The world's top chefs predict the biggest food trends of the year ahead
Food Tribe gains exclusive access to the minds of our favourite chefs
When Whole Foods reveals its annual predictions for the food trends to watch they're normally pretty spot on: the 2019 foresight included a rise in CBD products, tick; eco-conscious packaging, tick; and vegan meat snacks, huge tick! Congratulations Greggs.
Looking towards 2020, the mega-grocer took hold of its foodie crystal ball and told us with great aplomb we'll see an increase in regenerative agriculture (a type of farming that restores degraded soil), West African foods, plant-based meat products and alternative flour. Well-known magazines, food critics and influencers also made their own predictions.
Food Tribe decided to get in on the act by asking our favourite chefs — both established names and hot new talent who are heading up kitchens as far reaching as Padstow, Cornwall to the East Hamptons, New York — what they think will take the world of food by storm this year. Note: some were a little more chatty than others on this subject.
Ben Tish culinary director at Norma
Chef Ben Tish is the Culinary Director of Fitzrovia’s recently launched and hugely popular, Norma, a Sicilain-Moorish influenced restaurant on Londons Charlotte street and The Game Bird The Stafford. He is putting his bets on a rise in Italian food and more zero waste restaurants:
“We will see more British-cum-Italian restaurants coming through this year. Italian-influenced, produce-led restaurants, which use mostly British ingredients. This is partially Brexit-led and also due the fact we have now decent Mediterranean style vegetables being grown in the south of England. This also stems from a push towards sustainability.
"Secondly, we will see more and more zero waste restaurants and menus — not just plant based, but fish (and meat to a lesser degree), all with a focus on helping save the planet. Chefs such as Josh Niland (who pioneered the "nose to tail" of fish) are leading way on fish butchery. More and more unusual parts of fish are being cooked and eaten: think fins, belly, collar."
Greg Marchand, Frenchie Covent Garden
French chef Greg Marchand celebrated a Michelin star win last year for his restaurant Frenchie Rue du Nil in Paris and continued popularity for his second outpost Frenchie Covent Garden in London. For 2020 he predicts a further rise in sustainability and traceability in kitchens:
“I think this year there will be an even bigger push on sustainability in the food industry, whether that’s through ensuring complete traceability by working closely with local farms and suppliers and bringing down food miles, or by ensuring food waste is at a minimum.
"At Frenchie Rue du Nil, we’re working with Fonds de dotation Merci, a remarkable farm on the outskirts of Paris in order to ensure the restaurant uses ingredients that are seasonal, traceable and ethically secure."
Greg also reckons we’ll see a rise in delivery (or ghost) kitchens: “I also think there will be an increase in the number of dark kitchens in restaurants across the UK, due to the increase in food delivery services such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat. As the restaurant market is struggling groups will be trying to tap into the fast food market in order to increase profits.”
British chef Kelly Stretton was classically trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London. Since qualifying Kelly has worked as a private chef in the South of France and in some of the UK's best kitchens including The River Cottage. Kelly predicts a spike in vegan fast food.
"Imagine all the food options available from stalls and food trucks at Glastonbury, but as vegan alternatives and available all year round. I think there will be a major rise in vegan street and fast food as this year unfolds.
"One of my favourite cooks Gizzi Erskine hit the nail on the head last year with her “Pure filth” burger and that went down a storm, herbivores and carnivores wolfed it down and even the Beckhams sunk their teeth into it. Definitely a sign of more of what's to come.
"I also reckon more nose to tail experimenting. Aussie chef Josh Niland's The Whole Fish cookbook is a real gamer changer. I think sustainability will start to sink in as a permanent mindset, rather than just a passing fad. More chefs are realising we need to look after this place we call home, so not wasting what we already have is a good starting place."
Tom Aikens we know as the youngest chef to win two Michelin stars aged only twenty-six and one of the most creative and talented chefs in Britain.
He's 50-years-old now and has built an international restaurant empire, which he operates today and his dishes continue to emphasise sustainable, high-quality British ingredients executed with creative, technical flair. His latest outpost Muse opened in London this month.
Tom makes his predictions: "I reckon we’ll see a return of the basic staples of flavouring, like picking, fermenting and smoking and the rapid fermentation machine from MSK will be a big hit in kitchens across the country."
Josh Van den Berg
Chef Josh Van den Berg at Mayanoki
Josh Van den Berg is head Chef at Mayanoki in New York City's East Village, the city's only sustainable Omakase Sushi Restaurant. Here's how he sees menus shaping up in 2020:
"I think 2020 is going to birth a lot of new concepts giving greater consideration to plant-based diets. It's kind of a weird time right now with all of the animal-protein-alternative products in development, but until they perfect test tube tuna, I foresee a lot more vegetable cookery.
"I also think sea vegetables are going to become more commonplace on menus. I recently received a sample of sugar kelp and dulse from a farming operation out of Alaska, which was a great product with diverse applications."
British chef Paul Ainsworth is chef-patron at Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow, Cornwall which won a Michelin star in 2013 and has four AA Rosettes. After studying at catering college, Ainsworth worked for Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing.
Michelin-starred restaurateurs Paul and Emma Ainsworth, along with their head chef John Walton opened Mahé cookery school and chef's table in May 2019. Named after the Seychelles island where Paul's parents met. They also own The Mariners pub in Rock, Cornwall.
Paul gives his predictions: “I’ve noticed a lot more chefs getting stuck into making their own bread and butter, as well as pickles and preserves, which I think we’ll see continue into 2020.”
Chef Anand Sastry
Chef Anand Sastry heads-up the kitchen at Highway Restaurant and Bar, East Hampton’s perfectly-perched restaurant along Montauk Highway. It comes from TOMS Hospitality the team behind hotspots such as Eleven Madison Park, Shuko and NoMad Hotel Restaurant.
Anand bases his predictions on giving different culture's cuisines a new spin and zero waste: "Healthy food with an emphasis on sustainability is growing in popularity at restaurants, which is amazing to see. Chefs are rethinking what ingredients they put in their dishes and utilizing more seasonal produce. There are now so many non-profits who pick over leftover food and work to create more meals out of the scraps that otherwise would have gone to waste.
"Adaptations of different culture's cuisines are also a trend that I have been seeing especially within the Korean and Japanese cultures. At Highway, we implemented Asian-inspired nights which feature traditional Asian dishes with a twist. It's fun to step out of the box, get creative and put your own spin on an authentic dish."