2013 was the year that the humble burger got a hipster makeover and every trendy restaurants was suddenly adding gourmet buns and patties to their menus. Top end joints arrived such as Five Guys and Shake Shack and had punters queuing up to sample its guerkins as the ‘slow-burger’ movement took over.
We also baked anything that moved. When the final of The Great British Bake off attracted more viewers than the X Factor it was clear this was more than a passing interest. No office was complete without its own after hours cake club and we saw the rise of the ‘Frankenstein pastries such as Cronuts and Duffins.
What does 2014 hold for us? Well we’ve performed an internet sweep of the great and good sites that predict these things and bring you our top 10 of the hottest predicted food trends for 2014!
1. Seoul Food
Korean cuisine has stepped out of the backstreets and its sizzling hot plates and spicy stews are really catching on. The Sunday Times Gizzi Erskine is a fan of Kimchi, a dish of seasoned cabbage which goes will with pork and chicken. Food consultants predict that Korean food will soon become as ubiquitous around the world as Thai and Vietnamese and New York chef David Chang has elevated Korean cuisine to a Michelin-starred level with his Momofuku empire, which has expanded to Australia and Toronto.
2. Vegetarian Movement
Reports say our global consumption of meat is ‘unsustainable’, but whatever your opinion, it’s a fact that cutting down meat is healthier and also cheaper. Many people are therefore turning to ‘Flexitarianism’ – vegetarians who sometimes eat meat. So many more restaurants are now offering a Vegetarian Tasting Menu option alongside their regular tasting menu. On Design Restaurants you can now search for ‘Vegetarian Recommended’ venues. Cauliflower is also mentioned widely as being the new ‘Veg du jour’ – together with is cousin Romescso it will be stepping out from behind the shadow of broccoli…
3. Mash up Dishes
Ever had a desert pizza like coconut chocolate with strawberries pie? Well apparently these kind of concoctions will be turning up on menus everywhere this year. Mash up dishes started last year with the much talked about ‘Cronut’ (a combination of croissant and doughnut) and latest to hit the headlines in the states is the ramen noodle bun. New York based chef Keizo Shimamoto has created a burger served on a griddled ramen-noodle bun. Hmmm… can’t see this one catching on over here but you never know.
4. Jazzed up comfort foods
We all have our favourite ‘shovel’ foods. Dishes that we know will never let us down when we are in need of instant comfort. Hospitality trend spotters are predicting that the comfort dish is the latest food classic to be given an ‘upscale’ twist however. High brow versions are popping up all over menus from appetizers to desert – its seems chefs are going back to childhood and having fun with familar favourties. Mac and Cheese is updated with sauteed salami, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and onions, Cottage Pie is treated to the very best cut’s of meat and a splash of teriyaki, chips are cooked with truffle oil and coated in grated parmesan. Heston Blumenthals’ Dinner has to be the poster boy for this trend with his take on 18th Century dishes that had long stopped being cooked such as salamagundy and roast marrowbone.
5. Exotic Fruits
As more producers look for inspiration, experts are predicting a rise in exotic fruit. Tipped for the top is the yuzu fruit from Japan which tastes like a cross between a lemon, mandarin and grapefruit and is starting to be used to flavour everything from beer to chewing gum. We also came across a kalamansi fruit last year at the very lovely Lainston House Hotel in Winchester where it was served up as part of a delish amuse bouche. Also from Japan it has the flavour of lime but looks like a lemon and is great in cocktails and salsas.
6. Snout to Tail and Root to Stalk
Americans call it ‘going the whole hog’ – basically increased environmental awareness has led to a movement in using every part of the animal or vegetable in both home cooking and dining out. Chef’s are offering diners dishes featuring crispy pigs ears and braised tails. Highly regarded celebrity Scottish chef Tom Kitchin says, “The concept of whole eating makes absolute sense – from an economic, environmental and taste perspective. It’s really encouraging that people are beginning to focus on the simplicity of back to basics cooking and showcasing produce in its simplest form, using every single part to get the best possible flavour.”
7. Scandinavian Fayre
We’ve been sold on their fashion and furniture for a good few decades now but its taken a lot longer for our obsession with all things Scandinavian to encompass food. However Ocado’s dedicated Swedish store is a sure sign that its finally happened! Look for Danish spherical pancakes known as aebleskivers to begin popping up on restaurant menus as well as creative riffs on gravlax, Swedish meatballs and pickled herring. Embracing the cold climate ingredients of Nordic countries will offer chefs a host of new flavors and cooking techniques to share with their eager guests. And trust me, your life will be better with lefse in it.
8. Edible Inca
Peruvian cuisine is on the lips of top chef’s worldwide, with quinoa, ceviche and pisco sours (Peru’s most popular cocktail) entering the mainstream. Last year, Lima in Fitzrovia, London became the first Peruvian restaurant to receive a Michelin star. Apparently Escoffier claimed 100 years ago that the best cuisines in the world were French, Chinese and Peruvian. Foodie publishers are predicting Martin Morales’s Ceviche as the food book of the year.
Transparency is the buzzword of 2014 after all the horse meat dramas this time last year. This has led to the rise in popularity of Hibachi, a Japanese cooking process whereby the chef comes out to the table and cooks in front of the diners. Yo Sushi were ahead of the trend with their conveyor belt restaurants, but now the concept is filtering into the wider foodie community, for example John Salt in Islington. Chef’s Tables have also never been more popular with most highly awarded venues now offering one. South Lodge Hotel in Horsham, Sussex has taken this trend to the ultimate degree and sited an entire 24 cover restaurant in its kitchen – check out Michelin starred The Pass.
10. Gluten Free
If you were hoping the gluten-free craze had been handed back to those that are sadly allergic, sorry to disappoint. Gluten-free cuisine was a top five trend identified in the National Restaurant Association’s ‘What Hot in 2014′ survey. Apparently many chef’s are planning to do more next year including more use of pasta noodles made of buckwheat and other grains, quinoa and amaranth rather than wheat flour. I guess we will all benefit from the wider health benefits widely touted by celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham and dieticians predict ‘ancient grains’ will continue to grow as a popular diet trend.