What exactly is “CHAOS COOKING”

Food and Beverage Trends 2023

9th January 2023

By Richard


Dishes that are an aggressive mash-up of global flavours — like sashimi tostadas and tandoori spaghetti which will hit US restaurant menus in 2023, a style that’s been dubbed “chaos cooking”.

Those concoctions will live or die depending on how well they play on TikTok, the latest must-use channel for restaurateurs.

Why does it matter:
With dining out almost back to pre-pandemic levels, people continue to crave novelty in their meals as well as video-friendly foods they can show off to their friends (butter boards anyone?).

• At the same time, restaurants are struggling to manage soaring food prices and ongoing labour shortages amid high demand.
• They’re pruning their menus, paring back portions and (sometimes) offering takeout-only during certain hours.
What are they saying:
“Dining is back — we’ve been seeing that,” Debby Soo, CEO of OpenTable. who said  “We remain bullish about dining even in potentially turbulent times.”

Driving the news:
A review of year-end restaurant prediction reports reveals many common themes, such as the rise of “Eatertainment”, new interest in Latin American cuisine, non-alcoholic drinks and the emergence of a jumbled culinary genre called chaos cooking.
• Eater in the US describes chaos cooking as “a new, brash food style” that’s “part neo-fusion, part middle finger.”
o Examples include pork keema papadi nachos from Nashville’s Chauhan Ales & Masala House and pastrami tacos from Delirama in Berkeley, California.
o Evidence this is going mainstream. TGI Fridays’ new curry-laden “Frijitas” with tandoori chicken.

What else we’ll see in 2023:
Mondays are trending as a dining-out night in the US market, as they’re seen as “an extension of the weekend” in the hybrid work era, Soo says.
• Expect more showy tableside experiences beyond the familiar guacamole-prep ritual. Hot spots such as Miller & Lux in San Francisco turn Caesar salad into an artfully choreographed cheese-and-lettuce-slicing event.
• Colombian restaurants are having a moment, as is other Latin and South American fare, as well as Hawaiian cuisine.
• Charcuterie boards, elevated bar snacks and loaded fries — with flavours like ghost pepper and hot honey — are going strong.

The intrigue:
There’s an arms race to create video-friendly dishes for TikTok, which is rapidly supplanting Instagram and Facebook as the go-to social platform for people deciding where to eat.
• “Cheese pulls, sauce drips, drink pours, tableside preparations are all key,” Mike Kostyo of Datassential, a food service periodical.
• While search engines remain the #1-way people discover new eateries, TikTok “is becoming the marketing channel that restaurants can’t ignore,” per BentoBox, a restaurant tech vendor.

What’s next:
Delish predicts that the biggest US trends of 2023 will include tinned fish (!), kelp, dates, plant-based pasta, and solo dining.
• The National Restaurant Association name-checked flatbread sandwiches, CBD desserts and globally inspired salads.
• Fine dining, steakhouses, and interactive forms of dining — like hibachi and Korean barbecue — are also on various “hot” lists.

The bottom line:
“People are craving memorable experiences, and they’re willing to pay more for it,” says Soo of OpenTable.

Harrison offer our clients a complete F&B Menu Development service and would welcome an opportunity to chat to you to see how we can help.

A US F&B trend 2023 article written by Myles Doran in January 2023. Thanks Myles!