Every year restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman (of the Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Co.) predicts food and dining trends for the coming year. Here’s a selection of his 15 prognostications for 2011. See the complete list here.
#1. Old Italian is Newly Respectable. All those old Italian chestnuts, from meatballs to eggplant parm to negronis are getting new focus.
#2. Good News at the Top. With financial-sector employees not feeling the rest of the country’s economic pain, business will return to upscale restaurants, especially contemporary ones.
#6. Popsicles going global and artisanal.
#7. Making Customers Unwelcome. Look for more restaurants trying to save a buck here and there by putting “no credit card” signs in their windows, eliminating reservations, upping the price of wines-by-the-glass, no tablecloths.
#10. Grits will leap from morning food to an all-purpose starch. Part of another trendlet: down-home southern cooking. Shrimp and grits could well be the dish-of-the-year.
#11. “Free From...” Gluten-free menus will grow this coming year even though a minuscule portion of the population suffers from celiac disease.
#14. Past Their Sell-By Date. Artisan hot dogs with inventive toppings will be on the downslide. Gourmet hamburgers will peak; too many players in a crowded field. Slapping bacon onto everything will be so-last-year. The novelty of increasingly expensive pork belly will wear off. Cupcakes will peak.
The prognosticator Michael Whiteman prognosticates