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Which Ingredient Will Be the Next Hot Restaurant Trend?

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Andrew Knowlton, Bon Appetit

During the first day of this year's MAD symposium in Copenhagen -- a kind of meeting of the minds of the best chefs in the world, organized by Rene Redzepi of Noma -- I saw famed Italian butcher Dario Cecchini gut a pig on stage, heard Mexican cookbook author Diana Kennedy rail against the sous-vide cooking technique (the bags are environmentally irresponsible), and watched a semi-pornographic video by Los Angeles-based artist David Choe. Not surprisingly, "Guts" is the theme of this year's event. Later today, lucky attendees will hear talks from a stunning roster of food types, including chefs Alain Ducasse, Roy Choi, Barbara Lynch, Margot Henderson, Alex Atala, and Christina Puglisi, and writer Jonathan Gold.

Now, if you're a MAD conference attendee, several things will happen when you visit Copenhagen.

  • You will eat a hot dog topped with fried shallots from a kiosk -- even though you've just finished a 15-course meal.
  • You'll ride a bicycle with one hand on the handle bars while the the other grips an iPhone loaded with Google Maps. Don't worry: it's still safer than biking in NYC.
  • You'll meet several tall, very Nordic gentleman who own restaurants throughout Scandinavia that, if you were good at your job, you should already know lots about.
  • But most important, you will eat dishes and taste ingredients that you probably have never eaten or tasted. But you will. Soon. Because what excites chefs in Copenhagen right now will excite chefs elsewhere later. Last year, I had live ants for the first time. This time around, they were served not alive but made into a sauce and a paste. Are Americans finely ready for the picnic insects? I'm guessing it's going to take a few more years.

So what will American diners be eating next? In the slideshow below, I'm offering a sneak peak -- and givings odds on which ingredients will succeed.

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