The Future of Dining

Local chefs gaze into their crystal balls.



When we think about the future of dining, our imaginations run wild. We picture driving hover-cars up to robot waiters who dispense seven-course meals in pill form. Luckily, our local food gurus—those who see emerging food trends first-hand, and are thus more accurate prognosticators—are more restrained in their visions. We asked local chefs and restaurateurs to tell us what we’re likely to see in dining rooms in the near future. They graciously obliged, temporarily trading their whisks and colanders for crystal balls and tea leaves. 

Arugula is so '90s. What will be the trendiest veggie in the next two years?

“Jicama and celery root will replace arugula.”
—Derrick Dikkers

“Hempmilk. As soy consumption becomes uncool, soy milk will need replacing soon.”
—Beylka Krupp

“Stinging nettles. They are good for you.”
—Bill and Nick Livanos

“Turnips and rutabagas are the next big thing.”
—Sterling Smith

“Yucca.” —Dave Shakin

“The lowly potato will triumph over ever-pricier pasta and corn polenta.” —Philip McGrath

“Watercress.” —Hector Avila

“The trio of trevisano, salsify, and sorrel will be the newest trend.” —Vincent Barcelona

“I like rarified lettuces. Extremely soft, sweet, and locally grown.” —Peter Kelly

We live in the “incredible shrinking world.” What do you think will be the next hot world cuisine?

“African foods will become more prevalent. So will American regional cuisine styles and Alsatian/French brasseries.” — Peter Kelly

“Eritrean.” —Beylka Krupp, Sterling Smith

“Mediterranean tapas and Portuguese.”
—Hector Avila

“Moroccan cuisine or the cuisines of specific areas in already popular places such as Oaxaca, Mexico, and Gascony, France.”
—Dave Shakin

“I’m keeping an eye on Croatia.”
— Rafael Palomino

“South American. Specifically Peru, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina.”
—Vincent Barcelona

“Central and South American.”
—Bill and Nick Livanos

“African fusion is very much on the way.”
—Matthew Karp

“Vietnamese.” —Shelley Smedberg

“African—from Kenya to South Africa.”
— Anthony Labriola 

“Vegan and vegetarianism.” —Dan Petrilli

“Our palates are quite international these days. It’s more a question of taking inspiration from all over the world and marrying that with the best local ingredients.” —Dan Barber

“Barring the discovery of the lost continent of Atlantis, we’ve pretty much discovered all of the existing cuisines on earth. I am going to focus on how to incorporate exotic ingredients and recipes with local ingredients to come up with some new ideas.”
—Philip McGrath

Where will it stop? Predict the top price for an entrée in the next couple years. Is there one?

“No top price for an entrée…gourmet items can be priced high as the sky.” —Hector Avila

“A ceiling is unlikely.” —Bill and Nick Livanos

“Unless we get a handle on fuel costs, your guess is as good as mine where the end is.”
—Vincent Barcelona

“With all the artisan growers and ranchers, as well as thrill-seekers out there, there could be a four-hundred-dollar plate of home-schooled, hand-massaged, Red Door Salon-groomed, heritage sheep elbow not far away.”
—Peter Kelly

“A year ago I would have said the sky was the limit. With the current Wall Street malaise, local dining dollars may become more value oriented. At Iron Horse, we’ve never broken the thirty-dollar threshold.” —Philip McGrath

“It won’t stop as long as we still have a food system that relies on fossil fuels and corn feed.”
—Dan Barber

“Forty-five.” —Jean-Louis Gerin

“Fifty-five.” —Rafael Palomino

Will you be freezing, foaming, or vacuum-cooking?

“Food is fast enough. I want to slow down, not speed up with technology.” —Dave Shakin

“No to adding more science to my cuisine. Slow foods!” —Beylka Krupp

“I love it all: freezing, foaming, and vacuum-cooking.” —Sterling Smith

“We’ll be doing some vacuum-cooking.”
—Alex Cheblal

“In the Bronx neighborhood where I grew up, we had Bennie’s Soda Fountain and Candy Store. Benny would whip up egg creams with light, tasty foam on top. After you had downed your soda, all that remained at the bottom of the glass was the foam. We would use our straws to soak up every last bit. Benny was obviously way ahead of his time.”
—Philip McGrath

What new kitchen tool or technology would you invent?

“A really efficient vegetable steamer.”
—Dan Petrilli

“I’d experiment with a dehydrator to get the full flavor out of a product.”
—Anthony Labriola

“Plates with self-heating capacity.”
—Matthew Karp

“A chamber that traps cooking aromas. You’d then be able to offer a side of aromatherapy at dinner.”
—Peter Kelly

“I’d invent a filter and drainage system to create bio-diesel from used cooking oil in house.”
—Alex Cheblal

“Give me a farm tool that tests the nutrient-density of a carrot.” —Dan Barber

Will your kitchen turn green? Do you think you’ll be recycling, composting, using biodiesel or more biodegradable materials?

“We recycle and use biodegradable materials.”
—Mike Carrozza

“We’re switching to low-energy consumption lighting and using ceiling fans to draw heat from the kitchen to warm the dining room in the winter.” —Alex Cheblal

“Due to our relationship with the farm, we can be very ‘green’ by composting natural waste, converting grease into biodiesel, and feeding scraps to the chickens.” —Dan Barber

“Short of painting our walls green, we couldn’t be more so. We recycle every bit of glass, plastic, and tin. Our patrons get a reusable container for their ‘doggie bags.’ We only use reusable linens for both front- and back-of-house.”
—Michael Boemio

Will customers demand ethical ingredients, such as grass-fed meat, sustainably caught fish, and local vegetables?

“There will be a demand for this, but due to price increases in raw products, I’m not sure customers are willing to pay a premium price for more ethical ingredients.”
—Derrick Dikkers

“We only use natural, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and local vegetables.”
—Michael Boemio

“People are becoming more demanding. They want to know where their food comes from and how it was grown.” —Dan Barber

“We have to pass along the costs at the end of the day; customers don’t want to pay.”
—Vincent Barcelona

“Many of our customers ask where our products come from. Whenever I use a local product, I make sure to list it on the menu.”
—Philip McGrath

Cosmos, mojitos, specialty martinis. What’s the next sensational cocktail?

“Seasonal cocktails. I’ll keep inventing seasonal harvest cocktails, like the ramp martini, rhubarb cosmo, and purple basil Mojito.”
—Philippe Gouze

“Sparkling wines, like Cava and Prosecco, are showing up in cocktails. Also lychee nuts are showing up in non-Asian drinks.”
—Alex Cheblal

“Pomegranate Batida.” —Rafael Palomino

“Single vineyard white wines from around the world.” — Jean-Louis Gerin

“Vegetable-flavored and homemade spirits and cocktails.” —Sterling Smith

“We’re doing melts. Mixing sorbet with spirits and herbs, such as Mount Gay rum, mint, and mango sorbet.” —Philip McGrath

“Whisky and rye will make strong comebacks.” —Peter Kelly

Ouch, the mighty euro! What’s the next wine region to discover?

“Hopefully New York.” —Beylka Krupp

“Long Island is a region that should be even more exploited.” —Michael Boemio

“China and Israel.” —Sterling Smith

“Some of the best values out there are Argentine Malbecs, and Chilean Carignanes.”
—Philip McGrath

"Austria, Greece, and Croatia are catching on, deservedly.” —Dave Shakin

“East Coast wines including Southern ones.”
—Matthew Karp

“Eastern European, especially Slovenia.”
—Peter Kelly

“Brazil.” —Anthony Labriola

“Burgundy will always be the connoisseur’s choice. Either you get class or you don’t.”
—Jean-Louis Gerin

“Uruguay.” — Rafael Palomino

“New Zealand, especially Pinot Noir.”
— Mike Carrozza

“The Portuguese coast. The moderate climate makes for a wealth of olives, grapes, and vineyards. The eighteen-dollar Alvaro de Castro Dao is a good example.”
—Anna Maria Santorelli

We’ll always have tiramisu, molten/decadent chocolate cake, and crème brûlée. What’s the next must-have dessert?

“In Europe, cheese is served for dessert. Americans have yet to discover cheese as dessert.” —Alex Cheblal

“Anything with pork cracklings.”
—Dan Barber

“Types of interesting cupcakes.”
—Mike Carrozza

“Sugarless sorbet.” —Jean-Louis Gerin

“Vegan Napoleon.” —Dan Petrilli

“The parfait. It’s elegant, artistic, simple to make yet versatile. It can even be savory.”
—Anthony Labriola

“Very fancy doughnuts.” —Peter Kelly

“Old-fashioned puddings. Rice, vanilla, and tapioca.” —Bill and Nick Livanos

“Semifreddo. It’s an Italian frozen mousse that’s lighter than ice cream. Last time I made it, I served it on top of warm carrot cake.” —Dave Shakin

“A tea-based dessert.” —Hector Avila

“Fritters of all kinds.” —Shelley Smedberg

Is the dress code dead? What will we be wearing to your restaurant in the next five years?

“Fine dining requires fine attire.”
—Beylka Krupp

“Yes, it’s dead. Casual dress is here to stay.”
—Sterling Smith

“Trendy casual. Not too formal, not too informal.” —Hector Avila

“I don’t think it’s dead. Most people like to dress neatly to go out for a nice dinner.”
—Vincent Barcelona

“It’s dead. But please take off your hats, no Stanley Kowalski undershirts, and stay away from shorts if possible.” —Dave Shakin

“Whatever makes you feel relaxed is my motto.” —Matthew Karp

“Like everything else, the dress code is cyclical. Dressing for dinner, including jackets for men, will return in two years.” —Peter Kelly

“Pajamas!” —Shelley Smedberg

“Many people call to ask about dress code. My stock answer is, ‘Clothes.’ We’ve had everything from black-tie to shorts and sandals but something in-between usually works out well.” —Philip McGrath

Will three squares be too square? Right now we like small, medium, and large plates better than breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Will “main meal blur” change your menu?

“Main meal blur is happening fast. Society is withdrawing from the rigid ‘breakfast, lunch, dinner’ that mandate one large meal and two smaller ones. This will change the hours restaurants keep and the way they do business.”
—Anna Maria Santorelli

“Small is now considered the new big.”
—Anthony Labriola

“Tapas are a quick but quality alternative to full entrées.” —Alex Cheblal

“I think this is a trend that will disappear. I have yet to add small plates to my menu.”
—Matthew Karp

“The traditional format will continue.”
—Bill and Nick Livanos

“People want what they want when they want it. Smart restaurateurs will give them just that.”
—Peter Kelly

“How will a restaurant meet costs if the prices are lower because of small plates? Will a customer order three plates? I doubt it. I don’t think a restaurant can survive economically this way.” —Dave Shakin

We finished our mashed potatoes and our mac ‘n’ cheese. What’s the next comfort/nostalgia dish we’re secretly yearning for?

“Grains like oatmeal, barley, grits, polenta, and quinoa.” —Beylka Krupp

“Lobster borscht.” —Sterling Smith

“What made you happy as a kid? Meatloaf, casseroles, lasagna, shepherd’s pie, pancakes, and tsimmes.” —Dave Shakin

“I love breakfast cereal eaten from the mini-box!” —Matthew Karp

“Spaghetti and meatballs and stuffed baked potatoes.” —Peter Kelly

“Casseroles and roasts.” —Jean-Louis Gerin

“Bison or lamb meatloaf.” —Mike Carrozza

“Yucca mash and yucca fries.” —Alex Cheblal

Aside from the couches and the communal tables, how will restaurants look different in the future?

“Minimalistic and ‘green.’” —Sterling Smith

“The ideal setup would be: a grand dining room with a fireplace, smaller private rooms, a noisy bar area, and a dine-in wine cellar.”
—Michael Boemio

“Traditional tables but without the tablecloths. More casual.” —Hector Avila

“Outdoor dining has been huge for us. Also maybe booths with doors or curtains. Rooftop is always fun and views are good whether it’s the woods, lakes, or rivers.” —Dave Shakin

“No waiters. Automated Jetson style.”
—Matthew Karp

“People will come back to a nice table—linen covered—and a comfortable chair.”
—Peter Kelly

“Drive-by dining…in the sky!”
—Shelley Smedberg

“Due to rise in overhead, there’s tighter space. The food will dictate the success of the restaurant regardless of décor restrictions.”
—Dan Petrilli

“Smaller, less noisy. A retreat like a spa.”
—Jean-Louis Gerin

“Tablecloths are out, and comfort, quality service, freshness and variety of food, and ambience are in.” —Mike Carrozza

“I see small individual seating in a lounge setting. And the dining space can be configured as you like for small or large groups. In the lounge people could make new friends and it would be convenient to join each other without asking to be moved.” —Alex Cheblal

Our Clairvoyants

Hector Avila
Tango Grill
128 E Post Rd
White Plains
(914) 946-6006
tangogrillny.com

Vincent Barcelona
Harvest on Hudson
1 River St
Hastings-on-Hudson
(914) 478-2800
harvest2000.com
Half Moon
1 High St
Dobbs Ferry
(914) 693-4130

Dan Barber
Philippe Gouze
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
630 Bedford Rd
Pocantico Hills
(914) 366-9600
bluehillfarm.com

Michael Boemio
Boe@324
324 Central Ave
White Plains
(914) 684-8855
boeat324.com

Mike Carrozza
Julianna’s
276 Watch Hill Rd
Cortlandt Manor
(914) 788-0505
juliannasonline.com

Alex Cheblal
Belle Havana
35 Main St, Yonkers
(914) 969-1006
web.mac.com/
frank.demaria/
Bell_Havana/
Home.html

Derrick Dikkers
Le Provençal Bistro
436 Mamaroneck Ave
Mamaroneck
(914) 777-2324
provencalbistro.com

Jean-Louis Gerin
Restaurant Jean-Louis
61 Lewis St
Greenwich
(203) 622-8450
restaurantjeanlouis.com

Matthew Karp
Plates
121 Myrtle Blvd
Larchmont
(914) 834-1244
platesonthepark.com

PETER KELLY
Restaurant X and
Bully Boy Bar
Route 303
Congers
(845) 268-6555
xaviars.com
Xaviars at Piermont
506 Piermont Ave
Piermont
(845) 359-7007
xaviars.com
Freelance Café
& Wine Bar
506 Piermont Ave
Piermont, New York
(845) 365-3250
xaviars.com
X2O Xaviars
on the Hudson
71 Water Grant St
Yonkers
(914) 965-1111
xaviars.com

BEYLKA KRUPP
Wobble Café
21 Campwoods Rd Ossining
(914) 762-3459
wobblecafe.com

ANTHONY LABRIOLA
Caffe Regatta
133 Wolfs Ln, Pelham
(914) 738-8686
cafferegatta.com

BILL and NICK LIVANOS
City Limits Diner
200 Central Ave
White Plains
(914) 686-9000
citylimitsdiner.com

PHILLIP MCGRATH
Iron Horse Grill
20 Wheeler Ave
Pleasantville
(914) 741-0717
ironhorsegrill.com

RAFAEL PALOMINO
Sonora
179 Rectory St
Port Chester
(914) 933-0200
sonorany.com
Pacifico
316 Boston Post Rd
Port Chester
(914) 937-1610
pacificony.com
Palomino Restaurant
1392 E Putnam Ave
Old Greenwich
Connecticut
(203) 698-9033

Dan Petrilli
Haven
472 Bedford Rd Pleasantville
(914) 747-4646
tastethemagic.com

Anna Maria Santorelli
Anna Maria’s Restaurant
18 Chatsworth Ave Larchmont
(914) 833-0555
annamariascatering.net

DAVE SHAKIN
The Heights Bistro
and Bar
334 Underhill Ave
Yorktown Heights
(914) 962-3777
theheightsbistro.com

SHELLEY SMERDBERG
Flying Pig on Lexington
251 Lexington Ave
Mount Kisco
 

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