It seems that everyone these days is a self-proclaimed foodie. Gone are the days of having to explain what truffles are or what a medium-rare steak should look like. Each year, more trends pop up in the culinary world—for better or worse. In order to stay on top of everything that’s going on in the delicious realm of gastronomy, we chatted with six Forbes Travel Guide Tastemakers to get their take on what to expect next year, from ingredients to foodie destinations.
What are the hottest food trends in Chicago? Oysters, Italian restaurants, vegetable-based dishes and noodle bars. I think it’s only a matter of time until the juice bar craze hits Chicago as well.
What cooking methods will be popular in 2014? I think Chinese food and techniques are going to follow the recent Korean trend—woks, steaming, etc. Also, the taco craze is about to get full blown.
What’s an up-and-coming foodie city? I think Minneapolis and of course both Portlands (Oregon and Maine) are hitting their pinnacle right now, and Kansas City, Mo. is on the rise for sure with chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts.
What are some trends you could definitely do without? I’m over the idea of chefs selling themselves as “farm-to-table” and local. That’s like saying you use salt and pepper in the kitchen; it should be a given.
Hot: Classic cooking (steakhouses, old school “red sauce” Italian restaurants) and anything with kale.
Not: Bacon, all things pork.
What are the hottest food trends in Portland? Portlanders still love their bourbon—this trend has not died down in any way. Preserving: So many people in Portland are making pickles and jams, and fermenting at home. And they’re using them to build great dishes.
What ingredients are you hoping to see more of in 2014? More and more offal—offcuts and organs such as tripe, kidneys and heart. I can’t get enough of it. I also want to see more raw meats and bitter greens.
What are some trends you could definitely do without? I am not really a fan of foams. I love the idea and think that the use can be really creative, but all in all, I don’t find the presentation very appealing. I am also not a fan of counter service, but I’m seeing it as a growing trend. The food prices are the same as a casual sit-down restaurant, but the diner has to get their water, utensils and bus their tables.
Hot: Natural foods (grasses, berries, lots of foraged foods), loads of vegetables, salads.
Not: Meat, vegetable and starch in one meal; two portions on a plate.
What are the hottest food trends in Dallas? I think it’s all going back to the basics. It’s back to food being good. I really like it. The era of trying to be real creative and real avant-garde is here in Dallas in a few restaurants; but I think, across the board, it’s comfort food, homey food, good food that’s well-seasoned and approachable.
What cooking methods will be popular in 2014? I think sous vide is here and is not leaving. It’s definitely something that a lot of chefs are exploring here in town. Smoking and grilling will always be a big Texas forefront. The smoking is what’s becoming really creative because there are whole different levels of what you’d think of just Texas barbecue, and what distinguishes those is the pride and technology of how people are smoking now to produce a better product.
What are some trends that you could do without? Fried chicken. Everybody makes a good fried chicken. When everyone was trying to stretch fried chicken into a new flavor, that was one trend that I didn’t like. I’m glad the humdrum Italian is gone. But my biggest one is that I’m glad the celebrity chef-chain restaurant scene has left Dallas.
Hot: Asian bowl (noodle bowls, ramen, pho), barbecue, pizza.
Not: Molecular gastronomy, foam.
What are the hottest food trends in New York City? Prix fixe menus at low cost, playful fun recreations of dishes we all know (i.e. tuna melts and lobster cigars at Betony, crab rangoons at The Butterfly, complimentary popcorn at Distilled).
What ingredients are you hoping to see more of in 2014? Chicken feet, colatura (anchovy sauce), squacquerone cheese, spremitura olive oil.
What cooking methods will be popular in 2014? Alla piastra (on a flat griddle), raw foods.
What’s an up-and-coming foodie city and why? Birmingham, Ala.
Hot: Small sushi bars, cheap prix fixe menus.
Not: Nutella pizza.
What are the hottest food trends in Chicago? One thing I noticed is that Chicago is actually going back to basics. The few latest restaurants that have opened tend to do food more simple and be more food-oriented. I also think the craft cocktail is big. Restaurants have a strong cocktail menu with more artisanal things and inspired by the way people do food—such as going to the farmers market—to create cocktails.
What are some up-and-coming foodie cities? Houston is getting really big in food. Atlantic City—it used to be the cheap version of Sin City, but now it has amazing food and amazing casinos. Miami is growing a lot. As a matter of fact, we’re opening Siena Tavern in South Beach [in May 2014].
What ingredients are you hoping to see more of in 2014? I hope to see more grains. I love grains. For some reason, people associate grains with carbohydrates and people tend to stay a little away from carbohydrates. I couldn’t care less because I’m Italian so I love it.
Hot: Food that is timeless and doesn’t go out of style.
Not: Molecular gastronomy.
What are the hottest food trends in Washington, D.C.? In D.C., we are seeing this incredible food revolution where dining is no longer formal. As the political center of the world, we used to be a city of steakhouses and formal dining; but over the years, this has changed. Eating should be fun, and, for me, this is what my restaurants, Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya, have always been about.
What do you like about the D.C. dining scene? D.C. is becoming a strong culinary center, where we are seeing passionate young chefs coming here and opening restaurants. I love to see the amazing talent coming to D.C. and seeing this transformation in the way people eat in the city. People are excited about going out to eat and trying new experiences, and I love that.
What ingredients are you hoping to see more of in 2014? I am getting really excited about beans. My team and I have collaborated with RdV Vineyards and farmer Zach Lester of Tree and Leaf Farm to create our own small farm right here in Virginia in which we are researching and testing new ideas. We are growing a few ingredients and really focusing on beans and legumes. Right now, we are testing Spanish varieties such as tolosa, garrafón and mongetes, and we also have dragon tongue. I love the beans when they are still green so it is more of a vegetable than a legume.
Hot: Smaller portions, knowing where your food is from, open-air markets, food halls.
Not: Large portions.
Photos Courtesy of Aaron Clamage, Anthony Tahlier, Fabio Viviani, Michael White, Jenn Louis, and Dean Fearing