By Marian Staresinic
A new year not only brings changes and resolutions but also new food trends worth getting excited for. From spices to BBQ and beyond, here is the inside scoop on what will be sizzling in food for 2017.
Cook and connect
Chefs are embracing their internet audience and creating novel learning opportunities, getting more and more people to connect and cook from home. Through online resources like Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass, up-and-comers and hobby cooks can access and learn using premium culinary video lessons at almost any level. The next best thing is having masters right next to you in your very own kitchen.
Middle Eastern inspiration
2016 was a big year that brought an influx of families, entrepreneurs and, of course, culinary professionals from the Middle East to Europe and Canada. We see new flavours becoming integrated from these countries and a renewed motivation to introduce their home-cooked meals to an already diverse food community. Chefs are welcoming their generational traditions into their restaurants while also embracing North American cuisines.
This year, the growing trend in beer isn’t the product itself but how it’s being experienced, taking drinking with friends and groups beyond the typical night out. Beer tourism is an interactive collaborative initiative among distilleries and breweries supported by local tourism boards that encourages visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture. Activities can range from yoga sessions at Steam Whistle Brewing to Doggie Nights at Henderson Brewing to musical acts at Short’s Brewing Company.
Every year in food, there’s a resurgence of the past, whether it’s from digging through old cookbooks, watching Martha Stewart reruns or relearning mom’s classics. Food is a great sensory experience while also providing servings of nostalgia. In the past, we’ve seen comebacks from chicken noodle soup to deviled eggs. This year will bring the return and reinterpretation of the wedge salad, a staple dish dating back from the 18th century.
Above the rim cocktails
What catches your eye when your cocktail is placed in front of you? The garnish of course. Balancing perfectly on the rim of your drink and tying together all the flavours, the garnish is where the focus is this year. The cocktail world is re-embracing classics like the Manhattan, Negroni, Martini and Bloody Mary but it’s the topper that sets the bartenders apart. Keep your eyes open for ornate items such as dehydrated fruits, farm-to-drink pickled vegetables, craftily stuffed olives, booze-soaked cherries, and onions bathed in vermouth.
Hyperlocal American BBQ
American BBQ has been giving us the meat sweats since we can remember and it won’t be letting up anytime soon, but we’re going to see a shift in 2017. Instead of offering up a hybrid of BBQ styles on their menus, smokehouses are going to become hyper-localized and focus on a single BBQ region in the US: Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Kentucky or St. Louis, Missouri.
We’re ready for this drool-worthy trend, are you?
Vow to be vegan
From the west coast and making its way east, the vegan phenomenon is showing signs of gaining momentum. Although this is not a new dietary choice, seeing the rise of this trend in the mainstream speaks to the changing landscape of people’s eating habits. Restaurants with vegetable-forward menus are becoming ever-prevalent, such as Planta in Toronto or Dirt Candy in New York City.
Alcoholic beverages are getting the royal vegan treatment, particularly wines, as traditional processes don’t lend themselves to a plant-based lifestyle. Karlo Estates in Prince Edward County, Ontario is the first vegan-certified winery in the world (but not the only one to jump on this trend). Irish beer Guinness went fully vegan by the end of 2016.
New Year, familiar flavours! After years of being a staple in the kitchen, peppers are finally taking the spotlight as they make their way to the centre of the plate. Paired with naturally sweet ingredients such as syrups and exotic fruits, get ready to ride the new wave of spicy flavour.
About the author:
Marian Staresinic is the Vice President of Branding and Buzzing. She has been in the food business her whole career, beginning at Stratford Chefs School then as a restaurant and cooking school owner, celebrity chef talent manager, AGA Cooker Brand Manager, food editor and the founder of a Slow Food chapter.
About Branding & Buzzing:
Branding and Buzzing is a modern food marketing agency that brings the buzz to their clients through engaging consumer campaigns & conversations, social media and real-life experiences that are inspirational, memorable and brand-driven. For more information, visit brandingandbuzzing.com.