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All About Food: What will be on plates in 2016

It’s a new year and the food industry is preparing for change.

These changes may be good, odd or wonderful. Others can be seen as healthy, controversial or revolutionary. You’ll find that some foods aren’t new but they are enjoying a revival.

The change that caught my eye first was in an article titled “Dumpster-to- Plate Cuisine.” Chefs generate a great deal of garbage when cooking, and it seems that there is now a trend toward repurposing that garbage.

A New York chef named Dan Barber turned his restaurant into a pop-up that he named WastED, which serves fish bones, bruised produce and other salvage not generally thought of as food. He has a menu of a la carte dishes that are $15. He also has a dish that is made from dog food.

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Other chefs have changed their menus to serve only supermarket discards. It seems that tons of food is wasted every year. In the coming year some chefs are making “no waste” their primary cause, which includes reinventing leftovers.

Kale, which has been the darling of foodies for a few years, will have to take a back seat to seaweed. This plentiful and sustainable green is loaded with fiber, antioxidants, iodine and good fats. A strain of bacon-flavored seaweed will also be available.

Spam has always been a staple in Hawaii, but with the rise of Hawaiian-style cuisine, it has taken a new place in the culinary world as well. Chefs in Hawaii are adding it to their menus with a chic upgrade by layering it on sushi rice with seaweed. One chef includes it on his $150 tasting menu.

Mama’s Fish House on Maui was voted No.2 among America’s best restaurants. Other restaurants on the mainland are now really pushing poke, a marinated, raw fish salad. It is usually made with yellowfin tuna but now comes in many other variations.

Ube, a popular vibrant purple yam used in Filipino cuisine, will be emerging everywhere. Look for ube doughnuts, ice cream and cheesecake.

One big change is in the works but has not yet been fully implemented. Danny Meyer, owner of many New York restaurants, has announced that he is eliminating tipping. It will mean higher prices, 15% to 20%, and higher wages for the restaurant workers. It remains to be seen if this change will catch on.

Fermentation is getting a lot of hype these days. Fermented foods have many health benefits. When food is fermented, the sugars and carbohydrates are broken down by healthy bacteria, and this results in a pungent burst of flavor. Fermented grains and veggies are taking center stage at Los Angeles hot spots like Gjusta and Sqirl. Sauerkraut is sexy!

Munchery in L.A. has an app that lets customers call in orders to be made by local four-star chefs. Clients can also order a trained chef and all his tools and ingredients to whip up a family meal in a home.

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Are you a tea lover? Do you drink green tea? Well many tea lovers are switching to matcha, which may deliver many health benefits. It comes as a fluorescent-green powder and is being featured in many trendy specialty bars as well as places like Starbucks. This tea was first brought to Japan by a monk named Esai in 1911, and it seems to help people stay calm yet alertly focused during meditation sessions.

To finish, let’s talk ice cream.

Some unusual new flavors may delight in 2016, including Honey Jalapeno Pickle in Denver, Sichuan Pepper in Philadelphia, Creamed Cod in London, Sweet Corn gelato in Atlantic city, Cod in London, Smurf Gelato in New Jersey, White Truffle in Vancouver, Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel gelato in Chicago, Jackfruit in Delhi and Tequila in Mexico.

TERRY MARKOWITZ was in the gourmet food and catering business for 20 years. She can be reached for comments or questions at m_markowitz@cox.net.

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