It depends on who you ask.

Bottled foodsA survey of 1575 chefs listed African flavours, ethnic cuisine, foam/froth air (air? is air food?), blood sausage or cake, bacon-flavoured chocolate and lots of other things with the word “artisan” in front of them like ice cream, butchered meats and soft drinks – I am not sure they can do enough with soft drinks to elevate them to the “art” level.

The good news? Last year’s trend of eating insects is passé. Apparently crickets were quite popular and this included using cricket flour.

Other trends that are over – gluten free anything, non-wheat pasta and whole grain items for children. And this is the problem with trends – seldom are they based on reality or health or nutrition. I knew the gluten free boom would bust – but that does not mean there are not people out there who still need to have the options.

But that is the nature of chefs and the restaurant business. They have to always be “new” and therefore many times, menu item trends do not reflect what people want. I know many chefs and they actually hate having to respond to trends. They put the trendy items on the menu because they have to and, instead, people will opt for the comfort and traditional foods, most of the time.

On the health food front – sea weed is set to “explode” Experts are predicting it will be the new kale. Thank you but I would prefer and will be quite happy with the old kale.

The United Nations is proclaiming 2016 as the year of the pulses (beans) – apparently they have been under appreciated in years past. That’s okay – I am good with them getting a place in the spotlight as they really do have numerous health benefits. They are good for the gut, loaded with nutrients and help stabilize blood sugar both in the meal where they are consumed and the following meal.

Let’s hope they keep their place in the spotlight and do not fade back into the background.

Alternative flours are still popular on the home front and this does not surprise me. Often what is over in the restaurant world is still simmering along in family households.

The anti-fat movement is finally and officially dead. Yeah!

And slowly, whole foods are making their way into the everyday diet. Yeah again!

However, there are two trends that warm the cockles of my heart.

The first, of course, is that fermented foods are still growing in popularity and hopefully they will make their way back to being a staple of the diet like they were in the days of our ancestors and should be in our diet today.  In 2016, fermented foods are getting a trendy makeover as “artisan” sauerkraut or kimchi, which just means people are starting to be creative and add other ingredients beyond that which are traditional. And that is just fine.

The other trend is the “Zero-Waste Kitchen” movement. This is based on concern for the environment and encourages using more foods that would normally be thrown-out like mottle fruits and vegetables, lesser cuts of meat and doing more food preparation at home, which reduces the need for package foods, which are horrendously not environmentally-friendly.

I am all for more cooking and encouraging people to learn to cook and cook properly, like our ancestors, who knew how to make the most of the food they had.

But the “Zero -Waste Kitchen” goes further. It encourages:

Using less paper towels and other disposable items

Shopping with reusable bags and containers

Buying items in bulk and storing them in glass jars

Composting more – recycling is good but not needing to recycle is better

Buying local

Buying fewer ingredients – how often do you throw things out because you either do not use it in time or never use it at all, in the case of non-perishable items (like the box of pectin and the package of agar agar I have in my cupboard). Or the package of tarragon – I have never used tarragon so why did I buy it?  

So let’s here it for 2016. Cook more, waste less, eat fermented foods, try something new but most of all, enjoy your food and be happy.