In 2012, chefs will rescue forgotten food ingredients from the brink of extinction and obscurity, invite guests to pull up a chair to their kitchen table, and shrink portion sizes to bite-sized morsels.

At least those are some of the new dining predictions being made at the James Beard Foundation in the US.

In its food trendspotting report for 2012, observers at the culinary foundation in New York foresee chefs and historians redefining the term ‘locavorism’ by going one step further and digging through their region’s culinary history for inspiration.

Chefs will find new interest in reviving old dishes from the gastronomic past and actively seek out heirloom ingredients, the foundation says.

The next dining trend to follow open kitchen concepts and chefs’ tables will also reinvent the notion of the eat-in kitchen and bring guests into the heart of the restaurant, the report predicts.

Along similar lines as Japanese teppanyaki grills where chefs act as showmen and prepare diners’ meals in front of them, guests will be pulling up chairs to kitchen counters and watching the kitchen alchemy take shape.

The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare is given as one example, which this year earned top honors from the Michelin New York guide to earn three stars. Seating at this intimate affair is limited to 18 and a meal consists of up to 20 small plates.

And when it comes to portion sizes, James Beard trendwatchers forecast that fine dining portions will continue to shrink in inverse proportion to the fast food world which continues to super-size itself.

Think one-bite amuse bouches, the report says.

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