With the proliferation of celebrity chefs and colossally hyped restaurants, modern diners have a lot on their plates. Here, we talk to a top toque on the verge of second-chance stardom, learn what Parisians like to have for dessert, and generally find out what's on the menu in 2013.
That laughing sound you hear is a chorus of Korean home cooks amused by the rise of kimchi as America’s favorite “new” pickle. A staple for 4,000 years—and the star of the condiment spread known as banchan, offered with traditional dishes like bibimbap—the fermented salad is showing up on U.S. menus as a funky alternative to pickled onions and cornichons.
The Sample Room, a Minneapolis gastropub, serves it with beer sausage, while Seattle eatery Matt’s in the Market freezes it granita-style into a topper for raw oysters. Although napa cabbage is the most common recipient of the kimchi treatment (salt, chili powder, fish sauce, garlic and tons of time), the sky’s the limit, from the celery kimchi served with twice-cooked duck wings at Swift’s Attic in Austin to the butternut squash–shiitake kimchi that flanks braised pork shank at Girl & the Goat in Chicago.
“The heat, funky flavor and crunchy texture are a winning combo,” says William Dissen, chef-owner of the Market Place in Asheville, N.C., where collard-green kimchi (pictured) graces plates of crispy pork cheeks with country ham redeye aioli. “Plus, fermented food is good for you.” —JOLYON HELTERMAN