If there’s a food trend, Kat Odell already knows about it.
amNewYork caught up with the author via email to discuss her new book and the food trends to know.
How would you define “unicorn food”?
There are two definitions of unicorn food floating around pop culture at the moment. There’s the artificially-colored rainbow food floating around that uses unnatural ingredients to stain foods simply for show, and then there’s what I do which uses plant-based, all natural ingredients to create foods that use color to boost nutrition. And that’s because naturally-colored foods contain antioxidants as opposed to plain white foods, and are more nutritious because of their natural pigments.
Unicorn food has been pervasive, and there are several cookbooks on the topic. What approach did you want to take on it with “Unicorn Food” and maybe do differently?
I use wholesome, unprocessed, natural ingredients to create foods that are as healthy as they are aesthetically pleasing. I was an art history major in college and am extremely inspired by/drawn to color and that comes out in the food I create. All the recipes in “Unicorn Food” are devoid of processed/white sugar, and instead call for natural and many lower-glycemic index sweeteners like yacon, maple syrup and coconut palm. My food cuts gluten and focuses on fruits, veggies, mushrooms and other wellness-supporting ingredients.
Why do you think unicorn food became so trendy?
People like the wow effect. A number of NYC business started to add rainbow colors to foods like bagels, and it took off from there.
For you, when is a food “trendy”?
I guess when Starbucks jumps onboard. I mean it really depends. There are many circles. A food can be trending in the chef world, and then it can hit critical mass. I see food trends from the start, before they hit the public.
What other food trends are on your radar?
Health/wellness, adaptogens, algaes, wagyu katsu sandos, Japanese whisky, natural wine, pét-nats, kale (still!), Taiwanese cuisine, contemporary Korean, omakase Japanese. There are endless food trends currently.