No, it’s not “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” or even the sequel. After pouring over the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot: 2016 Culinary Forecast,” I realized that house-made artisan pickles are on a 67 percent rise and 3D printed food comes in at number 16 on the culinary themes chart. Perhaps I’m a traditionalist, but I’m fine with pickles from a jar and my food naturally three dimensional.
So really, what will be the trends of 2016 that are applicable to Los Angeles?
Now, I realize that we are a quarter of the way through the year and by outlining my forecast for what is coming up, I’m leaving out the wonderful stews, holiday dishes, roasted things, chilis and decadent desserts that accompany winter. But maybe that’s what 2016 is all about, leaving behind the comfortable and taking part in what I like to call the “food revolution” that is so much a part of pop culture right now.
1. “Trash Fish.”
With the rise of sustainable foods, especially sustainable fishing, expect to find some unconventional fish on your plate. So called “trash fish” are taking a mainstream place in markets and restaurants.
Why? These fish — that are usually thrown out by fisherman — are skewing the balance of seafood caught and sold on commercial markets; conventional fish like salmon, sea bass and halibut end up overfished and depleted. To create a sustainable balance, new fish like paiche and pollock might dominate the seafood industry this year.
2. Plant based everything.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard of zoodles and mashed vegetables that go beyond potatoes, but expect veggies to play a bigger role on our plates this year. Think cauliflower steaks, brussels sprout gratin, carrot fritters or even vegetable and fruit popsicles. The possibilities are endless, and some of my personal favorites include baked zucchini parmesan fries, zoodles with kale pesto and cherry tomatoes and Julia Child’s eggplant pizzas. 2016 will be the year veggies leave that neglected corner on a plate and enter center stage.
3. Bread, really.
Mainstream food culture has been neglecting something for too long. The smell of it wafting from the oven could melt through any Paleo’s resolve and cause a hardcore carb neglecter to run for the kitchen. What’s been off our menus for too long is simple, elegant and best served warm. Bread.
I know it’s coming back. Long bemoaned for its lack of nutritional value and high calorie content, it has been hidden from restaurants and home kitchens for the last few years. But bread is already beginning its massive comeback, as evident from in-house bakeries in restaurants selling loaves packed with ancient grains, gluten free options and artisanal varieties of the classic favorites.
With a mix of healthy and decadent foods leading us into this spring and summer season, expect a variety of different flavors and some unexpected dishes to arrive at your table. Prepare to encounter some new things and to be surprised, delighted, and left thinking, “I wish I thought of this!”