Another Baum + Whiteman prophecy: Fried chicken will pop up on more breakfast menus this year. Get a jump on the trend at Astro Doughnuts & Friend Chicken in Washington, DC or Los Angeles’s Free Range food truck—home to an epic morning biscuitwich stuffed with tempura-fried bird.
The rise of the artisanal-butchery-cum-restaurant suggests diners will seek out lesser-known meat cuts this year. At Baltimore’s Parts & Labor, noshes include fried pig’s tails and grilled chicken hearts, while guests of Montreal’s La Grotte des Fromages hand-select their dinner at the onsite meat emporium. In late 2016, The Spotted Pig owners April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman got in on the game with New York’s White Gold, where patrons tuck into beef tongue and pork sirloin in the dining room and chat with shop experts about everything from bavette steaks to bone broth.
War on Waste
The nose-to-tail approach dovetails with another area of industry-wide interest. “The all-encompassing issue for chefs and restaurateurs will be food waste,” says Wyatt Lash, executive chef at The Commoner in Pittsburgh. They’re taking on staggering statistics—worldwide, one-third of food intended for eating gets tossed each year, according to the United Nations—but exciting innovations like food-waste supermarkets (in Copenhagen) to leftovers-focused cafes (in London and Brooklyn) offer hope amid the garbage heaps.
If you’re over the whole freakshake thing, keep an eye out for ice cream rollups, a Thai street-food trend poised to go global this year. Liquid ice cream gets flash-frozen and stuffed with fruit and other toppings, then wrapped up like a burrito and garnished with more fruit and cookies. Already available at Class 502 in Houston and New York’s 10Below, this stuff may well give pay-by-weight froyo a run for its money.
Chefs will remain seriously plant-focused in 2017—even at meat-centric places like Kapnos in Washington, D.C., says the restaurant’s executive chef George Pagonis. Brian Clevenger of Seattle’s Vendemmia, agrees, and expects to see more cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash this year. Notably absent from that list: kale. Perhaps the pervasive bitter green has finally reached its peak?
In podcasting’s pioneer days, comedians dominated—drawing big bucks to a once underground scene. The dining world caught on to this new trend, and culinary-themed podcasts now count in the hundreds, with news ones popping up on the daily. Check out Prince Street, a food-focused variety show; the delightfully nerdy Gastropod; or Bon Appetit’s Foodcast, featuring fizzy one-on-ones with editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport.
Will 2017 be the year an unmanned aerial vehicle drops fresh sushi or green juice at your door? Pilot programs from Virginia (where students ordered drone-delivered Tex-Mex) to New Zealand (where the world’s first Domino’s pizza drone delivery went down) have stirred up rumors of our food-delivery future, but aviation regulations remain a barrier. Still, tech giants like Amazon and Google seem set on incorporating UAVs into pants-optional dining—proper tipping etiquette TBD.