2017 is finally upon us, and our taste buds are feeling adventurous! As foodie enthusiasts embrace the new year, it’s a perfect time to look ahead and discover new foods to eat. We spoke with Chef Tom Gray of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails to see what he thinks will be on the menu this year … as well as what’s on the way out.

Q: Could you make some suggestions for the new year?

Chef Gray: My advice for any season, any year, is to “support local” and “ask questions.” If you are interested in having a variety of cool, unique places to shop or eat, you have to make a decision to support them. Also, if eating well is important to you, you must, must, must go out of your way to ask questions to ensure that what you are eating is actually what you think it is. Don’t presume someone is sourcing local, or serving sustainable items … there’s a lot of “greenwashing” out there, and being informed will help consumers sift through the noise of who is really sourcing sustainably and responsibly. Don’t be fooled by appearances.

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Q:  What dishes in particular are becoming more popular?  

There is a reason classics are classics — they never go out of style. Yet, we are always looking for ways to make our dishes, even those considered classics, with our own fresh, unique signature style.

A great example is our chicken livers, which we update by serving them “Hot Wing Style” with house-made blue cheese sauce, shaved celery and hot sauce), or our chicken and waffles, which gets a Moxie update with crispy fried chicken, a savory bread waffle bread pudding, our maple mousse and a drizzle of pepper jelly. They are both considered classic dishes, but with a modern Moxie twist.

Also, generally, people are getting more interested in alternative cuts of meat, becoming more accepting of responsibly-farmed fish and alternative fish species, as well as wanting alternatives to meat in general. That is where ancient grains, legumes and soy-based meat alternatives are being spotlighted more and more.

Q: Conversely, what styles are a thing of the past?

Generally, people are looking for a more relaxed dining environment while wanting a high level of refinement in the quality and execution of the dishes they order. The evolution of dining in general is toward more of a relaxed vibe, and less “fussy” in service styles.

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Trends We’ll See in 2017 …

Move over kale, here’s four food trends you can expect to see on the rise this year.

1) Veggies all day. Embrace your healthy greens and more in 2017. Veggie-centric restaurants are becoming more popular, and even omnivores are choosing to go a day or two without meat. Menus that go beyond animal-based proteins will come into focus, including innovative plates like beet chorizo, mushroom pate and vegetable charcuterie will replace some beefy dishes of the past.

2) High-tech food delivery is upon us. “Project Wing” has started using drones to deliver Chipotle burritos to college students at Virginia Tech (the future is bright). While still in its beta phase, we’re that much closer to a future where pizza delivery drones replace drivers. Domino’s recently exhibited the world’s first autonomous delivery drone in Australia. The company looks to build on this culinary revolution, called the “delivery expert,” and fly out worldwide in the near future.

3) Mock meat for the win. Faux meat has evolved eons past the Boca burger from the frozen aisle. In 2017, there are hundreds of substitutes that can be unexpectedly delicious. From seitan or tempeh to eggplant (instead of bacon), there’s no need for “where’s the beef?” punch lines while grilling these healthy options.

4) Meal delivery kits are growing. The concept reinvents dinner hand-in-glove for working couples, singles and busy families who don’t have time to shop or prepare meals. From Blue Apron to Plated, these kitchen assistants offer various recipes without wasting produce and excess ingredients in your cabinet — and at an affordable price.