Best food trend for 2021 according to the chefs
Late last year, we talked to dozens of chefs who predicted trends, that ranged from family-style dining to tasting menus with non-alcoholic juice pairings. Of course, no one could have predicted the way 2020 played out—though San Francisco chef Angela Pinkerton did anticipate ;we’d be eating more bread.(Best food trend for 2021 according to the chefs)
As we close out a year that’s brought upheaval; and devastation to an industry we love so much, we revisited the conversation to try to imagine, with a little more humility, what next year might bring. Below, chefs weigh in on the biggest restaurant trends they predict to find in a post-COVID-19 world.
Special occasion dining
“When we do dine in, it will be memorable.
More exclusive types of dining experiences in the dining room—think tasting menus, private dining experiences that go above and beyond with ingredients and access. People will go out for a truly memorable dining experience, where they feel safe and can expect an experience unlike anything they’ve had before.”
“With all the cooking at home going on during the COVID-19 pandemic, dining out is starting to feel super special occasion again—tasting menus with wine pairings are a fun step in the opposite direction.”
“In response to all that has happened this year, I believe next year will bring two polarizing approaches to dining. One that embraces the need for simpler, comforting and soul-nourishing cuisine and the other that functions as an escape and embraces frivolousness—allowing patrons to be both fancy and indulgent.”
Deeper dives into Black foodways
“I believe that folks are taking more interest in the African, diaspora and specifically what African-American foodways are in the scope of the American culinary market.
I think we’ll see a more focused conversation around ingredients, like sweet potatoes and various greens ,or biscuits as they relate to Black folks and more specifically how they come from our agricultural and more agrarian roots.
Families like the Conyers family in Manning, South Carolina, growing heritage sweet potatoes come to mind, or The Carter family of Philadelphia who have been growing watermelons and selling them on the corner of 84th and Lindbergh in Southwest Philadelphia for 50 years.
Cybille and I served those very melons for the Black Labor , Day pop up that we did on September 8th. I also think that there will be a rekindling under the fire of indigenous cuisines in America. Trends will be less “trendy” this year and more rooted as we look back on a year, that has grounded many of us and brought our foundations and truths to the surface, in my opinion.” — Omar Tate, chef and founder of Honeysuckle Projects in Philadelphia
“I think the current state of the industry leaves, the door wide open for more diverse voices and cultures from within the African Diaspora to thrive. We’ll see a lot more folks embracing the cultures that either aren’t often lauded in the mainstream or those that aren’t too concerned with the aesthetics of ‘perfect plating’ and pretension.
Individualized tasting menus
“As diners feel more and more comfortable going out, the same old menus just won’t cut it anymore. Dining out will really become something sought out for a unique experience. They want something created just for them, making it truly a reason to get out of the house and celebrate.”
“Small-group private dining will be hot. Restaurants that can provide safe, intimate spaces for small groups will be sought out at a premium.”
“I’m glad heritage cooking is trending, but it should be a trend that is here to stay. We (first-generation American chefs, immigrant chefs) didn’t ‘show up’ overnight and start cooking.
The rise in recognition for immigrant cooking and heritage recipes has been a long time coming, and to be able to cook their families’ food , and to be showcased properly for it, is something first generation American chefs , and immigrant chefs can celebrate. It’s high time these talented cooks get the spotlight they deserve , and the spotlight on their cultures those vibrant cultures deserve. Overall, in the New Year.