Epicurious's 2008 Food Predictions, Revisited

Photograph by NYCArthur

Everyone's all buzz buzz buzz about Epicurious's food predictions for 2009. Screw that. How well did the team do a year ago, when they predicted what 2008 would bring?

1. Speed: Forget drive-ins, people will order and pay for food with their mobile phones.

2. Niche dining: Very specific focus food outlets such as ceviche bars, chocolate lounges, and kebab counters.
Yep. At least in the big dining hubs — New York, San Francisco, Chicago — a growing trend is to do one thing, and do it really well.

3. Gastrobartenders. This is the "bar chef" phenomenon where bartenders are using more fresh ingredients and exotic ingredients like herbs and superfruit.
Yep. Though we thank our lucky stars that the horrific neologism "gastrobartenders" never caught on.

4. Nutritional scoring: We already get nutritional labels on food, menus may be next.
Yep. This happened. This definitely happened.

5. Head to tail dining: Yes, innards are on the menu.
Yep. But this is sort of a specious "prediction," since offal was on the rise well before last December.

6. Dessert restaurants: These are apparently big already in some locations. Pastry chefs are opening restaurants and delving into sweet/savory combinations.
Nope. If anything, dessert bars are dying a nice, well-deserved death. As for pastry chefs recasting themselves as chefs de cuisine... that's another story. One we like very much.

7. Wacky ice cream: This one is self explanatory! What's the strangest flavor you've seen?
Sort of. People seem more inclined to move away from chocolate and vanilla, but until Sweet Corn clocks in as one of the 31 flavors, this hasn't hit saturation.

8. Gastronomy for kids: Better for food kids and the disappearance of that nasty children's menu may be the next frontier.
Sort of. Chicken fingers still reign supreme, but now they're organic free-range chicken with quinoa breading.

9. Hamburgers go upscale: This one has been around for a while but apparently it's trickling down to fast food outlets and custom burger bars.
We refuse to assess this one because it is just so blatantly a cop-out prediction.

10. Small is big: The small plate phenom continues.
First of all, the word you're looking for is phenomenon. Second of all, a continuation of a trend is not a prediction. Third of all, yep.

11. Ethical eating: The consultants point out the irony in how chefs who are espousing natural, local and even biodynamic ingredients are also adding chemicals to their creations in the name of molecular gastronomy.
Why can't we all just get along?

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