Every year we try to take a sneaky look into the future, looking at the latest food trends: what’s happening at this very moment, what’s exciting people in the kitchens around the world and what many expect in the coming year.
This year’s been big for a number of trends, fast casual, fried chicken, delivery services for almost all styles of food, from raw ingredients to Michelin starred meals, and a steady rise of different cuisines as Londoners lap-up regional Indian offerings and New Yorkers slurp on a variety of ramen.
Below is a look at 2016 and some of the interesting food trends we’re expecting to find.
Food Trends 2016: Sousvide in the Home
We’ve been saying this one for a while but with the recent announcement of Joule - the new immersion sous vide circulator from ChefSteps - we’re picking sous vide as the must have kitchen gadget of 2016. It’s now affordable for the home user, looks cool enough to stand next to your iPad and there’s a wealth of information out there for home cooks to get great results with minimum effort. It’s not going to be long until one of your mates wacks a 63-degree egg on your plate with a knowing smile.
Food Trends 2016: Even More Fast-Casual
We've already seen the rise of the fast-casual movement with Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson opening their new fast-food concept, LoCal. David Chang is opening a fried chicken place and Jose Andres is securing celebrity funding for his own idea of fast-casual. We are also hearing rumours about casual concepts planned by some of the world's biggest chefs, this is one of the most exciting developments to watch for in 2016 as we see the talents of great chefs pointed at cooking food for much larger audiences.
Food Trends 2016: Fermentation of Everything
This train has not even left the station yet. Fermentation - for many cultures a common technique but for many chefs a new technique that’s opening up a world of flavours. You can ferment almost any ingredient and we expect more and more chefs to start using the process to unlock entirely new flavour profiles and combinations.
Just look at Andre Chiang and his latest project on fermenting juices to pair with his dishes:
Food Trends 2016: Japanese
What? We can here you shouting now - sushi as a trend? But we don’t mean sushi. Ramen? We don’t mean Ramen either. In fact, 2016 will be the year that people step back and start to realise just how rich and diverse the food culture of Japan is. We’re talking things like Okonomiyaki - a wonderful japanese pizza omelette style dish thats filled and toppped with all sorts of ingredients, umami rich Shabu Shabu, Yakitori, Chawanmushi - a wonderful steamed dish and lots of things breaded, coated and fried. Also look out for a rise in real Kaiseki menus.
Food Trends 2016: the Sustainability of the Chef
Your favourite restaurant might now be closed on Saturday… That’s right. We’ve already started to see this happening at the end of 2014 - more and more high profile restaurants are choosing to drastically change their working hours in attempts to help maintain and attract better quality staff. With the chef role being one of the toughest jobs around, more and more chefs are changing the way kitchens work, reducing hours, closing on weekends and altering sittings in an attempt to create better working environments. Wise moves from leaders who realise that a looming chef shortage is going to see the best chefs pick and choose the best places to work.
Food Trends 2016: Regional Indian Evolution
If Indian cuisine has a second home, it has to be England where the curry in many parts is classed as the National dish. Spreading from the South in London and making its way up the North of England is a new classification of regional Indian restaurants that are educating people and palates about the massive variety of regional foods on offer in India. As diners start to appreciate the difference between a thick curry with naan from the North and the subtle hit of coconut and rice with a curry from the South, more and more restaurants will find a home flying flags for regional Indian cooking. For too long Indian cuisine has been labelled under one roof. This is a natural evolution and development that will only lead to wider choice and better understand of what is a wonderfully rich cuisine.
Food Trends 2016: Small Fish
It has to happen, for costs, for sustainability and for the chance of us being able to feed the fish we eat now to our own children. We attended a huge event this year with some of the world’s best chefs and each one of them pledged to start cooking with small fish. As well as being a great way of easing the strain on the overfished varieties in our oceans, small fish are also proven to have a large doses of healthy fats - just another reason we’ll see health and ethically conscious consumers / chefs turning to smaller fish.