Ever wonder how food trends come and go? Why did some foods like chia seeds become so popular recently, when they already had their 15 minutes back in the 80’s? How did certain foods like the now ubiquitous cupcake take off to win mass appeal? And what the heck are superfoods anyways? David Sax explains all this and explores the evolutionary journeys of food trends in his new book, The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue.

David Sax

David Sax

David’s recent book launch at 2nd Floor Events was a delightful hit. Featuring a pop-up mess hall, fans and fellow foodies had a chance to experience a laid-back dining style, while they congratulated and chatted with the author and food writer. A bevy of caterers served up their best dishes for everyone to nosh – Desmond and Beatrice’s sinfully decadent cookies, La Brea TO’s MexicAsian tacos, and the refreshing Tromba Tequila Margarita by Blue Blood Bartenders to name a few.

Also the author of the James Beard Award winner, Save the Deli (a book that examines the decline of the Jewish Delicatessen), David Sax once again dives into the human side of the food world with his second book, The Tastemakers. A long time food journalist with publications to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Toronto Life, this Torontonian is not only passionate about food, but also about the scene and people behind the food.

The Tastemakers is a well-researched, detailed exploration of certain food trends that took off and also died in recent memory. Eloquently written and exuding witty charm, the book is an easy read; but more importantly, it’s a relatable and relevant read, about the cultural, social, and economic influences that propelled the very foods that we lust for today into national or continental limelight. If you enjoy books that point out interesting and hidden facts, and decipher the cause-and-effect of how the “proverbial butterfly flutters” can create a storm of frenzy (think along the lines of Freakonomics and Outliers), The Tastemakers is up your alley.

At the book launch, I couldn’t resist picking David’s brain about upcoming food trends in Toronto. The humble author remarked that even though he may not be an expert, he feels that high-end Middle Eastern (ie, Syrian and Persian) cuisine is gaining momentum in our culinary landscape (similar to the recent surge of refined Filipino eateries). While we may always be on a parallel gastronomic trajectory as that of neighbouring American cities like New York, the people and multiculturalism of Toronto create our own unique ecosystem for food trends, serving to brew the next storm of “cupcake frenzy” in this expanding metropolis.

For more information about The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue and where to purchase a copy, please visit: http://tastemakersbook.com/.

In Photos: The Million Meals Movement concert
Jose Cuervo Industry Night at the Distillery District

Nellie Chen