March 2, 2024

Portal Turist Coecua Toriano

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34 Chefs Around The Country Make Food Predictions For 2022

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we all know the last couple of years have been especially difficult for restaurants who often operate on very slim margins to begin with. As vaccine rates continue to be on the rise and people are getting out more and more, restaurants are seeing reservations fill up, but supply chain issues often make it tough to get the specific ingredients they typically feature on their menus.

Masters of adapting, chefs are getting creative and finding new ways to use what’s on hand. They’re also the watchful eye picking up on trends and what people actually want out of their food.

Is comfort food coming back because we’ve been stuck home eating it for the last two years? We all know plant-based proteins are having a major moment, but what’s next in that arena? Will tipping still be customary? Are robots actually the future in kitchens?

Here are 34 chefs sharing their food trend predictions for 2022:

“I think the biggest food trend for 2022 will be the emphasis on comfort foods; dishes such as roasted chicken, braised short ribs, and seafood stews. I believe that classic American steakhouses will also make a strong comeback. It’s been a very difficult two years and people are yearning for simplicity.” –  Ralph Scamardella, chief culinary officer of Tao Group Hospitality in New York, NY

“Less choice is more. Customers are making a million decisions a day between work, home, etc. When they come to a restaurant, they want the chef and restaurant staff to make the decision easy for them. They want to know that they will be taken care of. I’m seeing less choices and more tasting menus, preset menus, and 3 to 5 course set menus in the future. I’m also seeing more purveyors of caviar than ever before. Chefs are moving away from the traditional application of garnishing dishes and starting to experiment with the idea of accentuating dishes with caviar as a secondary ingredient.” – Ryan Poli, executive chef of Bobby Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee 

“Restaurants will stay afloat in these interesting times by pivoting to innovative concepts such as weekly supper clubs or high tea in lieu of regular breakfast, lunch or dinner seatings.” – Anna Frumes, chef of The Borland House in Montgomery, New York

“The Katsu Sando! Forget the fried chicken sandwich battle, THIS is what you want to be eating in 2022. Restaurants are going to be thinking of new ways to upgrade and differentiate themselves with their bar or sandwich offerings. With more local farmers raising pigs, this would be a welcome addition to the culinary landscape.” – Ian Rynecki, executive chef at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard in North Garden, Virginia

“The redevelopment of regional snack foods. As snacking continues to grow, unique snacks and products developed for local preferences will make a comeback. Think small batch potato chip and pretzel makers. Ethnic snacks currently imported to the US will begin to be made here because of both demand and supply chain issues. Snacks from other cultures will become as ubiquitous as a bag of potato chips and be available just as widely.” – Beth Dinice, executive chef at Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland

“Vegan and plant-based food has grown in popularity each year, and you can see it not only at restaurants but also home cooks. Health became a priority because of the pandemic. Although, people still want comfort food, and that’s why I see a trend next year of plant-based options, but for comfort food dishes like desserts, more burgers, fried foods and of course cheese.” – Wil Drake, founder of Hero Doughnuts in Birmingham, Alabama

“In 2022, I predict more consumers will try to take control of their health using food as medicine — and of course, more honey as a sweetener to help save the bees!” – Amir Alavi, chef/owner of Bee Healthy Cafe in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“I foresee that open-fire cooking will be rising in popularity in 2022. It’s a simple, traditional way of cooking that allows the natural taste of your ingredients to shine, with the added bonus of smokiness and depth from charcoal. We made it a priority to make space for a bintochan grill in Vestry’s kitchen.” – Shaun Hergatt, executive chef and owner of Vestry in Soho, New York City

After almost two years of social distancing and cooking at home, 2022 will be the year of communal food experiences and smaller portions. Guests have been cooped up in their homes with endless access to snacking and leftovers and are looking for new, fresh ways to get out and dine while not overindulging. 2022 will bring adaptations to the typical menu with smaller, more thoughtful portions that facilitate sharing and trying different plates without filling up too much.” – Alec Gropman, executive chef of Uptown Hospitality Group in Charleston, South Carolina

“With the supply chain challenges, staffing crisis, and higher cost of goods, I foresee independent restaurants pushing to a simplified pre-fixe menu that emphasizes local ingredients while minimizing costs. In 2022, dining menus will see a streamlined, localized approach that will keep in line with what is locally fresh and readily available, forcing chefs to innovate their menus with ingredients and products already on hand due to the current state of industry hurdles.” – RJ Cooper, chef/owner of Saint Stephen in Nashville, Tennessee

“Who doesn’t love pizza? In 2022 – and beyond – we’ll continue to see the evolution of pizza inspired by different geographical locations, including more Detroit-style and Roman-style riffs. Thanks to technology like the New York Watermaker, a water replication system which we use at Playa Pizza in Central Florida, we’re able to make our pizza dough with water that mimics the mineral composition of New York City – or anywhere else for that matter. In 2022, consumers will see that the ‘best pizza’ is about ingredients and innovation, not location.” – Stephen Facella, owner and the pizza master of Playa Pizza in Oviedo, Florida

Technology is king. Any brand that expects to do well this year must have a digital footprint. Social marketing, apps, and interactive websites really help push a brand or product forward. The ability to quickly look up chef-tested recipes on websites makes it a better buy.” – Hosea Rosenberg, chef at Santo and Blackbelly Market in Boulder, Colorado

“Personally I think food will keep getting more and more simple with an emphasis on quality of product with familiar cooking techniques. The great chefs will smartly figure out how to execute without adulterating the intrinsic qualities of each ingredient. I also think raw, vegan food will be incredibly trendy in 2022 as well.” – Anthony Wells, executive chef at Juniper and Ivy in San Diego, California

“I feel the food industry is headed towards comfort food. This is not a trend, comfort food has always been woven into the taste buds of America. We are still very much at the height of a pandemic and restaurants were not open and available to consumers for the better part of last year. We were all at home, making our own recipes and dining experiences right at our dining room tables. Because of this, we bonded with food in a way that we hadn’t before. There were even times where we would go to the grocery stores and almost everything was gone but it would be that one lonely pack of ramen left on the shelf. We had to get creative! We started making our own recipes and suddenly ramen became an unanticipated delicacy! I saw so many ramen recipes on TikTok and I even tried some myself and they were amazing! Oddly enough, ramen restaurants started popping up left and right like never before just before the pandemic. This was one of the first places I headed once restaurants reopened. They had several options to choose from. More recently, I’ve been seeing the mash-up between ramen and birria. I think we are headed toward a fusion cuisine between South American and Asian delicacies. I’m really excited to see where the industry is headed with this one.” – Jasmine Norton, executive chef/owner of The Urban Oyster in Baltimore, Maryland

“Over the past year and a half, people have leaned into comfort foods, and I see that continuing through 2022. However, we won’t see the traditional chicken noodle soup and mac and cheese, but I envision chefs taking it up a notch and adding a reimagined take on our favorite comfort classics. My Indian twist on the traditional meatloaf is kabob style with the warm Indian spices I know and love.” – Maneet Chauhan, founder of Morph Hospitality in Nashville, Tennessee 

“Salmon-cuterie! Boards, charcuteries and platters are gaining traction again and I see this as part of a larger trend of people getting further away from standard meals. Meals become less about protein, sauce, starch, veg, and more snack..y or what would traditionally be classified as appetizer-driven. The idea of a salmon-cuterie board is really cool to me as a vessel for our cream cheese spread lineup. Cured or smoked salmon, capers, shallots, cream cheese, and artisan bread or crackers. Plus, I love that it screams Oregon coast!” – Josh Archibald, executive chef of Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon

“Veganuary is picking up steam. I think we’ll see a transition of vegetarian options becoming vegan options on menus. We’ve seen Daniel Humm and Matt Orlando doing it. We will also see more awareness about the benefit of serving fruits and vegetables right after they are harvested. So many nutrients are lost after 24-48 hours, which really proves the value of sourcing locally.” – Ryan Orlando, chef at  The Plot in Oceanside, California

“Add a little bit of *spice* — People are looking to add spice to their palates, and those who can handle the heat will be stocking up on spicy foods like hot sauces, hot honeys and chili crisps, seasonings like Tajin or gochujang and flaming hot snacks.” – Carol England, Culinary Development Manager at HelloFresh

“I see rustic Spanish cuisine as having a moment in 2022. In years past Spanish cuisine has been associated with molecular gastronomy due to its background of excellence in that area, but Spanish cooking has a rich history and various influences. We’re noticing some of the more comfort-driven Spanish dishes on the menu at Soulmate are in high demand. I also don’t think the plant-based trend is going anywhere – demand continues to increase for fantastic plant-based options. I think we’ll see more creative entrees and comfort foods, especially as science continues to produce alternative proteins.” – Rudy Lopez, executive chef of, Soulmate in West Hollywood, California 

“I’m noticing a lot more exploration with spices from global pantries and international sources. I’d love to continue to see more delicious sauces and spice blends applied to local ingredients for fresh takes. Seasonal produce has been on the uptick for quite some time, but is now taking center plate. Once relegated to side dishes, chefs are using vegetables and seasonal produce as the inspiration for the meal. I’m also seeing some really interesting new-wave Australian wines that are intriguing me from small producers doing biodynamic blends and interesting things.” – Steven Satterfield, chef/co-owner Miller Union in Atlanta, Georgia

“One of my predictions for 2022 food trends is the rise of lab-grown meats from animal cells. This has become a hot topic among chefs around the world, being talked about on popular food podcasts and on tv shows. With the supply chains in shambles, we will see lab-grown chicken in grocery stores and adopted into casual and fine dining restaurants by the end of the year. We will also see the rise of specialty mushrooms on menus across the country as mushroom farming has become more popular especially here in the southwest region.” – David Ruiz, executive chef of Vara Winery & Distillery in Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Smaller menus, more veggies. With escalated meat prices, from beef to chicken wings and more, restaurants will be simplifying their menus to adapt in 2022. Chefs will take a creative approach towards minimizing waste and creating flavors from the ingredients themselves. Vegetable garums will be created from mushroom trimmings to add umami to dishes as well as pickling and fermenting to preserve anything that could go to waste. Streamlining the menu to focus on delicious food without too many choices will help businesses effectively manage their costs.” – Vinson Petrillo executive chef at Zero Restaurant + Bar in Charleston, South Carolina

“I think one of the biggest things we’ll see in 2022 is how the repercussions of COVID will impact the industry. Everyone agrees that the restaurant industry needs higher wages, but in the face of recovering from the past two years, it’s going to take time to build back up. I think we’ll also see gratuity or service charges included no longer as an anomaly on a menu. Tipping is an antiquated system that’s inherently sexist and racist and it’s time we graduated away from it. Ingredient wise, 2022 is the year of Yuzu Kosho. This is a spicy condiment that Americans have not totally figured out yet but it fits so well with our palates: it’s bright, in-your-face spicy. I hope that it’ll become a more recognizable ingredient on menus.” – Paul C Reilly, chef/owner of Coperta and Apple Blossom in Denver, Colorado 

“Elevated modern brunches—the mega brunch buffet has been around for decades but a brunch that elevates the skillet breakfast and omelet menu into dishes that walk the line between breakfast and lunch in a whole new way are here to stay. Curried tomatoes on avocado toast, smoked beets and poached eggs, duck and green tea hash, quinoa and turmeric yogurt with zhoug… Brunch is a beautiful place to mix cultural influences and still have a meaningful voice and it’s not just for weekends anymore. As people frequent intermittent fasting, brunch is the perfect midday answer to that first power-packed meal of the day, any day of the week. As for ingredients, whipped tahini will be everywhere!” – Linda Hampsten Fox, chef of The Bindery in Denver, Colorado 

“I think people are going to be gravitating toward the food that has gotten them through the pandemic. I’m optimistic that 2022 is going to be the year for fast-casual comfort food and more outside dining — BBQ and casual comfort foods that people can take home or enjoy outside. With people still working from home, I think we’re also going to see more fast casual restaurants opening in suburban communities over metropolitan areas to meet the needs of the big city exodus we saw over the last two years.” – Rodney Scott, owner of Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina

“I think in the coming years the restaurant industry will finally get an actual seat at the table of politics. COVID really exposed how little the government knows about what we do and it’s been good to see the industry come together in the form of the Independent Restaurant Coalition and push for change. I’m also seeing the return of brassicas with many folks making specialty kimchi with different cabbages and brassicas. We have some local farmers in and around Boulder that are growing super cool brassicas and chicory / Italian bitter greens for us. They are very versatile and delicious, they hang out longer in the fridge and have a better shelf life and they like colder weather, which is a plus as you see them growing in the fall, winter and spring. They are a great green alternative to rooty veggies.” – Cody Cheetham, executive chef of Tavernetta in Denver, Colorado 

“I think we will see a revival in the use of more humble ingredients. While this trend was certainly underway before COVID, recent supply-chain issues are driving prices upwards across all different kinds of products in ways not seen before. To keep menu prices accessible (which will be a critical driver of business for restaurants trying to get back on their feet), chefs will have to focus on humbler cuts and less sought-after ingredients, and add value through time honored cooking techniques (braises, confits, charcuterie) that transform these humble ingredients into masterpieces. Think skate wing instead of scallops, or braised lamb neck instead of lamb chops. Unfortunately, the search for cheaper ingredients will also have some negative consequences: chefs will be forced to choose commodity products over heritage/responsibly sourced/organic alternatives in order to keep costs down. This is not a trend I would like to see, but one I think is unavoidable based on our current price trends.” – Charlie Brooks, chef de cuisine of Sunday Vinyl in Denver, Colorado 

“Quick service technology with robotic kitchen assistance (frying and grilling). We currently use QR code technology at Rosewater Rooftop, as many restaurants now do. Beyond that, I think many will consider how robots can assist in the kitchen as well as with fast-casual counter service (placing orders), takeout and delivery. I also think additional meal plans, food delivery service and apps will be on the rise. Many diners are still choosing takeout and delivery. With ongoing advancements in technology and how we use our phones, I predict there will be more advanced ways for people to request on-demand meals including more variety and new types of food choices.” – Joseph Zanelli, executive chef, of The Ray Hotel Delray Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton in Delray Beach, Florida 

“The diaspora of Filipinx communities throughout the United States have created a sense of cultural representation and a search for identity. The common space is through food and the new wave of Filipino chefs cooking from their roots. I believe there will be a deep dive into the cuisine around the world and the exploration of our individual experiences through food. I also see a growth in food halls and experienced chefs opening up smaller, quick counter concepts. Since 2020, the landscape of food service has completely changed and challenged us to view the industry through a different lens. I’ve learned these style concepts mitigate risk and have a built in food traffic versus a stand alone brick and mortar. A higher road to sustainability and profitability.” – Phillip Esteban, executive chef of White Rice in San Diego, California

“To me, it appears that people are focusing on clean eating. They are looking to source their ingredients as well as finding local area businesses to frequent. More and more people are also requesting organic meals and inquiring where my products come from. I’ve also noticed that people have been shying away from traditional comfort foods.”Tim Armstrong chef of The Hybrid Chef in Jupiter, Florida

“I think we’ll see more restaurants eliminate tipping and instead adopt a service fee model to help level the pay disparity between the front and back-of-house, and ensure everyone receives more consistent, equitable pay. We’ve charged a service fee at Lazy Betty since day one for this reason, and our new sister restaurant, Juniper Cafe, also uses the service fee model. A portion of each restaurant’s fee is allocated to the entire BOH teams regardless of position or status, and it’s weighted based on hours worked, not position or tenure. We’re among just a few places to use this model in Atlanta, but it’s worked out really well for us and our team.” – Ron Hsu, owner of Lazy Betty and Juniper Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia

“As tech and tech companies continue to grow and push into the food/restaurant world,  the way people eat and view food will continue evolving. Convenience and ordering platforms will continue to evolve as well and change/shape the way people eat. Hopefully a counterbalance with a growing desire to cook more at home and a desire to eat local and support businesses will keep things in check. One thing for sure is that things have changed and will continue to change. If we want to stay relevant and successful in this industry, we must adapt and change as well.” – Bill Dorrler, corporate executive chef of Osteria Morini & Nicoletta brands 

“I think Indian casual/fast casual is set to become a lot more mainstream. In the same way that Chinese restaurants went from lazy Susan’s and roving dim sum carts to food trucks and food courts, Indian food is being reimagined. Indian food is punchy and diverse, until lately it’s been hard for people to appreciate that because most Indian restaurants have steered clear of things like pav bhaji, momos and other street food classics.” – Ashish Alfred, executive chef/owner of Alfred Restaurant Group in Baltimore, Maryland

“In terms of catering or sit-down dinners, I’m seeing smaller, more edited solutions instead of a several course meal. I’m also noticing an emphasis on eating good, healthy, homemade meals as opposed to dieting. We’ll be seeing many new restaurant openings, but with smaller operations and restaurants will be limiting capacities but with higher price points. We’ll be seeing owners of restaurants taking on more operational work as venue and capacity-size shrink. “ – Tony Park chef/owner of Angelina Bakery in New York City, New York