Chefs Predict 2014’s Dining and Culinary Trends (Slideshow)
December 19, 2013
More than 25 top chefs weighed in
Marc Murphy (Landmarc and Kingside, New York City)
"I think that 2014 will still see the popular farm-to-table trend but it will focus more on local products. Both chefs and diners are really excited about buying, eating, and using local and you’ve started to see this not only in food but also on the beverage side. There are some really amazing products being made, especially in New York. Both tap wines and liquors are being produced in-state and becoming really popular. At my restaurant Landmarc, we offer Bootlegger 21 vodka that’s hand-crafted upstate and I think that's something you're definitely going to see more of in 2014."
Wolfgang Puck (Spago, Los Angeles)
"I see a trend where talented young chefs open very small restaurants, maybe 30 seats maximum and even smaller, where they can really express their own culinary capabilities. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to discover something new or someone with a completely new technique."
Kevin Gillespie (Gunshow, Atlanta)
"I am seeing more restaurateurs adapting the dim sum/churrascaria format to American food. The interactive connection between cook and guest is becoming more popular. People are looking for high-level experiences for food but in a more fun, casual setting."
Doug Psaltis (RPM Italian, Bub City, Paris Club, Chicago)
"Gourmet tacos: This trend is going to carry over into the new year. With restaurants like Petty Cash Taqueria in Los Angeles, chefs are getting the absolute best-quality ingredients and putting them in tacos to make a much more high-end product.
Chicken-focused restaurants: For a while we were seeing a lot of pork- and beef-focused restaurants, but chicken, fried and rotisserie, is at the forefront right now."
Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tenn.)
"Everyone these days is cooking pork. If I see one more pork-centric restaurant open, I might pull my hair out. That's not to say, I don't love pork. I do. But I think chefs will soon head back to beef. I've personally found it really interesting to find different ways to cook different kinds of beef, whether it's grass-fed or grain-fed — certain preparations enhance the flavors and textures of grass-fed beef that don't necessarily have the same results with grain-fed beef. It's all about finding the right application for the type of beef. I've also been straying away from the sous-vide and getting back to roasting and braising. Going back to the basics."
Adam Leonti (Vetri, Philadelphia)
"I think the next big food trend will be Sardinian food. The food is fresh and based around an island that is largely self-sustaining. When I was there, they have a few regional dishes like a whole roasted pig on a spit and malloreddus, a small dumpling pasta served with saffron and fresh goat cheese, that I really enjoyed."
Dale Talde (Talde, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
"A lot of chefs and restaurants have really been creating their menus with nods to their heritage. Similar to myself, chefs like Leah Cohen and Paul Qui were raised in Asian-American households. Our menus are mash-ups of what we grew up eating. I think we’ll see more of that."
Victor Scargle (Lucy Restaurant & Bar, Yountville, Calif.)
"I think we’ll see more fast-casual, small plates. With the abundance of poor-quality and modified products out there, chefs will continue to try to grow as much as possible to provide the highest-quality ingredients, maintain a focus on seasonality, and produce affordable products."
Jenn Louis (Lincoln Restaurant, Sunshine Tavern, Portland, Ore.)
"Lots of grains; use of seeds: pickling mustard seeds, use of sesame seeds, poppy seeds; fermenting, cocoa nibs: use for texture and unsweetened chocolate flavors, I use in kale salads and shortbread. Alternative to chocolate in sweet form; curing and smoking egg yolks; sea urchin used other than in sushi and Asian cuisines; non-beef tartare: lamb, game offal; ingredients used in non-traditional settings: sea urchin in non-Asian foods, fish sauce in non-Asian dishes (like colatura, garum)."
David Myers (Hinoki & the Bird, Comme Ça, Los Angeles)
"Sri Lankan and Laotian cuisine are on the uprise, along with more influences from the Mediterranean."
David Burke (David Burke Restaurant Group)
“In 2014, I envision chefs focusing more on grains, vegetables and smaller meat and pasta portions for both economical and health-conscious reasons. I also see ethnic cuisine continuing to grow in popularity with dishes like roasted chicken with spices from south America, India and Korea having a big moment and foresee diners experimenting more with whole fish and different proteins such as rooster. All about quality and moderation.”
Steve Redzikowski (OAK at fourteenth, Boulder, Colo.; Acorn, Denver)
"We’re going to see continued growth in restaurants going back to wood-fired cookery, or incorporating some type of wood-fired element into the cooking process. Also, I believe small plates are here to stay."
Ralph Scamardella (LAVO, TAO, Various Locations)
"I think we’ll see two major trends in 2014. One is the rise of new Asian flavors. This is something that I’ve noticed for a while. There is a pan-Asian status quo for most Americans: lo mein, some sushi, etc. but different flavors — from Singapore and Malaysia, for example — haven’t made their way into the mainstream but are so unique and delicious that they’re bound to make waves. We’ve incorporated these flavors into the menu at TAO Downtown, and reactions have been extremely positive so far! I also think that 2014 will be about people enjoying their old favorites and the food they grew up with; food that uses simple techniques and fresh ingredients. I’m not saying farm-to-table, or local and seasonal fare and the like. I’m saying identifiable comfort food. We’ve seen this at Arlington Club and the recent growth in steakhouse openings across the country — people want to get back to the basics, and to a lot of Americans, steak and steakhouse fare is good old American comfort food. Same goes for Italian food. At LAVO Italian Restaurant, we’ve seen increased popularity of our most classic Italian dishes."
Michael Ferraro (Delicatessen, New York City)
"I think that for 2014, chefs will continue to showcase more and more gluten-free options on their menus by focusing on creative vegetable and protein combinations. Also, I am hoping that a national law will pass making it mandatory to label GMO foods. If this happens I'm sure that will be a very common thing."
Jesse Schenker (Recette, New York City)
"I think Asian mustard greens will become popular in 2014. I often use mizuna and am really into tatsoi, an Asian green that goes by many names including Spoon Mustard and Rosette Bok Choy. The plant has dark green spoon-shaped leaves that form a thick rosette. Its texture is soft and creamy. It tends to be more delicate than bok choy, so it works very well in recipes calling for wilted greens."
Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Bar Toma, Terzo Piano, Chicago)
"I think one thing we'll see in 2014 is the removal of stuffiness from restaurants. People still want to have a nice 'fine dining' experience, but with less of that Old-World approach. I also think more restaurants will create multiple experiences within one restaurant… dining, lounge, retail, private events, bar — finding more ways to export their brands so anyone can access it. I also think we'll see more roasting of whole animals, from what is expected to the unusual."
Aaron Bashy (The Water Club, New York City)
"I think chefs will be using more farmed king salmon; it’s sustainably responsible, and also this species is not always in season."
Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Chicago)
"I think we're going to embrace Brazilian and other South American flavors in a way we haven't before. And if that new porridge restaurant in Brooklyn is any indication, it looks like people are also going to be eating a lot of grits."
Andrew Whitcomb (Colonie, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
"I think in 2014 you are going to see an even more swing to a casual dining atmosphere but with very ambitious food. Also, the use of vegetables as the focal point of a dish."
Shane Lyons (Distilled, New York City)
"I anticipate seeing a lot of 'non-vegan vegan' restaurants popping up. It used to be that you could only find true vegetarian or vegan dishes in vegetarian and vegan restaurants. That is far from the truth today and I expect to see chefs putting together menus that heavily favor interesting vegetarian and vegan dishes without promoting their restaurant as vegetarian or vegan. Instead, having robust vegetarian and vegan options will just continue to become more mainstream."
Simone Panella (Antica Pesa, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
“I predict that a big trend will be simple cooking with less complicated ingredients and preparation than in the past. I foresee Mediterranean and Japanese cuisines being sought after, mainly because they feature so many light and healthy options. Overall both at home and out to eat, Americans will be interested in knowing what they are eating and where it is coming from.”
Four Seasons Hotels
"Restaurants getting into the streets with food trucks." (Juan Gaffuri, Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires)
"Momos, Nepalese steam dumplings." (Giancarlo Di Francesco, Four Seasons Hotel Doha)
"'Healthy and light' will continue to grow. There will be increasing awareness of how foods are made. Natural sugars such as coconut sugar will make their way up." (Pastry Chef Marike van Beurden, Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong)
"Nutrient-dense, plant-based recipes as the center of the plate. Fruits and veggies rock — and they are incredibly versatile." (Executive Chef Ned Bell, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, YEW seafood + bar)
"Bold Korean flavors; Sriracha sauce is the new chile paste and has a rich umami taste. Twists on pretzels; the pretzel will continue to have a moment but now we'll use pretzels as dinner rolls, crusts and in both baking and cooking (think pretzel-crusted chicken). Salt. We're making our own Atlantic Sea Salt in-house at The Bristol Lounge, and we'll see other chefs doing the same and incorporating interesting flavor profiles such as mocha, caramel, espresso, chocolate, smoked, and black Himalayan. Personalization: Chefs are becoming craftsman more and more. We'll see them put their personal touches on nearly everything. Chefs won't just be making flavored honeys in-house, they'll be sourcing the honey from their own beehives. Same goes for cheeses, condiments, wines, and more. Healthier Kids' Menus: The demand for healthy fare will come from even the smallest guests. There's so much more awareness nowadays. Living well isn't just a trend — it's a movement, from the top down. Country/region having a renaissance: Rather than just one country, what we'll start seeing in 2014 is the blending of diverse ethnic cuisines into one dish — for instance, Indian with Latin, and Asian with American barbecue. There's high risk in doing this — it has to be done right. But when it is, the result can be electrifying." Brooke Vosika (Four Seasons Hotel, Boston; The Bristol Lounge, Boston)
Bonus: Joe Bastianich (Restaurateur)
"I’m hopeful we’ll see the decline of obsessive one-ingredient restaurants and a return to the glories of fine dining. Thank the culinary gods that the pendulum swings both ways."