I get asked often regarding trends I see in the restaurant industry, so I felt this topic may be relevant for the start of a new year. As a reference, I looked to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot” survey, an annual survey that asks chefs to identify food and beverage trends for the coming year. The following is a preview of the culinary themes that will be the talk of 2019. So, in the spirit of keeping an open mind, let’s dive on in:
- The top trend of 2019 will be CBD/Cannabis infused drinks, followed closely by CBD/Cannabis infused food. Simply put, CBD and THC are found in the cannabis plant, but CBD will not cause intoxication, while TCH, as the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, will. So the good news is that with CBD infused food and drink, you can enjoy the anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety benefits of the cannabis plant without the high. Or, depending on the state in which you live, you could get high, should you choose. No judgment here. AZ is a medical marijuana state, and while I have not been able to attend an infused dinner , I hope to make one happen this year…stayed tuned!
- Next on the list is Zero Waste Cooking, which is elevated cuisine using food scraps, damaged produce and leftovers. Think stir fries or veggie broth using all the scraps from veggies that would be thrown out, like carrot and cabbage bottoms, radish and beet greens, or onion peels. And just this morning, I listened to a podcast from a chef who is passionate about using coffee grounds (used) to flavor everything from sauces to ice creams. Plus, check out the James Beard Foundation’s new cookbook, Waste Not:How to Get the Most From Your Food, featuring a recipe of Grilled Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Peaches from local chef of FnB Restaurant, Charleen Badman. You can find it here on Amazon.
- Globally inspired breakfast dishes, such as Fuul and Shakshouka, both of which we ate in Egypt during our recent trip, are also hot. Fuul is a fava bean dish topped with olive oil, tomatoes, herbs and North African spices that is a staple in Egyptian cuisine. Shakshouka is a savory combination of eggs poached in a spiced tomato broth, also originating in the Middle East/North Africa region. Both are amazing dishes, and I am have included a recipe for Shakshouka below. Over all, global flavors will dominate, from the Israeli soda gazoz to Thai rolled ice cream and North African tagine.
- This comes as no surprise, but new cuts of meat will once again be among the top food trends, such as the Vegas Strip (shoulder area), the Merlot Cut (heel) and the Bavette (bottom of the sirloin known as flap meet). Honestly, this just sounds like restaurants are trying to cut costs on their end by offering the public cheap cuts of meat and slapping on a fancy name while charging an exhorbitant amount. Save your pennies and don’t fall for this one IMHO.
- Having been placed on a vegan-ish diet due to my heart condition, I am excited to see plant-based sausages and burgers as a top food trend. You will see more of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger on menus. It has been an eye-opening experience for me to look at a menu only to realize I cannot eat 99% of the dishes, so I have to say I hope this trend is here to stay.
- Veggie-centric and vegetable-forward cuisine will take center state in 2019. For the reasons listed above, I am all for this one. And if you are in doubt, go taste the magic that Chef Charleen Badman of FnB Restaurant can do with veggies and you will have an epiphany.
- Lastly, local meats and seafood round out the What’s Hot List for 2019. It has been exciting to explore the small butcher shops and seafood markets that have been springing up around town. In my hood, there is a wonderful choice of Arcadia Meat Market, Chula Seafood, Nelson’s Meat + Fish, and the classic, Hobe Meats.
I am curious what trends y’all might see in your areas, so drop me a line! xoM
Poached Eggs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce (Shakshouka)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 t. cumin
- 1 t. smoked paprika
- 1/2 t. oregano
- 6 to 8 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 T. chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
In a large, deep skillet, heat oil. Add onion and peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, cumin, paprika, oregano, and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Crack eggs on top of sauce, cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until whites are set. Sprinkle with parsley and feta and serve with warm pita bread.
Photo of Shakshouka by Marci Symington for texAZtaste.com. Photo of cannabis beverage from Shutterstock.