The UK's best chefs tell us their food trend predictions for 2020

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

What a year 2019 has been.

It was the year we had everything we took for granted was swept from under our feet; we lost two emblematic figures in the industry, Andrew Fairlie and Gary Rhodes, very much too soon. 

Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire crumbled to piecesThe Fat Duck's losses doubled, and Alyn Williams was dismissed from The Westbury for alleged gross misconduct. 

Industry veterans were up to their old tricks; Marco Pierre White made the headlines for slamming award-winning restaurants, making derogatory comments about women and announcing that Mr Russell Crowe would be writing, producing and starring in his biopic - while Gordon Ramsay handed out some great advice on how to find a good balance at work

But looking forward to 2020, what can we expect? More plant-based food, no doubt, hopefully no more new dietaries or spats with TripAdvisor

We asked chefs what they thought the year would bring for the restaurant industry. Here's what they said:


Tommy Banks 

Tommy Banks, Black Swan at Oldstead 

"Fermentation, with the plethora of possibilities it brings has been the food trend of the last couple of years, and I think that is set to continue in 2020. Kefir drinks are becoming more popular and increasingly stocked in shops everywhere. Health conscious people cannot get enough of these delicious probiotics (me included)!" 

Adam Smith, Restaurant Coworth Park

“Over recent years we have seen a slow influx of Japanese techniques and ingredients being used by chefs and I think in 2020 we will see this a lot more.”

Brian Donnelly, Bia Rebel  

"So much media attention goes to the uncertainty around Brexit, and it's understandable that food businesses are feeling anxious because we just don't know what is going to happen. But regardless of what kind of deal we end up with,  restaurants and food businesses can use Brexit as an opportunity to get closer to our own great local suppliers and develop relationships with food vendors who operate outside the standardised and heavily subsidised industrial food systems. Those guys need our support more."

Brian Donnelly

Vivek Singh, The Cinnamon Collection 

“I think bitter tastes will be the most sought after flavour of 2020. In particular, fenugreek is a bitter herb I use a lot and have done so for a long time. I think it will be the new turmeric - with more people consuming it for its health benefits and distinct flavour.”

Carlo Scotto, Xier

“I think flowers are going to become increasingly important in cooking, not only for décor, but for the flavour and texture they bring to the plate. I often use tulips as they have a really unique, fresh, milky flavour that can offset some sharper or more powerful flavours in a dish."

Matthew Whitfield, The Terrace Restaurant at The Montagu Arms

“With the number of people eating meat fast reducing, the spotlight is back on fish, particularly from sustainable sources. Fin-to-gill cooking is having a real moment and I believe that’s only going to continue to grow. I make sure to use the whole fish when I’m cooking to avoid any wastage, taking the fillets off and then scraping the fish bones with a spoon and taking the flesh you get from that to make into a mousse. We also use the bones chopping them up to make a fish soup which we blend, pass and put into a gun charge with gas for a delicious aerated finish.”

Matthew Whitfield

Akira Shimizu, Japan House London

“No longer just a stalwart of Japanese cuisine, sea urchin is gaining popularity and I think we will see it popping up on more menus in 2020. Sea urchin, or uni, is the bright orange, edible part of the spiky creature. It used to be the ultimate status symbol; both sweet and salty, fresh and melt-in-the-mouth - some even call it the ocean’s answer to foie gras as very little seafood has that kind of all-encompassing flavour.”

George Farrugia, Fenchurch Restaurant at Sky Garden

“Growing up in a Cypriot family, cooking with charcoal was always very much a way of life, but this is becoming increasingly more common in restaurants. I love incorporating the flavours of charcoal into emulsions, dressings, marinades and breads…the list goes on. Charcoal is an incredible way to get maximum flavour from food, but is also a lot healthier than cooking with fat.”

Hrishikesh Desai, The Gilpin Hotel and lake house 

"Established chefs will excel in what they do and will continue to do so irrespective of dietaries and plant-based pressures. Wine flights will be more in trend rather than a whole bottle."

Adam Byatt, Trinity Restaurant 

"I do wonder whether the art of hospitality - real hospitality - will begin to divide restaurant experiences. It seems fairly easy to open a cheap eatery and provide sustenance, I do wonder when that will no longer be enough and guests will choose careful based on how hospitable and caring a restaurant is. Can always hope..."

Adam Byatt

Gary Robinson, The Balmoral 

"2020 seems like an exciting prospect already."

"We're hugely enthused by the larder we have at our disposal here in Scotland, a constant voyage of discovery through our excellent suppliers, and their introductions to yet more amazing people. So much so, at the hotel we're building an entire room dedicated to all things preservation. This is a topic that's a long way off being tired, and this coming year, we'll be drying, ageing, fermenting, jamming and pickling more of that great produce like never before. All this with a particular focus to get us through the leaner winter months cleverly, frugally and tastily..."
"Limited seat counter dining tasting menus. Who doesn't love a tasting menu? Who doesn't love being cooked for and served by a chef over a counter? Who doesn't love doing those two things in a relaxed and informal way? Add a bit of bring your own bottle and there's something to be had here."
"Old school cookery. Less baths, plastics and probes. More flames, instinct and reality."

Alan Paton, Stoke by Nayland Hotel

"Probably more new plant products imitating meat products, so help me God."

Alan Paton 


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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 2nd January 2020

The UK's best chefs tell us their food trend predictions for 2020