Where to find the future in food?

I asked a big supermarket client this question the other day. She answered San Francisco first. That made sense. Most of the future seems to come from that part of the world. 

Then she added – London as well. That surprised me a bit – I suppose because it’s so close to home. But it also made sense. England has such a weak local food heritage, it’s not surprising it absorbs bits and pieces from so many other cuisines. And London embraces so many cultures, it sort becomes inevitable that a complex and colourful food ‘soup’ evolves.

But I then went a bit further. Where exactly in London is the cradle of food innovation? Where would you go to see the future in food? What Underground tube station would be your destination?

Well I reckon I know the answer: the crossroads of Charlotte street and Goodge street (nearest station – Goodge Street). Stand here and you can see Ad agencies, film companies, recording studios, and of course many, many restaurants of every possible ilk. This is where the pathfinders in so many disciplines come to eat and drink.

Even better, as I stood at this crossroads, I think I saw the food future revealing itself before my very eyes. Just down from the intersection is a little lane and there, just off the main road, I spotted five gazebo’s being erected. Below each canopy, hot plates and ovens were being heated, and piles of fresh ingredients arranged. Street food!

How on earth could these people possibly compete with the hundreds of sandwich bars, cafes, and Michelin starred restaurants jammed into every space around my crossroads? Well I had to wait and see what would happen. Bit by bit queues formed around each of these food tents – offering London versions of falafels, pitas, and much more. And hundreds of fashion creators were ignoring all the other options, to watch sweaty chefs chopping, turning and grilling their food choices in front of them. 

Watch out, street food will be the next big thing.