11 Chefs Share Their Food-Focused New Year's Resolutions
It's that time of year again. After the wrapping paper and holiday dinner leftovers get put away it's time for, you guessed it, New Year's resolutions.
If you're someone who loves food or likes to spend time in the kitchen, maybe your New Year's resolution looks like eating at home more or finally using that kitchen gadget you bought last year. Or maybe you'd like to focus on incorporating plant-based recipes into your diet or trying out that restaurant you've been meaning to go to for months. If you have food aspirations for the New Year, then you're not alone. In fact, the experts have their own list of goals they're hoping to focus on in 2023.
If you're stuck on coming up with a New Year's resolution, then you're in luck—we asked 11 chefs what their New Year's resolutions are. From experimenting with floral flavors to revamping their spice cabinet, here are some New Year's goals chefs have in mind that may just inspire you.
Tarik Fallous, chef and owner at Au Za'atar in New York City, would like to bake more come January. "In the New Year, I would like to start working on baking a bit more," says Fallous. "There are great Middle Eastern flatbreads and pizza styles, like Maneesh, that could be a fun new skill to learn and introduce to bring to the restaurant as an authentic new dish."
Cook Healthier Meals at Home
Rodrigo Fernandini, the chef and partner at Artesano in New York City, has made "cooking healthier at home" one of their New Year's resolutions, a resolution many people may be able to relate to. "As a soon-to-be new father in the New Year, I would like to prepare some healthy dishes at home and incorporate more veggie-forward dishes to care for myself and my wife," Fernandini shares. "Health is wealth."
Explore New Ingredients
With the new year comes new beginnings, so what better time than to begin exploring some new ingredients? "At our restaurant, we serve coastal Italian dishes," explains Riccardo Orfino, chef and partner at Alice and Osteria 57 in New York City. "I'd like to explore fishes that are native to certain countries or small regions and bring them to our restaurant and into my diet. Finding new ways to explore new proteins and ingredients is always my goal to keep growing as a chef and restaurateur."
Get More Creative
Chef Adam Terhune, Chef de Cuisine of Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Nashville, hopes to get more creative with dishes in the new year.
"This upcoming year, I really want to put an emphasis on creativity," Terhune explains. "All chefs get into the industry because of their passion for food and conceptual culinary experiences, but sometimes that can take a back seat in the day-to-day. I want to challenge myself and my team to think outside of the box and truly create unique dishes that we all believe in."
Terhune goes on to share that this spring, Commons Club will be bringing back its onsite culinary garden that will feature an array of unique ingredients, such as African Blue Basil, Fairytale Eggplant, and Lemon Thyme. "Typically, it's hard for a culinary team to get their hands on rare herbs and produce like this," Terhune adds. "I really love how we can interact with it from the start and see how our menu evolves based on the season and growth of the garden."
Help People Eat Healthier
Chef Mike Alaridi, Executive Chef of Virgin Hotels Chicago, has one goal in mind for the new year—to keep people healthy through food. "A lot of today's foods are overly processed with a ton of ingredients," Alaridi says. "I want to help people become more informed about what they're eating, because what we put into our bodies flavors what we put into the world."
Because of this, Alaridi's goal is to make "real, good food." "That means local, farm-to-table ingredients cooked from fresh ingredients and celebrated for what they are," says Alaridi. "For me, it also means leveraging simple, traditional methods of cooking. I love the idea of going back to the root—everything scratch-made, prepared over open fire."
Enhance Plating Skills
Some chefs are also thinking about perfecting their plating skills in the new year. "I'm used to being a chef that provides to-go meals where you just have to make sure it looks appetizing in a to-go container," shares Chef Lexis, a private chef who was also on Chopped Sweets on Food Network. "Now as a private chef, plating is a skill set I need to hone in on."
Use More Sustainable Ingredients
Chef Donald Young, owner of Duck Sel, an experiential culinary concept in Chicago, hopes to incorporate more sustainable ingredients into his recipes. "My New Year's resolution is to build better relationships with local farmers and purveyors, and start trying to find more sustainable ingredients to use in my menu," Young says.
Experiment with Floral Flavors
Cilla Casey, a private chef based in London, would like to experiment with more floral flavors, such as saffron, lavender, chamomile, and rose. "When it comes to desserts and sweet dishes, I thoroughly enjoy trying new and exciting combinations and floral flavors is an area that I'd like to explore more of this coming year," says Casey. "I'm looking forward to creating new personal recipes which combine floral flavors with the deep rich tastes of ingredients such as dark chocolate, caramels, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom."
Cook with Better (and Fresher) Spices
Shawn Matijevich, Lead Chef of Online Culinary Arts & Food Operations at the Institute of Culinary Education, would like to cook with better and fresher spices. "I'm always in such a rush to get whatever spice I need that I grab whatever is at the grocery store," says Matijevich. "Next year, I'm going to go out of my way to purchase good spices and clean out my spice cabinet."
This coming year, Toni Okamoto, founder of Plant-Based on a Budget and cookbook author, plans to focus on diversifying the produce they eat. "Like many, professional cooks can also get stuck in a rut and end up making the same quick and easy meals for dinner night after night," says Okamoto. "My big goal for the New Year is to diversify the produce I consume. I've been hearing about optimizing gut health by consuming 30 different plant foods each week, so I'm going to give it a try."
Experiment with Plating Presentation
Christian Panepinto, Chef de Cuisine at Virgin Hotels Dallas would like to think outside the box with more modern plating presentations. "One of my goals for 2023 is to experiment with more modern, free-form plating," says Panepinto. "Part of a great dish is the story it tells through the design. I truly feel like plating allows me to further the creativity of the dish, along with amazing flavors and fresh ingredients, of course."