Kimpton’s restaurant food trends for 2020

Levantine influences, fermented foods and savoury desserts all feature on the 2020 Culinary & Cocktail Trends report.

20 November 2019

Forecasts for 2020 are coming in thick and fast this month, with many big-name industry players weighing in with their respective food predictions for the coming year ranging from the latest evolution of the plant-based revolution to a boost for Asia Pacific cuisines.

Kimpton, one of the largest operators of multi-concept restaurants and bars in the world, have now also had their say, with obscure health ingredients to boost the recent wellness movement and sour flavours just two of the predicted routes for restaurants and chefs in the US and Europe (including the UK) next year.

Their yearly report, based on the predictions of 75 restaurants and bars in the Kimpton estate, says that the industry can expect more adventurous diners in 2020 – diners who are “more educated, mindful and globally connected than ever before.”

Gut-health glut

Kimpton expect alternative milks, plant-based ingredients and superfoods to continue to rise in popularity, with fermented foods with gut-healthy probiotics including tempeh, pickled vegetables, infused vinegars and fermented dairy products expected to appear more on menus in 2020.

Further plant-based takes on traditional dishes, such as vegetable tartare, are also predicted, with up-and-coming ingredients like nutritional yeast, ashwagandha, collagen peptides and seaweed all worth keeping an eye on.

Love for Levantine

Almost 40% of the chefs surveyed by Kimpton expect cuisines from countries in the Levant, including Israel, Turkey and Lebanon, to be among the most influential in terms of menu development for 2020.

S’chug (a Mediterranean hot sauce) and muhammara (a red pepper and walnut spread found in Turkish and Levantine dishes) were picked as potentially popular Levantine ingredients for next year.

Oddball flavours

Ingredients with sour flavour profiles could be favoured by experimenting chefs next year, with the likes of rhubarb, tamarind and vinegar said to be ready to grow in popularity.

Kimpton also mention a potential for unusual breakfast combos such as liquorice and salty syrups and savoury oatmeal made with bone broth.

Exotic peppers such as Gochujang, piri piri, espelette and Hatch chile peppers could also find their way more and more into dishes, with one in five Kimpton chefs selecting one of them as their top ingredient for 2020.

Elevated ceviche using unexpected ingredients — from spicy tomato granita to pickled carrot to whipped avocado — was the top dish prediction for nearly one third of the chefs surveyed, while makrut lime leaves, pandan and black garlic were picked as top ingredients for next year.

A world of flavour

Ingredients that bridge traditional culinary lines and regions are expected to continue to grow in 2020, with fusion a predicted growth area. Examples include Mexican and Southeast Asian cuisine, French with Scandinavian flavours, Cantonese Chinese and Peruvian (or Chifa) and American South with Japanese.

Native American, Scandinavian, Russian and Peruvian were all highlighted cuisines of potential influence.

Savoury desserts

The majority of Kimpton chefs (47%) believe that vegan desserts will be a strong trend for 2020 while savoury ingredients such as black pepper and sesame will be seen more in traditionally sweet foods.

Meanwhile, one in five Kimpton chefs predict growth in “grown up sundaes”.

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