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Trendspotting

The Incredible Shrinking Plate: Small Plate Boom & Bust

Tapas

Photo © Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle

F&W has been spotting food trends for 35 years now. Here, a time line of our greatest hits—and misses during the small plate boom and bust.

1985
In a land of buffets and big portions, a new trend arrives. F&W writes: “The latest word in eating is less. There are many names for the phenomenon—grazing, noshing, snacking—but we’re giving it another: Littlemeals.”

1985
F&W traces the small-plates trend back to its roots, with a story called “What’s All This We Hear About Tapas?”

1997
Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli earns its third Michelin star. Meals at the modernist Spanish restaurant involve three dozen small bites and snacks.

2007
Japanese snacking pubs, aka izakayas, take off in the US. “American gastro izakayas offer Japanese small plates with multiculti twists,” reports F&W.

2007
In a newspaper article titled, “Is the Entrée Heading for Extinction?” chef Tom Colicchio says, “I think the entrée has been in trouble for a long time.”

2009
The trend goes middlebrow, as The Cheesecake Factory debuts a “Small Plates and Snacks” menu with Vietnamese tacos.

2012
The New York Times publishes “The Problem With Small Plates.”

Download the Full Story: 35 Years of Food Trends »

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