As usual, I try to predict the wacky world of food trends. It’s like a horoscope…I get a few right and a few wrong every year but it’s fun nonetheless. I think there will be a trend toward more interactive dining experiences. From a food perspective, I think extreme tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami) will highlight menus: Here’s what we can expect in 2015:
Dim sum service doesn’t have to be limited to weekends. Places like State Bird Provisions in San Francisco and Ma Peche in New York have made tableside service the norm. A little closer to home, Buca Yorkvile carves branzino crudo while you watch. Watch this trend to explode in 2015 as diners demand a more interactive dining experience and restaurants see the opportunity for a sweet price mark-up.
I’m a Little Bitter
Look for greens like hickory, endive, dandelion and maybe even radicchio to grace salad plates. The strong bitterness and varying colours and shapes will be like playing lego for the palates of foodies everywhere. Even better, it might come with a housemade honey/maple vinaigrette for a great contrast.
Getting in the Game
Bison, venison and maybe even elk will compete with beef on menus in 2015. The strong, gamy flavours will be more in demand than the 86 ounce steaks that graced menus in 2014. Also, look for rabbit to hop onto menus as a substitute for chicken or pork.
Half the hipsters I see look like these lovable hillbillies, so why not eat the damn stuff too. I’m surprised duck hasn’t been deemed the other “red meat”. Although it has never declined that much in popularity, its unique flavour and versatile use makes it a strong candidate to soar up the ranks of fowl in 2015.
It’s no secret that the pistachio has been the most aggressive ad campaign to come of the Golden State since the California raisins. Once nothing more than a snack food which left red dye all over your mouth and fingers, the pistachio’s recent endorsement by the witty, satirical, side-part, spectacle wearing Stephen Colbert coupled with the fact they can used in everything from salads to desserts might result in “pistachio is the new walnut” t-shirts popping up everywhere.
Root, Root, Root for the home team.
Dainty vegetables won’t be able to withstand the assault of extreme tastes of 2015. Potatoes provide a blank canvas for all sorts of flavours. The sweetness of beets and carrots amidst bitter and spice should be a great compliment. Foodie favorites like sunchokes and salsify should round out a good year for the root.
Squash the competition
The squash is longer reserved for soup. This local fall favorite is emerging as a player across the board. It’s a great base for vegetarian dishes and pairs nicely with a number of spices including clove, nutmeg and even sage, The regional production should appease the locavores and the diversity of the gourds available make them ideal for salads and even desserts.
Korean- More popular than “The Interview”
Although Korean is already enjoying popularity in the GTA, I think there’s more to come. Twists on bibimbap and hot pots will become options on fusion menus while hole in the wall Korean joints may be chosen over a sushi bar or ramen house for a quick and inexpensive lunch. Plus, your playstation shouldn’t crash over a little bulgogi.
The popularity of 40 Creek whisky within what was once seen as an impenetrable rye market plus emerging players like Gibson’s in the vodka and gin world make the small batch production of potent potables is as lucrative as micro brews. Bourbon enthusiasts will gravitate toward micro booze whether in a clever cocktail or even on tap. Look for tasting flights of infused shots of gins, vodkas and vermouths to wiggle their ways onto bar menus everywhere.
The Dumpling and Pancake: More than a way to describe your ass
The use of either a dumpling or a pancake as a canvas has limitless possibilities. To date, dim sum and gyoza have been all the rage. In 2014, we saw the emergence of savory pancakes such as latkes. Look for both to explode in 2015. From perogies to beghrir, the possibilities are endless. So will the choices on menus.
2015 will be a year filled with intense flavours highlighted by extreme taste profiles. Much of the sweet may in fact come from fruits and vegetables including beets, carrots and squash. Bitter will come from a resurgence of fragrant leafy greens and infused alcohols. Strong flavoured proteins such as game meat and duck will be needed to compliment these extreme tastes. Dumplings and pancakes will provide an ideal medium for many trendy tastes. Pistachio is the new walnut. Korean will surpass sushi and ramen as the preferred Asian provision of foodie nation. Regardless of the food, look for more options to be served tableside or in some other type of extravagant fashion. So, bring me a duck pancake atop of bed of mixed greens served under a cloche with a shot of vermouth and a pistachio cannoli pronto!