the next food wave?
Last night I went to a food event that I can't write about. Confidentiality forms signed, the whole nine yards. It was an interesting evening but certainly the best part were the conversations had at the table. I was with three people who really know the food business. Dana Cowin, Food and Wine Editor, Amanda Hesser, Food52 and author of many books including The Essential New York Times Cookbook coming out this fall and Ben Leventhal of The Feast. I love hearing them all talk about the food we ate but was really more fascinated talking about where the industry is going. What is going to be the next food wave?
We all decided that foam and pork belly were over. There are very few new high end restaurants, such as Marea, that have appeared on the scene because they are expensive and rarely is someone interested in backing that type of big idea these days. When the most exciting food stories are about the best burger and crispiest pizza you wonder about the next generation of chefs. After leaving the place where each chef honed their skills, making great burgers doesn't translate into something out of the box and inspirational.
In the Amazon, where there is a plethora of fruits and vegetables that haven't made it to the tables across the world, perhaps that is an area that we can see new ideas but I don't see that happening anytime too soon. Nobody at the table had been anywhere recently where they had seen something disruptive in the industry like David Chang did a few years back. Although a few fantastic restaurants such as the Noma in Copenhagen which I have not been to but supposedly is incredible. The chef was here in NYC this summer cooking at Ko which I missed out on.
Personally I believe we will see a time when building a better mousetrap works best. Smaller restaurants that have really good food where people feel comfort in going to them. Community is key. Almost like Cheers. Places where you feel at home. As people are looking for comfort in a time when uncertainty is surrounding us, having an excellent bowl of pasta with a sauce that makes you grin might be where we are headed for a few years.
Who knows. Time will tell but it is always fun to try and figure out what's the next big thing.