It’s not always easy to stay in the know about which food trends are here to stay, which are on the rise, and which are steadily on their way to becoming extinct. No group of people has a better handle on the always-in-flux food trend landscape than chefs, which is why we’ve tapped into the knowledge of seven local toques for the scoop on what food trends are officially out.
The chef: Ashlee Aubin of Salero The trend: Gluten-free everything
“I think this is the year people will stop ‘avoiding gluten,’” chef Ashlee Aubin tells us. “The research seems to be consistent that far fewer people have gluten allergies than [we] think. We are in a golden age of bread and pasta here in Chicago and lots of people are going to get back on the carbs train.” We’ll raise a dinner roll to that!
The chef: Riley Huddleston of forthcoming LondonHouse The trend: Prohibition cocktails
Love it or hate it, classic drinks are taking a back seat to more inventive concoctions as Chicago undergoes a cocktail renaissance. “We’ve been drinking the classics for long enough,” chef Riley Huddleston explains. “For years, every new cocktail bar served the same cocktails. Now it’s all about creating your own drinks. Not many customers request prohibition cocktails anymore.”
The chef: Brian Jupiter of Frontier The trend: Eggs on everything
We’ll be the first to admit our love for putting an egg on it, but only when it enhances a dish—and chef Brian Jupiter agrees. “I think putting eggs on everything is a trend that’s on its way out,” he says. “While an egg can be a visually appealing addition, it can end up taking over the dish. I’m all for adding an egg when it’s appropriate as it elevates a dish, but not when it’s added purely for shock value. Some things just aren’t meant to have an egg!”
“Guests are going to see a lot less bacon on their plates,” chef Ryan Sand predicts. “I think we’re moving away from bacon and pork being in and on every dish on a menu. In general, I see chefs focusing more and more on vegetables—healthy cuisine with fresh ingredients.” Bacon will always have its place next to a stack of pancakes at breakfast or nestled between a burger patty and a bun, but we won’t be sad to see it leave our salads, sundaes, and other places it simply doesn’t belong.
The chef: Carrie Nahabedian of Naha and Brindille The trend: Ramen done poorly
There’s a lot of great ramen in Chicago right now, and also plenty of sub-par takes on the trendy dish. Chef Carrie Nahabedian has a bone to pick with the latter: “There is an over-saturation of ramen that is being done poorly. Those ramen places that do an exceptional job are not out—they are the exception, and are most definitely in. I am tired of ramen being the ‘new Italian,’ as in, if all else fails, let’s do ramen or Italian with little imagination.”
Quinoa has been celebrated in recent years as a versatile and nutrient-packed grain, but we think that chef Tom Van Lente is onto something: “There are so many other grains available these days that have more flavor and better texture [than quinoa]. As a cook, I want to be challenged with something that isn’t so neutral.”
The chef: Kevin Cuddihee of TWO The trend: Marinated olives
“Menus are small and the space is at a premium—that space should be respected. I like to think of a menu as a small bag for a weekend getaway,” TWO chef Kevin Cuddihee muses. “You cannot fit everything from your closet; you just bring what you need. Marinated olives are one of those items that aren’t essential.”