To tell the truth, sometimes my work feels like a dream job. I co-founded Din so those of us who love food could recreate our favorite restaurant dishes at home and my job? It has a major perk. On a weekly basis I head into the kitchen with restaurants chefs to recipe test and develop items for Din delivery.
That means I get the intel on what techiniques, ingredients, and trends chefs are excited about right now. Here's what we're going to see more and more of this year:
NO WASTE LEFT BEHIND
No waste movement, led by Dan Barber of Blue Hill Farm means more chefs are leaving less parts behind like turnip or beet tops. It also means less cube-like, more imperfect cuts of meat (without the waste) at high-end spots.
WHAT'S REALLLY OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Bone broth might be a trend in the paleo world, but it’s about as old as restaurants get. The first restaurant was created to make soups and broths, which is why the name is derived from the word “restoratives.”
HIGHER END MEXICAN CUISINE, HIGHER END MEXICAN INGREDIENTS
Rick Bayless was one of the first to bring Mexican cuisine mainstream and now the next wave is here. Higher end Mexican restaurants (like Taco Maria) are making a name or modern Mexican and less common Mexican ingredients from heirloom corns to lesser-known chiles and delicacies like huitaloche (wee-hah-KOH-cheh) are showing up on menus. Huitlacoche is one of our favorite ingrediens: it's a black fermented corn with earthy, spongy kernels tha is often referred to as “corn truffle.”
A MOVEABLE RESTAURANT
These days, to innovate on your menu and still keep it local, you move the restaurant. World-renowned restaurants like Alinea and Noma are moving their locations (actually taking their kitchen staff on the road) to explore new flavors and get inspired as a team.
CHICORIES, CHALK IT UP TO THE FARM
County Line Harvest, started a farm in Southern California dedicated specifically to these slightly bitter, specialty greens (think endive, escarole, and radicchio). Thanks to them chicories are now more affordable for chefs and restaurants so they're popping up on menus more and more.
Puffed rice: it’s gluten-free, it’s crunchy and it cooks hella fast (just a few minutes). It’s a perfect topping on salads or tartare so it’s showing up on more menus.
PUT AN EGG ON IT (WITH PRECISION)
It’s not enough to just put an egg on it anymore. Every degree of temperature changes the texture. With more circulators in restaurant kitchens, we’re seeing more eggs with tiny differences in texture,from runny to custardy.
Manresa changed the status quo and dared to up the vegetable focus on their menu and downplay the proteins. Many have followed suit like Al’s Place, who recently won Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant, or Jean-George who’s now opening a strictly vegetarian restaurant, ABCV.
With The Perennial leading the trend in SF, restaurants are considering their total carbon footprint, not just that of the food that goes onto the plate. Look for more sustainable restaurant design in places you might not have noticed like the lightbulbs and other building materials.
SPAM I AM
Island cuisine whether it comes from Hawaii or Guam has spam on the menu and now it’s getting elevated and getting more attention.