The 2020 agenda: Nine things we want to see in food next year

Wham, bam, goodbye 'gram?
Wham, bam, goodbye 'gram? Photo: Getty Images

This list originally appeared in Good Food Magazine's Good Food Top 40.

1. Eating, not Instagramming

Could snapping food for social media be on the way out? Ca-razy! We've noticed regular Instagram users are now valuing conversation at the table over digital approval. Plus some restaurateurs are giving us cosy, dark, photos-be-damned spaces again.

2. No more jumping that shark

All-pink fitouts. Fairy floss nightmare breakfasts. Anything from butter to scrambled eggs flavoured with cheese and pepper being labelled cacio e pepe. Stop the roller coaster, we want to get off.

3. Eat an unloved fish

Thinking outside the flathead box is going to prove vital for seafood sustainability. Launched in 2017, Fair Fish South Australia promotes the use of lesser-known fish species such as nannygai and snook by connecting fishers directly to restaurants and the public through an online subscription service. And the Australian Marine Conservation Society's Good Fish Project has enlisted more than 40 leading Australian chefs, who have committed to no longer serving unsustainable seafood. Let's encourage more chefs to follow champs such as Amy Hamilton, who offers "shit fish" specials at Liberte in WA, whereby smoked pike might find its way onto a cassava cracker.

4. Less plastic? Fantastic

We've warred on straws. But what about the lids and cups? With recycling in crisis and nowhere left to hide our dirty secrets, take the five minutes to drink your coffee in-house if you forgot your keep cup, and look for initiatives like Returnr, who offer a reusable takeaway container service.

5. Bitter spritz

Global trends indicate a summer of sophisticated bitter spritz ahead. Even better, local spirit producers are ready with all-Aussie alternatives to imports. Like Italy's sweet-bitter herbal amaros? Try Maidenii's Nocturne Vin Amer infused with wormwood, muntries and desert lime or Applewood's Red Okar, which conquers Campari.

6. Let's eat the problem

Love meat but don't want to trash the landscape? This year artist Kirsha Kaechele's book Eat the Problem reminded us that feral species could be a delicious food source. Consider it: delicious long-spined sea urchins are bulldozing Tasmania's reefs and we cannot eat enough of them. The same goes for introduced sambar deer and wild boar, whose out-of-control populations are trampling fragile ecosystems. Next steps? Processing plants are key. Support Jonas Widjaja's Fair Game Wild Venison, which prepares wild deer for restaurants, and hit up Uni Boom Boom in Melbourne for that sweet Tasmanian urchin roe.

7. No more wine wars

Hearing people moan about how much they hate natural wine is almost as boring as people moaning about why they love it. Can we just all agree to love good wine of all colours, creeds and time on skin?


8. Less finger lime

It is fantastic that a native ingredient has caught on like wildfire, but please let's not make finger lime the cracked black pepper of 2019, sprayed with abandon on every degustation dish.

9. Treat old like gold

It means a lot for a restaurant to mark its 10th anniversary, let alone its 25th. So let's sing a big happy birthday to Rose Bay's Catalina (25 years old); Sydney's Aria (20); Melbourne's Flower Drum (44); France-Soir, the Frenchiest French bistro in the southern hemisphere (33); Sydney's Golden Century (30), and dear Beppi's (63 years young). Now, make a booking, 'cos if we don't use 'em, we might lose 'em.