Some of the country’s top food and drink professionals were polled on what they’re most eager to say goodbye to in 2020, and these experts griped about an array of dishes, spirits, products and people.
We imagine you’ll agree with many of the complaints, although some might surprise you. Wish these food pros luck as they endeavor to change the conversation in the new year.
Here they are, the Worst Food and Drink Trends of 2019, from the mouths of chefs and bartenders:
“Poke and fried chicken sandwiches. Chicken sandwiches have become marketing strategies for Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. Poke in Hawaii is amazing, because they have very fresh tuna from local fishermen. Most of poke anywhere else is frozen, precut tuna or low-quality fish.”
— Manabu Horiuchi, chef, Kata Robata, Houston
“Time to say goodbye to cauliflower (pizza) crusts. They’re not really tasty, and the texture is awfully chewy. Farewell to everything acai: It’s usually put together in a mediocre way, and so overpriced. Bye to activated charcoal — contrary to popular belief, it’s counterproductive for digestion. Goodbye to truffle oils. The majority are imitations made with bad chemicals.”
— Gabriel Kreuther, chef-owner, Gabriel Kreuther, New York
“I want to say bye to high-carb and high-dairy-focused diets and diets that rely on red meat. They’re too heavy and high in fat and cholesterol. More plant-based foods, more dishes that are high in omega-3s. They’re better for digestion, and everyone will thank me.”
— Sung Park, chef, Ivy Lane, New York
“I’m most looking forward to the end of the trend of ‘cave man-size’ cuts of meat. Those large cuts are not environmentally friendly, not healthy, and just wasteful.”
— Justin Houghtaling, chef de cuisine, Amity & Commerce, Washington, D.C.
“I’m glad to see over-the-top, super overdone beer go. Like the superbitter IPAs that taste like 3-month-old bong water. Or the beers with crazy off-the-wall ingredients and flavors.”
— Patrick Feges, owner, Feges BBQ, Houston
“Leave behind intentionally confusing and obtuse menu descriptors. It’s a shame that so many bartenders (and chefs) feel the need to write deliberately pretentious verbiage to seem more serious. … If the drink has a pinch of sea salt, just say it has a pinch of sea salt. Don’t gussy it up by listing the ingredient as “dehydrated saline solution of oceanic origin.” All you’re doing is confusing people and slowing down service, while at the same time making yourself look like an egotistical maniac.” — Erick Castro, co-founder, of Polite Provisions, San Diego
“I’d like to see the trend of microgreens go away, especially cilantro. Dumping a pile of microgreens on a dish doesn’t improve it. It’s time to move on.”
— John DePierro, chef, Banty Rooster, New York
“I’m thinking that dishes like crudo and ceviche won’t be so frequently eaten in 2020. I also think that overdone plating and single- ingredient layering will stay behind, for example, using a carrot seven different ways, exaggerated use of a technique, and overdone, showy plating.”
— Matt Danko, executive chef, City Mouse, Chicago
“I’m hoping the plants-hanging-from-the-ceiling design is on its way out. It’s overdone, and it feels odd to sit underneath plants while you’re eating dinner.”
— Neal Fraser, chef-owner, Redbird, Los Angeles
“Food halls. A huge component of dining is the ambiance and experience, and food halls don’t do justice to that. Instead, diners are subject to this homogeneous dining atmosphere. I totally understand the need for quick, quality food on the go. But you don’t get the full, 360-immersive touches of a traditional restaurant and its heart and soul.”
— Erika Chan, executive pastry chef, The Publican, Chicago
“Sad to say, but the phrase ‘farm to table’ has lost its meaning. It’s time for a new term to emerge about why we care where our food comes from.”
— Eric Arill, chef, Doi Moi,Washington, D.C.
“A trend that should stay behind in 2019 is food created solely for Instagram. While I love beautiful photos of food, social media has pushed people to value the look of a dish over the taste and quality.”
— Todd Mitgang, executive chef, TacoVision, New York