Happy 2018, Food Friends!
Can we all agree that glitter and unicorn desserts are so 2017? Well maybe not, but a girl can dream.
I caught up with some of Orlando’s coolest chefs to find out what they see coming to a table near you in 2018, and here’s what they had to say.
- Crazy desserts are out; smaller, savory sweets are in
- Asian eats are here to stay
- RIP to unnecessary gluten-free dishes
- Say hello to veg cuisine, it’s here and it’s not playing
HAWKERS Asian Street Fare – Kaleb Harrell
“Ethnic desserts – We are revamping our entire dessert line because we feel customers are ready. Desserts that have a savory edge, are fruit-based, or just have ingredients outside of mainstream will gain popularity as the size of desserts decreases. Today’s customer would rather have a few bites of something amazing to end their meal than a bowl of corn syrup.
Savory cocktails – This one has been on the fringe for a while, but I think 2018 is the year for savory cocktails to take hold. Think meat stocks, dry rub ingredients, and vegetable instead of fruit juices.
Fast and fresh – This is the mecca for market share in lunch business. A few companies are doing well and expanding quickly, but it’s a race to see who keeps consistency. Virtually every diner is looking for a fast, and ultra fresh lunch option. How many days can you eat a Chick-fil-A salad for lunch?
Vinegars and sours – Fermented flavors are gaining more popularity and will continue in the next year. Look for pickling, fermenting, gourmet mustards, and generally bold flavors in small quantities to continue. Cheese and charcuterie are amazing, but the accoutrements are starting to take center stage.”
Black Rooster Taqueria – John Calloway
“I think we will see a lot of cauliflower. Gluten-free has reached its peak, so we will see more artisan and/or rustic breads and people milling their own flours.
Mexican will still be everywhere, but I believe Indian food is the next big cuisine.
Food as medicine will also be a big focus. From all of the juice bars to doctors and nutritionists prescribing specific foods and diets, we’ll be getting back to our roots with the earth healing our bodies.”
K Restaurant – Michelle Hulbert
“I think there will continue to be interest smaller desserts – that are portion-control friendly. Over-the-top, gigantic desserts will be a thing of the past. The healthier sides of sweets will include more seasonal fruits. I think in general we will see a larger focus on vegetables as the star and less starch-heavy dishes.”
K Restaurant – Ryan McLaughlin
“I think in 2018 we will see a continued movement toward more vegetable-forward dishes, a dedicated focus on limiting food waste, and an even stronger movement within the chef community to support small, sustainable farms that are focused on the ethical treatment of animals.”
Tapa Toro – Wendy Lopez
“I see familiar foods becoming more prominent on menus at restaurants. Think pork rinds and hot dogs. They will be reimagined with new ingredients and presentations.
I think we’ll start to see lesser-known cuts of meat appear on menus around town – like Vegas strip and Oyster steak. We’ll start to see more family-style dining options at restaurants. At Tapa Toro, we see groups of people passing plates around the table. Why commit to one entree when you could try a little bit of everything?”
Pizza Bruno – Bruno Zacchini
“I’ll start with pizza! For me, I see Neapolitan pizza still going strong but new styles and types will become the next thing from Detroit squares to Roman thin crusts and artisan slice pies with farm-to-table ingredients. Pizza has so many styles most people have never seen so it’s really wide open.
Overall fast casual is going to keep happening and moving forward with counter service places and places focusing on singular dishes done extremely well. Flavors for me are Middle Eastern, more regional Asian (think Bangrak), and Italian, of course! I also think that in 2018 we’ll continue to see veg-centric cuisine making its way onto more menus.”
“I see a bubble bursting of the stuff on stuff on stuff on stuff. (Not that I’m not going to do excessive shit until it dies.)
I think that more Asian popularity will happen, I foresee a rise in proper ramen coming to town and possibly Asian desserts. We’ve hit this wall of sugar hell, with no one hitting the less sweet almost savory desserts.
Hopefully an end to the gluten-free obsession.
My fingers are crossed for more Mediterranean-type places that focus on macro-based foods as fuel instead of insanely over designed places that don’t have the food to seal the deal.”
Is this roundup missing something, or are you seeing a trend worth sharing? Comment below and cheers to new year!
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!