Top Food Trends for 2011: Parties That Cook’s Forecast

Thank you, 2010. It’s been great. You allowed the cupcake to rein king, the experimentation of flavor through artisan ice cream, and the sustainability/farm-to-table movement to go mainstream. Sadly, the time for you to step down is fast approaching. We must prepare for the upcoming year, and examine some of the buzzed about predicted trends for 2011.

1.    Hot dogs. These puppies have become quite controversial recently. Arguments break out in the streets DAILY as to whether or not hot dogs have already passed their prime. With so many gourmet hot dog suppliers out there, dogs seem poised to continue their rise in 2011.

2.    Pies! Pies of all sizes are set to replace the cupcake next year. While some people will certainly hold on to cupcakes for dear life, most will make the switch as pies become very easily attained. Look out as pies are no longer solely associated with sweet flavors, but savory, meaty flavors as well. That’s amore!

3.    Affordable eats. The economy is wreaking havoc on trends, as it should. People will want to eat smart, and that could mean higher quality at lower cost. More casual spots are taking precious Michelin stars these days. This might also be related to the anticipated restaurant trend of limited menus like that seen at The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen.

4.    Mom and Pop Restaurants. If you can, now is the time to take advantage of the economy and buy some real estate. Moms and Pops are opening small, self-financed shops EVERYWHERE.

5.    Butchery. This trend sprouted in 2010, but 2011 should be butchery’s time to shine. Yes, we already have established, celebrity butchers. However, the sheer number of butchers should rise as more chefs want to be more “hands on” and minimize waste! All this prompted a Chef’s plea for butchery classes. Could this trend cause a shift in the norm for people to eat rare cuts of meat and meat on the bone instead of having everything boneless and skinless? Don’t worry, BACON will always be popular.

6.    Filipino food. We are all familiar with Asian food –or at least Chinese and Japanese (and, if we’re lucky, Vietnamese and Thai food) –but what about those other cuisines just on the cusp of mainstream popularity? Some people have faith that Korean food will make it big in 2011, but I happen to be rooting for Filipino food. Filipino food traditionally incorporates all parts of the animal, which fits perfectly with 2011’s butchery trend! Also, most Filipino restaurants are small, mom and pop restaurants –another predicted trend for 2011!

7.    Artisan tofu, hummus and yogurt. We’ve already seen the artisan ice cream and frozen yogurt explosions, now it’s time for experimentation with these other fine foods. Also slipping into the list are gourmet popsicles. Chefs may go a little crazy with the flavors, but bring it on!

8.    Vegetables. As people become more health conscious in general, we should see more veggies on menus and in dishes. Raw, cooked or fried (well they started out healthy!), keep an eye out for vegetables invading your plate.

9.    Soft serve ice cream in restaurants. McDonald’s is not the only restaurant taking advantage of the public’s demand for this creamy dessert. Hot new restaurants like San Francisco’s Zero Zero have shown us why soft serve deserves a permanent spot on the dessert menu.

10.    Pop-up restaurants and swapping kitchens. The New York Times explained it best, “By taking advantage of underused kitchens, pop-ups allow young chefs, many with experience in San Francisco’s most highly regarded restaurants, to experiment without the risk of bankruptcy.” I welcome this trend, predicted to continue in 2011, and hope to experience new takes on dishes from a guest chef soon.

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