The stories that shaped the conversation about what, how, and where we ate this year.
This year, like any post-election year, was filled with political rancor, partisan potshots, and the growing pains of an adjusting nation. Yet among the breaking news alerts and scandals, food certainly found its own foothold in the 24-hour cycle. Colorful ingredients caught our eyes, brands vied for our attention, and major personalities challenged and, in some cases fell short of, our expectations. Here, in no particular order, are the 25 biggest news stories.
The craft beer boom is far from over, and with an average of about two breweries opening in the U.S. every day, it’s no wonder America topped 6,000 this year, the most we’ve ever seen. Eighty-three percent of Americans now live within 10 miles of a brewery.
9. Noma shuts down, pops up in Mexico, re-opens in Copenhagen
On New Year’s Eve of 2016, René Redzepi shut the doors on his oft-deemed “world’s best restaurant” Noma to take a break, regroup, and get inspired. Of course, for Redzepi, that “break” included popping up Noma Mexico in Tulum last April where the menu focused on local ingredients, including insects. But finally, in November, it was announced that reservations would be available for Noma 2.0, set to open in Copenhagen in February of 2018. They sold out nearly immediately.
11. Wendy’s fan wins Twitter (and nuggets for life)
While we can debate whether or not Twitter has been good for the public discourse, the social media platform has certainly led to some inspiring moments. Take Carter Wilkerson, who casually asked the famously sassy Wendy’s Twitter account how many retweets he’d need to get free nuggets for life. The answer? 18 million. Falling short of that by about 14 million, however, Wendy’s still agreed to give Wilkerson his prize. After all, he does currently hold the record for most shared Tweet of all time.
It certainly seemed like the concept of a “bleeding,” meat-like vegan burger patty would have legs when we were first introduced to the concept. But the accelerated rate at which Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger have made their way into grocery stores and restaurants in 2017 has turned a niche product into a national phenomenon.
16. Chrissy Teigen, the reigning queen of food Twitter
No stranger to sassy comments and clapbacks, it’s no wonder model, author, and TV host Chrissy Teigen’s Twitter profile has over nine million followers. And those lucky millions also got the follow the drama and satisfaction of Teigen’s epic food day back in September, when she not only got more A1 steak sauce than she could handle, but also traded a pair of husband John Legend’s undies for some brown bananas to make bread, dubbing the finished product “our banana bread” to honor the social media community that made it happen.
If there’s a case to be made that there are too many music and food festivals happening these days, 2017’s Fyre Festival in the Bahamas made it. As more event organizers look to cash in on millennials’ desire for mass gatherings, there are bound to be mistakes. Fyre Festival’s food vendors bit off more than they could chew by not bringing enough of the promised food for everyone to nosh on, serving up white bread with slices of cheese and undressed salad greens. The fest’s name has since become synonymous with similar debacles.
The food scene’s most indulgently insider magazine, Momofuku’s David Chang and writer Peter Meehan’s Lucky Peach swiftly and unexpectedly ended its six-year run in May along with a final book that hit shelves in April. Each issue focused on a single theme, a dish like pho, a city like Los Angeles, or an ingredient like chicken. Lucky Peach won nine James Beard awards, including Publication of the Year in 2016 and National Magazine Award.