Rice Rises to the Top of 2019 Food Trends

Chef Sarah-Grueneberg wearing blue chef jacket and red apron, leans against table (Credit-Galdones-Photography)
Chef Sarah Grueneberg (photo by Galdones Photography)
Jan 11, 2019
ARLINGTON, VA -- Rice got some well-deserved recognition this week when Uproxx, a popular news and entertainment website, released its list of food trend predictions for 2019 collected through interviews with some of the biggest names in the domestic culinary industry including star chefs and TV food personalities.

While rice was applicable to most of the trends, the prediction from Sarah Grueneberg, chef and partner of Monteverde Restaurant and Pastifcio in Chicago, that “rice takes center stage” in 2019 should excite the U.S. rice industry.  

“In 2019 we’ll see rice become a star of the show,” said Grueneberg who was the runner up in season nine of the television show Top Chef.  “Chefs are taking the steamed or cooked rice we eat at home to the next level, and showing us why it has been a staple in just about every cuisine for centuries.  At Bywater American Bistro in New Orleans, they’re doing a jasmine rice with fried oysters and an étouffée sauce that’s incredible.  It’s a nice example of how rice is becoming more of a small plate to share rather than solely a side dish.  I also believe that rice porridges will be very popular.  Chefs will play around with the traditional congee and interpret it into other cuisines.”

Additional 2019 food trends from this list that bode well for rice include indigenous food, all veggie everything, the African food diaspora, elevated fast-casual experiences, regional ethnic cuisine, fermentation (for both food and beverages), remixed global cuisines, and sustainability.

“We have been making big efforts in domestic promotion to expand the role of rice in the eyes of both chefs and consumers,” said Cameron Jacobs, USA Rice domestic promotion manager.  “This list recognizing the trend potential for rice reinforces that what we are working toward is making a difference, transitioning rice from a side dish to a small plate to reimagining it through fermentation or even ‘deconstruction’ where rice is showcased apart from its place in a traditional recipe.  2019 looks like it will be a great year for rice!”