Culinary Trends That Will Top the Table in the New Year

Chef holding mouth watering pasta salad, ready to serve.

From nude noodle-slurp selfies to glitzy glittery gold food, 2018 was, if nothing else, an insta-worthy year for culinary trends. 

Looking ahead to 2019, Restaurants Canada’s predictions are a whole lot less sexy.

They’ve just released a list of the top culinary trends you can expect to see at the 2019 RC Show, Canada’s largest foodservice and hospitality trade event. If their forecast is accurate, expect your feed to be filled with snaps of frankenmeat, restaurant robots, and cannabis cocktails in the year ahead.

Here are their predictions for the hottest culinary trends and technological innovations coming to kitchens and menus near you.


Root-to-Stem Cooking

A new trend addressing food waste has taken root. Like the nose-to-tail practice when cooking meat, root-to-stem cooking focuses on vegetables and making use of all the parts we’d typically remove and throw away. Chefs have found that ingredients like broccoli stalks and leaves, beet greens, asparagus stems, carrot tops, jackfruit cores etc. all bring unique tastes, textures, and colors to a dish and are 100% edible.

Bunch of carrots

Restaurant Robotics

Bring on the bots! In 2019, a new generation of gizmos, gadgets, autonomous robots and artificially intelligent technologies will be making their way into our dining experiences. Innovations like the hands-free sushi-making machines from AUTEC and Sally from Chowbotics — the robot that serves customizable made-to-order salads, snacks, breakfast bowls, and grain bowls — are revealing that the future is here, and the kitchen is evolving faster than ever. Expect everything from robots delivering meals, to AI providing training, to ordering systems replacing waiters and cashiers.

Silver robot hand with silver tray isolated on bright background. 3d rendering

Clean Motherless Meat

As more and more meat lovers are becoming opposed to eating animals and concerned about the impact that raising livestock has on the environment, interest is growing in innovative alternatives. Lab-grown meats, or “clean meat”, is meat grown from small samples of muscle tissue from animals like cows, pigs, chickens etc. These small samples are then combined with stem cells to multiply growth and generate large amounts of meat without having to raise and kill any animals. Companies like Memphis Meats are working to get these products to market as soon as possible, and are expected to greatly impact the world by reducing water usage, taking up less land and significantly cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

culinary trends 2019 including motherless meat

Incredible Edibles

Now that Canada has become the second country to legalize recreational use of the herb nationwide, interest in cannabis is taking the country’s hospitality industry by storm. With regulations around edibles expected in 2019, new doors might be opening for chefs to introduce this green to their menus. With the potential for infusing dishes and beverages just around the corner, the possibilities are endless, and consumer expectations are high.

Culinary Trends for 2019 include Cannabis Cuisine

We Sea Greens

This year, expect to see more marine greens — anything from kelp noodles and jerky to fish alternatives made from algae. Seaweeds have been found to be a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, and E, as well as being rich in minerals like zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, copper, potassium and calcium. Turns out the ocean floor is a literal breeding ground for healthy, green ingredients with unique flavors that will add diversity to menu offerings.

Portion of fresh made Kelp Salad (detailed close-up shot)

The Plant-Based Movement

If you aren’t adventurous enough to test out lab-developed meat, you will still have a growing number of plant-based protein options in 2019. EcoIdeas Organic Jackfruit is working to bring innovative plant-based food to the mainstream with their delicious and convenient alternatives to meat dishes. With ingredients like heme and innovative products like Beyond Meat, as well as plant-based milk derived from pea protein and barley proving to be worthy animal product replacements, the future is looking greener than ever.

For an unforgettable culinary experience, check out Matthew Kenney Cuisine in exotic Thailand. One of the world’s best cooking classes, the culinary academy is centered on the use of whole, organic plant-based foods to achieve healthy, aesthetically refined, and flavorful cuisine. (Did I mention the food is absolutely gorgeous?)

Pretty Please, Without Sugar

Once upon a time, we were fighting against fat and now another opponent is in our crosshairs — sugar. The quest for creative ways to reduce sugar and sugary counterparts continues in 2019. We will start to see chefs substituting sugar, honey, and agave on their menus for equally sweet but more nutritious alternatives such as carrot, sweet potato, golden beet, butternut squash, and corn.

overhead shot of cake on a plate

Culinary Cocktails

Forget the fruity and sweet. In 2019 we’ll be sipping on endless, refreshing blends of juiced herbs and vegetables, edible flowers, and splashes of tequila, brandy, rum or vodka. The bar industry has seen a shift in pallet from sweet to savory. This can be attributed to the introduction of bitters and the resurgence of spirits like Amaro, vermouth, and sherry. The food and hospitality industry’s move to more sustainable practices can also be credited for these bar glass innovations, as chefs now have uses for the leaves and stems and veggies that aren’t quite plate perfection. Culinary cocktails have been popping up all over Canada’s finest bars and cocktail lounges. These drinks stray away from the typical tastes and work to bridge the gap between bar and kitchen by incorporating flavors and techniques used in dishes, all to provide customers with a flavourful experience from glass to plate.

In and Out

Kale has officially outstayed its welcome! In 2019 you can expect to see this leafy green replaced by gut flora-friendly ingredients, such as dandelion greens — a natural prebiotic — and amaranth — a hypoallergenic grain substitute for wheat, both pushing the notion that food really is medicine.

Other culinary trends you can expect to see making their way into your dining experiences include: oat milk and other dairy alternatives, dry and hot pot cooking, more substitutions for diners with food sensitivities, creative approaches to reducing waste from single-use items, virtual restaurants, and cloud-based dining, spice palates from countries such as Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, plus edible flowers are back — and they’ll be in your water glass!


Which culinary trends from 2018 are you happy to see the last of? Which 2019 predictions are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.

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