Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hello 2010

I am always filled with such hope in January. Being the sappy gal that I am, I can never help but feel like the new year is going to be "the one". The great one. The best one yet.

Two thousand and nine was in many ways a good year for me. I started ritaboutit.com, quit the only “real” job that I sort of had (it was part time) to focus on food and on writing and had some small but successful firsts in the kitchen: roasted my first prime rib to an intentional medium rare, seared and baked my first duck breast and tried my own hand at roasting bones for the purpose of the marrow. Ok, so that one wasn’t so successful but when Grant van Gameren of The Black Hoof comments and gives you suggestion on your marrow tweet, you most certainly feel like you have accomplished greatness.

The year saw the rise of the prix fixe, the charcuterie trend, sriracha became almost as ubiquitous as Heinz (well not really but almost everyone now knows what that stuff is), Fuzion flew off of the LCBO’s shelves, as did Bud Light Lime but really, how many of those can you drink? 2009 was the year of the yogurt, the pork and of the Ramen noodle. Confit could easily be the cooking method of the year and I was happy about that. In addition to the obvious duck leg I was served hearts, garlic and potatoes that had all been slow cooked in luscious duck fat. The term local replaced 2008’s organic and people all over Toronto were engaging in DIYers based on proximity. Roof top gardens and restaurant cantinas helped us get a real taste of Ontario - of home.

Yes, we saw the closure of some popular restaurants but that’s ok. That’s the industry and I guess they were no longer in the “in”. Restaurants grow up and they too must die. Where one exits another enters. It’s life. It only means we’ll get to try some new food.

So what will 2010 have in store? I have honestly been thinking about this since November and haven’t come up with much. Like being able to predict lottery numbers, if I knew what was to come, I would capitalize on it and make this the year that Rita Ricchio becomes rich.

Like any foodster though, I would be doing myself and you, my readers, a disservice for not trying to call out the up and coming trends so here it goes...

I say that brunch will be even bigger than it has been. We will see new brunch items and our vocabulary will include the term brunching, verb; the act of going out for a meal between the hours of 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on a Saturday or Sunday.

We will also see the rise of a particular ethnic food. Perhaps a specific country or maybe a region but either way you are going to see people opening up their minds and letting different flavours and ingredients in. Ethiopian? Austrian? American mid-western? Turkish? Estonian? Time will tell.

Unfortunately, I think prepared meals are going to be an even bigger business as people get busier and busier (insert a “whatever”). The major grocery stores are going to come out with new and improved dinners that you get pick up, reheat and serve. You are going to be able to swing by Sobey’s and bring home some Bulgogi and kimchi. I’d rather see a rise in home cooking but we do live in North America. Maybe in 2011, people will start to realize the physical and emotional benefits of making your own dinner – from scratch.

That’s all I got but whatever 2010 will bring, I am excited. I can’t wait to try it and to write about it. I look forward to hopefully being a compass in not just my own but in your food adventures as well.

Rita Ricchio