Food & Drink

We got Michelin star chefs to predict the big food trends for 2018

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Chris Sayer
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We got Michelin star chefs to predict the big food trends for 2018 1

You heard it here first, pal. Tripe. Set for big things in 2018. What the cool kids will be digging. Where it’s at in the new year. Tripe.

At least, that’s according to just one of the 13 major-league chefs we asked to peer into their crystal, er, saucepans for a glimpse at what hot new cuisines and ingredients we can expect to be eating over the next 12 months. And it all makes for some tasty - and in places, genuinely surprising - reading.

With the help of Michelin-starred food heroes such as Jason Atherton, Sat Bains and Tommy Banks, and so-hot-right-now cool kids like Ali Borer of Smoking Goat and Joel Braham of The Good Egg, here’s your chef-fuelled peek into the trends that’ll be filling your plates over the next 12 months…

PRAWN HEADS

“At Koya City, we have just started serving crispy fried prawn heads with sesame salt, and I fully expect there to be a lot more prawn head-centric dishes becoming available in London’s restaurants in 2018 – they’ve so often been discarded in cooking, but have a lot more to offer than people think.” 

 Shuko Oda, head chef of Koya (Soho and City)

AFRICAN CUISINE

“African cuisine has been making an impression slowly over the last few years, but I reckon 2018 will be its breakthrough. I find it fascinating – it’s diverse and beautiful with so many flavours and spices that we’re not used to in the UK. We’ve got so much to learn from it, and as such it’s going to change the way we cook and use spices in the kitchen. Mosob in Maida Vale is a hidden treasure of a restaurant that’s already doing it brilliantly.” 

– Michael Reid, group executive chef at M Restaurants

KOUIGN AMANN

“Kouign Amann is a tender, buttery and sugary French pastry parcel with a caramelised crust. We’ve just stared serving them at Bread Ahead, as have other bakeries like Dominique Ansel, and will be the next big popular pastry in London.” 

– Matthew Jones, founder of Bread Ahead

YORKSHIRE RHUBARB

“Twenty years ago, the rhubarb industry was dying. Nobody wanted rhubarb and Yorkshire families who had grown it for generations, stopped. Over the last two years it has been growing in popularity as chefs look to cook seasonally, and with more and more British produce. Between January and March there isn’t a huge variety of fresh produce to choose from, but there are large amounts of Yorkshire rhubarb, which grows in abundance because of the climate - rhubarb originates from Siberia which is very cold and wet, just like Yorkshire. I am sure 2018 will be the year of the humble Yorkshire rhubarb.” 

– Tommy Banks, head chef at The Black Swan at Oldstead

YEAST FLAKES

“This is my ingredient for next year. In New Zealand, savoury yeast flakes are used as a topping on buttery toast or in hot drinks. They have the same umami quality as miso, have a really interesting and delicious new flavour that can be whisked into a sauce or dressing, and basically add that salty hit you crave. Hopefully, they might just kill off the Himalayan pink salt trend. It’s good that people understand the difference in quality between table salt and sea salt flakes, but the novelty of pink salt has had its day.” 

– Yohini Nandakumar, co-founder of Sparrow

ECO FOODS

“As Dan Barber’s Wasted pop-up at Selfridges highlighted recently, we are still wasting too many kitchen scraps. Chefs will start to work even harder to utilise every bit of the ingredient. Protein will continue to move away from centre stage, and we’ll see a further rise in the use of legumes and products such as spelt. Ecologically, we have no other choice.” 

– Sat Bains, chef proprietor of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms

PIGS’ EARS

“People can feel quite uneasy when they see pigs’ ears in the butchers, and they’re virtually impossible to find in the supermarket. Even so, towards the end of 2017, sales have really increased in our butchers as more adventurous customers realise their low cost, great taste and versatility. Not only will there be more pigs’ ears on the menu at restaurants – such as Duck & Waffle, who now do a BBQ version - but more people will be cooking with them at home, too. We do them at Hill & Szrok now, served crispy with a radicchio and mustard salad, and they’ve been a massive hit.” 

– Luca Mathiszig-Lee, owner of Hill & Szrok Butchers and Restaurant

WHOLE VEG COOKING

“Plant-based dining will definitely become more popular, as will people using the whole vegetable when cooking - no more cutting the ends off. A close chef friend of mine, Kirk Haworth, is launching his restaurant, Plates, in Shoreditch next spring and will serve plant-based food, without meat, fish, dairy or refined sugar. You’ll always have people (like me) who love their meat and fish, but vegetables are definitely becoming more of the star of the show.” 

– Tom Brown, founder of Cornerstone (opening March 2018)

VELVET CRAB

“Our only native swimmer crab is a highly underrated and underused ingredient, often overlooked in British cooking. People don’t tend to use it because it doesn’t have much meat on it, but the flavour profile of the meat you do get is amazing. Now’s the time for restaurants to start buying native-only seafoods, I think.” 

– Ali Borer, head chef at Smoking Goat

TRIPE

“I’d like to see the truffle trend die in 2018. People seem to be wising up to the laziness of just adding a load of it to bring a level of sophistication. On the flip side, I reckon tripe is on the way in! Other offal bits have all seen their time in the sun, but tripe seems unjustly ignored outside of Chinese restaurants.” 

– Z He, co-founder of Bun House and Tea Room

VEGAN SPOTS

“Although veganism and vegetarianism has always been a ‘trend’ - the number of vegans has risen by something like 360% over the past decade - it is still expected to grow. At Pollen Street Social our vegan menu has proven very popular with guests - the salt-baked Pembrokeshire beetroot ‘tartare’ with sourdough toast and mint is a favourite of mine.” 

– Jason Atherton, chef and founder of Pollen Street Social, Berners Tavern, City Social and more

SCHMALTZ

“It’s chicken fat, a delicious bi-product of cooking chicken. It’s absolutely perfect for a healthy high-fat diet as it’s completely unprocessed, and brilliant for crispy chicken skins, roasties, or drizzled over a hearty chicken soup.” 

– Joel Braham, founder of The Good Egg

PORK RIB EYE

“It’s a boneless pork chop, very similar to pork loin chops, cut from the rib area of the loin. Sometimes butchers call them pork rib eye steaks, and when they’re cooked well, with plenty of caramelisation on the outside, they’re packed with flavour and really juicy.” 

– Julien Imbert, head chef at Le Pont de la Tour

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