In a highly unscientific survey, we sent a twenty-item questionnaire to some 75 chefs and other movers and shakers in the Texas food world to ask what dining will be like as the twenty-first century unfolds. More than 50 responded, and hereâ€™s a smattering of what they said. Beef, both fatty and lean, isnâ€™t going away anytime soon. Raw fishâ€”and not just sushi and cevicheâ€”is coming on strong. And brush up on your Spanish, because quinoa (â€œkeen-wah,â€ a nutty South American grain) will be on our plates alongside wheat, rice, and barley. Texasâ€™s up-and-coming cuisine will be Indian, and our trendiest restaurants will be found in Dallas. Donâ€™t bother to dress up for dinner, because formal dining is as dead as a dodo. So is â€œthe crazy stuffâ€ of overelaborate menus driven by chefsâ€™ overinflated egos. Independent operations are not endangeredâ€”yet. If there is one single thing, however, that will transform restaurants, it is the stateâ€™s growing Hispanic population; Latino cooks will emerge from behind the scenes to become stars in their own right. And what will chefs need to cope with all this future shock? Same as theyâ€™ve always needed since the first caveman laid a haunch of woolly mammoth over a bed of smoldering coals: passion and a good palate.
1. The trendiest vegetable or grain in the next two years will be ________________?
â€¢ Quinoa .....15%
â€¢ Black vegetables and grains .....11%
â€¢ Dark leafy greens .....19%
â€¢ Local and seasonal produce .....9%
â€¢ Different kinds of rice .....7%
â€¢ Exotic potatoes .....4%
â€¢ Salsify .....4%
â€¢ Other .....41%
Answers included purple corn, fregola (a Sardinian pasta), crosnes (a type of Asian tuber also called knotroot and chorogi), cardoons (a celerylike plant related to artichokes), seaweed, and â€œWhatâ€™s left?â€
2. In two years, the next big protein will be ________________?
â€¢ Beef, especially grass-fed and the Akaushi breed .....36%
â€¢ Fish, including Kona Kampachi, the brand name of a type of yellowtail farmed off the coast of Hawaii .....18%
â€¢ Buffalo .....8%
â€¢ Unusual poultry, including guinea hen and non-cage-raised chickens .....8%
â€¢ Pork .....8%
â€¢ Lamb .....6%
â€¢ Other .....16%
Answers included tofu, goat, rabbit, shrimp, and organ meats.
3. The hottest Texas chef of 2010 will be _______________?
â€¢ We donâ€™t know yet .....30%
â€¢ Tyson Cole, Uchi, Austin .....7%
â€¢ Andrew Weissman, Le RÃªve, San Antonio .....7%
â€¢ Tre Wilcox, formerly of Bravoâ€™s Top Chef and Abacus, Dallas .....5%
â€¢ Other .....51%
Answers included Anthony Bombaci, Nana, Hilton Anatole hotel, Dallas; Ryan Pera, 17, Alden hotel, Houston; and â€œWhomever the media anoint.â€
4. The current restaurant fad most likely to fade is ________________?
â€¢ Foams .....18%
â€¢ Molecular gastronomy .....12%
â€¢ Exotic salts .....10%
â€¢ Truffle oil .....8%
â€¢ Foie gras .....4%
â€¢ Bad service .....4%
â€¢ Other .....44%
Answers included Japanese, small desserts, and â€œobscenely huge portions and using a tenth-grade chemistry set to try to prove something.â€
5. The appetizer of the future will be _______________?
Raw fish .....16%
â€¢ Wraps and rolls .....8%
â€¢ Foie gras .....4%
â€¢ Fruit .....4%
â€¢ Something (anything) liquid .....4%
â€¢ Cured meat or fish .....4%
â€¢ Other .....60%
Answers included crispy lambâ€™s tongue, pigâ€™s feet, organ meats such as sweetbreads, and tempura quail eggs.
6. The next global cuisine craze will be __________________?
â€¢ Indian .....12%
â€¢ Peruvian .....8%
â€¢ Moroccan .....6%
â€¢ Mediterranean .....4%
â€¢ Other .....70%
Answers included Greek, English (gastro pubs), and â€œI donâ€™t want to see the words â€˜globalâ€™ and â€˜cuisineâ€™ next to each other anymore in any form for any reason.â€
Section 2 Multiple Choice
7. In five years, diners in Texas restaurants will think which of these sauces and/or dressings are so last century?
â€¢ A. Chimichurri .....9%
â€¢ B. Vinaigrette with Maytag blue cheese crumbles .....15%
â€¢ C. Chipotle anything .....33%
â€¢ D. All of the above .....37%
â€¢ E. None of the above .....7%
8. In ten years, Texans will eat their evening meal at home how many times a week?
â€¢ A. Seven .....2%
â€¢ B. Five .....14%
â€¢ C. Four .....2%
â€¢ D. Three .....75%
â€¢ E. Zero.....7%
9. The trendiest Texas restaurants five years from now will be in which of these cities?
â€¢ A. Houston .....25%
â€¢ B. San Antonio .....13%
â€¢ C. Austin .....25%
â€¢ D. Dallas .....29%
â€¢ E. Other .....8%
Comment: â€œIt will be a horse raceâ€”too close to call.â€â€”Charles Butt, H-E-B and Central Market, San Antonio
Section 3 True/False
10. True or false: Carbs are coming back.
â€¢ True .....89%
â€œThank God, yes!â€â€”Stephan Pyles, Stephan Pyles, Dallas
â€¢ False .....11%
â€œBeing more conscious of your diet should not be a fad.â€â€”Jason Gould, Gravitas, Houston
11. True or false: Beef is on the wane.
â€¢ True .....9%
â€œGreat beef has become sooo expensive.â€ â€”Nick Badovinus, formerly of Hibiscus, now developing F\NB, Dallas
â€¢ False .....91%
â€œNot in Texas.â€â€”Diana Barrios TreviÃ±o, Los Barrios, San Antonio
12. True or false: By 2010 every dish in the majority of restaurants will contain at least one genetically modified ingredient.
â€¢ True .....57%
â€œThey already do.â€ â€”Stewart Scruggs, Wink, Austin
â€¢ False .....43%
â€œTexans will become increasingly aware of what is in their food.â€ â€”Robert Rhoades, Hudsonâ€™s on the Bend, Austin
13. True or false: By 2015, ninety percent of our meals will be eaten in chain restaurants.
â€¢ True .....24%
â€œSadly true.â€â€”Mark Schmidt, CafÃ© 909, Marble Falls
â€¢ False .....76%
â€œFuture generations will have an awareness and appreciation that will demand more than what the chains can offer.â€ â€”Lisa and Emmett Fox, Fino, Austin
14. True or false: By 2020, Texasâ€™s wines will rival Californiaâ€™s.
â€¢ True .....30%
â€œDonâ€™t they already?â€ â€”Bryan Caswell, Reef, Houston
â€¢ False .....70%
â€œI am sorry, but this is impossible.â€ â€”Paul Petersen, CafÃ© Cenizo, Gage Hotel, Marathon
15. True or false: By 2025, Texasâ€™s olive oils will rival Italyâ€™s.
â€¢ True .....23%
â€œWow, that would be great, and I own a little part of this movement.â€ â€”Scott Cohen, Watermark Hotel Company, San Antonio
â€¢ False .....77%
â€œI just laughed