Top Food Trend Predictions For 2011

For years when editors asked me to predict upcoming food trends, I'd refuse. I have no idea what the next food trend will be, I'd say, because my dream is that one day we'll all stop thinking of food in terms of trends. Fat chance.

Still a young society in terms of taking food seriously, Americans are bent on trying everything on for size and the dizzying choices of global cuisine tends to give us food ADD. We don't really know what we stand for gastronomically — or rather we stand for almost anything, because we have no millennium-old traditions or culinary Holy Writ to pin us down.

We're open to the world, today as never before, and if some new ingredient, technique, or cuisine comes to our attention, we see no good reason not to try it out. Sometimes it ignites our imaginations (and our palates) and takes root in city after city, like the food truck phenomenon, but sometimes it fizzles like the dining in the dark experiences from a few years back — it turns out people like to see what they eat, hence food porn.

We at The Daily Meal — like most of you, I'd bet — are always planning our next bite, whether dining out or shopping and cooking at home. With such single-mindedness, we can't help but get some notion of what's bubbling and likely to splash over into the gastronomic headlines. Here are our best guesses for what we'll be eating or doing or talking about (or all of the above) in the 12 months to come.

– Colman Andrews, Editorial Director


Food Trend Predictions for 2011:

Nordic Food (i.e. The NOMA effect)

Look for: cured fish, lingonberries, game meat like reindeer and Aquavit cocktails


Portuguese Food

Look for: Portuguese sandwich shops, restaurants and bakeries like The Best Chocolate Cake in the World



Look for: The artichoke-like vegetables outside of Italian food


Wild Greens and Roots

Look for: Perslane, wild nettles, lamb's quarters, dandelion greens, chicory, stinging nettles, fiddleheads or sorrel


Offbeat Grains

Look for: Pasta made with spelt, buckwheat, grano arso, farro or cultivated wheat like Einkhorn pasta

Whole Animal Feasts

Look for: Whole pigs like at Amada's roast suckling pig but also goat and lamb like at Resto


Celebrity Vegetable Farmers

Look for: Organic vegetable farmers making names for themselves, like our own Special Contributor, Farmer Lee Jones


New Reservations Systems

Look for: Buying tickets for timed seatings like at Grant Achatz's new restaurant, Next, or ordering a large format meal ahead of time like the Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam Bar


Return of the Pot

Look for: Shabu shabu, Chinese hot pot, and complex one-pot meals like the tourtieres at M. Wells Diner


Return of the Regular Pie

Look for: Regular New York Pies taking the place of the over-hyped Neapolitan — see our tour of the best New York pizza

Food Co-Ops on Your Co-Op Roof

Look for: Hydroponic and organic gardens on the roof of your apartment building instead of lounge chairs


Pop-Up Dining

Look for: Outdoor farm dinners like Out Standing in the Field and well-known chefs like Ludo Lefebvre taking over a location for a one-night-only dining experience


Guerilla Take-Out

Look for: Imitators of this summer's grilled cheese delivery guy in New York City, Bread.Butter.Cheese


Celebrity Chef Concessions

Look for: More big-name chefs venturing into airports, stadiums and even bowling alleys


Fast Food Gimmicks

Look for: "Gourmet" flourishes like hand-cut fries or, on the flip-side, ultra-indulgent specials like the Double Down


Completely Homemade Cocktails

Look for: Everything from house-infused liquor to house-made bitters. Learn how to make Douglas fir-infused vodka and chanterelle vodka.

Hollywood-Ignited Food Trends

Look for: TV and movies influencing palates and eating habits, like Eat Pray Love, iCarly's spaghetti taco and the Harry Potter butterbeer scuttlebutt


Click here to see the Top 25 Food Trends from 2010 story.

Click here to see the Top 25 Food Trends Slideshow.