Food Trends for 2015

On the more or less one-year-later heels of my wildly popular “Food Trends for 2014” post of a year ago — okay, it was Freshly Pressed, which meant I got about 12,000 page views I wouldn’t have normally gotten — I present my thoughts for what may be on the horizon in the coming year for the foodie universe.

Here are some of my predictions:

• Detritus
Where last year I predicted an explosion in foraging, with well-meaning chefs and hipster home cooks appearing hunched over in woods, urban parks and even unsuspecting back yards, this year I imagine a new trend in plating where chefs scatter dirt, leaf duff, twigs and other miscellaneous detritus they discover over the top of their dishes. I did read an article recently about a chef in Tokyo who was actually using dirt in his food. I tried to make it up, folks, but I couldn’t — it had already happened.

Tokyo chef Toshio Tanabe trying to explain why his dirt tasting menu is a good idea

Tokyo chef Toshio Tanabe trying to explain why his dirt tasting menu is a good idea

• Unwanted Chef Incursions
Now that the pop-up restaurant has become a tired cliché, there’s only one frontier left. Restless chefs looking for the next buzz-worthy moment will begin descending on the homes of regular folk like you and I, uninvited. A knock at the door, you answer it, and there before you is a young, tattooed chef armed with odd cuts of meat and a sous vide bath, ready to turn your kitchen into the culinary dream you never asked for nor wanted. Go ahead, try the police — your chef will have entered, cooked you a multi-course tasting menu, cleaned up and left before the dispatcher even sends out the call.

• The Thrill of the Kill
The Japanese, those stalwart pioneers in adventurous eating, have long enjoyed trying to carve up live seafoods as quickly as possible to consume the flesh while still pulsing. Merge that thrill-seeking precedent with the Chinese restaurant ritual of choosing your fish from a tank, push it to it’s ultimate conclusion (which seems to be the thing these days), and you get my next prediction: Killing your dinner. Restaurants will send you out back, where there will be a pen of chickens, suckling pigs, rabbits… You will be handed a mallet and instructed to choose your animal. It doesn’t get any more real than that, folks.

• Wonder Bread
I used to think I was clever with my use of King’s Hawaiian Bread. I would slip pulled pork into the sweet, doughy little squares, or make White Castle-y tiny hamburgers… And then one day, I saw King’s Hawaiian Bread on the menu of a trendy gastropub in Portland, and I knew it was done. But most chefs have yet to discover Wonder Bread, the flavorless, cloudlike stuff of youth (not my youth, mind you — my mother wouldn’t buy the bread, preferring instead to persecute us with dense, dry, austere, Scandinavianesque wheat loaves). You’ll begin to see it on expensive menus trimmed and tucked beneath caviar and foie gras, or in grilled cheese sandwiches where the chefs want you to taste the cheese and not the bread.

• Death of the Food Truck
What was once exciting and new has become tiresome. Who cares where the Kogi taco truck is parked today… and who even looks at Twitter anymore?? Soon, you will see them everywhere — abandoned food trucks, rusting like old tanks on a battlefield along the side of the road. Where once enterprising young trend hoppers sold their bacon cupcakes, pork belly bahn mi and truffle wagyu sliders, now you will find only lichens, burrowing vermin and the occasional disoriented homeless guy who doesn’t know what year it is.

Food truck

Food truck

• Endangered Species
This will be the year that regular folks like you and I abandon all caution and begin trying those things we always swore we weren’t adventurous enough to experience: live larvae served in Mexican restaurants, giant cockroach soup in Vietnamese cafes, whole petite oiseu — heads, feathers, feet and all! — in the palaces of French gastronomy. Not only we will like it, but we will no longer be satisfied with cows and pigs. Our culinary wanderlust will push us toward more exotic, rarer species — until we eventually find ourselves lusting after seared snow leopard loin, lowland gorilla grill, Siberian tiger bone soup. In other words, we will become like the Chinese.

The Javan slow loris — he's cute, he's endangered... and he just can't get away

The Javan slow loris — he’s cute, he’s endangered… and he just can’t get away

I thought my list was pretty darned good until I read Jonathan Gold’s “10 Worst Food Trends” in Sunset magazine, and realized that yes, truth is stranger than fiction. What do you see on the horizon for the coming year, dear reader?

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Jan 30, 2015 @ 00:57:41

    You may remember Sean,I was served the petite oiseu in a tiny french restaurant in the foothills of the Alps. My choices were steak or bird. I assumed it would be a quail but they were talking really petite. And very bird like, head, feathers etc. Being an avid bird watcher I was stunned and I thought your father would die laughing.

    Reply

  2. pal-O
    Jan 30, 2015 @ 01:50:55

    mmmmmmm……….Scalloped leaf duff with gruyere casserole seasoned with exotic organic dirt; I’m smelling a trend coming from the oven–family style. Fun read!

    Reply

  3. andreathompson
    Jan 30, 2015 @ 02:39:29

    That dinner mom speaks of scarred me for life, too. But now your musings about leopards, tigers and especially my beloved gorillas are scaring me to death. I’m convinced meat is good for humans and meant to eaten by us. But can we agree not to eat endangered species like leopards, gorillas and Tigers?? That’s called “bush meat” and it’s one big reason these precious animals are endangered along with habitat loss, disease, and poaching. These animals and the human groups who support them (including me) are working their asses off trying to save these animals from extinction.

    Reply

  4. Jessamine in PDX
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 04:56:51

    Trust me, if a chef entered my home, cooked dinner AND cleaned up (which my chef husband never does) I most certainly would not call the police. I’d die from pure happiness. Also on killing your own food: my husband always jokes that he wants to own a place called Cuddles. You sit down, order drinks, gaze at the menu, select the rabbit, let’s say…A cage drops down full of bunnies and you get to select the one you’d like for dinner (very much like the lobster tanks). The cage goes up, time passes, and your plate of delicious rabbit is served. I doubt it would fly but it amuses me. Oh, and think you’d appreciate this: weirdest meat request I’ve had lately: a 4-month old fawn. “Like a suckling deer?” I asked the chef. “Exactly.” The cuter they are, the better they eat, right?

    Reply

  5. Michelle
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 05:02:50

    We’ve gone beyond parody, haven’t we? I agreed with most of the Gold article, except the bitching about restaurants that won’t alter dishes. I agree with them. If you don’t want to eat what they’re cooking, really, don’t f’ing go there.

    Reply

    • scolgin
      Jan 31, 2015 @ 14:40:16

      Yeah, I think you’re right. We have a rather famous burger place here (one of the first “gastropubs”), and forget ketchup — you used to not even be able to tell them how you wanted the meat cooked (medium rare or nothing).

      Reply

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