Expert Panel Predicts 2018 Culinary Trends

On Oct. 16, 2017 Les Dames d’Escoffier New York—a chapter of the preeminent professional women’s culinary organization—presented “The Next Big Bite: How We Will Eat & Drink,” with expert panelists predicting what’s next in food. Moderated by Dana Cowin, DBC Creative, host of Speaking Broadly, and former editor-in-chief of Food & Wine, the panel included Melissa Clark, The New York Times food columnist and cookbook author; Kerry Heffernan, executive chef of Grand Banks restaurant in New York; Padma Lakshmi, actress, author and co-host of Top Chef; Pascaline Lepeltier, instructor, Court of Master Sommeliers at the International Culinary Center; Missy Robbins, chef/owner of Lilia Restaurant in Brooklyn; and Susan Ungaro, president of The James Beard Foundation. New York’s Abigail Kirsch Catering served as the event’s caterer.

Abigail Kirsch Catering’s menu at the event included Korean spiced short rib with taro root “taco” shells, lime, radish and gochujang glaze.

Here are the top 10 trends to watch for 2018, according to the panel:

1. Plant-based food kicked up a notch. First it was nose to tail. Now it is stem to stalk.

2. Culinary leaders will use the untapped resources of the ocean to introduce new foods and species to consumers, all with sustainability in mind. Think algae and spiny dogfish.

3. Staff happiness will top the list of restaurateur concerns.

4. Consumers want to know what’s in their food and where it came from. On tap is increased interest in the origins, content, and production methods of wine and spirits.

5. Natural wines from Croatia and Georgia will gain respect.

6. Put a pretty face on it. Sustainable seafood meets savvy marketing. Montauk sea bream sounds tastier than plain old porgy.

7. Demand for healthier fare shows no signs of slowing. Chefs will rethink traditional favorites.

8. The future of food is cooking. It can be a piece of toast or an entire meal.

9. Culinary education for kids at home and school will be key to a healthy future.

10. Foods to watch: seaweed, hemp, pulses, cricket flour, grass-fed beef.


Another Abigail Kirsch hors d’oeuvre exemplified the plant-based food trend: Caesar bites with kale, smoked sundried tomato and peppered pecorino.