These Foods And Drinks Are On The Downward Trend, Say Chefs Around The Country


Earlier this month, we talked to chefs about their three favorite ingredients to cook with. Now they’re back, with a different prompt to get them talking: “Name the three ingredients you think are played out?:

Not surprisingly, the chefs had a lot to stay on the subject. Longtime foodie favorites — including kale, Brussels sprouts, and bacon — seemed to fatigue the chefs across the board; while other topics — like the eat local movement — caused more debate.

Check it out:

Fabio Viviani, Bar SienaSiena TavernPrime & ProvisionsCafé Firenze

pork belly

Pork belly: “I definitely think pork belly is overplayed. I see it on so many menus and it’s not new and interesting anymore.”

Foam: “It doesn’t taste right and looks like someone spit in my dish!”

Quinoa: “Quinoa bowls are popular, but I think it’s time to use new grains such as orzo, barley and steel-cut oats.”


Chef Adam Steudle, Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen

Delicious bacon

Kale: “Yes, it’s a superfood, but when it starts popping up on McDonald’s menus, it’s over. Let’s all agree that kale’s place is garnish on the bottom of a platter at a country club like it was before 2006.”

Bacon on everything: “Bacon is great. I love bacon. Everyone loves bacon. But when you start making bacon lattices to wrap a 50/50 bacon to beef meatloaf that is sauced with bacon jam it becomes overkill.”

Foraging for ingredients/hyper-locality: “Noma is amazing. Rene Redzepi is a visionary. But we don’t all have time to go forage local streams and wildlife preserves to pick a bushel of milk thistle to make a deconstructed vegan bone marrow dish. There is a world of ingredients that you close yourself off to when you get too concerned about everything being within a 5-mile radius of you.”

Chef Vijay Sadhu, Cook Hall


Pork lard: “I personally think its unhealthy and the trend is more towards using cold-pressed olive oil.”

Green cabbage: “We chefs don’t really care for it, also cabbage can be used mostly only in Asian cuisines.”

Kale: “Chefs don’t really have much room to create a dish out of kale.”

Stephen Bonin, Sous Chef, Geraldine’s

brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts: “There was a time when you couldn’t go into a restaurant and not be offered Brussels sprouts. I really enjoy Brussels sprouts, but I believe that trend is ending.”

Foie gras: “Foie gras has always been controversial, but I see more people opting to pass on the fatty liver.”

Expensive caviar: “Caviar is delicious. However, more and more people realize it’s not necessary to spend huge dollar amounts, but to opt on more affordable caviar, like trout for example.”

Sonya Coté Chef/Owner of Coté CateringHillside Farmacy and Eden East

breakfast tacos

Fast food: “Folks are going back to the farm stands this season and it will really will a difference supporting their local food systems with their choices. I’m thinking that we will have a lot more home cooks in the kitchen, making all those farm-fresh veggies in the comfort of their own home. Maybe even planting a garden for the first time!”

Breakfast tacos: “San Antonio is pissed because some kid from Austin has claimed the ‘breakfast taco’ was invented in the capital city, but San Antonio says, ‘No, no, no.’ The mayors had to duke it out! I’m joking of course, because breakfast tacos are here to stay!”

Complicated desserts: “We will be seeing simpler desserts this season, or at least that’s what I’m hoping. Desserts have gone crazy over the last few years.”

*Coté also added, “I don’t think ingredients ever really go on a ‘downward trend,’ they just go out of season. Trends to me are more about the platings, concepts and what time of year it is. For example, summer is on the way, so we will see a lot of smoking and grilling, but braised meats and fermenting cabbages are gone till next year. Hopefully my batch of sauerkraut will appear on a burger this June.”

Todd Johnston, Sommelier and Beverage Director, City Winery


Napa Cabernet Sauvignon: “I think classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is on a downward trend because people are now wanting weird and wine-nerdy eclectic varietals grown in unpredictable places.”

Big-name domestic beers: “Craft and local beers are what people are asking for more and more.”

New World wine: “We’re seeing that Old World wine is starting to trend more in the Nashville market. The classics are coming back.”

Megan Dillon, Bartender, Embers Ski Lodge

moscow mule

Ginger beer: “It has way too much sugar and gives some people headaches because of that. Moscow Mules blew up in Southern Cali, and the hype outlived the actual value of the drink.”

Flavored vodka: “A real mixologist—or anyone with a solid grasp on flavor concept—knows they could infuse a syrup, a spirit or create their own bitters to produce a comparable (and likely far superior) product. Spending the money to fill your back bar with 10 different flavor variations of vodka is like buying all-new furniture rather than redecorating your room.”

Bushwackers (or any mixed drink machines): “Don’t hire a robot to do a doctor’s job. Ron Burgundy said it best: ‘Milk was a bad choice.’”

Mellisa Root, Executive Pastry Chef and Owner, The Hairy Lobster

greek yogurt

Milk chocolate: “Milk chocolate come and had its moment in the sunshine. Replacing milk chocolate are dark nuanced chocolates with very specific varietals and origins where each chocolate has been sourced (sometimes the chocolate’s origin is even listed on the menu).”

Bacon: “Bacon has been in everything and it is almost expected in confectionary—there’s even bacon underwear for goodness’ sake! I predict that bacon will be replaced with prosciutto. Prosciutto desserts are already making their way onto menus.”

Greek yogurt: “Greek yogurt is found in panna cottas, frosting, frozen yogurts, and smeared on plates—it is done and had its day! Also, Greek yogurt is wasteful due to the whey acid byproduct. People are now focusing on local dairies and making their own yogurts from local farms, with goat, sheep or other milk products.”

Kevin Spencer, SĒR Steak + Spirits

pumpkin pie

Pork belly: “For the longest time you saw pork belly everywhere. Small plates, entrees, everything. However, it seems to be moving away from being the shining star of dishes and is now turning into an ingredient that’s playing more of a supporting role. With new trends in food and the way we eat, the fatty deliciousness that is pork belly has been replaced by super foods and ancient grains in consumers’ minds. With people looking for healthier meals, some of the tastier yet less-healthy ingredients are no longer dominating menus like they once were.”

Pumpkin: “Pumpkin is another one that used to be everywhere, especially during the fall season. However, this past fall it was harder to find all those “pumpkin flavored” products that were once SO prevalent. Pumpkin is another ingredient that dominated menus during a certain time of the year whether roasted, present as a puree, in a gnocchi dish, etc. It definitely seems to be quickly losing its popularity in the food and beverage world.”

Modern gastronomy: “This is more of a technique than an ingredient, but I think the use of modern gastronomy is definitely starting to lose steam. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly loved playing around with making caviars, spheres, powers, etc, but the way we view and think about food is starting to go back to its roots—literally and figuratively. I’m seeing more classic dishes and techniques make a resurgence. People love farm-to-table, tail-to-snout, seed-to-stem cooking and that’s truly where it should be going. Not only from a waste standpoint, but from a discipline standpoint—using everything and getting creative with using it. It’s certainly fun to play with the smoke and mirrors stuff and as a guest, it’s exciting when the dish gets set in front of you. It’s modern, but I think it’s losing its appeal to a more back to the basics, comfortable and approachable cuisine. Chefs are foraging, canning, pickling, preserving. All taking an old-school approach. There will always be a place for modern gastronomy, but I think it’s starting to move out of the spotlight in a positive way.”