THE LAST WORD Our colum­nist Tony Nay­lor re­veals the food trends we should keep and the ones we should ditch

Life is too short for kale smooth­ies. Our colum­nist Tony Nay­lor re­veals the win­ners and losers in the food trend stakes

BBC Good Food - - Contents - @nay­lor_tony Tony Nay­lor

Trends, trends, trends: food is driven by them, and why not? Eat­ing out would be mighty dull were we not open to new ideas. But this is a no­to­ri­ously in­ex­act sci­ence. For ev­ery move­ment, there is a fad. For ev­ery epochal shift, a dis­pos­able hype. The jury may still be out on nat­u­ral wine and Bri­tish char­cu­terie, but what of the big trends over the past two decades? Here is my per­sonal over­view.


z‘gas­trop­ubs’ The con­cept (af­ford­able, un­fussy food in work­ing pubs), is sound. But as soon as the big pub­cos piled in, they turned the gas­tropub into a for­mula that was all generic-style over scratch-cooked sub­stance: bare floor­boards; squishy leather so­fas; flabby pan-fried sea bass. Now, ev­ery third pub is a gas­tropub charg­ing £15 for pork belly, yet, of­ten, the food is dire. zthe rise of the restau­rant lec­ture ‘Could I take a mo­ment to ex­plain the chef’s con­cept?’ asks the head waiter, as if he is about to re­veal the Dead Sea Scrolls, rather than some ba­nal con­text from the chef’s per­sonal life. Then each dish is por­ten­tously an­nounced with a list of com­po­nents that take longer to re­cite than eat, and which I in­stantly for­get. Such in­ter­rup­tions are painfully awk­ward for the (pre­vi­ously hap­pily chat­ting) ta­ble and wait­ing staff alike. Tip: if the food can’t speak for it­self, don’t serve it.

zsup­per clubs What?! You want me to go to some blog­ger’s flat, make small talk with strangers, and pay for it? I’ll give you 25 quid if I can stay at home. zdude food Yo, bro! For, like, a hot minute this part-ay was KABOOM! But, maaaan, as we binged on Man v. Food and Din­ers, Drive-ins and Dives, that funka­li­cious chow got real old, real fast. All those sloppy burg­ers and pou­tine moun­tains be­gan to taste kinda lame. It’s not adult food, dude. It’s garbage. Where’s the bin? zclean eat­ing Call it pseu­do­science, call it lifestyle fas­cism, but, 100%, clean eat­ing sucks all the joy from food. Life is too short for kale smooth­ies.


zthe demise of fine din­ing Lu­di­crously, the first few times I went out for a ‘posh’ meal in the 1990s, I wore a suit. The ex­pe­ri­ence – starchy wait­ers, hushed din­ing rooms, im­pen­e­tra­bly French menus – was as re­lax­ing as a colonoscopy. To­day, UK restau­rants op­er­ate in an un­recog­nis­ably breezy at­mos­phere. zbrunch­ing out Bri­tain’s love af­fair with Oz-style brunch din­ing and on-point cof­fee has trans­formed my week­ends. Keep your full English. I’ll have the huevos rancheros or shak­shuka. zcraft beer We live in a crisp, golden age of hop-for­ward flavour and stylis­tic ex­plo­ration. From juicy New Eng­land IPAS to huge im­pe­rial stouts, Bri­tish beer has never been bet­ter. zwood-fired won­ders At the in­ter­sec­tion of street food and ob­ses­sive ar­ti­san food (two worlds I en­joy, but with caveats), lies a phe­nom­e­non I love: the rise of au­then­tic, Neapoli­tan-style wood-fired pizza. For £10, you can have per­fec­tion on a plate. znew Nordic More than Mod­ern Bri­tish (cre­atively lim­ited, ul­ti­mately) or molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy (an es­sen­tial if gim­micky move­ment), this post-noma cook­ing phi­los­o­phy of­fers a co­gent, holis­tic ethos for chefs, din­ers and the planet. In its re­spect for tech­nol­ogy and his­toric craft tech­niques, New Nordic of­fers vast cre­ative scope, and its fo­cus on sea­sonal, na­tive in­gre­di­ents is geo­graph­i­cally trans­fer­able and sus­tain­able, too. It feels like an end-game for food, gen­er­a­tionally.

Tony Nay­lor writes for Restau­rant mag­a­zine and The Guardian.

Do you agree with Tony? Let us know on Face­book and Twit­ter #bbcg­fopin­ion

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