In the fourth and final part of our feature on food trends in 2012 we asked 10 leading chefs, restaurateurs and food critics including Heston Blumenthal, Simon Rogan and Richard Vines for their top tips and predictions on the hot trends to hit restaurants in the next 12 months.
The responses were pretty varied from a prediction to watch out for goat's milk and yoghurt in dessert menus to another chef adding his voice to the growing amount of industry professionals celebrating the impact of street food. Take a look at all 10 and see if you agree with the list or notice any food trends you weren't aware of - until now!
Adam Bennett, head chef, Simpsons Restaurant and Bocuse d'Or UK candidate – The death of micro herbs
"I would like to see the death of micro herbs. It is something I would like to see and in the better restaurants it is starting to happen. There are a lot of things being put on the plate that look pretty but aren’t there for relevance of flavour or as an integral part of the dish. I think people are moving away from that and I would like to see more people doing the same – the overriding trend is a move towards simplicity."
Raymond Blanc, owner, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – Cutting protein
"We cannot go on eating protein like we are now. For the environment and our health we cannot have meat on our plate every day. We will see a lot of pulses, vegetables, herbs and spices instead – it is exciting. It is a huge opportunity in terms of creativity and it is good business sense because protein costs four times more than vegetables."
Heston Blumenthal, chef and owner, The Fat Duck, Dinner, The Hind’s Head and The Crown at Bray - Quality produce
"We’ve been through many phases in gastronomy over the last few years – creativity, molecular gastronomy and the emphasis on the sourcing of ingredients as well as the morality and welfare of fish and meat sourcing. I think over the next few years all those things will settle down and we’ll have a fine balance of using all the tools we have available. However, the most important thing going forward for chefs will be the quality of the produce. More chefs will be searching for the finest quality available and seeking out the growers or the farmers who can give it to them."
Jamie Barber, restaurateur, Sweet Potato Ventures - South American food
"We'll see a rise in the popularity of South American food, influenced primarily by the World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Olympics both taking place in Brazil and combined with the saturation of Italian restaurants in the casual dining market."
Wayne Edwards, director and co-founder, Thefoodpeople - Raw food
"I think one of the big trends this year will revolve around less cooking; so raw food, but presented in a smaller way. Maybe smoking and preserving it and taking ‘raw’ into a wider consumer perspective. I think there’s a real niche about raw food at the moment and I think in a consumer view, it’s all about less cooking; less intervention from the chef. Although, it might be smoked and preserved and the work might actually be quite intensive."
Anna Hansen, head chef, The Modern Pantry – Persian food
"There is nothing around yet that is authentically Persian and I think it is quite inspiring food and I think we will see a little bit more about it. It is primarily Iranian cooking but it is influenced by all the neighbouring countries too and all the people that come and visit. There is an authentic and specialised field of Persian cuisine and Sabrina Ghayour is leading this. The food is delicious and quite unusual."
Sarah Hartnett, head pastry chef, Sheraton Park Lane – Goat's milk and goat's yoghurt
"Goat's milk and goat's yoghurt and other organic ingredients will be the key flavours that everyone will be using. You can use them for ice creams to take advantage of the popularity of frozen yoghurt. In the next year in pastry it will also be a case of no messing around, less foams and escumers. The simple, mainstream classics done well will make a comeback - things like jelly and ice cream, lemon tarts and trifles."
Marco Pierre White, chef and owner, MPW Restaurants – Gulls eggs
"Gulls eggs are one of my favourite things to eat – they are the food of the Gods. With homemade celery salt and mayonnaise they are delicious. I get mine from Lymington – there is a four or five week window before the Spring tides and if nobody picks them they are washed off and they all die. The French don’t eat them – which is quite interesting. They are sensational."
Simon Rogan, chef and owner of l’Enclume, Rogan & Co and Roganic - Street food
"The street food trend in restaurants, like we’ve seen with MeatLiquor and MeatMarket, will continue. Bubbledogs is the next one to open and I think we’ll see a lot more of those kind of places serving hearty meals in a casual environment emerge over the next year. They’re real rock ‘n’ roll restaurants and in the current financial climate they work well as they also provide good value for money - you can fill up on great food without spending too much. They’re places I like to go to myself and I know other chefs and the general public love them too."
Richard Vines, Bloomberg’s chief food critic and UK chair of World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards - ‘Bistronomy’ and American restaurateurs in London
"I see two trends for the coming year. First, the arrival of more American restaurateurs in London. The success of Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck has created a lot of interest and I’d like to see Danny Meyer and Thomas Keller coming in with places like Shake Shack and Bouchon. Second, I expect growth in bistronomy: casual, mid-priced venues serving very good food, places like 10 Greek Street."
So, what do you think will be the hottest food trend to hit restaurants in the next 12 months? Why not cast your vote as to who you think's right in our Facebook poll .
To read all of the articles in the BigHospitality Food Trends 2012 feature including our look at the Asian ascension and tapas takeover, click here .