Next Big Things: Raw Milk, Sour Beer, and Dinners in Orange

 

First there were food trailers. Could the next big Austin food trend be Dinners in Orange?

The founder of one of the city’s leading pop-up dinner clubs, Supper Underground, says ethereal Dinners in White have become popular in Paris, and she’d like to emulate them here—but with a twist.

Hannah Calvert, MA ’03, MPAff ’03, spoke Wednesay as part of the “Delectable Austin: Food Trailers, Farmers Markets, & Fine Dining” panel. She and four other local food leaders addressed the Texas Exes Austin Professionals group.

Paris’ Dinners in White involve people getting word of a secret picnic and bringing their baskets, then boarding buses to a surprise location. When they arrive, they sit down for an al fresco dinner with hundreds of strangers, all wearing white.

White is nice, of course, but Texas Monthly executive editor and food writer Pat Sharpe, BA ’65, MA ’72, took the idea to its natural Austin end: orange.

Other panelists offered plenty more ideas on the next big thing. The restauranteur behind NXNW and Red’s Porch, Davis Tucker, BA ’84, sees sour beers (which are left to spontaneously ferment, aging up to two years) becoming more sought-after.

Tucker also sees restaurant recycling on the horizon—the City of Austin plans to make it mandatory soon, even for compostables—and said he supports that.

Modernized comfort foods, like truffled mac & cheese; smaller individual servings; and more unique presentations are all the rage in the catering world, RK Group/Rosemary’s Catering general manager Neil Fuselier said.

Following up on comfort foods, pie will replace cupcakes as the dessert of choice, Greenling founder and CEO Mason Arnold, BS ’01, predicted. Since Greenling is a grocery delivery service that focuses on local and organic food, he also foresees the next big sustainable food trend; it’ll be raw milk, he said.

Organics became a lively topic of debate. Greenling is based on it, and Arnold believes people should be willing to vote for change in the food system with their wallets.

And Laura Anderson, co-founder of the Bananarchy frozen banana stand, says her trailer uses fair trade bananas.

But Tucker, Calvert, and Fuselier said that while they work hard to recycle and use individual organic items like greens whenever possible, an all-organic menu would put their costs too high in an ever-more-price-conscious country.

Tucker sees a shift from subsidies for agribusiness to organic farmers as a longer-term generational change. “It won’t be in my lifetime, it probably won’t be in your lifetime,” he said, “but it’ll change.”

Top: Davis Tucker, left, with fellow panelist Hannah Calvert. Below: Event food by Rosemary’s Catering. Photo by Jeff Heimsath.

 

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