The influence of food and chefs continued to grow throughout 2013 as an ever expanding food conscious public focused their attention on what has to be one of the most creative industries in the world. Crowdfunding paved the way for new, exciting and previously unachievable projects and the worlds of tech and food converged closer each day.
Umami remained everyone's' best friend and finally vegetables were placed firmly back on the agenda. The year was packed with amazing culinary events and the global reach of The World's 50 Best Restaurants List by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna was increased with the launch of lists for Asia and Latin America helping boost interest on two parts of the world with completely new food traditions and techniques for us all to discover.
It's also been a busy year for us at Fine Dining Lovers. Followers on Twitter broke 10k, Facebook well over 100k and #FDLmoment saw thousands of people share their Fine Dining Moments all over the web. A big thanks to all of you and here's quick look back at the Year.
1. 2013, THE YEAR OF THE CHEF?
This shouldn't even be a question anymore. Chefs no longer hide in the kitchen sweating away at the stove, they're involved in projects way beyond their restaurants. Magazines like Lucky Peach from David Chang, the MAD Symposium from Rene Redzepi - we saw it happening already but 2013 really was the year of the chef.
Alex Atala, who has taken on a social and cultural ambassador role in Latin America, was placed on Time magazine's 100 Most Influential list and all three of the aforementioned chefs featured on the Gods of Food Time Cover with the tag: Meet the People who Influence What (and How) You Eat.
Chefs have now outgrown the kitchen, their influence and creativity stretching across disciplines, helping to spawn new cultural, social and food movements. This will surely continue throughout 2014 as we see new ideas and previously planted seeds continues to grow.
2. A VEGETABLE RISING
Meatless Mondays in 2013 were bigger than ever with more and more people opting to cook vegetarian meals on Mondays. Chefs from Redzepi to Alain Ducasse have been shifting focus to vegetables and we saw amazing videos from Dominique Crenn for carrot jerky, The Nordic Food Lab who recently launched a Wild Edible Plant Database and Grant Achatz with his all vegan tasting menu at Next.
Expect this to grow in 2014 as more and more people opt for vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. As knowledge widens and new techniques are developed, such as cheeses made from fermented seeds, expect a boom in vegetable driven cuisine and more vegetarian tasting menus. Perhaps this will also trickles down, having an effect in more mainstream fields. More vegetarian options at supermarkets, casual vegetarian restaurants, in 2014 a totally new appreciation of the mighty veg?
3. MULTI-SENSORY DINING
The Roca Brother's el Somni was finally launched. After we interviewed Joan Roca about the initial idea back in 2012 the project was finalized in 2013 and 12 lucky guests, including Ferran Adria, sat down to sample the multi-sensory dining experience that featured breathing plates and tables with interactive projections.
Expect more of the same in 2014 and as Franc Aleu, the director of the Roca Brother's el Somni project, told us, get ready for lots of projections on plates.
4. TECH AND FOOD COMBINE
3D Printing has been an increasingly used technology throughout 2013 and it's potential applications in the food world are slowly coming to light. Printed pasta shapes, printed sugar cubes, cookie printing, however small the uses are now, the future seems to point towards a world of intricately printed foods and the possibility of a time when a machine could literally print anything you desired.
In general the convergence of technology within the food and drink world has sparked some truly interesting ideas. Ferran Adria's huge Bullipedia project which sees a number of technologies combine to create a huge database of gastronomy, similar to Wikipedia but with a number of interactive elements. Scanners to show what's inside food, smoking cocktail makers for the home, homebrew beer technology and apps to scan wine labels so users can receive info on the product straight back to their phone.
We're living in a rapidly connected world and we've truly welcomed tech to the table with Instagram, Twitter and a number of other apps. It's only a matter of time before technology begins to take a bigger role at the table with Google Glasses and other wearable devices, apps for analyzing food and a number of social streams that also need to be fed.
2014 = Food-nology.
5. DRINKS HOT AND COLD
Coffee continued its dominance in 2013 with latte art, slow motion videos and sleek coffee machine bringing cafe style espresso to the home. The cult of coffee remains a strong one an interesting mention is the new idea which links coffee consumers directly with farmers via a home roasting, grinding and brewing machine.
In the alcoholic department it's been a big year for gin, especially with it's perfect partner Tonic, and Spain with Barcelona and Madrid and their hundreds of gin&tonic bars seem to lead the way. Mixology and cocktails in general have had a big year with the barman now taking centre stage in many establishments including The Aviary by Grant Achatz and 41 Degrees and by Ferran and Albert Adria. This is set to continue in 2014 as more strong liqueurs are consumed and the food and cocktail pairings appear on more menus.
Also expect tea to make a huge resurgence, it's already the second most consumed beverage in the world after water but it's going to have a coffee like makeover as companies such as Starbucks begin to open tea bars in the U.S. Expect strange and exotic brews, new styles of pouring, tasting and naming and expect hipster style tea bars to start appearing on a high street near you.
Also - Vermouth, Whiskey and Premium Vodkas are ones to watch in 2014.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It's been a great year for the culinary arts across the world and this seems set to continue. With so much happening it's always hard to predict what the next year will bring, however, be sure that we'll be covering as much as possible as exciting ideas, discoveries and tastes come to the table in 2014.