From flexitarian dining to the discerning foodie’s new favourite secret ingredient, we’ve grilled the experts on what to expect in food trends for the year…
While talk of trends was once the exclusive property of the fashion world, these days we’re just as swayed by the contents of our plates as the latest season launch.
There was 2016’s movement towards gluten-free baking, kale and chia seeds, while 2017 was the year street food took off from being a quick roadside munch to a full-blown dining experience.
Last year saw veganism shake off the crunchy granola shackles, but what could 2019 have in store?
From chefs to writers, we asked five foodies about what they’re most excited to get stuck into this year…
Hands up who’s a part-time vegan? Or Paleo Lite? Or gluten-free on weekdays only? You’re not alone.
Juliette Wall, Pho co-founder, says 2019 is the year of flex.
“Although our restaurants have always been inspired by the classic beef pho noodle soup, we’ve definitely seen an increase in customers wanting more vegetarian/vegan options in 2018,” she says.
“Before that, we saw a huge increase in the popularity of our gluten-free options (which remains high in our restaurants). Add all this to the demand for allergens to be removed and calories to be counted, and you’ve got the hottest 2019 food trend - flexitarianism.
I expect to see more diversity in menus across the industry into next year, as restaurants work to attract a range of customers with more varied dining needs.”
2. Food karma
While it’s all too tempting to turn that portion for four into a portion for one, cook and writer Melissa Hemsley is championing ‘food karma’ as the trend of 2019.
“That means making eight portions of food and putting three away for a rainy day, or bringing some in for your colleagues to share the next day for lunch,” she explains.
“This year is all about simple food and do-ahead meals you can whip up on a Sunday and then enjoy all week.
Roasting has had a revival over the last few years and it’s a really good way of making vegetables taste delicious.”
And how do you make your root veg exciting? Hemsley’s secret ingredient is a trusty bottle of Tabasco Green Sauce that you should keep in your kitchen cupboard.
“You just need to add a bit and suddenly things are delicious,” she says. “It works if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, but also if you love cooking.”
Not a fan of super hot dishes? Fear not. The green variation has a mild and zesty flavour to give your dish just a little kick without the heat.
It’s also just the ticket to liven up a dish for those flirting with veganism (hello upgraded avocado on toast), as well as being sugar and gluten free. Tick, tick and tick.
3. Best of British
For Alissa Timoshkina, founder of KinoVino Supper Club, it’s all about a revival of the best of British.
“I imagine this year will see us focusing more on British cuisine, but giving it a bit of a makeover,” she says.
“There are so many amazing chefs and restaurants working with local ingredients and this approach is gaining popularity.
Plus, with the notorious Brexit approaching, everyone is wondering how this will have an impact on the food scene. I hope that we’ll be able to retain the cultural diversity and inject it into local, seasonal British food.
But personally, I’d love to see dill being used more widely and imaginatively. For me, it’s the best herb out there.”
4. Dumpling domination
They can be hearty or delicate, spicy or even sweet. Yep, we’re talking dumplings, and Tom Griffiths, chef & owner of Flank, has a lot to say about them.
“In 2019, I’m really excited to see dumplings dominating London’s restaurant scene,” he says.
“With the hype around the opening of Din Tai Fung at the end of last year, dumplings are having a moment in the spotlight and I think that’s only going to continue into 2019.
Most cultures have their own take on the dumpling. From xiaolongbao, wontons and manti to the humble suet dumpling, it’s a dish that’s open to interpretation which is why we’ll see it as an enduring trend.
I think its versatility will see the dumpling as a serious fixture on menus across London this year.”
If you’re feeling particularly creative and fancy you can even try giving dumplings a go in your own kitchen.
For a mild zing add a splash of Tabasco Green Sauce to your dumpling mix and defy anyone who dares call your cooking bland.
5. Tahini for pudding
Writer, cook and restauranteur Ali Alt says it’s the year tahini shows that it’s more than just hummus.
“A dusting of rainbow sparkles doesn’t make anything magically taste better, so I’m happy to say farewell to the utterly absurd unicorn ‘trend’ of 2018. This year can only get better,” she says.
“Moreover, I’m ready for tahini desserts. Sure, tahini is nothing new – it’s a staple in the Middle East, and post-Ottolenghi, it’s now seen in many more kitchen cupboards.
But this year, I think more houses and restaurants will start using it beyond the savoury – think tahini cheesecake, milkshakes, muffins and cookies.”
A splash of TABASCO Green Sauce is all you need to make your dishes extraordinary. Follow them on Instagram for more inspiration.