After a year of exhaustive research, eating somewhere between two and four meals a day, I can say I’m qualified to develop a list of 2014 food trends.
It’s inexpensive to make, it’s stuffed, it’s creamy, it seems exotic. It has all the traits of being a huge hit. You can even bread it and deep-fry it. I expect this cream-filled mozzarella ball will show up on as many Italian menus as fried calamari. This last summer it started showing up as part of caprese salads, but chef’s will find a way to get more creative. Burgers? Deep fried burrata?
People have been talking about Korean food hitting main-stream America. But thanks to TV, every Iowan knows what a bulgoghi taco is. Next up, Korean dishes making it into non-Korean restaurants and or Korean restaurants making it into non-Korean neighborhoods. On the coasts you are starting to see dishes like bibimbap show up in top restaurants.
Not gourmet flavored popcorn, but popcorn as an ingredient. Popcorn goes great as a garnish on soups. It’s a versatile ingredient that can add texture, crunch or starch. In Ecuador and parts of Peru, it’s the traditional accompaniment to ceviche. Popcorn won’t be a s big as burrata this year, but it will start making more of a presence.
Menus will continue to get shorter. More new restaurants will focus on a specific niche, instead of offering a variety from a given cuisine, chefs will specialize in just one dish, in three to four variations.
Vegetarian dishes aren’t anything new, but in most places, a non-meat entree is focused around pasta, bread or rice. 2014 will see the move toward vegetables treated like the focal point. Non-meat entrees won’t just be salads and starches.
People are back to work in the U.S., many are spending money again, tired of penny-pinching and willing to spend a bit more on food. Restaurants will add a 2nd , even a 3rd extravagant item to their menu. Consumers who restrained from luxury, except on special occasions will start to be a bit more open-walleted when it comes to date-night.