Since the end of the world didn't happen, all bets are off. In 2013, expect anything to go. Why not some surprises? You could argue that 2012 didn't bring many. It certainly didn't offer the earthshaking events like 2011's Modernist Cuisine phenomenon or the drama of elBulli closing. The great burger migration continued, macarons and donuts redoubled their assault on cupcakes, and trendsetters like Grant Achatz continued on their groundbreaking path. Gluten-free, locavorism, food trucks — these trends all strengthened, but none represented a big move forward in newnesss. So if big things are to come in 2013, what are they?
We'll be happy to tell you. But first let's review The Daily Meal's 2011 predictions for 2012
Late in 2011, we used our staff's "hive mind" to see if the trends for 2012 couldn't be determined. There were 16 predictions, ranging from Nordic, Jewish, and Moroccan food taking hold, to exotic fish and wild greens taking off. Reviewing these 16 predictions alongside the actual 25 top food trends of 2012 reveals a pretty good track record. Here's how we scored:
|#16 President Mario Batali and Bobby "Brando" Flay||More chefs made it to Hollywood and more celebrities mingled with them|
|#15 Arancini||Even if it wasn't a huge trend, arancini made star turns|
|#14 Exotic Fish||Paiche and other piscatorial curiosities got better known, didn't excactly become household names|
|#13 Jewish Food||Craig LeBan gave Zahav four bells and named it one of the top five restaurants in Philadelphia. And as First We Feast noted, besides Kutsher's and Mile End, other buzzy Jewish restaurants hit it big in 2012|
|#12 More Neapolitan and Funky Pizzas||Neapolitan pizza has been taking over America for years, and 2012 featured new funky pizza places and still more spots with wood-burning ovens and D.O.C. pies|
|#11 Moroccan Food||It didn't exactly storm our restaurants|
|#10 Wild Greens||Likewise|
|#9 The Great Burger Migration||It continued as predicted, particularly with expanding chains like Umami and Shake Shack|
|#8 Reservations with Many Reservations||Indeed, more restaurants eschewed conventional online reservation systems — and reservations, period|
|#7 Food Halls||We're convinced that they're going to keep coming|
|#6 Alternative Iconic Sandwiches||Likewise|
|#5 Miami Is the New Las Vegas||While José Andrés opened The Bazaar in Miami, a few more chefs beyond him, Daniel Boulud, and Andrew Carmellini will have to open in this Florida mecca before it can really be called the next Vegas|
|#4 Gluten-Free… and the Backlash||The trend continued, if the backlash was less than we'd thought|
|#3 X Is the New Cupcake||The "next cupcake" appeared on the scene in the form of the French macaron, though it isn't yet widespread enough to usurp the throne, and our own prediction for the position, cookies, wasn't really the cupcake-killer we'd hoped for|
|#2 Fast-Food Reinventions||They just keep happening|
|#1 Nordic Cuisine||Still on the rise|
Quibble with our scorecard in the comments if you'd like, but by our count our predctions were correct about 78 percent of the time. Not bad. Not bad at all.
So what about the coming year? This year our staff came up with 21 credible predictions for 2013. Look out for lesser-known citrus fruits; you may have seen them on a few menus, you'll see them on more. Super-hot chiles will start showing up on even more menus (thet Red Robin chain has lately gotten into the act, even if it was mostly in name only). Sea beans, urban honey, "designer" brand-name meats, the rise of the pressure cooker, and the Brooklynization of food beyond the borough (and New York City's) borders. What else? Let's not give away all the fun. Take a look at our slideshow to discover what's in store for the food world in 2013.
Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Follow Arthur on Twitter.