Restaurant insiders will tell you that trend lists are overly manufactured.
The word in city kitchens is that milk coaxed from the udders of heritage pigs is not the “new dairy,” butchers are not the new rock stars and neo-Tiki fare is not going to take the culinary world by storm.
But some unmistakable patterns have emerged, city chefs and industry observers told us:
1. Local, sustainable, artisanal and culturally authentic is the new organic
“Sustainable food wasn’t invented in Berkely, California by Alice Waters,” said Mike Colameco, author of “Mike Colameco’s Food Lover’s Guide to New York City.”
“We’re returning to the kind of foods our great-grandmothers made – sustainable, local and authentic.”
Added Ornella Viterale, of Ornella Trattoria in Astoria, Queens: “We make everything from scratch in the way Italians, not Italian-Americans have made food for generations – from our pasta to our sausage to our bread to our desserts.”
2. Dessert bars are the new dumpling shops
Shops offering six soggy, flavorless dumplings for a $1 are totally last decade – customers are looking for more interesting (but still cheap) palate-pleasing options.
“Dessert shops will get stronger,” said Francis Garcia, a chef at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. “The people who are forgoing the full meal at a restaurant and eating at home still like to venture out for the evening. Getting dessert is a good way to spend the evening and not break the wallet.”
3. Lamb is the new pork
“The pork craze is going to fizzle out,” said Michele Orsino, executive chef at Il Punto Ristorante.
“There’s a lot more interest in lamb because it offers as many interesting flavor profiles as pork but it’s also leaner and lower in cholesterol.”
4. Twitter is the new New York Times Dining Section
“The biggest trend in food these days is not exactly food, but the velocity of information on where to eat via social media,” Garcia said. “Keeping in touch with your customers via these social media outlets is imperative- Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, etc... Never before has a consumer base had the ability access information [both good and bad] so quickly.”
5. Family outings are the new company dinners
“I cook for my guests like they’re an extension of my family,” Viterale said. “I use fresh, organic ingredients without additives and pesticides; my goal is to cook the traditional Italian food my family has made for generations and serve it to others in a welcoming, laid-back atmosphere.”