Thursday, December 15, 2016

2017 Predictions: Chefs and Farmers Tighten the Knot, Cocktails on Tap…and Lasagna Cupcakes

Reading tea leaves? Nope. We’re going straight to those in the know, Atlanta’s trendsetting chefs, for insider predictions on the culinary keen for 2017.

 - Red Beard Restaurants chef/owner Kevin Gillespie sees chefs zeroing in on the thing they do exceptionally well, scaling restaurants down in size, serving one thing or offering a very limited menu.

 - Executive chef Matthew Ridgway of 
Gypsy Kitchen agrees, predicting smaller restaurants “focused on a simpler ‘bistronomy’ style of cooking that puts the emphasis on the food and flavor.”

 - Doug Turbush (
Seed Kitchen & BarStem Wine BarDrift Fish House & Oyster Bar), like many in the industry, is keeping an eye on skyrocketing meat prices and sees chefs moo-ving toward alternative cuts and “the creative use of vegetables.”

 - Southern Fried Hospitality’s Marc Taft also is looking at alternatives to protein, “maybe mixing mushrooms with beef for burgers” and also predicts “vegetables will take center stage.”

 - Dolce Italian chef Paolo Dorigato sees a sprouting love affair with fresh vegetables and less reliance on meat leading toward more seasonal vegetables and fewer proteins to create something good, accessible and reasonably priced.

 - The emphasis on locally sourced veggies will tighten bonds between farmers, chefs and diners. 
Ormsby’s chef Nick Anderson believes “farmers markets are going to blow up, becoming even more popular as farmers come to markets to supply demand.”

 - Bellina Alimentari creative director Alice Fabi agrees. “The relationship between the chef and the farmer is becoming crucial, with both parties working creatively and efficiently together. Chefs become storytellers, going to the source of ingredients and interpreting what is in season directly from farm to table.” 

 - Revival chef Andreas Müller sees restaurants sourcing products from their own farms and smaller local farms growing greens and vegetables for one restaurant only.

 - Takeout windows and home delivery are booming as weeknight options for time-starved hungry diners. 
Gypsy Kitchen’s Ridgway predicts more chefs plow into this growing consumer need “using really good ingredients alongside an increasing mix of ethnic ingredients.”

 - As food delivery grows, Southern Fried Hospitality’s Taft says chefs “need to create food that travels well and be able to capture the art of presentation in the foods that are delivered.”

 - Jamie Lynch of 
5Church thinks chef-inspired meal kits are going to take off. “People can put together some of their favorite chefs’ dishes at home. There are a couple of kits I’d like to grab for myself, just to see how they do it!”

 - HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern director of operations Mark Nelson foresees growth in walk-up ordering and delivery as well as a return to more casual restaurant environments and a more technologically wired customer who may order drinks or food through smartphone technology.

 - Johnny’s Hideaway owner Chris Dauria also predicts an uptick in mobile device ordering “but not at the Hideaway!”

 - Ormsby’s Anderson says “Asian restaurants are going to start doing American takeovers, like Korean barbecue doing Southern barbecue ribs.”

 - American Cut executive chef John Adamson is excited about “an emergence of ultra-regionalized ethnic food.”

 - On the cocktail front, 
Marlow’s Tavern’s Rick Blumberg sees more wine and cocktails on tap in our imbibing futures, plus cocktails enhanced with fortified wine. “I think we will continue to see more sherry, Madeira and port cocktails.”

 - Ben Yabrow of 
Himitsu says guests are moving toward more refreshing drinks rather than the boozy and stirred variety. He says, “It’s exciting to see more people putting their faith in the bartender's judgment.” 

 - Sublime Doughnuts founder Kamal Grant predicts a growing hunger for spicy and savory/sweet combinations, saying “Thanks to the popularity of Sriracha, Americans’ tolerance for heat has increased, and they want more.” Here’s where lasagna cupcakes and doughnuts filled with salad, vegetables or meat enter the scene in traditional sweets made in a savory style.

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