Hang on to your hats, sit on the edge of your seat, it’s that time when we look forward to a new year in the hope of culinary greatness. It is also the time for some solid self-reflection. Not all trends can be hailed a success, and for very good reason - they suck. For every amazing, earth-shattering creation, comes an equally dire offering. Of course, it is a numbers game, they can’t all be winners, but some are down right losers and should be shunned for the shame they bring upon the culinary world.
With 2019 promising a blend of health promoting and environmentally sustainable trends, it is shaping up to be a good year. Of course, there will inevitably be some horror stories to level the playing field. The one chef who thinks deep-fried watermelon is a good idea or the hole in the wall cafe that turns the humble latte into a Smurf like smoothie.
Food trends are a hotly contested topic among the industry and for good reason. We all must eat. Dish up the next big thing and you will be showered with accolades, money and fame.
We must take the good with the bad, learn from our mistakes and demand greatness from those who are responsible for creating these taste bud tantalisers. As we hurtle towards a new era of food choices, take each one in, assess if it is a keeper or one for the hall of shame, but most of all, enjoy the infinite choices we have and savour every bite.
22 Hello: Trash Cooking
Step away from the trash can! Not to be confused with dumpster diving, this new trend sweeping suburban kitchens is all about reducing waste. According to the EPA, more than 37 million tonnes of food was thrown out in 2015, ending up in landfill rather than on our plates. Using food we purchase not only reduces waste but lessens the demand on our struggling food industry.
It’s time to get creative with those leftovers and create culinary masterpieces. Grab the curry from Friday nights' take-away most certainly destined for the trash, roll out some dough, 20 minutes in the oven and you have amazing home-made curry puffs.
21 Goodbye: Smoothie Bowls
I have nothing against bowls. They are useful dining ware, when used correctly; to contain a meal, slippery noodles or even a delicious curry. Slopping a fruit soup into one and calling it a smoothie, does not meet these criteria. You sit down at the trendiest café on the strip, smugly order your smoothie and await the giant bowl of fluoro colored goop to be served.
Once the inevitable Insta pic has been taken, the horror of dealing with this mess sinks in. Do you eat it with a spoon? Pick it up and risk it ruining your perfect crushed linen pants? Or do you chance the wrath of do-gooders at the table next to you by asking for a plastic straw, at the detriment of dolphins everywhere? Save yourself the trauma, put it in a glass for god's sake.
20 Hello: Fat-Natics
Remember in the not too distant past, fat was, without question the most feared substance of any food product. The mere thought of ordering a full fat latte was something that could strike fear into any self-respecting health fanatic. With supermarket shelves heaving in reduced fat, low fat, no fat offerings of just about any food you can think of, surely it must be bad.
In the blink of an eye fat is back, bigger than ever. Thanks largely to the Paleo movement and with a focus on reducing our refined carbohydrate intake, now linked to the obesity crisis, the story around fat in our diets has changed. Once thought to cause heart disease, it is now a recommended part of a healthy balanced diet. From avocado to coconut oil and those found in oily fish and nuts, there is something for everyone - fats are most certainly back in fashion.
19 Goodbye: Avo-mania
Enough. It’s gone too far. Avocado’s have ascended to lofty heights rarely seen by fruits or vegetables and it's time to come back down. Before you lose your mind at the thought of no more avocado toast, be calm. I am saying lets just use it as it should be, in salads, as a spread and of course to make guacamole.
The sheer waste of a good avo in making lattes, cakes and smoothies is sacrilege and should cease immediately. One more thing, stop spending your down payment on smashed avo toast, make it at home for crying out loud and move out of your parent’s house before you turn 30.
18 Hello: Doin' It For The 'Gram
The epicentre of visual culinary masterpieces remains in top position for foodies and obnoxious bloggers alike. With restaurants more aware than ever of the power of the viral food snap, they are now creating dishes with their photo-worthiness in mind.
From plates that look too good to eat to the absurd, chefs are going to great lengths to join the ranks of the food porn elite. Notoriety triumphs with cues that snake around the block, with groupies annoyingly holding up the line to take their coveted snap and upload it to show how hip and current they are. Let’s hope they can come up with something better than unicorn food for 2019!
17 Goodbye: Activated Charcoal
Black teeth anyone? Yes, we know it can serve some amazing purposes like making your fangs a new level of glowing white, however when it comes to nutrition, it is time to leave this one behind. From gothic ice creams to terror inducing croissants, there is nowhere this trend feared to venture.
Hailed for its ability to draw impurities from the body (although this is questionable), used incorrectly and it also strips away useful nutrients, makes you constipated and in large enough doses can render medications ineffective.
16 Hello: Pandan Power
Like the banana leaf, although nowhere near as big, Pandan is the leaf of a tropical plant grown in South East Asia. It is used extensively in cooking to add flavor - much the same as western recipes use vanilla - although it is used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Imparting a soft, sweet taste to desserts, drinks and steamed rice, this unusual ingredient can also be used to create small parcels of fish, vegetables and meats for steaming. With our love affair of all things green, pandan is tipped to be the next best thing since avocado matcha smoothies.
15 Hello: Lone Dining
Move over first daters and gaggling girl groups, there is no room for you in the newest addition to the restaurant scene. With more of us choosing to live alone and refraining from throwing ourselves at the first right swiper we can get to agree to share a steaming bowl of Ramen, it is no longer taboo to eat out alone.
Restaurants who cater specifically to these independent gourmets are popping up all over from Montreal to San Diego, with a focus on dining rooms that create a welcoming atmosphere for those of us who prefer to go it alone. A focus on more bar or counter seating, nooks and crannies for a quiet table for one and providing entertainment for those flying solo are just some of the ways you can search out the perfect spot to eat alone.
14 Goodbye: Broccoli Coffee
Just when you think your morning brew is safe, beware the broccoli. With scientists convinced we all need more greens - true to be fair - they created this ungodly creation. Made from the freeze-dried powder of ground broccoli and designed to be stirred into drinks, it is an absurd option to say the least.
Let’s be frank here people, you are an adult. If you don’t want to eat broccoli, don’t. Hiding vegetables in ridiculous ways should be left behind when you turn 8, not 18. Eat your broccoli, drink your coffee, some things are best left the way nature intended.
13 Hello: Ice Ice Baby
Gelato will always hold a special place in our hearts (and on our hips), but the newest craze coming our way on the frozen dessert front is Snow Ice from Taiwan. Confusing to the eye, its thinly shaved sheets of delicately flavored milk and water, ripple like a thin crepe.
Their unique shape comes from freezing blocks of ice cream into large cylinder shapes with a special machine imported from Taiwan. Once frozen solid, they are sliced into paper-thin sheets and layered to create the perfect sweet treat for a searing hot summers' day.
12 Goodbye: Be Gone Bowls
Stick a fork in me, I am done - with Poke bowls. Hailing from the stunning island oasis of Hawaii, these all in one meals are running rife on café menus. The original bowl, a combination of fresh tuna, tossed in seaweed, pepper, sesame and macadamia nuts over rice has been twisted by chefs beyond recognition.
In Hawaii, the word Poke means to cut into cubes and is made using the islands abundant fresh seafood. Now you can find anything from a teriyaki chicken poke bowl to vegan creations. Just because you put a collection of ingredients in a bowl, does not make it Poke.
11 Hello: Relaxation Beverages
From cities that never sleep, to non-stop social lives and 24/7 connectivity, boy do we need to chill out! In line with our love of non-alcoholic drinks, the beverage industry is hot on the heels with herbal healers. From our obsession with energy drinks, packed with ingredients to keep you twerking into the wee hours, the tide has turned to Zen and chilling out.
Promising mood enhancement through calm, these so called “relaxation drinks” not only keep you from flipping a table, they promise us a brain break when we need one. With ingredients such as the amino acid tryptophan (the same one that makes you sleepy from eating too much Thanksgiving turkey), they act on the nervous system to create a sense of well-being. Who among us doesn’t need that?!
10 Goodbye: Spiralling Out Of Control
There can be too much of a good thing. Sure, we want low carb options, but mushy curls of vegetables pretending to be pasta just doesn’t cut it. Eat a salad, have a stir-fry, both of which I love, but don’t even consider trying to tell me zucchini is as good as spaghetti.
The most annoying thing about this trend is the fact that there is already great tasting low-carb pasta available in pretty much every store. Why turn one of life’s greatest pleasures, a steaming bowl of pasta, into something subpar. What did carbs ever do to you anyway?
9 Hello: Sea Snacks
Algae isn’t the only sea life taking on our taste buds in 2019. A range of marine minded snacks are due to hit the shelves as snacking becomes an integral part of our daily diets. No longer content with potato crisps and chocolate bars, consumers are demanding healthy, flavourful snacks they can feel good about.
Sea snacks, with their high protein, healthy fats and low sugar, are the perfect pick-me-up for the dreaded 3pm slump before you present your latest and greatest ideas to the boss. Keep an eye out for salmon skin crisps, kelp jerky and even seaweed butter!
8 Goodbye: Raw Raw Go Away
Packed with omega fats, fantastic sources of protein and a delicious alternative to red meat, we should be eating more fish in our diets. However, this is one food group that should be treated with extra care. Unlike its feathered and hooved counterparts, fish, especially raw, spoils faster than an ice cream melting in the Arizona sun.
The plethora of restaurants, cafes and greasy spoon take-away joints now serving up dubious slices of raw fish is frightening to say the least. Fish needs to be served within a day or two and handled with extreme cleanliness, something that is potentially lacking at these questionable establishments. Take your life in your hands if you dare, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
7 Hello: Kombucha Mocktails
Move over mojitos, mocktails are making a run for your money. With declining alcohol sales due to Millennials' health conscious ways, bars are looking for innovative drinks to fill the gap. Cue - health food mocktails. Yes, you read that correctly, drinking in a bar is now good for you.
Be gone throat-burning shots and make way for a new wave of drinks that not only taste great but are good for you. Kombucha, a fermented tea drink, is an obvious choice with an endless array of botanical infusions and flavors to tempt even the fussiest of hipsters.
6 Goodbye: Cauliflower Crust
Yuck. I am sorry, but really? Not even pizza is safe from over-zealous fat fighters. If I wanted to eat cauliflower, I wouldn’t be ordering pizza! Masquerading as a low-carb option, this nightmare not only looks as unappealing as it sounds, it tastes just as bad.
The poor old pizza gets a bad rap from nutritionists, but it isn’t from the thin, naturally fermented base it is traditionally made with. We all know it’s the Mt Everest of cheese we pile on top, along with the greasy processed meats we all love. Perhaps try a sprinkle of cheese and few more veggies on top and leave the base alone.
5 Hello: Bingeing On Bitter
Kale, radicchio, arugula and dark chocolate are making a play for the headline act on menus in 2019. With bitterness being their common factor, they are praised for health promoting benefits including the abundance of anti-oxidants they contain.
Anti-oxidants help the body to fight unwanted nasties and have been linked to ensuring our cells remain healthy and disease free. So, pile up your plates with bitter greens and finish off your meal with a block of high cocoa, mouth puckering dark chocolate, guilt free!
4 Goodbye: Mason Madness
In keeping with the impractical, none rate higher on the list than the mason jar salad. Layered masterpieces of art, keeping soft precious ingredients from meeting potentially wilt-inducing dressings.
That sounds great, smart even. From a structural integrity perspective, it is a solid idea. Just don’t try and eat from it. With lettuce springing forth as soon as the lid is lifted, giving way to individual layers of ingredients that alone are bland and in desperate need of the tangy sauce trapped in deep dark depths of this impractical vessel. Pack your salad in a Tupperware and eat it like a normal person.
3 Hello: Vegetarian Protein
Whilst this trend has been on our horizons for the past couple of years, the innovation continues full-steam ahead on finding new and exciting ways to get protein from non-animal-based sources. Millennials are leading the charge to reduce the environmental impact intensive farming is causing to our planet, and science is responding with some pretty cool alternatives.
Move on tofu (so last decade), 2019 will bring us a variety of delectable options including protein made of algae, that gross green stuff seen floating in ocean and lakes. It turns out algae is high in protein, and while it has been used in the food industry for years as a thickener, this slimy little guy now has another reason to shine. One algae burger please!
2 Hello: Spice Bizarre
Flavors hailing from Korea took to our menus with gusto this year with more Bipimbap than you could poke a stick at. Next year is all about spices. From the Middle East to India, it is time to get your heat on. Spices are wonderfully versatile ingredients and can take a dish from boring to banging, in the twist of a spice grinder.
Look out for taste bud tingling Zaatar with its delicious combination of dried spices and toasted sesame seeds, this spice blend popular in the Middle East is perfect for sprinkling over grilled meats and vegetables. Lesser known spices such as the cardamom pod, heavily used in India, will bring an interesting spin to desserts and drinks.
1 Goodbye: Croissant Sushi
Because fish is meant to be wrapped in sweet pastry? What now? Have we lost our minds completely? I am not even sure where to begin to be honest. Croissants crossbred with donuts to give us the almighty cronut, is easily one of the best creations we have seen in recent years. And then this.
Why can’t we just leave well enough alone? Croissants are delicious. Sushi is amazing. Must we mash as many incompatible foods together as possible in the desperate hope of internet fame? Be gone with baked goods and raw fish, let there be sanity in 2019.