What we’ll be eating in 2023: A guide to top new food trends, from seaweed to set menus
London is one of the dining capitals of the world, representing every corner of global cuisine and sending ripples across the world with its food trends. We asked some top chefs what they think will be the big food trends of 2023, with answers ranging from lots more seaweed to a resurgence of “proper” Neopolitan pizza.
Shuko Oda, Koya (London)
Seaweed ticks a lot of boxes with its multiple health benefits – it’s essential in my cooking and diet. Over the past few years I have heard more and more about seaweed so it definitely seems to be gaining in popularity. As a Japanese noodle restaurant we’ve always had at least six or seven different types of seaweeds on our order sheets. Twelve years ago when we opened Koya, very few restaurants would’ve had seaweed on the menu but now my supplier often tells me they’re sold out.
Quality, quality, quality
Sven-Hanson Britt, Oxeye (London)
The only way to go with the impending recession is doubling down on quality. To guarantee you get customers you need word of mouth marketing, which you get by offering a great hospitality experience that gives that little bit extra. That incudes communication, hospitality and ingredients. Unfortunately we will also see a trend of people cutting corners to cut costs by using cheaper and inferior ingredients. The latter will not survive.
Budgie Montoya, Sarap (London)
Neighbourhood restaurants will continue to flourish next year as people feel the financial squeeze and therefore want to support smaller local businesses rather than big chains. There are so many great local restaurants that were born out of the pandemic. Predicting specific food trends is almost impossible because the industry is so unstable at the moment and there are lots of issues with food supply chains. Personally, I’d like to see more Indonesian food in London – it’s underrated and misrepresented.
Jun Tanaka, The Ninth (London)
Seaweed will become a store cupboard staple in the UK. Chefs are using seaweed in their menus to enhance the umami flavour of their dishes and I think this will influence home cooks to try seaweed in their recipes too. Its main use is for making dashi – a seaweed stock which is used as a base for sauces, soups, casseroles and vinaigrettes. Seaweed is particularly useful for adding depth of flavour to vegan and vegetarian dishes. It can also be ground to a powder and used as a final seasoning. As well as its culinary benefits, it’s also sustainable and healthy.
Sandy Browning, Ka Pao (Edinburgh and Glasgow)
‘Plant-forward’ cooking is on the rise and that will continue as one of the big food trends of 2023. It will make people more adventurous, encouraging them to try new flavours and go out of their comfort zone, whether that is by trying a new cocktail or natural wine, or ordering veg-led dishes that use unfamiliar ingredients. Southeast Asian food can be really well suited for that – there isn’t generally a lot of dairy, and I’ll often use things like fermented soybean paste to replicate the funky umami and seasoning you get from shrimp paste or fish sauce.
Another food trend for 2023 will be minimising waste, which is becoming essential for both environmental and cost reasons. Last month, one of our chefs was developing a sort of gingerbread dessert using ginger and long pepper pulp that is a by-product of the syrup used in our long pepper margarita. The bar also uses discarded lime skins after the kitchen has squeezed them for juice, and lemongrass trim leftover from making curry pastes to make a house cordial.
Dave Mothersill, Furna (Brighton)
As we know, restaurants have been hit hard over the past couple of years. We’ve had supply chain issues, higher food costs and strained labour, so in 2023 we’ll see the hospitality industry adapting to these issues. Smaller, more concise and focused menus will become much more common – this structure limits the effects of staffing shortages and increasing costs, and means we’re able to focus on quality and consistency. I’ve seen restaurants of all shapes and sizes moving to set menus and I can definitely see this becoming a trend in 2023.
Ben Boeynaems, The Beaumont hotel (London)
In 2023, the focus will move more towards eating to maintain a healthy microbiome and good gut health, which means eating more foods rich in polyphenols, grains, nuts, seeds and fermented foods.
With research showing that high quality meats are not bad for diet, but in fact in moderation are beneficial, I also believe people will eat less meat, but hopefully better meat. This also plays into the cost of living crisis, which will inevitably result in people in the home looking for cheaper foods, with less fresh protein and more frozen, tinned and dried produce.
Taking pizza back to basics
James Snowdon, The Palmerston (Edinburgh)
The downfall of the bastardised Neapolitan will accelerate. I’m sick of seeing people f**k up pizza and obsess over massive air pockets within the crust, creating a paddling pool of undercooked sauce and semi melted cheese, all surrounded by a burnt a mountain range. Almost all pizzas these days are over-proved, undercooked dough bowls housing ridiculously over the top toppings like fried chicken – it doesn’t belong on pizza. It’s not big and it really isn’t clever.
Glasgow is lucky to have Errol’s Hot Pizza and Franks Pizza & Subs, who in my opinion are making some of the best pizza in the country right now – slow cooked, thinner base with simple toppings using world-class ingredients. Marinara over madness any day of the week.
Harvey Ayliffe, The Rosarium by Labyrinth Productions (London)
Whilst the cost of living crisis continues to weigh heavy, when people do dine they want an experience that will invigorate their senses. More will be more. From drinks that smoke and smoulder, to food that surprises and delights.
Cuisine-wise, regional and traditional European food will be the big hits this year, with an emphasis on local, ethically produced products, with minimum waste. I can also see more interactive theatrical elements making their way to restaurants, with going for dinner being part of the show.
Cabaret and live music have already started becoming re-entwined with dining, creating an immersive experience. Bacchanalia and Big Mamma Group are two great examples of this excess in play. At The Rosarium, you will be able to lose yourself in the world of Alice in Wonderland while enjoying quirky takes on classic dishes and cocktails.
Richard Corrigan, The Corrigan Collection (London)
Dublin consistently does well in the Michelin Guide, with a new string of stars being awarded this year. We’ll see a lot more restaurants and hospitality businesses from the UK crossing the Irish Sea in 2023 and setting up in Dublin. It’s such a vibrant city with a thriving food and drink scene. Our new restaurant The Park Café in Ballsbridge has enjoyed a brilliant opening – it’s great to be welcoming fellow Irishmen to my restaurant – and I know Hawksmoor’s Dublin opening is set for 2023. I’m certain there will be more to follow.
West African food
Aji Akokomi, Akoko (London)
I am thrilled to see West African food getting a name for itself in London and beyond. Some places worth checking out are Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Chishuru, and Papa L’s Kitchen. Even supermarkets now have a good selection of essential ingredients used in West African cooking so more people are trying out recipes at home now too.