A brand-new year is here, so it’s time to adjust your radar to some new food trends for 2019.
Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck in Colorado Springs, already has his eye on one of them: Afro-Caribbean cuisine.
“(It’s) the rage across the states,” he said. “It’s not just about down-home comfort food. Chefs are taking the influences of the South and combining them with flavors of the islands.”
His nod to the cuisine is an Ethiopian-style spice mixture called berbere, which he rubs on trout. He calls the flavors “elevated.” The dish is served with his father’s recipe Creole-style dirty rice.
He pointed to other national trends already in the works locally:
• Food halls continue to boom, the warehouse-like structures where chefs rent space to try restaurant concepts for less investment. (Locally: Todd Baldwin, owner of Red Leg Brewing Co., plans a food hall project for 2019.)
• Local butcher shops continue to pop up. (Locally: Jason Neuart, owner of The Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat, will open Beasts and Brews in early 2019, a butcher shop with a restaurant.)
• Chef Signature Concept restaurants will continue opening. These are eateries known for their famous chef owners and award-winning cuisine.
• Breads served at restaurants are being baked in-house. (Till Kitchen is one example locally.)
But that’s not all for 2019. Trends matter to Food and Drink Resources, a Denver agency that offers consultation and recipe development for restaurants and food and beverage manufacturers.
“Recognizing trends is critical to the work we do here,” said Ric Scicchitoano, a managing partner.
“If we’re going to develop menus that consumers will want to enjoy 12 to 18 months from now, it’s essential we know what’s coming to the mainstream plate.”
• Loaded cocktails: They’re served with over-the-top garnishes, such as fruit-filled glasses or unique flavor combos on sticks.
This New Orleans-style crawfish boil bloody mary is an example of the loaded cocktail garnish trend for 2019.
• Israeli-inspired fare: Mintel, a market research firm, reports that 66 percent of American consumers are interested in Middle Eastern foods — especially dates, pistachios and mint. This fits with the continued trend toward veg-centric dishes and healthier eating. Heart of Jerusalem Cafe and Taste of Jerusalem Café are local examples.
• Wild greens on the plate: They’re seeing less kale and more dandelion, mustard and chicory greens.
• Veggie fine dining. Vegetarian main dishes have moved front and center at nicer restaurants all over the country.