“Predicting food trends has become as much an American holiday tradition as ordering an eggnog latte.” – Kim Severson, New York Times
The predictions are in, but who will be right? With food trends ranging from cricket flour pancakes to turmeric shots, it’s clear that 2017 will be a year full of surprises. Through all of the noise, a few themes stand out: Instagram, back-to-basics, and street food. We’ve rounded up some of the top predictions for the New Year, and would love to hear your guesses as well! Tweet us @ccapinc using #FoodTrends to tell us what flavors, techniques, and styles you think 2017 will bring into the spotlight!
Though tataki is a Japanese method of cooking, we’re anticipating it’ll soon become a popular method in kitchens all over the country. Tataki refers to serving meat or fish that is quickly seared on the outside, while leaving the meat tender and rare. It can be lightly brushed with a bright acid, and served with a variety of delicious condiments. We’ve seen crudo, carpaccio, and tartare remain staples on restaurant menus, but this is the year of tataki. Only the most appealing cuts of meat should be used, which makes for a visually brilliant plate of protein.
2. Real pasta & noodles
Foursquare & Kimberly Conchada
Gluten-free diets will remain a steady trend, but we are simultaneously predicting that the age of authentic hand-made pastas and hand-pulled noodles will make their comeback in a very big way. Although housemade pasta are commonly found at high-end restaurants, we see more opportunities for this delicious staple at counter-service and casual eateries. Very Fresh Noodles at the Chelsea Market in New York City has already joined the pasta party with their authentic Chinese cumin lamb or beef noodles, while also offering vegan options like mock duck. Let’s face it, there are few things more comforting than a bowl of noodles or pasta. We’ve been waiting for carbs to come back in style!
3. Street food inspired dishes
Since we’re on the topic of noodles, we want to acknowledge that the second ramen shop in Tokyo, Nakiryu, was just awarded a Michelin star, joining its neighbor, Tsuta. In July 2016, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice And Noodle made history when they became the first food stall to be awarded a Michelin star as well. With ramen at Naikiryu costing about $6.99 and the chicken dish in Singapore costing roughly $1.85 a plate, we predict a rise in high-end quality dishes gaining even more momentum on the street food scene this year. We anticipate that more cooks and chefs will be playing with new concepts like tamales and fry bread, which respectively have footing in countless cultures of the world. “Good” food should be available for everyone, even those of us on a dime budget.
4. Coffee as an ingredient
Food Network & Kimberly Conchada
We’ve seen spice blends gain popularity in coffee and espresso beverages over the last few years, but how about flip the script this year and put coffee in your spices! There is a lot of unchartered territory regarding coffee as an ingredient. We’re not just talking about coffee-flavored ice cream and sweets, but with a growing need for more complex and layered flavor profiles, coffee is a flavor that complements so many others and has the potential to renew taste buds that need a wake-up call.
5. African flavors
With the growing desire for more unique flavors, authentic African food has been a cuisine that has yet to take over the food industry despite large populations of the continent’s immigrants across the country. This year, don’t be surprised to see more cooks inspired by health-forward African food since so much of it is rich in whole grains, beans, and vegetables. Some restaurants are already taking note, like Revolutionario—which serves up North African ‘tacos’ in Los Angeles near the USC campus. Fusion-concept restaurants won’t slow down, and this taco shop which focuses on North African flavors, but invites the Mexican staple of tacos and new takes on condiments like kimchi, is a testament to the many cultures represented in their community.
Traditionally used as a sweetener in the South, sorghum is a nostalgic ingredient for many Southern taste buds. When not processed, sorghum is actually a grain and can be cooked and eaten like a starch. When milled, it becomes a new alternative to flour that can be used in a variety of ways, such as in the blackberry pancakes recipe in Flavor Flours, written by Alice Medrich. This ancient grain is the new answer to Central American quinoa or Israeli couscous, and better yet, it’s a crop local to America. Let’s make gluten-free food great again!
This decade’s obsession with fermenting and pickling won’t slow down, and we’re glad for it! But there are only so many ways you can kimchi a thing. We’re anticipating a new wave of popular pickle with a return to this Germanic and Eastern European staple. Most often made with cabbage as the base ingredient, depending on where you’re from you can use anything from caraway seeds, mustard seeds, juniper berries, and white wine to infuse your sauerkraut. There are innumerable opportunities for exciting flavors, and we’re hoping to see a new variety of this condiment make a showing at more and more restaurants this year.
Many trends are motivated by the need to have the most outrageously beautiful posts on social media, so brace yourselves to see more and more very colorful #foodporn in 2017. This isn’t your favorite socialite’s marble staircase… we’re talking macarons, cakes, and other treats with incredible swirls of color. The Bagel Store in Brooklyn has wowed customers with their very insta-famous rainbow bagels (and funfetti cream cheese!). All things considered, we’re hoping with this new fad of marbling, we see a bigger showing of natural food colorings too.
9. Purple foods
Social media has seen a swarm of Filipino food in the last year with many new restaurants and shops popping up in all corners of the country. The most popular ingredient on the list? Ube, a classic Filipino staple, is essentially a sweet, purple yam. Ube donuts, soft serve, and waffles have proven to be in high demand, but we anticipate that purple food in general will be the hottest craze on Instagram this year. Lucky for us purple foods like cauliflower, asparagus, elderberries, sweet potatoes, and more are rich in antioxidants and nutrients that are sure to cancel out all that sugar we’ve been consuming in our ube desserts, right?!
10. Cambodian Food
It’s no surprise that Americans go through our different obsessions with exoticizing foods, then turn them mainstream. Sushi, Thai- and Indian- food ruled the 90s; while tacos, ramen, and phở currently dominate our food spaces. Without going too deep into the conversation of cultural appropriation in food, I will simply say that we must pay homage to the original creators and people serving up new, delicious fare that is unique to the masses. There are societal benefits to eating more globally and allowing representation in food. Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Daitz of Num Pang Sandwich Shop in New York City, have done just that by creating delicious sandwiches accessible to those who have never tried Cambodian food before. You’ll find heavenly balances of sour, sweet, bitter, and more when trying Khmer cuisine, and these types of flavor profiles are gaining more momentum as foodies everywhere are looking for new ways to reinvigorate their senses while gaining a better understanding of an exceptional culture, through food.
By Guest Blogger Kimberly Conchada, Culinary Scholarships & Operations Intern at C-CAP
Originally featured on CCAPINC.org. Careers through Culinary Arts Program is a national non-profit that transforms the lives of disadvantaged youth through the culinary arts and prepares them for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.