Trailblazing Chefs and Blazing-Hot Flavors — 2013 Predictions From Food Network Kitchens

By: Jonathan Milder
Related To:
Blazing Hot Flavors - 2013 Food Trend Predictions

Food Network Kitchens have come up with their annual list of the top food trends that will define 2013. Check out some of the trends here.

1. Pop “Culture” — Is fermentation poised to be the new yoga? Beer, miso, yogurt, kombucha and their kin will multiply in 2013. Chefs love fermentation because it's the ultimate source of complex flavors (it's what makes grapes into a glass of wine), marketers love selling “live active cultures," health nuts appreciate probiotics, and DIY-ers are learning that it's easy to get into.

2. Heat Seekers — With jalapenos and chipotles now as common as meat and potatoes, the search for spicy satisfaction will lead us to seek heat in new places. The mass market is getting on board with Doritos taco shells, Sriracha popcorn and Spicy Pizzeria Cracker Jacks, while chefs are exploring warming Aleppo pepper and numbing Sichuan pepper.

3. Fish Sauce Brings the Funk — As we developed a taste for Southeast Asian food, we also acquired a taste for this pungent, ultraconcentrated umami bomb. Now it's everywhere, from fast-casual chains (like Chipotle's Southeast Asian spin-off, ShopHouse), to fancy Italian restaurants — there's even a barrel-aged, responsibly sourced version.

4. Asian Infusion — Second-generation Asian-American chefs like David Chang (of New York, Toronto and Sydney's Momofuku restaurants), Roy Choi (of Kogi and A-Frame in Los Angeles) and Danny Bowien (of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco and New York) are making kimchi (pungent pickled cabbage), gochujang (Korean chile paste) and shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice blend) as American as apple pie.

5. Fun-house Food — This year we don't have to be too serious about food. Creative chefs are pushing experimentation to extremes with a spirit of play and a sense of humor that seem entirely of the moment, producing funhouse cuisines where pastrami meets kung pao, kimchi meets tacos and ramen meets matzo balls.

6. Comeback Cuisines — Is the pu-pu platter about to finally get a little respect? After years of looking for authenticity in distant lands, we are coming to appreciate our own native, hyphenated cuisines: Italian-American, Tex-Mex, Jewish-American, Chinese-American, even Tiki. Fantastic chefs are reviving forgotten Americanized classics from General Tso's chicken to chicken Parm to fantastic effect.