Top 10 Food Trends for 2013 (Vancouver)

Top 10 Food Trends for 2013

Follow Me Foodie Predictions for Food Trends/Movements for 2013.

I wrote Vancouver Food Trends 2012 and Vancouver Dessert Trends 2012 and some of them made it, some of them didn’t, and some are still going strong. We saw nose to tail dining, bacon everything, gourmet comfort food (as always), drinking vinegars, charcuterie, eating local, and foraging, just to name a few, but it’s a new year and I’m ready for a new wave in culinary trends.

I was actually pretty excited to write this post even though I am not really keen on the concept of “food trends”. As I mentioned before, almost everything has been done before and it is just culinary recycling. It is the same stuff over and over again, but with a “modern twist”. “New things” are usually just forgotten things being brought back to life or re-discovered by a new generation or culture.

Just like last year, you may look at that list and think “I’ve been doing that for years” or “that was so last year”… depends on how “foodie” you are. Most of these trends are predictions for the Vancouver food scene, however they could apply to cities “less foodie” than Vancouver. And then some of them have already happened in major food cities 1-2+ years ago. I mean how long did it take Vancouver before we started seeing “gourmet doughnuts” everywhere?

Food trends are also regional and cultural, and every one borrows ideas from each other, so it really depends on what perspective you are coming from. Anyway I could be totally off on my predictions, but it’s not like I put money on it. And if I end up being right then yay! It’s better than being wrong and I should really consider giving Kickstarter a go.

To be honest I was much more enthusiastic about writing this post before I started thinking about “Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013”. I was tempted to write it, but then was too chicken to because I didn’t want to offend anyone… and then I thought what the hell why not?! That post is next Monday January 14… if I don’t cop out. (See 10 Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013)

Listed in no particular order.

The Acorn  (4)Vegetarian Lasagne at The Acorn

1. A new found love for vegetables.

Eat your veggies because they could be the only thing on the plate. This could be thanks to Rene Redzepi from Noma “pioneering” the concept, but it is catching on in a global scale. Vegetables are treated as meats as chefs are making them into carpaccio or braising them whole. Chefs are finding ways to make them appealing as the main course and not just the “vegetarian course” or side.

People are eating healthier and even though meats have their nutritional value, vegetables are always perceived as being healthiest. With the growing interest in eating local, seasonal and sustainable, vegetables are becoming more of a highlight on menus. More people are jumping on the “Meatless Monday” band wagon and various sorts of vegetable noodles and vegetarian tasting courses are sure to be found… could vegetarian be the new gluten free? We’ll see.

Alta Bistro Whistler (11)“Splash” at Alta Bistro

2. Artisan Sodas & Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

What? “Non-alcoholic cocktails”? So it’s juice? Yes, but no. Pressed juices are lingering and still there, but make room for artisan sodas and drinks listed under “non-alcoholic cocktails”. I’m not talking about virgin daquiris and Shirley Temples either.

Processed sodas that are full of sugars and high fructose corn syrup are being replaced with healthier options. DIY soda makers are also making it easier for people to make their own sodas using organic fruit and natural sugars.

For me a cocktail is no cocktail without the alcohol, but I actually enjoy these creative non-alcoholic cocktails. The virgin “Splash” cocktail I had above was vanilla syrup, lime, grapefruit and ginger beer served long and on the rocks and it was excellent.

BMW Long Table Bearfoot  (6)Textures of cauliflower: deep fried, pureed and grated – by Bearfoot Bistro

3. Cauliflower is the new kale.

I still love kale, but it is a “trend” of 2012. The cauliflower has always been there, but this year it is going to be used more often. I don’t know who to credit, but some chef made “textures of cauliflower” and then domino affect happened amongst culinary groupies. Whether it is de-constructed, deep fried, or braised people are getting more excited about cauliflower then years before.

I already saw it on a lot of menus from “in the know” chefs late last year and because it is an inexpensive ingredient any restaurant can easily incorporate it into their menu. It won’t just be the plain old white cauliflower, but purple cauliflower and green cauliflower will bring colour to the plate and keep things modern and interesting. Look forward to deep fried cauliflower as a bar snack as opposed to kale chips.

Cento Notti (29)

4. Fermentation

It’s the good kind of “food processing”. Kimichi, barrel aged and pickled everything. Some may argue that this was 2012, but it will continue on strong in 2013. Chefs take pride in pickling their own fruits and vegetables and it is a great way to have them available all year. It is going back to how things used to be done.

Last year it was pickling the obvious things like fruits and vegetables, but this year it could be more adventurous. It is also more towards fermentation which does not always include pickled foods and vise versa.

Kombucha, drinking vinegars were brewing last year, but there is room for fish and maybe even tofu or cheese (although it will have to be “black market tofu/cheese” because it is very difficult for either to pass health regulations).

Korea - Gourmet BimbimbapGochujung sauce in the top left corner.

5. Gochujung is the new Sriracha.

We saw Tobasco, chipotle, Sriracha and now Gochujung. I mentioned it in Vancouver Food Trends 2012 that “Korean was the new Japanese as Vietnamese was the new Thai” and I still think that holds true to 2013.

Gochujung is a Korean condiment and I’ve always liked it more than Sriracha. It is a pungent, spicy and sweet, fermented soy bean hot pepper chili paste. It is often found in and served alongside several Korean dishes. Even modern Japanese restaurants may use it for their spicy tuna sashimi/sushi. Some food forward cities started using it more intensively outside of Korean cuisine in 2011, but I think for Vancouver it will have its year in 2013.

Other hot sauces to watch out for is barrel aged hot sauce and XO sauce, but the later is almost too acquired to become mainstream.

Healthy Chef Competition 2012 (5.3)

6. Finger Limes

I might possibly start listing this every year until it becomes available at chain restaurants. I listed it as the “new ingredient” or citrus ingredient for 2012, but I still barely saw any of it – possibly because it’s not local, but no citrus fruit is anyway. It is also still very new to the market and it is pricier, so you might only see it at upscale restaurants.

It is citrus caviar and it was originally grown wild from Australia, but they grow them in California now too. They are amazing and make for an effortless garnish. They are crunchy pearls that pop when you bite into them, and with each pop is a burst of fragrant and aromatic lemony, minty lime juice. Just like with any ingredient there are several varieties of finger limes which all taste slightly different.

Sidecut Steakhouse Whistler (31)Smoked Prime Carpaccio at Sidecut Modern Steak

7. Smoked everything.

It is no longer a mystery what people are smoking – it is anything edible. This “trend” could be seen as last year as well, but it will continue strong in 2013. It might be a hipster thing, I’m not sure, but everything is being smoked. It’s not just meats and cheese, but smoked octopus, smoked bourbon, smoked almonds, smoked olives, smoked pesto, smoked mayo, smoked cinnamon, smoked honey, smoked coconut water, smoked maple syrup, and smoked apple tarts etc. 2013 is no doubt a smoke show.

Diva at the Met  (1)Chicken ‘Bacon’ at Diva at the Met

8. Don’t be chicken to order the chicken.

Chicken has come a long way. People fear from it being overcooked and undercooked, being battery caged and/or cloned, or simply boring and something you make at home. Chicken has gone through it all.

It has the least flavour out of pork and beef without its skin, but I do love a well executed good quality chicken from a good farm. I won’t say it’s the “new pork” or “new beef”, but I won’t judge you for ordering it anymore.

Chefs are being so creative with chicken and it is a healthier protein. I don’t worry about it being dry or overcooked as much anymore either since sous vide has become a popular technique for cooking it. The options for chicken aren’t always healthy though, chicken wings, fried chicken skin, and deep fried chicken will always have a soft spot for many of us – literally too.

Herbsaint NOLA (17)Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake & Cocoa Nib Caramel Corn from Herbsaint Bar & Restaurant

9. Popcorn

It was a toss up between ginger and popcorn, but I’m going with popcorn just because we see lots of ginger on the West Coast being so Asian influenced.

Cotton candy, doughnuts and other American carnival favourites have been taking turns in the last few years. Popcorn has made a few guest appearances and it’s more popular on the East Coast, but I expect to see more of it on the West Coast this year. It won’t only be used in desserts or enjoyed simply as a snack, but innovative flavours like coconut curry popcorn, truffle and black pepper popcorn etc., will be used as a flavourful and crunchy garnish on a savoury plate.

Laurie Raphael Quebec City (28)THE Carrot Cake at Laurie Raphaël

10. Vegetables in desserts.

So not only are we getting vegetables as our main entrees, but now we see them in desserts. Pastry chefs aren’t sneaking veggies into your desserts, but outright using them in innovative ways and calling it what it is. It has gone well beyond carrot cake and chocolate zucchini loaves, but things like candy cap mushroom ice cream, candy cap mushroom mousse, parsnip jam, beet and chocolate, goat cheese and olive macaronsSquash Ice Cream and Ginger Cookie Sandwiches, savoury vegetable caramels, and sweet potato semifreddo are just some things I’ve come across.

As much as cupcakes were 10 years ago, they might see another life line under vegetable cupcakes or savoury cupcakes. That’s another thing, it is not just the increasing use of vegetables in desserts, but the concept of savoury desserts which I also mentioned in my Vancouver Dessert Trends 2012. And no, I’m not referring to bacon chocolate or salted caramel which are sweet and savoury combinations that may be still good, but are well beyond exhausted.

A few other trends I predict that didn’t make the list are: Wordly comfort food, mustard greens, rutabaga, beef jerky, ginger, wood fired ovens, small plates to family style, bulgar/sorghum/freekeh/farro is the new quinoa, mistmatched plating, olives, disguised offal, bone marrow, artisan butter, all day brunch options, ethnic brunch options, brown butter, rhubarb, new interpretations for the Caesar salad, late night menus, bean to bar chocolate, Kouign Amann, more foraging, and crazy for “umami”.

See – 10 Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013


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