These Will Be the Top Dining Trends of 2018, According to the Biggest Names in Food
We asked forward thinkers in the food and wine world—including Tom Colicchio, Katie Button, Eric Ripert, Gail Simmons and more—to share their predictions for next year
As this year rapidly comes to a close, many of us are thrilled to usher in a new beginning. And with that, an inevitable wave of fresh culinary trends to roll out in 2018. For inspiration of what lies ahead, Food & Wine invited some of the food world’s top talents, from Michelin-starred chefs to master sommeliers, to share predictions of what they think—and hope—will be all the rage next year.
Common themes include seeing vegetables continue their evolution from supporting role to center stage, and people developing more meaningful connections with their food—whether dining in a restaurant or cooking at home.
On the wine front? We’re looking at you, Spain. Lesser known regions will take the spotlight, and unconventional packaging (think boxed and canned wines) should gain even more momentum. And will there be a next big follow-up to the global rosé phenomenon? Only time will tell. For now, check out our round-up of what’s to come.
Here, more than a dozen of the world’s most celebrated chefs, wine professionals and culinary superstars share their top predictions for 2018.
“More meaningful connections around food... less about Instagram and more about the deeper issues we face and how food is involved.” - Tom Colicchio, chef, founder of Crafted Hospitality, and Top Chef host
Dining out > delivery
“People will return to realizing that dining in a restaurant is so much more fulfilling and satisfying than having food delivered to your home. There is a direct correlation between food quality and proximity to the kitchen in which it was prepared. Beyond better tasting food, restaurants provide serendipitous human moments: chance sightings, opportunities to taste new wines, and the richness of building relationships with the people who run the restaurant – that you just can’t get at home!” - Danny Meyer, restaurateur, founder & CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group
“The recipes from our grandmothers will be back in vogue. Old cooking techniques will help us look at our pantry with different eyes and make every ingredient resourceful from nose to tail – have a look at Bread Is Gold, the cookbook collecting recipes and experiences of more than 50 international chefs transforming ordinary ingredient into extraordinary meals. 'Cucina Povera' is the new black." - Massimo Bottura, chef and owner of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy
“After a year that's been filled with excitement and challenges but also uncertainty, I think we'll find more simplicity in the New Year as chefs and diners look for focus, familiarity and purity in their food.” - Daniel Humm, chef and co-owner of Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad
"I think chefs are going to realize that you don't necessarily need to be in a kitchen cooking to be relevant in the food world. Chef advocacy is going to increase by leaps and bounds. Sustainable business models outside a regular restaurant kitchen will start getting more attractive to chefs. Work-life balance will be a thing that all will work diligently toward. Food trends: there are no borders anymore; more chefs will cook with a global perspective." - Asha Gomez, chef and author of My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India Into a Southern Kitchen
"I think we will continue to see more movement on health-focused trends. Restaurants offering macro diets where people can more easily control the nutritional composition of their diets. The key will be to find a way to make it delicious!" - Akhtar Nawab, chef and owner of Fero, Choza Taqueria and Alta Calidad
“In 2018, I think we’ll see a lot more collaborations, pop-ups and takeovers. Inviting creative friends who are either between jobs, from out of town or just simply people we want to spend more time with, these events give us a lot of opportunities to share ideas and techniques, and allows for both of our fanbases to grow. - Michael Anthony, chef and partner of Gramercy Tavern
Vegetarian tasting menus
“Vegetarian tasting menus. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of them next year.” - Eric Ripert, chef and partner of Le Bernardin
Chef-led sustainability efforts
"I think that more and more chefs and restaurant owners are realizing that we have a major voice in the direction of food production in the United States. We need to purchase and showcase the products and philosophies that we want the agriculture and meat production industries eventually to adopt. It starts with trend-setting, and trickles down to the main stream. Chefs are understanding this power and potential more and more each year, and I think the food trends will continue to move in support of those philosophies. The push for purchasing and utilizing sustainable seafood is another example of the power of chefs and restaurants. We need to continue to make an impact on pushing sustainable seafood, reducing food waste, and promoting responsible and ethical farming." - Katie Button, co-owner and executive chef of Cúrate and Nightbell in Asheville, North Carolina.
Spanish wines and non-bottle wines
“There are lots of exciting things happening in the world of Spanish wine right now, and I think it is only just starting to really catch on—there’s lots more to come! Also, alternative packaging will continue to be a trend in 2018. As consumers become more open about drinking wine from a can, a box, or any other alternative to a bottle, we’ll continue to see a rise in quality wines being packaged in vessels other than bottles.” - Dustin Wilson, master sommelier & co-founder of Verve Wine
Continued disaster relief efforts
“In 2017, we saw natural disaster devastation from the Caribbean to Texas and, of course, in Southern California to in my backyard here in Napa. I hope that moving into 2018, natural disaster relief and charities will be on the forefront of everyone’s minds.” - Thomas Keller, chef and proprietor of Ad Hoc, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery, Per Se and The French Laundry
“My hope is that chefs will be more conscious about the environment and planet, and that they will give back to their communities and humanity.” - Dominique Crenn, chef of Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn and Bar Crenn
More vegetable-focused menus
“I think we’re all going to have to get a little bit more cleaver as to how we operate our businesses. It’s becoming more and more expensive to run restaurants, especially in New York City. Most chefs like to stay ahead of the curve, but because of the recent economic climate, we have to be more reactive. Frankly, I find it really scary. You open a business and then you have to adjust to the economics of it all; we don’t know what’s next. Dishes will be a lot more vegetable-focused, with meat and fish as accompaniments.” - Scott Conant, chef and owner of Fusco
Chilled, juicy red wines
“People will be eating and drinking better than ever … at home. With the interest in food, wine and cocktails at an all time high, I see more and more people stepping up their cooking game and experimenting in their own kitchen. On the beverage front, as the interest in rosé continues to climb stratospherically, the next frontier are those chill-able, light, juicy reds—think Beaujolais, Frappato and Nero d’Avola from Sicily.” - Sabato Sagaria, master sommelier and president of Bartaco
Chefs as activists
“Chefs are traveling away from their restaurants more and more for work, events, charities, and, most of all, discovery—meaning more chef collaborations, pop-ups and temporary restaurants where they can try something out for a new audience for a limited time. Also, chefs as activists and politicians to raise awareness for food, hunger and agriculture causes that affect all citizens of the country and the world by using food and cooking as a medium for change (think: Tom Colicchio’s Food Action Policy, José Andrés’ WC Kitchen, Dan Barber’s Zero Waste movement).” - Gail Simmons, Food & Wine editor and Top Chef judge
“My focus in 2018 will be to develop new recipes in order to create lighter desserts. Generally speaking, the trend of F&B will be healthy cuisine.” - Fabio Cervio, chef of La Terrazza at Hotel Eden in Rome
Unknown wine regions become mainstream
“As the wine world continues to grow, unknown regions will make their way to mainstream, but also more traditional regions will be taken to new heights by devoted ‘gen-next’ growers. We’ve seen this in a big way already in Cornas, Jura, Beaujolais, and the northern reaches of Piedmont. Look for a similar renaissance in the small growers of Bordeaux, Macon, Chianti and more.” - John Ragan, master sommelier and senior director of operations at Union Square Hospitality Group
More diversity, less pretension
"I think that given the level of introspection we are all having in this industry I see a possible trend of growing interest in different types of chefs, restaurateurs and food-makers. The Michelin Stars and one-percenter meals aren't going anywhere, but I can see a turn towards meals cooked with intention around issues that are close to our hearts and souls ... meals cooked by immigrants, people of color, activists, artists. Meals that bring people together to share and nourish each other. (Examples: The People's Kitchen Collective, Real Food Real Stories, etc.) I am also contributing to a dinner in January that came out of a beautiful San Francisco Chronicle piece from Shakirah Simley about #Refuge and how we define that in our lives with chefs Reem Assil, David Tu and many more. These types of events that spur out of books like Julia Turshen's Feed The Resistance bring people together to share in community and that is the reason I decided to pursue cooking professionally to begin with, not fancy meals and Michelin stars." - Preeti Mistry, chef of Juhu Beach Club