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Experts Predict Middle Eastern Cuisine And Green-Eating As 2018’s Big Trends

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The food world is not a monolith, but an ever-shifting target as tastes change, new foods enter our palettes as novelties and become commonplace (remember when kale wasn’t a staple?), and past trends fade to nothingness. But as chefs become more eco-conscious, what are 2018’s big trends going to be?

Two very different sources, Whole Foods and Nation’s Restaurant News, have weighed in with what they see as the future. And there’s some surprising overlap. So, what does 2018 hold?

Less Waste

As diners become more ecologically inclined, cutting out food waste, and coming up with new and clever ways to use it beyond the compost bucket, are catching on with chefs. Whole Foods sees a “root-to-stem” movement in the works where stems, leaves, and other products generally set aside are used to make pestos, salads, pickles, and other goodies, while other restaurants are teaming with local businesses like movie theaters to turn their food waste into something delicious.

More Vegetarian Entrees

Both agreed that vegetarianism, already fairly well-established in many fine-dining restaurants, will continue to expand as chefs roast cauliflower, experiment with jackfruit, and look to hominy to create different flavors and tastes. In some cases, this will involve molecular gastronomy, with powders and chemistry changing the texture of the vegetable. And that also means picking up on more vegetarian-heavy cuisines that Americans have largely ignored to this point.

Middle Eastern Cuisine Arrives

Everybody who’s ever popped a falafel or had hummus made from somebody’s mother’s recipe has probably wondered why not everybody is getting on this train. And it appears 2018 will be the year for Middle Eastern cuisines, such as Israeli, to finally arrive. In part it’s because there’s a stronger thread of vegetarianism in Middle Eastern cooking, but also it’s because we’ve gotten more used to different kind of cuisines, and — as it’s become easier to find hummus, lavash, and pita on store shelve — Americans are more interested in what else the cuisine has to offer.

Transparency

The most interesting prediction from both articles, though, is a belief that more and more, the kitchen will be open in more than just the architectural sense. Diners care more and more about what they’re eating; where it comes from, how it’s grown, how it’s made, how it’s prepared, and what that means, long-term, for them and the community. It makes sense, as more of us get Fitbits for gifts and we keep hearing about the waste in our food system. What we eat is something we’ve got more and more interest in, and chefs hoping to get us to the table will cater to our desires.

(via Whole Foods and Nation’s Restaurant News)

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