And finally, a trend that we think is on the wane … pop-ups. Pop-ups are fairly run-of-the-mill now, becoming frequent events that if successful, lead to permanent fixtures – which rather takes the ‘pop’ out of them. Street food markets such as Dinerama now have fixed abodes, and many key stalls, such as Pizza Pilgrims and Meat Liquor, now own restaurant chains in their own rights. Chefs have muscled their way in as well, with Pascal Aussignac’s Duck ‘n’ Roll a perfect example – a successful extension of his restaurant offering as a charity pop-up, it’s now a fixed residency.
The shift away from this pop culture is twofold – firstly, that chefs and restaurants are favouring a more collaborative approach, favouring guest appearances and takeovers rather than brand new ventures. This allows chefs to share their creativity and knowledge, but within like-minded establishments – i.e. the restaurants of their peers. Newly crowned with a Michelin star, Lyle’s restaurant is a perfect example, bringing in acclaimed chefs from across the world, (Bertrand Grébaut, Pam Yung José Ramírez-Ruiz, Tatiana Levha and Mitch Orr) for a programme of dinners throughout 2016.
Secondly, the fact that anyone and everyone can now host a supper club or set up a restaurant takes away many of the pop-up’s USPs. Without many of the normal costs and constraints of a fixed restaurant, supper clubs and restaurants-at-home allow wannabe chefs the opportunity to try hosting on their terms, offering diners an endless choice of locations, themes, and culinary surprises that pop-ups just can’t do. And it’s not just homebods muscling in on this market; every possible consumer activity is being primed as an opportunity for dining. Retail and travel are the key areas for gourmet growth in 2016, with chef takeover events at Harvey Nichols, and the launch of Bruno Loubet’s Gatwick Grain Store being the perfect examples.
Phew … from what we can see, 2016 is shaping up to be a pretty tasty year, and these predictions barely skim the surface of all the exciting innovations bubbling away in the proverbial cooking pot. We can’t not mention the continued penchant for gourmet fried chicken, or the domination of Bake Off fever with the Professional version soon to hit our TV screens, but hopefully there’ll be some surprises along the way for us all as well. Bring on 2016 and bon appétit!