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Top Chefs Pick the Best (and Worst) Trends in Food

Richard Blais, Marcel Vigneron, Tiffani Faison and more on what's hot (and not) in the culinary world today.

If anyone has their finger on the pulse of what's happening in the culinary world, it's our Top Chefs. They own successful restaurants, have written bestselling books, and are always on the search for the freshest, most delicious ingredients when they're cooking in the kitchen.

With Top Chef Duels set to ignite tonight, we surveyed some of the Cheftestants and Masters about their favorite (and least favorite) trends in the culinary world. Who hates frozen culinary creations? Who's stoked about foraging in the forest? And who abhors fast grub? Read on to find out their picks.


Richard Blais

Best New Trend
I love this idea of foraging, going out and getting wild food. I'm living in Southern California right now and you can go out in the field and come back with all sorts of botanicals and herbs. I just found passion fruit and wild celery—these are things that are growing wild.

Worst New Trend
The idea of "farm-to-table." Because every chef should be taking food from farm to the table. At this point, it's just a marketing ploy.


Marcel Vigneron

Best New Trend
Veggies are the new black! It's very easy to make food taste delicious but it doesn't make you feel good. But making delicious food that makes you feel good afterwards is going to be the wave of the future—not lacing it with butter and cream.

Worst New Trend
Genetically modified organisms. Cross breeding a pig and a salmon, a tomato and a trout and putting it on the shelf and not letting people know what they're buying. People should know what they're eating, especially with the obesity issues we have in this country.


Tiffani Faison

Best New Trend
People are getting more simplistic with their plating. Half the plate isn't just an abstract space. There is beautiful plating happening now, but it seems like everyone's doing it the exact same way. But there are people doing simple, beautiful plates and letting the food shine.

Worst New Trend
There's a bit of a signature restaurant going on where it's so much about the chef and not about the diners. I'd like to see that give way to an amalgamation of what the chef wants to do and the diner wants to eat. It seems like the menu is exactly the same now. I'd like to see diversity.


Brooke Williamson

Best New Trend
I love the forage trend, finding stuff in your backyard. It's the ultimate test of simplicity: taking something from your backyard and turning it into something phenomenal. I do it on a consistent basis--I buy from a lot of people who forage. It's very specific and local reduces one's carbon footprint.

Worst New Trend
Bacon is a little over. I don't know if it's a trend anymore but I kind of want it to go away.


Kevin Gillespie

Best (and Worst) New Trend
My favorite trend is also my least favorite: Healthy-but-fast casual food restaurants. Healthy and healthful is a great direction. I've advocated real food for years. But what I hate is that some people believe that in order to eat healthy we have to eat steamed chicken and bean sprouts and brown rice. I don't want people to forget that healthful can be natural and flavorful and it doesn't mean giving up all the things you love.


Art Smith

Favorite New Trend
There's less pork! Chefs are getting away from that. And they're experimenting with more plant-based menus. With the talent of the chefs we have, people will eat them when they don't want to eat them.

Worst New Trend
Any food that has a lot of pretense. And also it's expensive. I will never open another expensive restaurant ever.


Shirley Chung

Best New Trend
I always cook local. That's my favorite one.

Worst New Trend
I don't really enjoy the too-over-the-top style—when the food is handled too much. When I go out to eat, I like to eat simple, real food. I don't like anything that's too frou-frou.


Antonia Lofaso

Best New Trend
I love the people that are going back to the basics: simple is better, good technique. A lot more menus are about simple good eating, versus the extravagant places.

Worst New Trend
Frozen things! I don't like my savory food frozen. Ice cream is the exception of course, but freezing lobster? I don't want to freeze anything except for my ice box.


Nyesha Arrington

Best New Trend
The world is more conscious about what they're putting into their bodies. I'm seeing this trend as people using food as fuel instead of pure pleasure. For me, this is where my cooking style is going. I'm way into that.

Worst New Trend
It seems like the cool thing to do is be a chef and there are all these kids coming up that don't put in the blood, sweat, and tears to be a chef from the heart. Kids don't even wear chef coats anymore! It's so important to put good chefs out there. You're molding the future.


C.J. Jacobson

Best New Trend
Fermentation. You can see a lot of things going different places. You can get four experiments on a plum--young plum, old plum, or whatever. You can let your mind go with the natural processes.

Worst New Trend
The idea of looking at trends in general!