2022 Food Trends with Chef James | Mindful Chef


Chef James and the kitchen team are always bringing us the latest and best food trends from around the globe. So when it comes to your 2022 menu, get ready to sink your tastebuds into a feast of newness.

Chef James Currie in the Mindful Chef test kitchen

Ready for a (healthy) food odyssey? Then you’ll love this. Because we’ve taken the best dishes from the world’s hottest restaurants, we’ve peered over the shoulders of the nation’s most daring chefs, and yes, we might have even spied a TikTok influencer or two. This January, Chef James shows us that healthy eating is far from boring when you’ve got so much good stuff to look forward to.

Like the internet’s love affair with Pesto Eggs. We thought we’d take them for a whirl in the Mindful Chef test kitchen, refining their nutrition and taste so they’re serving maximum health and flavour. What about ingredients? Get to know your Banana Blossom from your Brazilian Blue Hawaiian Ginger. Or turn over a new leaf with colourful winter salads, get into the sharing revolution or discover the most exciting trend yet: climatarianism. hint: It’s all about helping you reduce your carbon footprint! Read on for our take on the seven food trends you need to know this year.

Trend 1: The street food revolution

Sweet potato & tofu kimchi fries

From food vans and festivals to famous foodie markets across the UK, queueing for street food is one of life’s pleasures. Long gone are the days when it meant greasy burgers or suspect kebabs… 

A trend has to start somewhere, of course. From hot dogs (thanks, New York) to Hawaiian Poké bowls (ditto, Hawaii), street food begins with people passionate about food. Namely the food they love. Whether that’s Grandma’s pierogi or the amazing bánh-mí sandwiches eaten every day in Vietnam, street food’s brilliance is that it celebrates different countries, cultures, and lets the rest of us have a taste of home-grown, home-cooked family food. 

BBQ jackfruit burrito bowl

And now street food is big business. What started from humble beginnings has grown into a billion-pound market. (That’s the sort of unprecedented growth that fast-food restaurants can only dream of.)

  • The concept of street food originated in Ancient Greece with little fried fish
  • It’s worth remembering that for some cultures, street food is less of a trend, and more how food is eaten on a daily basis as a nessecity. 
  • Cheap food, cooked en masse for the masses is indeed how many people across the world get to eat. 

The team and I have taken street food classics – inspired by London markets like Broadway and Borough – and have given them a healthy makeover for your midweek menus. From vegan burrito bowls and Indian feasts, to pile-everything-on ramen and yes, our korean-inspired kimchi fries, there’s a lot to look forward to this year.”

Trend 2: Veg forward 

Burnt cabbage, verbena grains and aubergine dip

If you don’t want to give up meat, but still want to do your bit for the environment, then this is the trend for you.

All it takes? Is reducing your consumption and making veggies the hero of the dish. Look out for our burnt cabbage, smoky tempeh carbonara and burnt aubergine curry on your menu this January.

Restaurants have also been jumping on this tasty bandwagon: celebrating vegetables and moving meat to a supporting role on plates.

More and more often I find myself leaving a restaurant talking about that one vegetable-based dish that took the flavour to another level and surpassed all the meaty plates. Try putting your veggies centre stage and I promise you, you won’t look back.”

Call it flexitarian, call it reducetarianism (which is defined as the place between meat-eater and vegan). Whatever you call it, many people are limiting their meat consumption to 1-2 days a week. Why not give it a go with 8 plant-based recipes on our menu every single week.

And you’ll be in good company. According to Speciality Food Magazine and Whole Foods Market’s latest Trends Council report, ‘reducetarianism’ was dubbed a top trend to watch for 2022, perfect for “plant-curious eaters” who aren’t ready to give up meat entirely.”

Trend 3: Sharing is caring

Crispy duck pancakes with hoisin

Nothing beats digging into a big platter of help-yourself-food with friends and family. It unites us and brings a sense of community.

A food trend that’s taken inspiration from countries and cultures that have always eaten this way. Think: mezze and tapas, big pots of stew, and even bigger paellas!

Restaurants have picked this up and more often than not these days, we’re skipping traditional 3-course meals in favour of having lots of smaller plates served in the middle of the table. 

Sharing platters aren’t just for nights out and dinner parties. Sharing is social and it’s also a great way of eating midweek…just place everything down in the middle of the table and dig in. It’s relaxed, and great fun to try midweek. Look for our Crispy duck pancakes, Thali style Indian chicken feast and Feijoada-style pork stew on your menu this January.”

Trend 4: Colourful winter salads

Warming beetroot hummus salad

We don’t save all our salads up for summer! 

Winter doesn’t have to mean heavy, dull dishes. We can still cook seasonal, fresh meals that feel warming and hearty by using ingredients like purple carrots, pears, beetroot and plenty of spice. In fact, the more colour the better!”

Using techniques like roasting, which are synonymous with winter, and combining them with lighter dressings or fresh leaves can work really well to make a filling but healthy meal. 

Look to seasonal stars like parsnips, beetroots and other roots. Try quick-roasting brassicas and dark cruciferous leaves like kale and cavolo nero. Ony our menu this January you can look forward to Warm coronation chickpeas & quick pickled onion, Middle Eastern turkey and smashed sesame cucumber and Sesame rice cakes, smoked salmon & cabbage slaw.

Trend 5: Waste not, want not

Chef James’ no-waste vegan mayo

If you’re already a Mindful Chef, you know we’re all about zero food waste. As one of the biggest contributors to climate change, did you know that 40% of food produced is never eaten?

When all those bags of gone-off salad go in the bin, it’s not just the leaves that go to waste. It’s all the resources (like water, agriculture, machinery, harvesting, power, plastic production, and transport) that go to waste, too. If we eliminated all food waste today, we’d cut global emissions by 8%!

That’s just one of the reasons we pre-portion ingredients – and your veg peelings can go in the compost bin, ready to fertilise your garden.

If you’re in London check out no-waste restaurant Silo, and closer to home here’s my delicious no-waste recipe that transforms the water from your tin of chickpeas (also known as aquafaba) and turns it into vegan-friendly mayo. This year we’ll be sharing more helpful waste-saving hacks straight from the MC kitchen like toasted pumpkin seeds and veg-peeling crisps.”

Trend 6: Sharing is caring

Pesto egg and smoked salmon wraps

Who’s guilty of taking a photo of dinner? We certainly are (hint: we love it). There’s nothing like whiling away a few mins between zoom meetings scrolling through mouth-watering pictures of food or watching someone whip up a feast in 10 seconds. We eat with our eyes first, after all. 

This year, we’re getting social. Not that kind of social: more, social media. Because when it comes to what’s cooking online, the internet certainly has a lot to say. Popular social media platform TikTok is the home of many viral trends: think feta pasta, folded tortilla wraps and the ultimate pesto eggs!

So we’ve only gone and put pesto eggs on our menu! They’re inspired and just use two simple ingredients: eggs and pesto. If you haven’t tried them, then read on. We think you’ll love ‘em.

Pesto eggs took social media by storm in 2021. So we took our cue from its creator, Amy Wilichowski on TikTok, and refined it in the Mindful Chef test kitchen. We wanted to bring those Italian flavours to life, swapping out the dairy you’d find in a shop-bought pesto, and adding free-range eggs, honey-chilli kale, homemade chickpea wraps and slivers of sustainably sourced smoked salmon. Don’t miss this delight on your menu in January.”

Trend 7: Climatarianism

Chilli chicken ramen bowl

Yes, it’s a thing. Consumers are becoming even more heightened by the environmental impact of their meal choices. And now it’s got a name: climatarianism. In fact, Waitrose’s 2022 Food & Drink Report, found that nearly 70% of people said the carbon footprint of their food was important.

What is Climatarianism?

In a nutshell, if you’re a climatarian, you follow a diet that reduces your carbon footprint. And even though climatarianism is difficult to say, it’s thankfully a bit easier to follow.

Mindful Chef and Low Carbon Recipes

We’re the first recipe box company in the UK to carbon rate our recipes. With carbon labelling, you can see the total carbon footprint of your meal. 

What this means

Carbon Labelling gives you the tools you need to make more informed choices on the food you eat as part of a balanced box. Trying something new to make little changes daily that add up to a world of difference.

  • All our Low Carbon Recipes are below 1.6kg CO2e and are in line with WWF’s target of reducing dietary related emissions. (Psss the average diet-related carbon footprint is 5.17kg CO2e / day).
  • If everyone in the UK ate one low carbon meal a week it would save 1.5 million tonnes of emissions
  • If every Mindful Chef recipe box had just one low carbon recipe it would save 899 tonnes of carbon (or 1,070 flights from London to New York) in a single year.

Climatarianism isn’t the same as Meat Free Mondays (as started by Beatle Sir Paul McCartney in 2009) which encouraged us all to go meat-free one day a week. Or Veganuary, ​​which began in the UK in 2014 and asks people to stop eating animal products for the whole of January. It is about making informed choices on what you eat. Simply look for the green ‘low carbon impact’ label on our 2-person menu. You’ll be tucking into chilli chicken ramen, lentil ragu, apricot harissa salmon and many more this January.”

Seasonal eating

Choosing foods that are in season (for more info check out Dietitian Clare’s blog on seasonality here) is a great place to start, even when we’re used to seeing – and eating – strawberries in winter and sprouts in summer.

Meat vs plants

It’s not tofu vs burgers. Our Mindful Chefs are flexitarians and pescetarians, vegans and vegetarians, Meat-Free Monday-ers and committed carnivores. It’s not ‘eat no meat’. It’s about balance – and finding a balance that’s right for your world. When it comes to our red meat, we only give you the good stuff: British, native breeds grazing in British fields, reared by ethical farmers.

Avoid palm oil

Palm oil can contribute to deforestation as more and more land (and water!) is needed, as well as loss of habitat for endangered species like the Orangutan.

Eat local

No one needs to eat food that’s got more air miles than BA. We always put British first, and love bringing you British produce from UK farmers who share the same sustainable values as us.

Yet to try healthy eating made easy? Get £10 off your first two recipe boxes by entering code BLOG20 at checkout. Mindful Chef healthy recipe boxes provide you with the tools to cook delicious nutritious meals, in under 30 minutes. Each box contains recipe instructions, pre-portioned ingredients and fresh produce sourced from award-winning British farms.

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