In 2018, we saw the rise of new trends, while others gained momentum. We’re talking poke, grain bowls, plant-based proteins, street-food-inspired dishes, carb substitutes like cauliflower rice, sriracha, rolled ice cream, and air fryers — just to name a few.
With the start of a new year ahead of us, we asked local chefs to share their thoughts on what we can expect to see in 2019, and what they’d prefer to leave in the past.
Ron Gallo, chef de cuisine at The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges, anticipates two distinct trends this year. The first is more savory items on breakfast and brunch menus. “Americans, in general, tend to like their breakfast to be sweet. Very sweet,” Gallo shares. While there will always be fans of pancakes and French toast, Gallo says that we’ll start to see more items like chia bowls, dosas with chutneys or nut butter, and oatmeal with vegetables.
Gallo also anticipates a major change in the centerpiece of the plate on many menus; foods like dried beans, chick peas, and grains will start to share the stage with animal proteins. “I’m not suggesting that meat and fish will disappear altogether, but I do think we will see smaller portions and more alternative proteins on the same plate. You’re also going to see more vegetarian options on menus.” Gallo attributes the change to the increased awareness of healthy eating habits by consumers and the need to serve those who have food allergies.
“It’s exciting for me as a chef to try to find new ways to use these alternate proteins. Especially since I have a personal stake in it,” says Gallo, who has two grown children with severe food allergies.
As for trends he would like to see left in the past? “The glamorized life of a chef,” he laughs. “Food media should take more responsibility with what they are teaching the younger generation. Being a chef is not as glamorous as TV makes it out to be.”
Regarding new trends, Julia Turshen, the Hudson Valley-based author of many cookbooks including her latest Now & Again, predicts there will be more attention on food and stories from the Caribbean. “Provisions, a new cookbook from sisters Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau, is one of the best cookbooks I’ve seen in a long time, and restaurants like Kaya in San Francisco and Top Taste in Kingston make me so excited about the popularity of Caribbean cooking across the country,” she says. “The more inclusive we are in our choices about food, the more inclusive we can make the world.”
What should get the boot? “Homemade or any fancy type of ketchup. Sometimes it’s best to just leave certain things alone.”
Chef Frank Camey, co-executive chef at Heritage Food + Drink, thinks 2019 will bring more “wood-fired and open-fired items, like spit roasts or smoking oysters table-side. People are more open to the idea of a smokey, charred, or bitter flavor profile. They’re looking for a little twist or something that adds a unique flavor to their food. It’s the same difference as cooking with a charcoal grill instead of an electric grill at home.”
What he’d like to see is “people being more open-minded to trying the dishes that are prepared for them by well-trained chefs. This has been the most challenging year for guests to sit down and trust us with the menu. We want you to enjoy yourself when you come out to eat.”