The Food Trends That Are So 2014


Seared beef heart with salsa verde and cripsy taro frites. Photo by Lucas Richarz

Wondering if kale is over, standing in line for Cronuts, and rolling our eyes at yet another gastropub opening is so last year. Today, food has gotten even more rustic, nose-to-tail, and responsibly sourced. Where will it go from here? Some predictions:

Sweets lose a little sweetness

With a 1.25-1.75% price increase in all food, eating well is going to get more expensive. Particularly hard-hit will be bread and cereals, beef, and — dare we say it? — chocolate. Rising butter and milk prices will likely translate to higher prices on chocolate for consumers. But the news isn’t all bad for those with a sweet tooth. The L.A. Times has declared that the pastry chef has made a comeback. While “the decline in the economy (the Great Recession) and the rise of the gastropub (the Small Plates Revolution) might have displaced the pastry chef,” fine dining is returning to the scene, which means more upscale menus require the skills and creativity “of an experienced dessert whiz, whether traditional or avant-garde.” Epicurious agrees, predicting that traditional French pastries like the éclair and canelé will make a splash at it-bakeries. So save room for dessert, because it’s bound to be worth a little extra.

Breakfast: the most important meal of the day

Andrew Knollton of Bon Appétit predicts pancakes are what’s for dinner. “Not the butter-and-syrup kind,” he writes, “but savory ones made with sourdough batter and studded with sea urchin, squid, smoked sturgeon, and the like.” Epicurious thinks breakfast will take an Israeli twist, especially in the form of shakshuka, a dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. And that might not be all: flavors of Jewish deli foods will be all the rage this year. Michael Solomonov, who is opening Abe Fisher, a restaurant devoted to “foods of the Jewish Diaspora” told the Philadelphia Inquirer “It’s great, because people are now interested in Jewish foods, and we can be a bit more proud and less secretive about what it is we’re doing.” And what’s doing goes beyond bagels and shmear: restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman of New York’s Baum & Whiteman foresees more Jewish fusion on menus like pastrami spicing and jus, and matzo-ball-and-brisket soup.

At the heart of the matter

With nose-to-tail dining becoming more ubiquitous and less terrifying to diners, Epicurious predicts beef heart will take center stage, as it has at The Arsenal in D.C., where it’s served with shallot, celery leaf, chive, and pickled mustard seed. Eating the whole animal is part of the still-growing sustainable foods movement, with an emphasis on responsible, local sourcing. Some restaurants are even taking to what the National Restaurant Association calls “hyper local sourcing,” whereby restaurateurs have their own gardens or raise their own meats.

Have you spotted these trends at restaurants near you? What did you think – passing fad or major staying power? Tell us in the comments!