These Will Be the 11 Biggest Restaurant Trends of 2019, According to Chefs

We asked some of the most recognizable names in food to predict the Next Big Things. 

Kelp, French classics, and phone-free dining are on the menu for 2019. With a new year on the horizon, Food & Wine tapped 13 forward-thinking chefs from around the country to talk about what they expect to see in the coming year.


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From James Beard Award-winning and Michelin-starred chefs, to culinary personalities, cookbook authors, and all-around food royalty, here’s what they had to say. Spoiler alert: Get ready for more plant-based dining and fast-casual spots.

Old-school French technqiue

“It’s making a comeback! A lot of older French techniques are reemerging, but in their true unadulterated form.” – Jeremy Ford, chef and partner of Stubborn Seed

Smaller-format restaurants

“I think we’ll continue to see more elevated bar and lounges where both the drinks and food are very experimental. New places such as Kaido in Miami or The Aviary in NYC have a loungy scene and really creative bar food with focused and knowledgeable service. I also see a trend of smaller format restaurants with counter dining, open kitchens, and tasting menus, allowing chefs to be spontaneous and free with their cooking.” – Daniel Boulud, chef, restaurateur, and founder of The Dinex Group

Eating in

“Definitely eating in and not dining out is a big one. This may be a mix of to-go items, meal-prep packages, home cooking, and potlucks. The future of dining is in the comfort of our own homes.” – Helene Henderson, cookbook author, chef, and owner of Malibu Farm

Fast-casual everything

“There are many things happening, but my prediction is that fast casual will make significant inroads. We’ll continue to see luxury ingredients served in a very simple fashion with self-service.” – Geoffrey Zakarian, Chopped judge, chef, restaurateur, and owner of Point Royal, The Lambs Club, The National, and The Water Club

Latin American cooking

“I’ve noticed an influx of chefs from Central and South America opening fine-dining restaurants in the U.S., especially in Miami. I see people opening up to trying the flavors of Latin America, and I also see it spreading across the country. It wasn’t long ago where people didn’t know the difference between Mexican cuisine with foods from Cuba, Venezuela, etc., but that has changed and will continue to.” – Michelle Bernstein, chef and owner of Cafe La Trova, cookbook author, and television personality


“Kelp, kelp and more kelp! It’s a sustainable option that’s good for diners and the oceans, so you’ll see a lot more of it.” – Marc Murphy, executive chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants, cookbook author, and Chopped judge

Plant-based entrées

“It’s not a matter of substituting a meat product for a plant-based option, like a burger or chicken. It’s about using fresh plant-based ingredients to create delicious meals that aren’t just alternatives to meat, but complete dishes on their own. – Lorena Garcia, chef at Chica Las Vegas, restaurateur, and cookbook author

Phoneless dining

“Breaking bread with your friends without your phone. Along these lines, trying to figure out interactive or shared dishes to make people interact more.” – Marc Forgione, chef and partner at Marc Forgione

Plant proteins

“It’s all about plant proteins, but not in the way you imagine. For sure CBD, but more like burgers in plant-form that are as greasy and not really healthy as regular ones, just more protein conscious.” – Spike Mendelsohn, chef at Vim & Victor, restaurateur, and consultant at Sunnyside Restaurant Group

More sourcing transparency

“People want to know more and more about where their food is coming from. They don’t want to ignore what they’re eating anymore, which forces chefs to take a closer look at sourcing. – Jean Imbert, executive chef at L’Acajou and Swan and Bar Bevy

Activist chefs

“With chef José Andrés nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, it shows the capability our industry has to improve the lives in the communities we serve. We can assemble ourselves to help others as we move into 2019.” – Thomas Boemer, chef and owner of Twist Davis Group