We reached out to a handful of chefs and also put our collective heads together, and gathered predictions for what to expect from the culinary world in 2015.
“I think a back-to-the-basics trend is impending,” Chris Marchino, the executive chef at Chicago’s Spiaggia, told us. “People are now beyond the overly processed, overly showy presentations and preparations. People are going back to food that is simply prepared, tastes great, and makes you feel warm and cuddly inside." Eric Miller, chef/owner of East Hampton’s Bay Kitchen & Bar, agreed. “Regional cuisine and great old-school technique will make a comeback in 2015,” he predicted. “Long live slow food and warm hospitality!”
Bone broth is definitely having its moment right now, with New York’s Hearth offshoot Brodo and Northern California’s Belcampo earning a write-up in The New York Times. A favorite of paleo enthusiasts and cold people alike, and with a higher percentage of collagen, amino acids, and minerals than regular broth due to more bones being involved in its cooking, expect this comforting elixir to appear at more restaurants soon.
Danny Grant, the executive chef for Miami-based restaurant group 50 Eggs (Yardbird, Khong River House, Swine), predicts that “there will be a resurgence of real cooking: less sous-vide technique, going back to basics in terms of introducing the kitchen to the dining room. Cooks and chefs will be serving food and finishing and plating guests' dishes at the table."
“Fine dining is a thing of the past,” Judy Joo, owner of the soon-to-open Jinjuu in London and host of Korean Food Made Simple on Cooking Channel, told us. “Everyone is gravitating towards comfort food and casual dining experiences. Fun atmospheres will be favored over stuffy white-glove service and four-hour meals. People want real food with real substance that they want and could eat every day.”
Also called greenwheat, this grain works very well in salads; expect to see it on more menus.
This relative of the turnip is incredibly versatile (both its greens and turnip-like stem are edible), and it can be eaten raw or cooked. The greens can be used interchangeably with collards or kale, and the stem, with a similar texture to broccoli stem, is sweet and less vegetal than broccoli. More and more chefs and home cooks are finding ways to cook with it, so expect to see more of it in 2015.
“A powerful and versatile ingredient,” according to Gotham Bar & Grill’s Alfred Portale, pomegranate molasses works with everything from foie gras to roasted meats and vegetables, and adds sweetness and acidity to Mediterranean dips and salad dressings. Like za'atar, this will show up on more and more menus this year.
When asked to name pizza styles, most people can only think of a few: New York, Neapolitan, and Chicago, say. But there are actually dozens of regional pizza styles, from New Haven-style to Greek, from St. Louis-style to Wisconsin-style. Expect to see more restaurants all over the country serving pizza styles that stray from the norm, like Slice founder Adam Kuban’s bar pie pop-up, Margot’s Pizza, does.
Tipping came into the spotlight in 2014, with a handful of restaurants eliminating their tipping systems, and this year we’ll see an uptick in restaurants taking tipping out of the hands of customers and incorporating the tips into the price of a meal. We’ll also see the adoption of apps that take care of paying the bill (and tip) in advance, like Cover, Dash, and Reserve.
As more and more diners look to step outside of their comfort zones, they’ll find that sweetbreads are versatile and delicious. Expect to see more of this and other non-traditional meats on menus.
“The time has come for ‘trash fish,’” Jason Weiner, executive chef/ proprietor if New York’s Almond NYC and L&W Oyster Co., told us. “That unfortunate term has nothing to do with the quality of the product. They are the under-appreciated species of fish that never hit the market because they are so plentiful that they are either used as bait for other fish or thrown back. The thing is that these fish are delicious and often super sustainable because they are so abundant, and usually towards the bottom of the food chain.” Examples of these fish (also known as rough fish) include carp, drum, sheepshead, and bowfin.
Sean Olnowich, executive chef at New York’s Bounce Sporting Club, predicted that foods from Asian countries such as Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar (also known as Burma) will rise in popularity, as will more region-specific Asian cuisine, like Hakka (China), Okinawan (Japan), Isan (Thailand), and Huế (Vietnam).
Both Portale and Craig Deihl, the chef at Charleston’s Cypress, predict that we’ll begin to see an influx of vegetarian entrées at every variety of restaurant, for two reasons: meat is getting more expensive, and more diners are looking to eat healthy. The vegetarian tasting menu at Gotham, for example, has been a huge success.
The term properly applies to a variety of Middle Eastern oregano, but it commonly used to describe a blend of that spice, dried, with sesame seeds, dried sumac, and other spices. In this guise, it has shown up in upscale dishes across the country this year, and Portale also predicts that we’ll see it make its way to more non-Middle Eastern restaurants as we move into 2015.