Back in 2000, the world was a simpler place: couples met in real life, hipsters-to-be were still at primary school and we all knew not to eat fish on Mondays, thanks to top American TV chef and author, Anthony Bourdain.
After 30 years in the restaurant business, Bourdain knew the tricks of the trade and so knew what to order on which days of the week when eating out.
In his 2000 book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures In The Culinary Underbelly, Bourdain wrote: “I never order fish on Monday, unless I'm eating at a four-star restaurant where I know they are buying their fish directly from the source. I know how old most seafood is on Monday - about four to five days old!”
The reasons was that in New York where Bourdain was based, the fish markets weren’t open over the weekend so most restaurants ordered their fish on Thursdays and by Monday it would be well past fresh.
16 years on, however, and Bourdain has had to eat his words. In a video for Tech Insider, the chef concedes that his old rule is no longer valid. “Do me one favour, people, eat the fish on Monday. That was 16 years ago, it was a very different world,” he claims.
But why the change of heart?
The reason it’s now OK to order fish on a Monday is that over the past 16 years, food standards have increased dramatically and we now expect much higher quality meals. Restaurants can no longer get away with serving bad quality fish, so they’ve had to up their game.
Bourdain also points to the rise of sushi: “Everybody eats sushi now,” he says, despite the fact that his generation were raised to see raw fish as “an anathema.”
Food trends in 2016
Food trends in 2016
1/11 Celeriac root
We had a kale obsession in 2015, but 2016’s vegetable sine qua non is predicted to be the knobbly celeriac root. Celeriac milk (Tom Hunt at Poco in Bristol serves it with winter mussels and wild water celery), celeriac cooked in Galician beef fat (from Adam Rawson of Pachamama, hot new chef in the capital) and salt-baked celeriac (to be found in Matthew and Iain Pennington’s kitchens at The Ethicurean in the West Country) are just a few examples.
2/11 Middle Eastern food
The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook (£24.95, Phaidon) by grand-dame Salma Hage, author of the bestseller The Lebanese Kitchen (whose halva is pictured here), is out in April
© Liz & Max Haarala Hamilton
3/11 Non-alcoholic cocktails
Grain Store mixologist Tony Conigliaro has created Roman Redhead, a riot of red grape juice, beetroot, pale ale and verjus, and Rose Iced Tea (black tea, rose petals, anise essence, pictured here)
The discerning will be slurping Hepple gin – from chef Valentine Warner and cocktail guru Nick Strangeway – which is punctuated with bog-myrtle nuances
5/11 Argyll and Bute
Restaurant followers are getting in a froth about Pam Brunton in Scotland, who opened the Inver restaurant in Argyll and Bute to acclaim last year
6/11 Andy Oliver’s Som Saa
One of the most eagerly awaited restaurants of 2016 will be the permanent incarnation of Andy Oliver’s remarkable pop-up Som Saa opening very soon in east London. Oliver, who worked at Thai god David Thompson’s Nahm in Bangkok, raised a whopping £700,000 through crowdfunding, and is renowned for his piquant Thai flavours and obsessive attention to detail, including in his home ferments and DIY coconut cream
© Adam Weatherley
Another ruminant in vogue is venison, with Sainsbury’s doubling its line for 2016. It provides a protein-packed punch, with B vitamins and iron, and it’s low in fat. Its entry into the mainstream is in part thanks to the Scottish restaurant Mac and Wild, just opened in London, whose Celtic head chef Andy Waugh (who also runs the Wild Game Co) has been touting it as street food for years (his venison burger pictured here)
From Brett Graham’s The Ledbury to Angela Hartnett’s kitchens at Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest, Cabrito is the go-to goat supplier among the chef cognoscenti (roasted loin of kid pictured here) – but this year, domestic cooks can get in on the action, as Sushila Moles and James Whetlor of Cabrito offer their meat through Ocado
Mike Lusmore / mikelusmore.com
Coffee sage George Crawford is launching the much-anticipated Cupsmith with his partner, Emma. Crawford believes that 2016 is the year purist coffee will finally meet the masses; Cupsmith’s mission will be to make craft coffee as popular as craft beer on the high street. The company roasts Arabica beans in small batches, improving its quality – but sells it online, at cupsmith.com, in an approachable way: expect cheerful packaging and names such as Afternoon Reviver Coffee (designed for drinking with milk – no matter how uncouth, most of us want milk) and Glorious Espresso
10/11 120-day-old steak
Hanging meat for extremely long lengths of time has become an art. In Cumbria, Lake Road Kitchen’s James Cross is plating up 120-day-old steak (pictured here). The beef is from influential “ager” Dan Austin of Lake District Farmers, who is currently investigating the individual bacterial cultures that go into this maturing process
11/11 Lotus root
Diners can expect root-to-stem dining - cue the full lotus deployed by the Michelin-starred Indian Benares in its kamal kakdi aur paneer korma
However, Bourdain maintains that you need to choose your restaurant wisely, suggesting that a Monday mussels special at your “local fake Irish pub” may still not be “such a great idea.”
He concedes that ‘don’t eat fish on Monday’ will likely be on his headstone but urges us all to “Eat the damn fish”. And if that isn’t permission to head to the chippy, nothing is.