Yes, 2015 was a super sweet year, full of love for Lemon Brownies and s’mores in all shapes and forms, a calendar stuffed with delicious hacks and mashups and Next Level dishes recorded in stop action photography and shared widely. But there’s lots of tasty trends to look forward to in 2016. Here are some food and drink trend predictions from a few plugged-in Seattle chefs and mixologists.
Dezi Bonow, The Carlile Room: “I say this every year but 2016 is gonna be the year they start allowing carbon-neutral “alternative protein” …aka bugs. So yeah, insect used as filler in frozen Salisbury steak and Quarter Pounders.”
Shota Nakajima, Naka: More sea urchin. “Uni is one of my favorite ingredients! It’s great for honestly anything as in grilled steamed fried or raw. It can be used as a umami component for a hidden flavor for many sauces as well!”
Jamie Boudreau, canon: “You’ll continue to see smoked drinks on menus, but people will begin looking to more than wood to smoke with. People will continue to sneak “flair” into bartending and this will be most obvious by the number of “thrown” drinks a bar prepares. American whiskey will continue to be the new king, with it being heavily allocated again and prices will continue to rise in this category.”
Tom Douglas: Veggies, veggies and more veggies. (Said the chef whose robust row crop farm in Eastern Washington managed by his wife/genius business partner, Jackie Cross, yielded 36 tons for his 15 restaurants.)
Brian Cleavinger, Vendemmia: “Vegetables!!!! I think these will become less of a side or an accompaniment and become the star of the show. Smoked and charred vegetables are delicious. They most certainly will start being recognized. And don’t forget about the fruit. People will begin pairing stuff with fruit and vegetable dishes instead of just adding vegetables and fruit to a protein based dish.”
Brendan McGill, Hitchcock, Hitchcock Deli: We’re going to see “more chefs considering balanced nutrition when cooking, veering from the all-porkapalooza and introducing raw and green components alongside broiled and steamed… Grass-finished meats, wild seafood, raw fermentations, whole grains, green vegetables, heirloom legumes, etc. Also, looking for the death of commodity meats: not sure if this will really happen but it’s what I’m screaming about. It is almost unspoken in food critic circles (Amazing new restaurant? Is that IBP feedlot beef on my plate?) I don’t eat any commodity meats any more and don’t serve them in even my most casual concept. It’s time to hold chefs accountable.”
At Allrecipes, there’s an increase in interest in “good fats”, with dishes featuring alternative oils like avocado oil and coconut oil on the upswing. Flavored oils are going to be hot, too. Could 2016 be the year cooks finally praise the lard? Here’s hoping!