4. Roots Cuisine
Tired of being undone by big cosmopolitan food destinations, smaller market chefs are tapping into what makes their niches notable. They’re digging deep to find their roots. In Hawaii, Mark Noguchi and Ed Kenney seek out pre-Colonial product and technique, seeking to purify their culinary culture of mass-produced foodstuffs and return to the time of hand-pounded taro and beloved oxtail soup. Austin’s Contigo was built to reflect Texan Ranch culture, with an open fire pit recalling nights on the range and a menu that transforms local flavor. In post-Katrina New Orleans, it’s been Big Easy 2.0, with the next generation of chefs rummaging through the city’s remnants, reevaluating their hallowed culinary heritage, and erecting new and modernist monuments to the city’s comfort food staples. It’s not at all a step backwards for these markets, but rather a culmination of all their essence, squeezed from every innovative chef, brewer, sommelier, and mixologist—and especially those who came before.
Charred Kobe Beef Belly, Sweet Onion-Herb Salad, Lime, and Soy-Ginger Dressing from Chef Aaron Burgau of Patois – New Orleans, LA