Now that we are few weeks in to 2018, we can catch our breath, look around, and absorb the style changes around us. According to Neiman Marcus, Architectural Digest, and Harrods, sleek eco-chic designs are in. These and other big box retailers are focusing on sustainable wood, custom designs, photo-worthiness, and simplicity.
The pendulum swings again for retro
Whether it was purchased decades ago or days ago, there is something special about design features that remind consumers of days gone by. If it seems old-fashioned then it has character, even if some of its features have been rendered obsolete.
Subsets of millennials are expressing preference for nostalgic experiences, clothing, and food styles, despite the fact that they were not originally alive to witness the particular style phenoms. Moreover, function and form fusing together is at an all time high, especially in tableware.
For example, above is the Campagna Serving and Cutting Board with stainless steel handles and a finished surface of platinum ash. Though pictured in a grilling millieu, this board can be a plate, a tray, a cutting board, or a bar surface. Though the pendulum does swing back and forth between high-tech gadgetry and homespun authenticity, we are certainly going to enjoy an earthy display this year in restaurants and home decor.
We are all going green.
Even if we aren't doing it on purpose, our habits are more green than they used to be. The local bakery is now serving our favorite croissant in a container that is undoubtedly repurposed/recycled/recyclable. And we are getting a kick out of it. The styrofoam and other toxic plastics that have simply fallen off our radar are not missed and we are finally getting the knack of what to recycle and where.
Biodegradability, compostability, and sustainability are words we are now comfortable with and we even enjoy reading when our the retailers from which we shop offer information about their green efforts.
Single-use wood, palm, and bamboo plates are making a big splash in the catering, buffet, and residential segments. They perform well for all types of cuisines, are made from renewable sources, and will degrade naturally in regular trash.
Palm tableware takes the lead for eco-chic tableware this year, as it is made from fallen re-purposed palm fronds, rather than harvested wood or bamboo. With divine texture and a compelling creamy appearance, palm tableware is becoming more popular and truly the poster child for eco-chic vaisselle.
Is it good enough for Instagram?
Though our human ancestors were able to eat without taking pictures, a great portion of our current population is not. #food is connected to over 255 million Instagram posts. 255 million posts may seem to shrivel in the face of 7 billion human opinions, but the sentiment is spreading. Food makers, food sellers, and food buyers are absolutely being influenced by what is posted on social media.
With more than 40 billion photos and videos posted since the inception of Instagram, users have a front row seat to the birth and death of food trends. Plus, they have the cherished ability to take part in the action. Pizza is the most popular Instagrammed food behind sushi and steak, but the list continues with burgers, bacon, and tacos. Equally important to what is photographed are the hashtags and commentary associated with the post. For it is in the commentary, the hashtags combined with engagement that reputation is born.
No longer is the time when 5 star restaurateurs and chefs can stick up their noses at the globally accepted pre-eating routine of snapping and posting. Even chefs are getting in on it by making sure that whatever is plated is ready to be digitally filtered and framed. (Oh, and the plate itself should look good, too.)
In an attempt to engage diners, some restaurants have elected to use less than traditional serving vessels. For the most part, posters and viewers appreciate the novelty as ever more outrageous presentations are served to unsuspecting clientele, but there has been a rebellion. #WeWantPlates is a social media movement documenting and discrediting establishments who serve sundaes in an actual kitchen sink, ribs on a miniature picnic table, or taquitos in a cigar box. Whichever side you are on, the sub-culture battle between those who want plates and those who want a photo-worthy experience, continues.
More is less, therefore less is more.
Separate from the non-plate circus, another trend emerges in tableware and recipes. A deconstructed, minimalist albeit beautiful, exposed wood beam sort of trend. Instead of pushing ornate plates or spaces, keeping it simple to highlight the craftsmanship is key this year.
Menu items are not overly disguised with preparation and process, rather gently persuaded with delicate flavor combinations and finished with artful cooking technique. Novelty aside, dishes that are well made and aesthetically pleasing will succeed. Perhaps this is the unspoken counter culture to eat, snap, and post pre-meal ritual. Those who are truly appreciative of gourmet meals savor the flavor in their hearts not in their social media accounts.