Developments in technology, climate and the ever-changing digital landscape constantly force our food preferences to evolve. With this come trends like poke and fads like crazy milkshakes. This past year, we saw a ton of veggie focused restaurants pop-up paired with the introduction of genetically modified meats on both a retail and wholesale level. Looking ahead, we can expect coconut to emerge as the hottest superfood, an influx of Nordic fare and a lot more cauliflower. Okay, I’m not giving anything else away! Read about some of my predictions for 2017 here:
1) Influx of Nordic Cuisine:
We were introduced to approachable Nordic cuisine this year when Claus Meyer made his way to New York with the opening of Agern and The Great Northern Food Hall in Times Square, paving the way for other chefs to introduce “new Nordic fare” to the scene with restaurants like N’eat and Aska. The influx of Nordic fare also plays in nicely with the current obsession with pickling and fermentation that’s become a hit at vegetable focused restaurants. Lookout for more of this in the new year.
2) More Veggies Where That Came From:
Speaking of vegetables, it’s clear that this obsession isn’t going anywhere. We saw a lot of unique vegetarian entrées this year as chefs experimented with whole roasting, dehydrating and pickling vegetables for different flavor notes. With the decline of kale (finally), it looks like cauliflower is merging as the next big veggie of 2017. Key indicators include hot dishes like the Cauliflower Buns at Nix, Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower at Babu Ji and the Cauliflower Cous Cous at Two Hands Restaurant & Bar, to name a few.
3) The Middle Man, Quick-Casual Dining:
While fast-casual has become main stream across the US, the east coast is lagging on what’s become known quick-casual dining; a trendy in-between dining option that allows customers to order at a counter and receive waiter service. The trend has been quite popular in LA in for awhile now (I.E Sqirl, Republique) and we’re just starting to see restaurants adopt this method in NYC at spots like Pondicherri, By Chloe and El Rey. In addition to more fast-causal concepts–especially with the recent poke craze–we will definitely see more quick-casual dining options in 2017.
4) Faux foods
The over-saturated delivery market aside, tech made huge waves in the food space this year, particularly in terms of the production of food. David Chang was the first to take the plunge in the restaurant space with the “Impossible Burger” at Momofuku Nishi, a genetically modified burger that bleeds yet contains no meat. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are two companies we can expect to hear more from in 2017, especially as big Fortune 500 companies begin to invest.
5) Coco for Coconuts: The Next Big Superfood
Açaí, quinoa, kombucha, matcha and coconut; all superfoods that have dominated the health food scene, with coconut quickly rising to the top. Coconut beverages have been around for awhile, but we’ve increasingly seen coconut being used as both a cooking substitute and snacking item: dried coconut chips, coconut milk, coconut flour and coconut ice cream to name a few. In the restaurant space, we’ve already begun to see unique combinations like coconut ash ice cream and vegan coconut bread and pastries.