Culinary forecasting and creative agency Trends on Trends is the brainchild of Emily Elyse Miller. A food and travel junkie, Emily can tell you the ingredients, dishes, and design influences that will soon be popping up on menus and in restaurants around the world.
In a little over a year since creating the agency, Emily is now working on her first major trend forecast, which she says is all about the evolving melting pot of American cuisine.
The American Way Forward
“It’s food that is inspired by other cultures but really was created here…it’s not an ethnic cuisine, but it could be ‘ethnic-inspired’ in a way,” she says. After all, how does one explain restaurants like Paris New York, in Paris, France, whose menu features nothing but American-style burgers?
To prove trends, Emily and her team are scarily perceptive at spotting emerging food movements. “As soon as I see something three times, I start keeping an eye on it. To me, three is enough in different parts of the world to be part of a larger trend,” she says.
Research includes meticulous menu reading and scores of interviews with chefs like Philip Krajeck of Rolf and Daughters in Nashville, Tennessee, and Georgia restaurateur Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten, and even culinary influencers like Imbibe and Inspire founder Stephen Torres, also creator of the “Roots of American Food” conference taking place early September in Chicago.
You could say her craft was influenced from a young age, growing up in a household with a parent who worked in the hospitality industry.
A Scottsdale, Arizona native, Emily initially moved to New York to pursue a fashion career, attending the Fashion Institute of Technology. By year three, after working non-stop internships, she became disillusioned with the industry and the people in it. “I just wasn’t as inspired as I thought I would be by things going on in the fashion industry at the time,” she says.
Emily soon discovered her calling in content creation and trend forecasting, and headed down the design track. She now lends her aesthetic to create content campaigns and curated events for those in the food, travel and hospitality industries, whose people she says “are pretty hard to beat.”
Her agency has also received ample buzz for hosting a delectable #breakfastclub series. Here, culinary and creative minds come together over family-style meals prepared by a featured chef. “The chefs that we choose usually don’t have a brunch or a breakfast menu, so this meal is just coming out of their brains as whatever they feel like eating or want to make for their peers and friends,” says Emily.
A comfortable family-style breakfast setting gets invitees talking about what’s new in their respective fields; it’s no surprise then that networking happens naturally and business collaborations ensue.
After successful events in New York and also at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, #breakfastclub went global to Glasgow, Scotland, in mid-June. For its ninth event Emily has chosen upcoming food capital Nashville, where she’s also spending a brief residency to explore and engage with the creative community.
The breakfasts also assist in developing trend forecasts. Emily says her work relies on talking with other creatives who are “always traveling and eating and doing cool things.”
If you think it takes complex ingredients and tasting menus to impress this Brooklynite, think again. While in Glasgow, she stumbled upon a little coffee shop that unexpectedly blew her mind with its simple, from-scratch food. “All it was, was these perfect Indian-spiced baked beans. They were the most memorable things on the whole trip because it was everything I wanted at that time,” she says. And when did she have them? Breakfast.