Look to the ocean and think about hemp: two of the top 10 trends forecast for the food world in 2018. These predictions come from a meeting earlier this month of the New York chapter of prominent culinary group Les Dames d’Escoffier.
What to watch for:
1. Plant-based food will be kicked up a notch. First it was nose to tail; now it is stem to stalk.
2. Culinary leaders will use the untapped resources of the ocean to introduce new foods and species to consumers, all with sustainability in mind. Think algae and spiny dogfish.
3. Staff happiness will top the list of restaurateur concerns.
4. Consumers want to know what’s in their food and where it came from. On tap is increased interest in the origins, content and production methods of wine and spirits.
5. Natural wines from Croatia and Georgia will gain respect.
6. Put a pretty face on it: Sustainable seafood meets savvy marketing. Montauk sea bream sounds tastier than plain old porgy.
7. Demand for healthier fare shows no signs of slowing. Chefs will rethink traditional favorites.
8. Culinary education for kids at home and school will be key to a healthy future.
9. Foods to watch: seaweed, hemp, pulses, cricket flour, grass-fed beef.
10. The future of food is cooking. It can be a piece of toast or an entire meal.
The evening’s program provided a forum for consumers and hospitality industry professionals to engage in a provocative discussion about food’s future in the world, at home, on TV, and in social media. Also explored and debated: how we will eat at restaurants, how business will change, and how the food community will embrace sustainability.
Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, said, "Food is fuel. Food is medicine. Food is community. Food is happiness.” She added, “In spite of futurists forecasting a technology-gone-wild world in which we're eating faster, popping food pills or even consuming meals in squeeze tubes, I believe the only joyful human contact decades from now will be good old-fashioned platefuls of colorful, delicious real food--and sex."
Abigail Kirsch Catering supported the event with a menu including Caesar Bites with kale, smoked sundried tomato, and peppered pecorino [in photo].