Food trends come and go. But some really do stick around for a long time. Cupcakes are still popular — even though doughnuts are quickly taking over that dessert niche — and gluten-free items don't look like they'll be going anywhere anytime soon. Like it or not, trends have weight. And we asked our chefs to predict the biggest food trends of 2016.
What do you think the biggest food trends of 2016 will be?
Allison DeVane, Owner of Teaspressa & Tea and Toast
Hybrid food and collaborative spaces! I think the idea of mixing cultures and tastes to make something different is starting to pick up, which is exciting! Lately Phoenix has been getting tons of new restaurants with different cultural inspirations and businesses have been partnering up on collaborations.
Chef Robert Nixon, Geordie’s Steak at the Wrigley Mansion
I think that smaller portions will be more prevalent in 2016.
Silvana Esparza, Chef/Owner of Barrio Urbano
I [don't know] what the next trend will be. I do hope it’s a move back toward real dining. White tablecloth, real food (NO GMO), and old-fashioned excellent service.
Rick Phillips, Owner/Menu Development at Bootleggers
Bagels (Montreal and NY) and fried chicken sandwiches.
Country Velador, co-owner of Super Chunk Sweets & Treats and pastry chef at Cowboy Ciao
Housemade artisan products will grow even more, I hope. I hate cookie-cutter food that all looks the same. Maybe I'm rebelling against years of working in a corporate restaurant. But I like it when I bake a tray of cookies and they all look different. It shows that they were created by an imperfect human being and not a machine. Everyone's talking about insects, too. I really don't want to eat crickets in my soup.
Brian Archibald, the Boulders Resort & Spa
A few that come to mind are:
- Coffee creativity. We are seeing some many innovative options of coffee products, cocktails, infusions, mixers, carbonated, etc. I think we are going to see more, and they will sell in 2016.
- Family-style sharable plates. It’s not “new,” but my favorite style of menus and where I’m seeing a resurge is sharable dishes for the table.
Tracy Dempsey, Head Dessert Maker/Owner of Tracy Dempsey Originals
Given current events, I am sensing a return to what we saw about 15 years ago. I foresee a return to comfort food. It might well have a flavor profile we didn't grow up with, but it's going to fill us with that sense of familiarity and safety that we crave. I also see a continued, if not increased, interest in salt and smoke. The great preservers.
Cullen Campbell, Chef & Co-Owner of Crudo & Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails
I think you are going to see more classics come back. I have seen it happening a little in NYC and LA, where chefs are doing classic Italian and French really well. I just had the best Croque Madame ever at Petite Trois in LA! At the same time, I hope for some more funky things, like a Chinese-style pizzeria (don’t knock it till you try it).
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Aaron Pool, Chef and Owner of Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soups
Hopefully something involving confetti sprinkles.