Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Brussel Sprouts are in! Yes really!

I am interested in food trends for several reasons:  It is my job to be interested. I always want to be able to present my clients with new and exciting ingredients and/or recipes (they are unrelenting in this desire).  I am also naturally curious about all things food, and I like what food trends say about us as a society: our relationship with the environment, tradition, and technology.  Some trends I write off immediately not because I believe they won't take off, but because I just do not like them: bacon in everything is a good example of a food trend that I take no part in in my own kitchen.  I like rediscovery food trends: such as our new (very old) love of Ancient grains/seeds, such a spelt, kamut and chia.They find there way in to my recipe development on a regular basis. Some trends from the 90s, my formative foodie years, are now so boring to me my eyes glaze over when I come across them in the grocery store i.e: mesclun salad mix.

Elite Restaurants around the world are the birthplace of many food trends. I came across the following article when researching food trends for 2013, and it steered me in a new direction in my thinking on the subject.   Critics Notebook: How much is too much to pay for a meal? by Lesley Chesterman, (Montreal Gazette January 11, 2013)
...when it comes to super-elite restaurants, I have one complaint. Too many food writers drool all over them with very little consideration for the fact that dinner at said establishment will set you back a mortgage payment. Why is it that when the food media write about restaurants like Michel Bras or The Fat Duck or Arpège price is rarely mentioned? Probably because so few food writers pay for meals out of their own pocket. Food bloggers get a regular lashing for accepting free meals, yet professional journalists often have the meals covered by the news source they write for and an increasing number are accepting meals on press trips. So when analyzing a meal, price is rarely mentioned for one reason: Chances are the person who is writing about it doesn’t have a dime invested in the experience...After some 15 years of restaurant reviewing, I’ve become less interested in food trends and increasingly sensitive to the subject of money in restaurants. How easy it is to recommend a restaurant when you’re not paying the bill! Even those of us lucky enough to have costs covered by our employers never quite feel the sting of that inflated “addition.” Yet off-duty, at those lofty restaurants where I picked up the tab, I often walked away feeling dumb for having paid so much for nothing more than dinner — and a dinner that didn’t change my life or even teach me about haute gastronomy. No, all this dinner did was put a major dent in my savings. As a passionate restaurant-goer, I can justify spending $200 per person for a great meal. But when you’re getting into $300, $400, $500 per person territory, the culinary thrills categorically fail to meet expectations.
And so should the big new food trend of 2013 be a consideration of price, and what a diner can realistically afford?  Should we more vigorously debate the borderline obscenity of ridiculous menu pricing in a world struggling economically? I personally have never eaten at Toque or Chez L'epicier.  You could argue that in my line of work I should experience these places, take in the food presentation, the use of ingredients etc....but I cannot afford them because they are completely out of my range. I do not feel sorry for myself, and luckily I can reproduce some of the meals on offer in my own kitchen for much much less, but there is something a little off putting thinking of all the budding chefs in professional kitchens who cannot afford their own creations.  

Here are a few food trend lists and/or articles I like for those looking for something a little more tangible:
Here is a funny online article intended for food bloggers, and anyone who needs a laugh.

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