Foodie Trends 2012

2012: The year of all things British. With the Olympics a mere 200 days away, national pride is set to soar. It’s time to show the rest of the world just how great Britain can be – and not just on the sporting front. Rumour has it they’re laying it on thick with the catering too, drafting in the heavyweights of British cuisine to show Johnny Foreigner we can cook. No, really we can.

All joking aside – or actually, not – it’s fun looking at the new trends predicted for this, the year of the UK. Naturally Jamie Oliver has gotten right down to brass tacks with his new chain of Union Jacks – no prevarication there, then. Whether it will survive the year is another thing altogether, given his unconvincing launch of Barbecoa in the City, where the bankers soon put paid to Oliver’s dreams of mouth-watering haunches of meat, gently roasting on the largest grill in Europe and demanded their usual fare of steak and nursery puddings. The haunches of meat are no more; the grill now reduced to cooking dull cuts of sirloin. A shame – Jamie, mate you should have stuck to your guns.

Other slightly anti-British trends include the rise of much-hyped, usually badly-executed Latin American food. Peru in particular looks set to take our palates by storm, although once past the ceviche and yet more steak, one wonders whether we’ll really see the advent of that delicious Peruvian staple, roasted guinea pig? Street food is still apparently street-hot, along with all-day breakfasts (haven’t we been doing that for a while…?), potatoes (!?) and grilled cheese sandwiches, something the Americans get a bit over-excited about. Some chefs are getting worked up about fusion again, but whether anyone can do it properly remains to be seen. We’ll keep you posted on crazy/nauseous food combos throughout the year – and if you find a great one, post it on the board.

The new buzzword for 2012 is ‘hyper-local’, meaning grown by the restaurant itself – because ‘home-grown’ just isn’t explanatory enough. Apparently customers are banging on their tables demanding to know the exact location of every component of the menu and if it isn’t from less than 20 feet away, it can just go back to where it came from. Quite what this will do to all our poor vegetable suppliers and markets is another question entirely. And we’re all going to be eating more communally. Those titchy tables for two? Out the window. Get with the party, people and mingle. Valentine’s night’s sure to be cosy.

Things set to fall into the abyss of ‘crap ideas we thought were good a year ago and haven’t worked’ include – oh- cupcakes (that’ll help the Government’s unemployment figures when those kitchen companies go bust), wooden boards for serving (Jamie’s stuffed again, then), food trucks (street food – coming from a rickshaw near you), foam (again), Korean (did anyone actually try kimchee?) and freestyle dining (Ready Steady Cook at your table – could be good, could be rubbish; usually the latter).

We’re not going to make any predictions of our own: what we do know is the restaurant scene is as exciting and vital as ever and yeah, sure, some ideas don’t work but lots do. There’s masses to look forward to in 2012, lots of innovations to wow the tastebuds and empty the wallet. It’s set to be an exciting year, food lovers. Happy New Year!

  • John

    My predication is that the quality of produce that supermarkets supply will continue to improve as they rise to the challenge of farmer markets. And that will keep prices down everywhere.

  • Minx

    Heather: I agree with the ‘cruel food’ prediction. Lets add shark fin soup to that list and any food that is cooked ‘live’.

    There is a decline in cruel food in the Western World, but unfortunately the middle to upper class people in China and India are making up for the lack of demand in the West.

  • Heather

    With the growing use of social media, people are becoming more aware of where there food comes from and therefore growing more ethically aware and more health conscious. So I predict there will be slow down of ‘cruel food’. Less and less people will eat foie gras, caviar, veal and ortolan.

    Meat eaters will cut back on meat or even become Flexitarians; People who eat a mostly vegetarian diet for health, financial and/or ethical reasons but will eat meat occasionally. (See the impact Meat Free Mondays has made over the last couple of years)

    Vegetarians will ditch dairy and eggs to start becoming Vegans.

    And Vegans will approach a Jainism lifestyle.

    With these changes I also predict a change towards organic and fairtrade products and a decrease in artificial colours and flavourings.

    One downside of the food changes is that more GM food will be included in our diet without us noticing.

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