Chef April Bloomfield knows a thing or two about what diners want.
As an acclaimed restaurateur and chef at some of New York’s most popular dining establishments — the Spotted Pig and The Breslin among them — the British chef has spent more than 14 years honing her skills in kitchens and is a former Best New Chef in America and James Beard Award winner. She’s racked up fans thanks to her uncanny ability to predict just what foodies will be eager to gobble up, melding freshness with tradition. So it shouldn’t be surprising that S. Pellegrino tapped her to help helm their second annual Taste Guide and host an event in New York City on Thursday, where she and fellow chef Ludo Lefebvre whipped up a series of dishes meant to hint at the trends defining fine dining right now.
For Bloomfield, those ingredients included bone broth, avocado and turmeric. But in conversation with TIME, she hinted at much more to come than just the turmeric tonics and avocado toasts that have become ubiquitous at trendy eateries. Her prediction? Filipino cuisine is about to have its moment in the sun — or rather, on the table.
“It’s a very underrated cuisine,” Bloomfield explained. “I love Asian food, but I’d never had Filipino food until I moved to New York. I love it. I like the sweet, sour, salty. I think Filipino food is going to be the next big thing.”
As an example, Bloomfield served a canapé of deep-fried quail eggs topped with a spicy mayonnaise and citrus spritz. It was at once delicate and savory, a comfort food that balanced the satisfying salt of a more traditional fried delight with the creamy sweetness of the egg and the zesty extras. The salty-sweet-sour trifecta is a trademark of Filipino food, whether in rich dishes like adobo or spring-roll-like lumpia, or desserts like the shaved-ice halo-halo. Her prediction is backed up by Google search data and other chefs’ opinions, too.
But how long does any food trend last? According to Bloomfield, we should be eating what we like as long as we like, and worrying less about if it’s “in” or “out.” She’s still a consumer of the much-maligned avocado toast, for instance.
“It’s the equivalent of listening to a song like 20 times, or an album,” she says of eating a a so-called hip food consistently. “Then you give it a break and you go back to it, and you’re like, ‘God, I forgot how good this was.'”
Food trends, she notes, are moving a lot faster these days thanks to the impact of platforms like Instagram, where people “eat with their eyes first” and can become quickly familiar different cuisines. “Instagram is the perfect platform to get people’s attention, especially if it’s food related,” she added.
And there’s one more food that most people might not call “trendy” but Bloomfield is standing firm behind: bread.
“I think that’s a trend for sure: no one is going to ever dismiss bread,” she says. “I’ve been making a lot of bread, so I’ve been buying grains and grinding them myself. Just for my own home. Bread is never going to go away.” Take that, gluten-free diehards.
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