Cincinnati Chefs and Media Analysts Give Their Food Trend Predictions for 2019 – Cincinnati CityBeat

Here’s what you can expect to see on your plate and in local restaurants this year

Eats1Crystal BallGaze into my crystal ball and you will see a lot of CBDPhoto: ShutterstockPeople love a forecast — whether it’s for this weekend’s weather or the unfortunately real fashion prophecy that we’re all going to be wearing low-rise boot-cut jeans again this year like it’s 2001. But one thing people love more than an #OOTD is photographing their food, and here’s what major media outlets and analysts like Forbes, Whole Foods and Supermarket News are predicting we’re going to be ingesting and posting in 2019.

Designer Greens — After all the romaine lettuce/e. coli drama of 2018, shoppers are looking for atypical greens like celtuce aka celery lettuce aka a plant that looks like celery on the butt with lettuce hair. But fancy greens go beyond that: If you want to try some local designer greens, aquaponic microgreenery Waterfields grows and sells tiny greens like arugula, cilantro, chervil, cabbage and even edible flowers out of its East Price Hill warehouse, which show up in dishes at local restaurants including Karrikin Spirits Co., Salazar and Eighth & English. You can also visit Local Food Connection at to order a variety of greens from a variety of local farmers year-round.

Oat Milk — It’s the hip vegan milk made by soaking oats in water and straining them; you drink the strained part. OG Swedish company Oatly started the oat milk craze abroad about 25 years ago, but it has made it overseas and Quaker Oats is introducing an oat milk to the American market this year. If you want to try oat milk in a latte, Collective Espresso serves one at its Northside and OTR cafés, as does Brick Coffee Company in Norwood.

CBD — It won’t get you high but CBD or cannabidiol is a compound extracted from the marijuana plant that’s supposed to help with everything from pain and anxiety to cancer symptoms. It’s popping up in everything from food products to tinctures. Locally, you can find it in Queen City Hemp’s tinctures and fizzy flavored CBD Seltzer. According to Forbes, even Coca-Cola is looking to get into the CBD game with some infused beverages.

Orange Wine — This super funky wine — which is truly orangish in color — is made with grapes that keep their skins on during the fermentation process. The wine is less processed, has no additives and tastes kind of like kombucha (to the human being writing this). If you want to try the trend, OTR’s Please generally has at least a bottle or two from which to choose; LouVino has a flight of rosé and orange pours; and Pleasantry focuses on natural wines as part of its mission statement, which includes orange.

Other Trends — You can also expect to see flavors from the Pacific Rim (the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, etc.) ranging from dried fish and pork sausage to tropical fruits; Keto/Paleo/“Pegan” (paleo + vegan) fats like MCT Oil; fake meat snacks like vegan jerky; and an overall move toward Earth-friendly packaging.

We also asked local chefs what they thought diners might see at restaurants this year. Here’s what they had to say.

David Kelsey, Executive Chef

Metropole at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati

What are you expecting to see in the 2019 food and beverage world? 

A return to the familiar. In general, I think diners will seek out familiarity in their dining experience. Sometimes people just want to have a delicious meal without having to think their way through it. If they want to be truly challenged, I see them turning to more ethnic cuisines.

What are you hoping to see in the 2019 food and beverage world?

Less waste or using more of what is typically wasted. Restaurants tend to throw a lot of usable trim in the garbage. It has been a focus of our kitchen to maximize every component of a product. 

Anthony Sitek, Chef/Owner

Crown Republic Gastropub

What are you expecting to see in the 2019 food and beverage world? 

An emphasis on convenience in the entire dining experience. Diners often go with what they know and what is easily accessible to them. We are finding that in our customer’s busy world, we have to provide an oasis of hospitality. Delivery will also be more prominent, and you may even find fine-dining restaurants adopting the trend. Locally sourced, “farm-to-table” will start taking precedent among more restaurants.

What are you hoping to see in the 2019 food and beverage world?

Overall experience. Not everyone can be “fine dining” and when you have the “mom-and-pop” restaurants doing everything in house, people taste that freshness, quality and time that goes into the food. We can only hope that people appreciate that and go for the local places rather than chains. 

Any other random musings?

Definitely Hemp, CBD and other cannabis trends. Also, other health trends being blended in with cocktails and menu items, such as activated charcoal, turmeric, matcha, etc. 

Caitlin Steininger, Chef/Owner

CWC the Restaurant, Station Family BBQ

What are you expecting to see in the 2019 food and beverage world? 

I predict that comfort food will remain king. Food with family roots, food made with love, food that fills every part of you will be what will drive kitchens. Talented classically trained chefs will take precision and techniques to dishes their grandmothers served them. Flavors and scents that evoke memories of home will be what chefs continue to create. 

What are you hoping to see in the 2019 food and beverage world?

I also predict that Cincinnati will start being respected as a food destination and a place not to be missed. Chefs like Jose Salazar and Ryan Santos are leading the charge with James Beard recognition. Christian Gill is representing on the Food Network. We have a lot of amazing talent and a point of view unlike any other city.

Clint Walker, Executive Chef

Court Street Lobster Bar

What are you expecting to see in the 2019 food and beverage world? 

I think we’re going to see more pop-up kitchens in 2019. They give chefs (or restauranteurs) a chance to try something new and bring an entertainment vibe to the food experience that can be hard to replicate for your everyday diner.

What are you hoping to see in the 2019 food and beverage world?

I am really happy to see more chef-driven alcohol/beer brewing like Karrikin Spirits Co. I think that is going to be the next wave of “wow” — chef-driven menus, restaurants and breweries. There’s been a trend of brewery food to be very pub-driven, and I think that diners are wanting something a bit more spiritual, emotionally driven, something with soul, or simply more of the chef’s vision.  


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