Food Trends for 2014

Looking back on the fickle food winds of the past year, while such red hot trends from years past as organ meats, food trucks, bacon confections, pop-up restaurants, red velvet cake/cupcake/ice cream, gold leaf on food, foam and so forth begin their long and inevitable slide into cliché, I wonder what will become trendy in the coming year.

Hungry foraging guy, probably in Portland

Hungry foraging guy, probably in Portland

Here are some of my predictions:

• 70s/80s Food
The music is back, so why not the food? We’ve seen the comfort foods of the 50s and 60s — fried chicken, mac and cheese, meatloaf — get their glowing due in the contemporary foodie renaissance. So isn’t it time for the return of the sun-dried tomato and the re-introduction of radicchio? Quiche and blackened catfish, anyone?

• Flavors That Really Don’t Go Together
As edgy, envelope-pushing chefs exhaust the realms of insects, guts and food that is still moving, they’ll be boldly searching for the next frontier. And I’m guessing it will be flavor combinations that really don’t go together. Nobody’s ever done it! — at least, not intentionally. Imagine the look on the face of the trendster in that expensive restaurant when they place a forkful of cabernet-and-chipotle/lime braised tripe with curry/sauerkraut bolognese into their mouth — and then pretend they like it because it’s so in, so now.

• Foraging
Long the purview of a fringe hardcore few, foraging has for some time been poised for the mainstream. Where it used to be hippies with walking sticks poking around in the woods, don’t be surprised to find young, well-dressed urbanites digging and gathering in your yard, pulling up roots and gnawing on tree barks. “That’s edible, you know,” they’ll tell you.

• Everything Is a Restaurant
In an age where chefs can take over any kitchen and call it a “pop-up” restaurant, soon everything will be a restaurant. Similar to the paladars of Cuba — where regular folks open up their houses as restaurants — your friends will invite you to dinner, take your coat, seat you and present you with a menu that says “Jeff’s Kitchen” or “Chez Jen”. At the end, they’ll bring you a bill. (Actually, this is what I’ve been doing for years — minus the bill part.)

• Soup Kitchens
Trend seekers tired of moving like sheep from one flash-in-the-pan eatery in this week’s up-and-coming neighborhood to the next will be looking for something more real, something lasting. And they will discover it in the soup kitchens of downtowns and skid rows across the country. As they find space at communal tables between the destitute and unwashed and settle in with their meal, they’ll be Yelping recommendations and singing the praises of this authentic food movement. (And feeling super-good about themselves for eating with the “people”.)

• Charred Food
Carbon is in. How many times have you had to throw away a steak or chicken breast forgotten too long on the grill? But expect those same envelope-pushing chefs I mentioned above — who have already discovered that diners not wanting to appear timid or un-hip will eat anything — to begin plating black, charred food. You won’t know what it is, but it won’t matter — because all charred food tastes the same! It might be pork belly, halibut or eggplant. It will look beautiful and it will be new, which are the important things.

• Schmaltz
With the animal fat renaissance vindicating butter, lard and duck fat, can schmaltz be far behind? Schmaltz, the old Jewish deli standby — rendered, coagulated chicken fat — is good, I guess, spread on bagels? Expect to see it swirled into risottos, sprinkled on Southeast Asian salads or smeared into towering stacks of matzo drizzled with Manischewitz reduction. It may be part of a larger Jewish deli trend, in which the venerable institution gets it’s due in shining new eateries with cool names like Tres Mazel,  Mentsch Club, The Bone & The Bitter Root, and Moshe Bar. Thomas Keller will open a high-end French-influenced deli called Oy Vé.

• Obscure Cuisines
Forget Vietnamese pho or Basque pintxos. Look for new restaurants serving specialties from some truly obscure parts of the world — a Burkina Faso bistro, a Djibouti diner, tidbits from Timor, fast food from Finland, slow food from Slovakia. And yes, I believe it’s coming — Icelanic hákarl, the fermented shark meat dish widely considered the most horrible tasting food on earth. What adventurous foodie wouldn’t be excited about that!?

159 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pal-O
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 14:41:23

    Next time I’m visiting I’m arriving with a coat. I want the full treatment!


  2. Mom
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 18:00:17

    Wow you dug up some interesting facts there.
    And you seem to be maturing. The cynicism for which I am justly famous seems to be emerging from your genes.


  3. linnetmoss
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 23:53:58

    Ever eat a pine tree? Some parts ARE edible! I am looking for the return of Euell Gibbons.
    Your mom totally cracks me up:) Especially that her online name is Mom.


  4. jewel
    Dec 21, 2013 @ 00:31:55

    And it’s likely that the bulk of your predictions will prove correct… 😀


  5. rachelocal
    Dec 21, 2013 @ 14:48:56

    I eat in soup kitchens now, but I’m not being trendy or ironic or even hipster.

    I just saw a billboard for a red velvet latte at Dunkin Donuts. They are SO behind.


  6. Greggie
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 07:42:30

    Re: Your related posting “Epic Sale.” I had sent it on to my friend Connie who has gone as far to order from Spain to get the authentic item she wants. She signed up for the Epicure Imports emails about upcoming sales and went to her first one Friday. She left me a message that “I’ve died and gone to heaven.” She had to resist spending hundreds of dollars but still spent an hour in the checkout line. Thanks pal for making her Christmas all the more merry.

    BTW chef Ilan Hall has a classic of flavors that shouldn’t go together with his matzo balls wrapped in bacon at his restaurant The Gorbals in the old Alexandria Hotel in downtown LA.


  7. Jessamine in PDX
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 08:25:09

    Hilarious! My notes: keep the blackened catfish and the schmaltz but bring on the radicchio! It’s one of my favorite “greens.” Also I think you will enjoy this little piece:


    • scolgin
      Dec 22, 2013 @ 14:53:18

      That is too funny. You think the guy would be happy — that’s better than the weed-clearing goat herds we have in the canyon. And it’s free!


  8. canalcook
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 19:40:34

    Love your predictions. It’s funny how food trends differ, foraging has definitely come mainstream over in Europe. You can get courses, books on it and loads of articles about it for the last year or two thanks to Noma.


    • scolgin
      Dec 22, 2013 @ 19:48:40

      I would think you could do some good foraging out on Dublin Bay! I found an enormous mushroom in the porcini family near a little farmhouse inn we were staying at in Wicklow, and brought it back and an Italian guy who was staying there too made risotto for dinner!


  9. Benjamin Thompson
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 19:33:04

    There’s been an odd influx of “high-end” Barvarian cuisine here in Chicago along with the red hot Portugese-Chinese cuisine of Macao (Which is actually delicious but the line down the block for the no reservations joint is uber-annoying.)

    My prediction: “Insects, the ultimate sustainable protein source!” Of course we’ve been eating insects a lot more than we realize. They’re called lobsters!


  10. rachelocal
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 21:03:39

    Sean! Freshly Pressed! I can’t wait to hear you say you don’t even care. I’m excited enough for the both of us! I knew it would happen. 🙂


  11. bernasvibe
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 21:53:00

    I’m hoping healthy food and eating habits becomes more trendy in 2014 …United States is leading the stats(or was last time I checked..) in obesity rates..Which costs ALL of us in the long run..Pushing back from the table & couches..and exercising couldn’t hurt either..And yep, for the past year and half I began drinking raw kale drinks and etc..Hows that for someone who loves! great food? In my natural New Orleans soaked bones/blood..Cute post! 2 thumbs UP


  12. awax1217
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 23:05:03

    Rabbits will be farmed like beef. The Rabbit patch will have rabbit meat on a stick and fresh carrot juice. There will be rabbit tacos, rabbit on a bagel and rabbit ears on a hoagie. They can breed fast and furious and will be easy on the wallet. The little restaurants will be called, “what’s up Doc” and have a hospital decor.


  13. Jessamine in PDX
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 23:29:13

    Woo! Congrats on the Freshly Pressed! =)


  14. transitionstande
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 23:49:26

    Mmm,I can’t wait!


  15. Michael Martinez
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 00:20:23

    I enjoyed this too much.


  16. Michael Martinez
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 00:21:11

    Reblogged this on Michael Martinez.


  17. innosense2013
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 01:30:48


  18. Joel Kravitz
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 01:55:53

    with regards to schmaltz – it is the magic that makes matzo balls magical matzo balls and chopped liver literally to die for. I am about to roast and smoke a roasting hen for the sole purpose of rendering a smoky spicy schmaltz for a New Years Day open house – the things we do for love,,, and I would not have been invited to the open house unless I promised to bring this Texas version of not your bubbe’s chopped liver – abi gezunt


    • scolgin
      Dec 29, 2013 @ 02:59:20

      Oh, the things we do for love. And I just got a cookbook called “Ivan Ramen” about a Jewish guy from Long Island who moves to Tokyo and against all odds opens a highly successful ramen bar… and WHAT is the key to the deliciousness of his ramen!?? YOU GUESSED IT… schmaltz. Mazel Tov, Joel!


  19. Simply Michele
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 04:03:08

    Reblogged this on Simply Michele and commented:
    Having been confounded by many of the food trends of the recent past, I enjoyed this post a lot. Especially since if I don’t enjoy it I don’t eat it (sorry Bacon!)


  20. tuckedintoacorner
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 05:23:53

    I once read a recipe for bacon and maple cupcakes. Once I was finished choking with horror, I began to think ‘Hey, that doesn’t sound bad. I put bacon and maple syrup with pancakes, after all.’

    And yet that seems tame compared to some of your list.


  21. urbancamellia
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 08:13:38

    Been doing untintentional clashing of flavours for years. Sometimes even my bin won’t open for these dishes 🙂 can’t wait for it to be a trend!


  22. chrisdians
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 09:12:33

    Reblogged this on mr and commented:


  23. GoosBall
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 12:11:34

    Shark meat is horrible..I don’t think so
    ever tried North Vietnamese blood pudding…try it if want to know what is horrible.:)

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed !


  24. pandwphotography
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 13:24:26

    I see ‘things only found naturally in your back yard’ becoming a trend here soon. “Oh that? It’s sautéed wild mushrooms and earthworms from underneath that rock over there.”
    And that photo caption—probably in Portland—hilarious.


  25. aaronsnowblog
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 14:30:36

    Thanks for this article! really useful for my study international lifestyle in Holland. After the holidays I will start with analysing the ‘food trends’ so this really helps 😀


  26. arthurmivule97
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 14:57:18

    Kanda breaking the teeth.


  27. myfrontallobe
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 15:23:22

    Absolutely brilliant.


  28. Beauty Along the Road
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 18:39:20

    I think I’ll stick with locally produced delicacies (spiced lamb and venison sausage, anyone, or a fruity blueberry wine?) and foraged and garden grown basics… living out in the boonies with limited access to big town eateries has a way of bringing folks back to what makes sense, economically and health-wise..


  29. bikerchick57
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 21:28:38

    No thanks to charred anything, schmalz or tripe in any combination with anything else. I’ll stick with my usual bring stuff. And congrats on being pressed.


  30. Jamie Smith
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 22:00:52

    Reblogged this on A Stroll and a Snack and commented:
    There’s nothing like the taste of fresh clairvoyance by Scolgin.


  31. geofoodie
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 01:15:44

    Very funny and that includes the comments by Mom! I am struck however by the Interesting mix of politics in this list– seems much of it hardens back to the Thatcher-Reagan era with a rise in soup kitchens to exploitation of less well known groups to the increased value of non-sustainable foods.


  32. Raven Whyte
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 04:05:30

    China will start to export a wonderful delicacy….silkworms. toasted, they have so much protein that some people cannot even eat them. Tastier than some foods I can think of…. like chitterlings and tripe.


    • scolgin
      Dec 30, 2013 @ 15:35:23

      I used to gather those in the trees when I was a kid! Who knew they were a food item!


      • Raven Whyte
        Dec 30, 2013 @ 16:26:51

        In honesty, anything remotely edible could become a food item. I personally prefer it be dead first, but maybe apes know something humans don’t …not that I am all that willing to experiment in finding out.

      • scolgin
        Dec 30, 2013 @ 17:30:37

        I like dead first too. Like Woody Allen said in reference to oysters, “I want my food dead. Not sick. Not wounded. Dead.” (Although I, personally, will make an exception for the oyster.)

      • Raven Whyte
        Dec 30, 2013 @ 21:01:02

        even my oysters need to be dead. Some foods I will eat raw, but I think the only live foods I eat are things like plankton in water I get from natural sources when camping etc.

  33. awax1217
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 06:37:36

    In Jewish food the gefilte fish is prominent. I have finished for this fish in the water holes of the desert with no avail and worms that are stealth. Borscht is another veggie that is red and capable of forming soup with a stir of the wrist. Then there are blintzas which blind you with kindness.


  34. Anna May
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 06:43:48

    Reblogged this on mayanna8267 and commented:
    Love this! I wonder which ones will actually show up?


  35. dshah96
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 06:45:22

    You should add one more potential trend in that list: food cooked in a solar cooker. It’s environment friendly and can produce food in large quantities (as required by famous restaurants). Moreover, renewable energy is always a popular concept among scientists and activists. Actually, my mom uses it quite a lot. You can even bake a cake in that and boil rice and eggs, etc. It’s just an idea and I am not being sarcastic.


  36. TheGuiltyKitty
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 06:58:27

    You have a great writing voice. I died laughing a few times while reading this article. Thanks for sharing!


  37. Trackback: Factors of the Year | Find the Factors
  38. sociologyallstar
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 07:43:10

    Reblogged this on sociologyallstar and commented:
    Funny blog!


  39. naidumm007
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 07:59:07

    is it real?


  40. davfarrell1
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 13:36:07

    I hope that one day people recognise that British food is good. Any chance of that?


    • scolgin
      Dec 30, 2013 @ 15:34:16

      Britain has become very recognized in the food world — what’s that London restaurant, the Fat Something-or-Other?


      • David Farrell
        Dec 31, 2013 @ 16:04:09

        Oh no I was referring to actual British traditional food not experimental restaurants

      • scolgin
        Dec 31, 2013 @ 16:38:16

        All I know is that I, personally, can’t go a month without logging some pub/fish & chips time.

      • David Farrell
        Dec 31, 2013 @ 17:29:47

        Haha that’s kinda what I meant. It’s hearty and good. All my friends are always saying how British food is awful but they just haven’t had mums home cooking haha.

      • scolgin
        Dec 31, 2013 @ 18:02:26

        I love British food! Of course, I had an English grandfather. 🙂

  41. TwoGrand
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 02:59:31

    The day I see a bug posted as a meal on TwoGrand, I’m coming back here and congratulating you on your incredible foresight :).

    Awesome post! Thanks!

    CEO & Co-founder, TwoGrand


  42. thisoldtoad2014
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 05:29:32

    Reblogged this on thisoldtoadblog.


  43. seasonedplate
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 07:00:34

    I think you’re really onto something here. The food world is ever evolving and we run the risk of becoming a trendy cliche or really hitting greatness. I think our boundaries are going to be continually pushed and I’m excited for this change. It has started but it’s only going to pick up momentum as we move forward. I can see all of your predictions happening, if not in 2014, sometime not too far off. Insects, animal fat, foraging and a world of restaurants everywhere. I can not wait!


  44. catsholiday
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 18:00:53

    I like trying new things but agree some thing just don’t go well together


  45. mo2gome
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 00:22:41



  46. 113yearslater
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 02:42:41

    How about a minor trend at the moment: food that has been “aged” to the point of spoiling? Those eggs that you bury under the front porch for a month, fish heads buried under shoreline sand for a week, spoiled roe, leaving meat out until you have to scrape the green schmutz off of it … There’s a long, disgusting trend of “preserving” food by doing no such thing and merely allowing it to go bad.

    Then, there’s the “soak it in lye” school of preservation, ex. lutefisk. Sort of like preserving food by acting upon it in such a way that it isn’t even food anymore.


  47. Local Sprouts
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 08:45:51

    Reblogged this on Local Sprouts and commented:
    Really looking forward to seeing if the Djibouti diner trend takes off in 2014!


  48. ambradambra
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 08:56:34

    The ‘re-introduction of radicchio’? Not in my household. I’m of Italian heritage and have been eating it on and off for over 30 years, so it’s only to the fickle foodies who pick and choose what they’ll eat from one year to the next that this phrase applies. By the way, I grow my own specialty radicchio (not commonly found in shops). Here’s related blog post:


  49. dexterhinkson
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 12:20:54

    Reblogged this on Dexterhinkson's Blog and commented:
    Soup Kitchens and Schmaltz: Food Trends for 2014


  50. Vivian Raines
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 12:37:09

    Ha ha ha! Love it, especially your “Everything is a Restaurant.” I propose (hope) that good conversation will come back to food, meaning that the inFATuation with fast food (including quick, processed “foods”) will diminish. You sort of get at this in your wry prediction about Soup Kitchens 😉 Well done!


    • scolgin
      Jan 01, 2014 @ 15:42:08

      Thanks! Seriously though, I do believe people are moving away from fast food toward slower food. Well, maybe it’s bourgeois to think that. But we can hope! Cheers//s


  51. lectra222
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 13:43:06

    Reblogged this on lectra222 and commented:
    I am in my crawling stage of blogging! This was an interesting read. Considering I am one the pickiest eaters, some of these trends are a bit scary.
    Happy New Year and Bon Appetit


    • scolgin
      Jan 01, 2014 @ 15:40:58

      Yes, they were meant to be scary. Or funny. Congratulations on your new blog, and thanks for the re-blog. Look forward to seeing whatcha got! 😉


  52. lectra222
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 15:56:10

    Thank you! I think for now I will be hitting the reblog button for my readers to view more interesting reads until I figure out what I thought would be easier. Now I just need some readers- haha.
    I was reeled in with the red velvet cake.


  53. αNaturist
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 18:42:01

    I love trying new things and am looking forward to the rise of “obscure” cuisines in 2014… except for maybe hákarl, that sounds pretty disgusting…


  54. sleeplessmommie
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 22:36:33

    Awesome post


  55. Tina@foodboozeshoes
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 23:40:32

    I like the sound of schmaltz! Let’s see what 2014 holds for us all!


  56. catherinecuisine
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 00:41:53

    Great article… I agree with what you’ve predicted for 2014. What is surprising to me, as a bilingual (French and English) blogger, is that the trends are almost the same everywhere on the blogosphere.


  57. uncletom6969
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 04:25:37

    Reblogged this on uncletom6969.


  58. perthifc
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 06:27:30

    Great post, i am rooting for charred food 2014 may finally be my year to shine in the kitchen!!


  59. Shreya
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 14:59:47

    Such a incredible post ! really loved reading it ….


  60. Hilda
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 22:17:31

    Great blog. Found you on Freshly Pressed.


  61. Gabe
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 19:08:05

    Hi, nice blog!


  62. chefsclassics46
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 03:24:23

    looks tuff dont’t break atooth


  63. Trackback: Thought for Food | Soliloquies
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 17:55:33



  65. Shannon
    Jan 05, 2014 @ 19:10:02

    I don’t know if I’m wired wrong or what, but I tend to go against anything “trendy.” Eating sticks? Hmm…too much roughage, though I’ve occasionally eaten the dirt right off the veggie I just pulled. That’s not the same thing is it? “Flavors that don’t really go together” really hit home — some would wretch at what we conjure up for breakfast some days (decidedly NOT bacon and eggs).

    This was fantastic, by the way. When I saw it a few weeks back, I noticed the gravatar (that I normally see over at Rachel’s). I just came from over there and it reminded me that I never commented, though I meant to. Congrats on the FP. Very deserved!


    • scolgin
      Jan 05, 2014 @ 19:18:34

      Hey Shannon, nice to meet you! Rachel’s is one of my favorite places. Just checked out your blog, fun too!

      Thanks for your kind words. Do you know that there are actually some restaurants that are serving dirt now? (From the “Truth is stranger than fiction” department.) My friend Jessica in Portland (great blog: Attempts in Domesticity) read the post and directed me to an article about a guy in Portland who’s having a hard time keeping sous chefs from trespassing on his property to gather the wild greens that grow there. 🙂 I’m with you on the “trendy” thing. I’ve refused to eat at food trucks from Day 1 because they’re just so bloody trendy here in Los Angeles. Cheers, and happy new year!


      • Shannon
        Jan 05, 2014 @ 22:45:46

        My hubs and I were cleaning out the fridge (eating lunch) today and were left with a Lebanese lentil soup with turnips or a squash soup with coconut curry. He says, rather than decide who gets what, “Did you want me to mix them?” He was serious. LOL Two foods I would argue DON’T go together. Nice to meet you. I commented on one of your older posts too. Very funny that I stumbled upon it. Will prob see you again over at Rache’s, whom I visit regularly. She’s the (chili)bomb. 🙂

      • scolgin
        Jan 06, 2014 @ 00:51:56

        I told Rachel she did pretty well with the chilies… for an East Coaster… 😉

      • Shannon
        Jan 05, 2014 @ 22:47:32

        Oh my gosh. How rude of me! Happy New Year to you too. I’ll have to check out Jessica’s with the PC. Her blog isn’t loading well on the tablet. Cheers, Sean.

  66. plus size fashion
    Jan 06, 2014 @ 04:03:17

    I never realized there’s a thing called food trends… I just eat, eat and eat some more.


  67. lifeatthecircle
    Jan 06, 2014 @ 05:06:43

    great idea for a post! love the picture!


  68. sethrobbins
    Jan 07, 2014 @ 00:22:06

    Great read really enjoyed it! I’m out of Pittsburgh and get to see all those super trendy places all around me where I live in downtown…lol. Feel free to pop over to my blog and check it out


    • scolgin
      Jan 07, 2014 @ 02:44:04

      Thanks Seth! I checked out your new site, look forward to reading more. I like Pittsburgh, I was there probably 15 years ago and thought it was cool then. I bet that downtown area where the rivers meet has really taken off (there was a lot boarded up down there when I was last there). Cheers, //s


  69. Trackback: Thought for Food, not Food for Thought | Soliloquies
  70. aimeegiavelli
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 06:50:24

    This is so good !!! 😜
    If you fancy check this !


  71. mizalexcel
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 06:52:58

    i hope wood is not my food trend for 2014 XD
    help me with my post would you guys? 🙂


  72. mizalexcel
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 06:52:58

    i hope wood is not my food trend for 2014 XD
    help me with my post would you guys? 🙂


  73. Reykjavík foodie
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 22:04:40

    Awesome post! As an Icelander I will admit the last bit made me chuckle a bit! 🙂


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