“You’ve got bread, and a toaster of some kind?” asks Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, before telling the waitress to hold the chicken between her knees. Rules have gone out the window since then when it comes to dining trends.
Defined by Dining Trends
Today, forget about “No Subsitutions.” We identify ourselves by our diets. Are you a vegan, a flexitarian, paleo, or gluten-free? Menus have to not only cater to our individual food groups, but they must also be allergy-tested and keep up with our travel interests. Entrees are dinosaurs in the face of bold flavour-forward sharing plates. The more globally inspired, the better.
Everyone is trying to reinvent the wheel, and menu innovations are its spokes, as are creative mocktails for the growing number of teetotallers. Ambience and décor are determining the second date. We get squeamish when the waitress brings us straws. Consumers demand environmental sustainability and restaurateurs seek technological efficiencies. Of course, the elephant in the room is cannabis, and we’re all waiting with bated breath for the great puff that industrious entrepreneurs have been preparing for like the countdown to a rocket launch. What’s a chef to do?
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We’re seeking new experiences to shake the doldrums. With feverish curiousity we crave what we’ve never tasted, where we’ve never been—that final frontier: “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” But, we’re also factoring in the environment and climate change into our travel considerations, as well as civil unrest that is spreading across the globe. Value-packed family travel is booming, as are off-season tourism and tourism to off-radar destinations. In 20/20, it’s about clarity in our dining and destinations.
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.