Gail Simmons, Top Chef, F&W Special Projects Director
"I’m over extreme foods. I understand how the Cronut inspired everyone to combine their favorite foods in an effort to create the ultimate super-mutant treat, but it's becoming overkill. Some of these new concoctions work, some don’t, and some are just terrible ideas in the first place."
"Make It Stop": Foodie Resolutions for 2014
By Kelly Dobkin
January 2, 2014
Photo by: Amber Ambrose
Cronuts, pork belly, ramen, kale... Are some trends and ingredients totally played out? As 2013 draws to a close, we asked some food-world experts to weigh in on what they'd like to see less of in 2014. Read on for the full list of
rants resolutions to start out your New Year right, and tell us what has you shouting "make it stop!" in the comments.
Gail Simmons, Top Chef, F&W Special Projects Director
Photo by: Food Network
Chef Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia, Chicago
“I’d like to see less 'soil' on plates. I will admit, we’ve featured edible soil-like coffee on a number of dishes at Sepia, but I think the trend is done. It’s the antithesis of foam, so it makes sense that it became trendy, but soil has run its course and needs to go back into the ground.”
Photo by: Jonathan Bloom
Allen Salkin, Author, From Scratch: Inside the Food Network
"LESS LOUD MUSIC IN RESTAURANTS."
Besha Rodell, Restaurant Critic, LA Weekly
"I'd like to see less people whining about what they'd like to see less of. We live in the greatest age yet of American restaurants, ingredients and food in general. We are entering an era of great American wines. Those of us who eat and drink for a living are insanely lucky. Don't like kale? Don't order kale. It's not worth an essay."
Jenny Miller, Zagat Contributor
"I was going to say pork belly, because pork belly has been everywhere for years now and it's STILL everywhere... but then I remembered I love pork belly. But you know what I have genuinely gotten tired of? And this will probably be controversial: Brussels sprouts. Yes, those previously overcooked stinkers made a triumphant return as a respectable vegetable, hooray. But let's shove it in the back of the crisper drawer for at least a few years. Every relationship needs space, and I don't think I can embrace them again until I have a little time to miss them."
Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief, FOOD & WINE
"When I look back at 2013, I see a lot of lines. Lines for Cronuts, lines at Mission Chinese, lines for Umami Burgers. Of course these are all great things, but… Why do we put up with it - or even worse, enjoy it? What food could possibly be worth an hour or two on your feet? Outside Dominique Ansel's bakery in New York, people wait for hours for a Cronut. The wait is long enough to launch friendships and romance, which is good, if you have the time. At the coffee shop near my apartment there's always a crowd of uncaffeinated, cranky people ahead of me.
"I wait on lines like these because I want to try the latest and the best. But I've begun to resent it, and I'm looking for a change. And I see some change coming: at the new Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in NYC's Gotham West Market, the wait for some of the greatest ramen anywhere is under 10 minutes (at least for now). Let's make speed, abundance and availability the new sexy."
Carolyn Alburger, Zagat Editor
"Dirt, snow, one single thespian carrot, pea-tendril salads, foams and foraged flowers - I'm not saying these elements aren't beautiful on Noma-inspired platings, but I'm tired of coming home from the finest restaurants in town and feeling hungry. In my mind, a restaurant's first job is to feed its patrons to the point of satisfaction. If I desperately want to detour through the Wharf for In-N-Out on the way home, something is wrong."
Photo by: Fox
The Bromberg Brothers, Blue Ribbon Restaurants, NYC
Eric Bromberg: “I would like to see less celebrity and more quality.”
Bruce Bromberg: “I would love to see less competitive cooking shows and more shows that deal with cooking, and the positive and communal aspects of food and the culinary arts. Also, less young chefs who apply for jobs whose sole purpose is to get their faces on TV.”
Chef Laurent Toroundel, Arlington Club, NYC
“I live in Harlem and love fried chicken - I do - but this artery-clogging craziness has got to stop!”
Kelly Dobkin, Zagat Editor
"Deconstructing dishes that have no business being deconstructed. Case in point: a pastrami sandwich should, at no point, be disassembled to resemble a charcuterie board. If I wanted to make my own sandwich, I would have stayed home."
Gael Greene, The Insatiable Critic, NYC
"Price ridiculously contrived cocktails at $16 if you must. I don't want them anyway, But also offer classics at $12. Fight antipasto-starter price creep.
"Raw kale salads for masochists if you must, but not substituting for butter lettuce, romaine, escarole. bibb and little gem.
"Brussels sprouts may not be served al dente.
"I'll share, but if it's three of something and clearly we are four, add a 4th and charge me 1/4 more."
Chef/Partner Ralph Scamardella, TAO Group, Multiple Cities
“Less NYC restaurants that call themselves 'farm-to-table.' Most consumers have a misconception of where food comes from both locally & globally. Most restaurants in NY use products that are from farms both local and national. For instance, you cannot get fresh spinach from local NY farmers in the winter; most of it comes from the West Coast where it is put on a truck and shipped to the East Coast within two days. Simply, the term is overused and glamorized.”
Chef Ben Pollinger, Oceana, NYC
“In 2014, I’d like to see less of red-veined sorrel and other small leaves/flowers that do not add a complementary flavor element to a dish. Also, unstructured desserts that scatter across a plate consisting of a foam, a crumble, a purée, and a scoop of ice cream or sorbet.
“I could also do without waitstaff who recite more than one verbal special at the table, and waitstaff who cannot intelligibly describe the food they are placing on the table.
“The industry as a whole could see less line cooks who do not embrace the spirit of the sacrifice it takes to become a chef. And culinary-school tuition that is so high it prohibits line cooks from making the sacrifices it takes to become a chef.”
Chef Rick Tramonto, Restaurant R'evolution, New Orleans
"Restaurants that don’t take reservations… To me this is also akin to not having valet. Both of these are so key, and there should be more focus on it. These are the services that get you in and out of the restaurant - they open and close your experience - and there needs to be an effort and focus put on them.
"I love casual service, I’m all about it, but sometimes things can get too casual. For example, a server spilling wine when pouring, or covering up beautiful wooden tables with white paper. I like the less formal - the more casual uniforms, the relaxed feel - but I also think there still needs to be that focus on effort and sophistication in a dining experience.
"Something that has jumped the shark, to me, is cooking-competition TV shows. Not the Iron Chef and the Top Chef... but all the spin-offs, they saturate the quality. It’s just too much. It takes away from the truly special shows. This same thing happens across many industries (music, dance, etc.). Let’s stick to what’s truly special and sets the bar.
"As far as a dish goes, I think that Brussels sprouts with bacon are no longer a trend. They’re delicious, but the trend is over."