The National Restaurant Association recently dropped its 2014 Culinary Forecast, which polled 1,300 professional chefs across the country about the biggest food trends on the horizon for the coming year. The top 20 trends for 2014 include things like locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, gluten-free cuisine, nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking and smaller portions for a smaller price.
We asked a handful of Boise chefs and restaurateurs to give us their thoughts on the past year in the Boise dining scene, and to make some predictions for 2014. These are the folks we polled:
V: Chef and owner Richard Langston--Cafe Vicino
BRF: Owner Dave Krick, Beverage Manager David Roberts and Prep Manager Justin Thain--Bittercreek Ale House and Red Feather Lounge
M: Chef Nate Whitley--The Modern Hotel and Bar
B: Chef and co-owner Sarah Kornfield--Bleubird
What was the biggest trend in the Boise dining scene in 2013?
V: Casual pub food.
M: It seemed that the brewpub trend remained strong in 2013.
FA: Locally sourced meats and produce. Gluten-free dining.
B: Even though it's been resurging the past few years, still an emphasis on local, farm-to-table, etc.
What do you predict will be the biggest trend in 2014?
BRF: Idaho noodles; it's gonna be huge.
M: Being optimistic, hopefully the pushing of boundaries. Specifically State and Lemp and Woodland Empire [Ale Craft] are two ventures that seem to have that as their goal.
FA: Both local and sustainable sourcing will continue to build momentum, which is great for our local foodshed/support of local producers. Also, restaurants being more sensitive to the growing population of potential guests that need more gluten-free options. Simplicity--a resurgence of the "back-to-basics" approach.
B: Haute comfort foods and lots of heritage foods like pickling, jams, chutneys and ice cream sandwiches.
What restaurant/bar/brewery opening were you most psyched for in 2013?
BRF: Bittercreek remodel.
M: Bleubird, which I guess opened late in 2012, but I got the most excited about them in 2013.
B: Janjou [Patisserie].
What openings are you anticipating in 2014?
V: Ruth's Chris Steak House--it will be interesting to see how Boise responds to a high-end national restaurant.
BRF: Bogus Brewing.
M: I am looking forward to the Woodland Empire opening up.
FA: The Zions Bank Building and all the F&B operations that go with it. Anything locally owned and operated.
B: St. Lawrence Gridiron.
What was the most overused ingredient of 2013?
V: Kale--its publicist did a great job. Now move over and make room for something else.
BRF: Pork belly.
M: Ranch dressing.
FA: Pickled onions and gluten-free alternatives.
B: Arugula--I'm guilty.
What ingredients are you most amped to work with in 2014?
V: More locally grown meats.
BRF: Pork belly, we just can't let go.
M: Pork, and then the usual procession of produce which makes itself available at different times of the year.
FA: Fresh pastas prepared/served in new and dynamic ways. Pig heads, rabbit and game birds.
B: After a long winter, I always look forward to late spring and summer herbs and vegetables/fruits.
What food terms or phrases make you want to stab someone with a paring knife?
V: Deconstructed. Hen eggs. What? Have you ever seen a rooster egg?
BRF: We are tolerant of all ideas.
M: I'm gluten-free.
FA: Calling extra virgin olive oil, "EVOO."
What dish do you hope you never see on a Boise restaurant menu again?
V: Farm-raised salmon in any form.
BRF: Local organic chicken breast wings (it was a huge mistake).
M: Salmon Caesar.
What dish do you wish you could find in Boise?
V: Not so much a specific dish, but a really good Spanish tapa restaurant.
BRF: Local duck.
M: More variety, not one specific dish.
FA: High-quality, well-executed Chinese cuisine and Callitos Mazatlan.
B: Sticky toffee pudding; it's my favorite dessert.
What's the best kitchen/cooking advice you've ever received?
V: A good chef never blames his failures on poor equipment--you have to be flexible and creative.
BRF: You've got crack a few eggs to make an omelet.
M: Use salt.
FA: Panic is the enemy of clear thinking and productivity. Always keep going! Choose your attitude!
B: You can never use too much butter, heavy cream and white wine.