2010's Food Trends

What's going to be hot on the food scene for 2010? In-house butchering? Homemade condiments? No more bottled water? Improved, personalized service? More comfort food?

DineLA interviewed ten of Los Angeles’ most creative and forward thinking chefs, sommeliers and restaurant owners, asking them to look into their crystal balls (or magic stock pots), to tell us what’s in store for 2010. Check it out below.

Ben Ford: Chef and Owner, Ford’s Filling Station
Fords Filling Station, 9531 Culver Blvd, Culver City, 310.202.1470

According to Ford, look for more alternative cuts of meat on local menus. In addition, the number of chefs butchering animals themselves in their kitchens will grow.

“It’s a lot more work,” admits Ford. “But there’s something about working with an animal by hand: the effort translates to plate.” In addition, he says, “In a world where our food sources are getting harder to understand, it’s better to have an animal you know is consistent as opposed to a burger patty with a thousand cows in it. It’s the epitome of taking it in the other direction.”

It’s all part of what has become known as the “snout to tail” or “head to tail” movement: using the whole animal.

“With the shift in the economy, it’s a great way to preserve concepts and preserve the integrity of your restaurant and lower your price point,” says Ford.

2. DIY
Akasha Richmond: Chef and Owner, Akasha
Akasha, 9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, 310.845.1700

Local chefs are going to be making their own condiments, says Richmond. This includes
ketchups, chutneys, jams and pickles.

“You can get a better product this way,” she says. “And it goes hand in hand with using local ingredients and being sustainable.” It’s also a great way to use up excess fruit, she adds.

“It’s very slow food,” she says, referring to the movement embraced by many local chefs.

Finally, customers love it. “It’s just so nice on the menu to say ‘cheeseboard with selection of house made chutneys.’ Everyone is really into it.”

Steve Goldun: Wine Director, Palate
Palate, 933 South Brand Blvd, Glendale, 818.662.9463

Keep an eye out for more Portuguese wines on local lists. “People are looking for value,” says
Goldun, and Portuguese wines are “very well priced, the whites in particular.”

Goldun expects “vinho verde,” which translates to “green wine,” to continue to make inroads. “It’s nine to ten percent alcohol, spritzy, you can drink a lot of it in the heat, it’s very refreshing, clean and crisp. It’s just easy to drink. It’s a good party wine. I see a future in that.”

He is also a fan of, and predicts a rise in popularity of what he calls “the robust reds of the
Alentejo,” adding, “they’re a lot better than and half the price of comparable French and American wines.”

Joe Miller: Chef and Owner, Joe’s and Bar
Joe’s, 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, 310.399.5811

While local restaurateurs have been flirting with family style dining, with special family style nights, 2010 is the year we’ll see “a big move towards family style sharing at the table,” predicts Miller.

Quite simply, he says, “It’s a lot more fun to eat that way.”

“What the mainstream is doing is, ‘This person gets salad. This person gets soup.’ That’s going to change.”

Miller even expects ‘position numbers,’ the system by which restaurant staff identify who is sitting where at each table, to go the way of the dodo bird. Because everyone will be sharing everything, there will be no need to know the guy at seat two is having the salmon and the woman in position four having the
quinoa salad. Instead, it’s salmon and quinoa for all.

Steve Arroyo: Owner, Cobras & Matadors
Cobras & Matadors, 7615 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, 323.932.6178

“I think the potato is going to make a big comeback,” says Arroyo.

“You look back to any kind of economic struggle. When the potato was in its heyday, we were in a little bit of a recession. Joachim [
Splichal] was doing the most amazing things with potatoes.”

doesn’t anticipate all-potato restaurants. But potatoes will get more play on menus, which he expects to get more compact in the coming year. Why so?

Restaurateurs, struggling to turn a profit, are going to need to trim costs. The easiest way to do that, he says, is to cut labor. Instead of having a big kitchen staff, “You bring in four guys and prepare a dozen really good things.”

Mary Sue Milliken: Chef and Owner, Border Grill and Ciudad
Border Grill, 1445 4th St, Santa Monica, 310.451.1655

“Being in California with our clients,” says
Milliken, “we’ve had lots of vegetarians and vegans. We have to keep that in mind all the time. I think broadening that to the general public that loves meat is the next thing.”

doesn’t mean big plates of tofu and broccoli. But vegetables will get more action while meat portions will shrink.

“We need to be a little mindful of the fact that it’s not sustainable for us to continue to consume massive amounts of protein and meat and animal-based product,” says
Milliken. A diet that’s heavier on veggies, says Milliken, “is easier on the pocketbook, easier on the body for digestion and easier on the planet.”

And restaurants are in a great position to lead the way on this front.

“When you’re cooking plant-based food at home, it’s very time consuming,” says
Milliken. “It’s a lot more work than throwing some protein on the grill. In restaurants we can process huge amounts of vegetables. This is a place where we can really help people.”

Andrew Kirschner: Chef, Wilshire
Wilshire, 2454 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, 310.586.1707

“Casual comfort” is the rule for the coming year says

“Food will still be farm fresh and local,” he adds, “but stripped away of all pretension and fussiness. We all need a little comfort in the current economic time, and this will be no different in the coming year.”

Look for “comfort food made with the same care, love, and attention to detail as fine dining food.”

“I believe this to be a great thing,” concludes
Kirschner. “It’s time for all the pretentious chefs to pull the stick out of their—“

Neal Fraser: Chef and Owner, Grace and BLD
Grace, 7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, 323.934.4400

You know the practice of waiters pushing that pricey bottled water? Well, expect a little less of the hard sell. In fact, the most progressive restaurants
aren’t going to be offering bottled water at all, says Fraser.

“Local water once cleaned or ionized is as good as the stuff from the Alps, with a smaller footprint,” he says.

And one more forecast from Fraser. “I think it is early, but in five years I see more bugs making it into cuisine in America. They’re a great source of protein, have no methane, no antibiotics and no fat.” And, he adds, they’re “crunchy and yummy.”

Kris Morningstar: Chef, The Mercantile
The Mercantile, 6600 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, 323.962.8202

Gourmet markets and larder style concepts will continue to multiply in 2010.

“A lot of it has to do with the economy,” says
Morningstar. “It’s a more casual, affordable way to eat.”

“People are growing more food aware,” he adds. “Some of it has to do with Trader Joe’s. They know their meats and cheeses and are seeking them out.” These marketplaces are therefore fulfilling a need. And from a business standpoint, having a marketplace and restaurant under one roof “creates opportunities to expand the customer base,” says

Sherry Yard: Pastry Chef, Spago
Spago, 176 North Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, 310.385.0880

Yard says the biggest trend for 2010 will be more emphasis on service. After all, people are eating out less and they’re going to go where they feel the warmest welcome.

Pastry chefs will be doing their part, she says, by offering more desserts that are served or finished

“It’s not crepes Suzette or baked Alaska,” she clarifies. “It’s cobbler and spooning things out, finishing plates with sauces at the table.”

She points to the influential restaurant
Alinea in Chicago which recently started a new dessert protocol. “Two chefs go out to the dining room and roll a mat out on the table. It’s an eating surface. Then they create artwork on the table and the guests eat from the table. When the guests are finished, they roll up the mat.”

It all comes down to this. “People want to feel special,” says Yard.

1 comment:

  1. I heard at Bottega that pork belly is sooo 2009 and chili spice-infused foods will be the trend in 2010... we'll see! I was saddened to learn pork belly could actually go out of style; it's a staple in my family!


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