Quite like music and film, food and the culinary arts have become its own valid form of artwork. As opposed to the old ways of food simply being one of sustenance, food preparation and consumption, has become an important craft, as well as a form of entertainment in the United States — and to think that the thought of a cooking-based television program of a frosted tipped-man riding across the country in a red convertible in search of “the best diners, drive-ins and dives” was once a foreign concept.  


I am looking at you, Medieval Times.


Along with a restaurant industry that’s become more worldwide than Pitbull, there are now chefs who have become beloved celebrities in their own right. Globe-trotter Anthony Bourdain, travels to the farthest ends of the globe and eats all the local delicacies, while decorated chef Martha Stewart hosts a cooking show on VH1 with The Doggfather himself. Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, has launched successful culinary ventures, including restaurants, cookbooks and television shows. Arguably the Michael Jordan or Tom Brady of cooking, Gordon Ramsay has also built a multi-million dollar empire from his career as a chef. Ramsey’s successes include numerous TV shows, cookbooks, restaurants and equally as many Michelin stars.


Unicorn Frappuccino

Unicorn Frappuccino (Starbucks )

With the artsy side of food that’s present in almost every Instagram post, Nation’s Restaurant News published it’s list of 18 “quirky food and beverage trends” from 2017, to commemorate a strange year in the food and beverage industry. 


Starting  with the elephant in the room or should we say “unicorn”, Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) listed Starbucks’ limited-edition Unicorn Frappuccino as the number one “quirky” trend of the year. Anna Kang of NRN, described the drink as a “pink crème Frappuccino with mango syrup, blue drizzle, vanilla whipped cream, and a sprinkle of pink and blue powders”. A fitting description would be that it looked more akin to unicorn vomit instead of a frappuccino and that the purple, light blue and glittery pink concoction contains enough sugar for three Snickers bars.


The next two highest ranked food and beverage items were Starbucks limited-time drinks; The Zombie Frappuccino for Halloween and The Christmas Tree Frappuccino for the holiday season. Of course, the NRN list did not consist solely of ridiculous Starbucks drinks; there were food options like Hong Kong-based Bubble Waffle and Cinnabon’s Cookie BonBite. Doughnuts seemed to have had a Renaissance in 2017; on the NRN were three options: a savory Specialty Doughnut containing cream cheese, Clinton Hall New York’s Doughnut Grilled Cheese served with a bowl of tomato soup, as well as a Sushi Doughnut — a rice dish rolled into a doughnut shape, with sushi toppings in a sashimi style.


Clinton Hall NYC's Grilled Cheese Doughnut

Grilled Cheese Doughnut (complex)

Strangely enough, the most perplexing item on the NRN list was the Pumpkin Spice Pizza. At Villa Italian Kitchen, they do pizza an injustice by topping an otherwise amazing food with pumpkin pie filling, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and everything else that is in the traditional Starbucks drink. In my opinion, this is creativity and fusion cooking gone too far.


Yet, that’s the way that food is going. Almost every classic dish has had a million different variations made and new dishes continue to either be created or remade every day. 2017 for food, quite like 2017 for politics, was both strange and unsettling at times. We’ve yet to solve the pineapple on pizza debate despite the fact that Gordon Ramsay said it does not belong.


Oh well, the battle rages on.


What were the weirdest food trends you saw in 2017? Tweet me about it at @CaptainKasoff.