Food Trends 2018
As we near the new year we all wonder what it may bring. It is a time of optimism and excitement. What will be the food trends 2018 that we never knew would be a thing? What will be the next dieting craze or detox demon that we cannot live without? What sort of restaurants will be popping up and wowing us with their creations? Or, will we just continue on the same path as before? Without the aid of a foodie crystal ball no one knows. That is what is so exciting about it.
Exciting as it may be, we like to speculate and get the conversation started. As we are talking about the future of food in Brighton and beyond, we thought we would ask some of the people who are going to be a part of that future. Brighton’s young chefs have been coming to the fore in 2017. These young chefs will be the ones creating the dishes of the future, so who better to ask about what they think will be popular.
Come take a look at what they had to say, and get a glimpse into the minds of Brighton’s up and coming food celebrities.
George Thomas – Sous Chef, Isaac At.
Brexit has undoubtedly already had an effect on the industry, with people struggling to find staff and the costs of importing produce going up. If anything, the situation has put even more of an emphasis on local, which is what we’re all about so nothing new for us.
We expect to see a lot more restaurants flying the local flag in food trends 2018, with the pound worth less abroad. It makes sense to focus on what you have on your doorstep, which makes us really happy as it’s the whole ethos behind what we already do.
The need to source local means people will be focusing more on building better relationships with their suppliers and knowing exactly where their produce comes from, which we feel is so important anyway.
Sharing the mileage for our ingredients allows us to be really transparent about the quality of produce we’re working with.
Size isn’t everything, as we’re seeing a lot of smaller restaurants and smaller plates. The popularity of small plates is only going to grow in 2018. Customers want smaller dishes, but more of them, which is perfect for our tasting menu as we get to experiment with so many different cooking techniques and flavours for every dish on our changing tasting menu.
Isobel Humbey – Sous Chef, The Salt Room
2018 will see a rise in British produce; homegrown food sourced from local farmers and suppliers. The Salt Room already strives to use only sustainable local produce from Sussex and the surrounding counties, and this theme will continue to spread amongst other kitchens especially as it becomes more challenging to source from abroad.
Simplicity will be key, with extraordinarily fresh local ingredients being treated with even more care and compassion. The winter months will bring ‘one pan’ dishes back into fashion, with rich cassoulets and stews making an appearance.
The spring menus will be the most exciting. Vibrant green broad beans and peas served simply with generous amounts of butter, and fresh fish arriving daily from small boats on the south coast. No frozen imported prawns on our menus!
Cheaper ingredients will hopefully soar in popularity, with chefs turning often overlooked produce into the star of the show.
We currently have Skate cheeks, or skate nobs, on our menu, served simply coated in breadcrumbs with homemade fennel kimchi. Delicious and uncomplicated.
George Boarer, Sous Chef, etch.
I believe food trends 2018 will see a rise of more under-utilised or forgotten cuts of meat, nose to tail dining will be all the rage. Classic dishes and techniques will return to menu’s as chefs return to basics. I think sociable and informal restaurants will continue to be popular. This will hopefully see a rise in guests dining out which will be a boost for the industry.
Laura Petersen – Pastry Chef, The Salt Room
As 2017 comes to a close there are some food trends I think will continue into 2018, and new ones which will surface. For me, 2017 was about less is more and stripping back the more intricate dishes, going for the ‘deconstructed’ and the idea and going back to the classics.
Plating is much cleaner and simpler and I think this will continue into 2018 as British food gets more sophisticated and we realise that the originals are sometimes just the best!
Bright vibrant colours were on show with lots of green – herb oils, sea vegetables, foraged leaves and berries. I think people are beginning to use the natural colours of ingredients, beetroot for example, to dye others – storing oysters in a beetroot saline solution to take on the flavour and colour.
As evident on our menus at all of the restaurants, we love to celebrate and share. Moving away from small plates and into feasting – big cuts of meat and fish for the centre of the table with lots of sides. Same with desserts, nothing more romantic than a show-stopping dessert for two to share at the end of a meal!
What about drinks?
Eating out is not just about the food. Drinks play an important role in the whole experience. Drinks trends are just as important as food. We asked some of Brighton’s local wine experts what they think will be big in 2018.
Robert Maynard – Wine and spirits expert, Butlers Wine Cellar
Gin Slows Down
After several years of massive expansion, the introduction of new brands to the market will slow. I would hazard to say we have reached ‘Peak Gin’, with brands struggling to move product due to a saturation. The market will re-focus on spirits of provenance, with an emphasis on those managing their own product supply, rather than purchased alcohols.
Fortifieds on the rise
While we’ve been saying “Sherry is cool” for a while now, the movement has real gravitas with several previously lacking major distributors taking on astute brands.
It’s rare to see a competent drinks menu without a quality Fino or Manzanilla, and the more oxidative styles are ever increasing in access.
It doesn’t stop there, Madeira is ever popular in the restaurant world with sommeliers seeking out vintage, almost ancient products and bringing them to market. An excellent compliment to some of the countries best wine lists.
English wine matures
The growth of the English sparkling market has been incredible, and now we are seeing the release of fantastic back vintage stocks and wines of serious ambition and complexity. From larger producers going non-vintage to induce a new layer to their house blends, to boutique producers releasing wines of astounding balance and concentration. We can only hope that there is a continued drive with the producers to bring out the best of the English terroir.
With organic produce becoming almost the benchmark for quality beverages.
There is a drive to continue reducing the quantity of chemical and artificial influence on what we consume, whilst outwardly reducing the impact on the environment itself.
Across the industry, there is increasing momentum to produce better quality while not compromising on these elements, creating a truly sustainable future for the drinks world.
Alex Preston, Restaurant Manager & Sommelier, Isaac At
Plates might be getting smaller, but the reputation of English wine has grown massively over the last year and 2018 is only going to see things go even crazier for it. We’ve always championed English wine with our Sussex wine list and 2017 has been a great year for award wins for the likes of Ridgeview and Nyetimber, who are both only up the road.
Bringing food and drink together in the way we do creates a completely different dining experience, which I think you’ll see a lot more of next year. Going beyond just focusing on food and drink, making the importance of my role as Front of House even more significant to help build the right reputation.