Trends without end, round four: Bread, breed and Twitter fatigue
What will be the big culinary trends in 2013? As we prepare for a new year in gastronomy, we posed that question to dozens of people in the local food business, everyone from chefs and pastry magicians to restaurant brokers and PR consultants, from brewers and grape gurus to realtors and pig farmers.
Through the looking glass at Cafe|Bar.
And while their insights and opinions are all over the map, one thing is clear: Denver's culinary scene is definitely going to be a conversation piece next year, both at home and across the country. Trend lists are like Twitter accounts: Just about everyone has one. But no one has a list as comprehensive as this...
Keeping reading for our fourth batch of predictions from local tastemakers.
-Trends without end, round one: Simplicity, local greens and pot (maybe)
- Trends without end, round two: Beer, beer cocktails and the whole beast
- Trends without end, round three: Vegetables, spice and Scandinavia
Max MacKissock, executive chef, Squeaky Bean
On stomach restrictions: It's insane how crazy the diet thing has gotten. Ten years ago, I'd never heard of anyone being a celiac, but now at the Bean, we have 30 percent of our customers claiming to be one, so while we don't necessarily change the menu, we do try very hard to educate our employees on what ingredients are in each dish, and how we can change them to accommodate the needs of our customers. And that, it seems, will have to continue.
Todd Thibault, marketing director, Breckenridge Brewery
On craft beer: The culture of craft beer will become more relevant around Denver in 2013. Just about every bar, tavern and eatery in this city will have multiple Colorado craft beers available, squeezing out the out-of-state breweries and "crafty" breweries a bit more. Don't get me wrong: The city and state will still be rife with craft beers from across the country, but Colorado will become even more dominant. Three to five significant, exclusive craft beer bars or tap houses will open in 2013, two to three of which will only serve Colorado craft beers, and possibly one or two others will be craft beer-only concepts -- no wine or liquor. And the trend of opening nano-breweries or very small, one- to- seven-barrel neighborhood breweries will heat up even more in 2013, and I look forward to the movement of bringing back the concept of a brewery for every neighborhood. These small breweries will not distribute their beers in 2013 -- just pour across their own bar, for the neighborhood. In addition, the sour-beer category will mature and become a bigger player in the craft beer scene in 2013. I'm not talking crazy, overly sour beers, but mildly sour, well-controlled beers - and watch out for barrel-aged sour beers. Sour beers could be quite the rage for the new -- or infrequent -- craft beer drinker.
Kate Lacroix, president, Dish Publicity
On the whole smorgasbord: I think we'll see inventive bar snacks with fruit and chocolate and unusual spices and meat in them (maybe not all at once); the increase of small plates and sides with more of a focus on lesser-known vegetables and cuts of meat; chef-driven cocktails and a return to the humble barman and a backlash against the over-tattooed mixologist; a return to elegance, including formal coat check, maître d', tableside service, jazz bands and the occasional chanteuse; Twitter fatigue from restaurants due to lack of interest on the part of everyone involved; smaller, louder and more packed restaurants, because the recession ain't over, so we all need to cram in and keep up the party; and food-cart fatigue on the part of patrons.
Michael Long, chef and co-host, KEZW's The Main Course
On expense-account dining: I think as the economy continues to improve, we'll see a resurgence of fine dining and expense-account dining, but without the side-show trappings of luxury -- just fine dining with regard to the food and beverage aspects.
On farm-to-table fatigue: I think we'll also see the inevitable exhaustion of "farm to table" as a raison d'être for a restaurant theme, but the principles will remain in practice, as they should.
On pot joints: As the roads to marijuana legalization continue to widen, I predict that the hospitality world will find a way to expand with it, and we may start to see pot cafes popping up, just like tap rooms and breweries.
Shannon Duffy, co-owner, Tender Belly
On kitchen sharing: I think we'll see a lot of chef collaborations in 2013. We're starting to see more chefs leave their home restaurants to create unique dining experiences in Denver. Frasca Food and Wine, in Boulder, has hosted a handful of great chefs from major food cities like San Francisco, New York and Chicago, which provides an extraordinary learning experience for the young chefs in the kitchen.
On breed: Heritage-breed animals of all sorts will be a big trend in 2013, as more consumers opt out of consuming conventional factory-farmed animals and choose to support small family farmers who protect the biodiversity of the species, including chickens, turkeys, lambs, goats and pigs. We'll also see more whole-animal dinners, along with local artisans -- urban beekeepers, cheesemakers, picklers and fermenters.
2220 Blake St., Denver, CO