Now that the Noughties are drawing to a close, it's time to try and guess what might happen on the food front in the Teenies. Naturally, the papers are already full of confident predictions as to what might be on the menu over the coming decade. According to The Observer, whoopie pie is going to be the next big thing. It sounds fun but it's perhaps not the sort of revelation that would have had the editor shouting for the printing presses to stop and pages one to four to be cleared.
The Times has come out with a very wide ranging set of predictions here. I liked the ambition of number thirteen which seems to predict the fully automated dinner party: “Organise a dinner party on Facebook — your radio-tagged fridge, which knows its contents, will order from Ocado, and the robot maid will do the rest.” And squadrons of flying pigs might just be spotted against the backdrop of a blue moon.
As an enthusiastic but rarely successful punter on the horses, I know that predicting the future will almost always come back to haunt you. However, the following trends are my guesstimates as to what the next few years may hold.
1) The recession will end but more and more value for money restaurants will continue to open long after unemployment falls back and house prices stabilise. Bling interiors, luxury ingredients and big bills are off menu for a while yet.
2) Linked to number one will be a continued interest in nose to tail eating. You might need a medical dictionary to decipher the menu but every meal time will be an adventure.
3) Linked to one and two will be a surge of restaurants that flaunt their green credentials. Reduced waste, low energy consumption, sustainable sourcing and clearly displayed corporate social responsibility statements will be the buzz concepts.
4) Expect the government to become a lot more involved in the way that restaurateurs run their businesses. We're talking calories counts on menus, increased alcohol policing and outright bans on ingredients which are deemed harmful such as trans fats.
5) There will be some deep thinking about GM foods. Can an increasing population afford not to consider GM crops or meat grown in vitro?
6) On a much lighter note, the pop-up trend looks set to take off in Scotland. Barca in Glasgow's Princes Square is currently hosting a pop-up cava bar. Plenty more will follow.
7) Without suggesting that there will be an outbreak of communal living and yoghurt-knitting, there will be a flurry of interest in shared meals. Think communal tables in restaurants and large joints of meat to share.
8) Celebrity chefs will have to fight hard for air time in the face of more and more reality cooking shows.
9) This one is more of a personal and probably doomed wish than a prediction but I would love to see an end to the tapas craze. Once more, images of flying pigs are crossing my mind's eye.
What food trends do you think will characterise the Teenies? What would you like to happen on the restaurant front?