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New Dining Trends


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Well, with the economy the way it is, obviously dining and restaurant trends are going to change alot. So, I figured a topic where everyone makes predictions about the future of dining would be interesting.

Anyhow, my background - Pastry Chef, although I did my apprenticeship in savoury foods in many top restaurants as well. Currently work as a 'corporate' pastry chef, opening several new restaurants. So here are my predictions for new trends:

Haute 'fast food': IMO, the world's dining scene changed when Marc Veyrat closed down both his fine dining restaurants, and opened a fast food restaurant. Fact - during rough times, consumers don't stop going out, they simply go to cheaper places. Fact - the fast food we've been stuck with for years sucks, and most top chefs can (or should anyhow) be able to do better. Bored, unemployed and crafty chefs are going to apply their techniques to low end dining to make money, and we'll all have much tastier food to eat on the run.

Simpler menus, less staff: Many restaurants are going to need to cut staff drastically to be able to stay in business, seeing as how for most restaurants, it's the biggest cost. To cope with less staff, the menus will have to be simpler, and less garnished. Also, to increase efficiency, more technology and modern techniques will be employed (ie. Molecular gastronomy, but in a way that's actually practical). This goes for restaurants and pastry shops alike - no more overgarnished everything, more simple, tasty food... Happier chefs too (the ones of us who are still employed that is), since making garnishes sucks, and is a colossal waste of time.

More vegetarian/vegan food: Fact is, vegetable protein, coming from pulses and grains, is much cheaper than meat. Better for the environment as well, which people will start thinking about, seeing as how the world's resources are getting stretched to the limit. Not to mention, vegetarian cuisine can be every bit as tasty as meat, it just needs more thought. Example - Indian and Ethiopian restaurants - both are very popular these days, both have veggie options that make you forget about meat.

Pastries: As consumers will no longer be able to afford top-end meat to indulge in, they'll turn to starch and sugar. Very tasty, insanely addictive, and with the veggie heavy diet they'll be eating, they'll be able to cope with eating more sweets. The fact that you can get high-end pastries for 3-7 dollars is a great way to indulge without spending much money.

Breads: Now that the Atkins-induced hangover is over, people are realizing that indeed, traditional diets are better, and bread is filling, cheap, and can be very tasty. Decent source of protein as well. Also look for breads made from alternative grains, seeing as how everyone and their mother has a gluten 'allergy' these days... And what's more comforting (when you're poor you need to be comforted) than the smell of fresh bread, especially when a high-end loaf of bread that can feed your family is only 3-5 dollars?

Anyhow, maybe I'm wrong, hopefully I'm right, especially since I predicted my own specialty in the industry (Pastries and Baking) will become bigger. Either way, this is the direction I personally see things going, based on what I see in the economy and in restaurants.

Anyhow, feel free to either critique/bash my predictions, and come up with your own...

Edited by Mikeb19 (log)
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In New York and other high value real estate locales where rent is a bigger expense than staff, I think we're already seeing more interesting restaurants moving out of high rent districts and exploring new geographic territory.

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