We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

Food Trends of 2024 and Their Connection With the Film ‘Ratatouille’

How did the movie, ‘Ratatouille,’ predict food trends in 2024?
Ratatouille is the most significant dish in the movie ‘Ratatouille,’ representing the culinary aspirations of the main character, Remy. (Photo Credit: Amirali Mirhashemian / Unsplash)

Brad Bird’s Ratatouille stands out as one of the most profound, thought-provoking films of the 21st century thus far. Being the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture in 2008, the movie’s outstanding cinematic value should be of no surprise. In 2024, we find ourselves caught in a food trend deeply influenced by the themes and ideas that were presented in Ratatouille.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Disney (@disneyfr)

Disney’s Ratatouille is a movie that celebrates the joy of food. Our protagonist, Remy, the rat who cooks, is always on the lookout for quality cuisine. Coming from a colony of rats, Remy is alone in his pursuit. While his brother Emile is digging through a garbage can, Remy is plucking wild mushrooms and rosemary. Good food is so important to him that he is willing to risk his life. Whether it is lightning bolts or bullets, he’s ready to face the highest dangers to spice his food just right.

In the early scenes of Ratatouille, on a scavenging mission with his brother, Remy finds a small piece of mushroom and cheese. He combines them with some herbs and attempts to smoke them on a spit over an old woman’s chimney, only to be struck by lightning, causing them to be shot off the roof, and his mushroom to puff up like popcorn. The result, he says, is an “mmmm ZAP” of flavor, a “lightning-y” tang that he is desperate to recreate – until he is attacked by the old woman with a gun disguised as an umbrella.

Here is a mushroom being cooked on a grill, resembling the mushroom that has been cooked by lightning in Ratatouille. (Photo Credit: Getty Images / Unsplash)

Surprisingly, the puffy mushrooms from Ratatouille have been one of the ingredients that has gained popularity today. As the market for fake meats appears to be plateauing, the demand for natural alternatives has increased significantly. One of the most famous ones is mushrooms – especially king oyster mushrooms. The thick stem and meaty texture of this particular fungi greatly appeal to chefs, who are using it to create everything from mushroom ‘scallops’ to panko-crusted rings of ‘calamari.’ Critics expect to see more diversity in mushroom meals this year.

One of the scenes engraved in my brain is the scene when Remy eats a big red strawberry and a small piece of cheese. He closes his eyes and chews the cheese slowly, tasting the salty but sweet nuttiness. As he slowly enjoys the wonderful taste, yellow circles of light appear in Remy’s mind, filling the screen in circular motions. He did the same with the strawberry, tasting the sweet, crispy, and slight tang on the finish. New colors started to appear in his mind; now the pink spirals that popped became lines that flowed with sparks surrounding the screen. These colorful shapes combine to create an explosion of flavors in his mouth, completely filling the black background full of beautiful colors.

This is a photo that imitates the scene from Ratatouille where Remy visualizes the taste of strawberries and cheese. (Photo Credit: Unsplash / Tangerine Newt)

The combination of the strawberry and cheese greatly reflects one of the biggest food trends of 2024 – mash-ups. According to the Kitchn, nearly half (48%) of home-cooks expressed their interest in trying new things. The easiest way you can start is by fusing two of your favorite meals, such as grilled cheese and tomato soup. 

There are more recipes you can make by yourself, for example, mac and cheese and hot dogs or banh mi pizza. Want a sweet dessert? How about some peanut butter banana bread or s’mores icebox cake? Be creative! Unleash your own version of Remy’s cuisine and double your enjoyment.

Experts from the Kitchn predict that this trend of mixing different foods together will lead to a broader trend in building a bridge between two different cultures, which also connects to our next trend. “People are being inspired by restaurant chefs who are pushing the boundaries with food fusions and global flavors,” says food writer Lizzy Briskin. “I think home chefs are becoming more adventurous, playful, and curious in the kitchen.”

Chef and writer Yana Gilbuena-Babu is excited to see more “cuisine mash-ups/crossovers,” and Arlyn Osborne, a chef, baker, and food writer, anticipates more “Asian American mash-ups.” Korean chicken tacos are an amazing example you can easily make at home to spice up your experience in the kitchen.

Another trend that can be traced back to Ratatouille is the celebration of diverse culinary voices. The film’s portrayal of Gusteau’s, a renowned Parisian restaurant, as a melting pot of cultures and cuisines reflects a broader shift towards embracing culinary diversity.

In 2024, we see a greater appreciation for authentic ethnic cuisines, as well as a growing interest in fusion cuisine that blends flavors from different parts of the world.

“This is America right now. It’s a melting pot,” said Andrew Freeman, founder of af&co and cofounder of Carbonate. “Instead of hanging on one cuisine, it is hanging on the experiences of the chefs and the teams.”

One of the examples of this is the rise in the popularity of Korean foods. Several sources, ranging from restaurant review sites to professional chef associations, have published survey outcomes that describe food consumption behaviors and documented the growth of Korean cuisine and other Asian foods for several years.

Here is a Korean meal with soup, rice, and banchan (a side dish). (Photo Credit: Daniel Lee / Unsplash)

The increased interest in this cuisine is attributed to younger consumers who follow Korean culture and the diverse range of foods and restaurants incorporating authentic flavors. Freeman says that this range covers “fast-food fried chicken, communal cook-it-yourself barbecue, hot-pots, high-end steakhouses, casual bakeries, and luxurious fine dining.”

Remy’s broad knowledge of flavor doesn’t end here. When we talk about Ratatouille’s most well-known dish, the white, creamy soup will always come to mind. Interestingly enough, the New York Times has predicted soup as the dish of the year. Soup is bone broth’s more interesting younger sibling, and the perfect vehicle for cross-cultural mash-ups, like menudo tonkotsu ramen. It’s also an easy way to dip into the rising popularity of food from Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia. 

For cooks, it’s a low-risk, forgiving way to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. Soup uses up vegetables that might otherwise get tossed. The Specialty Food Association’s trend spotters predict that more soup and soup starter mixes will be on grocery shelves. Soup is yet one more way to soothe ourselves. “Honestly,” said Jenny Zegler, Director of Mintel Food and Drink, “I wouldn’t be mad if 2024 was the year of soup.”

Last but not least, you can’t forget the main food from the movie – ratatouille. In the movie, ratatouille seems like a fancy meal that you would only see in luxurious restaurants. However, ratatouille is actually just a simple mixed vegetable stew, traditionally made with tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, and eggplant, originating from Provence, in the south of France. It was created in the city of Nice, and is a way to celebrate the harvest of late-summer vegetables in a budget-friendly dish. Linguini’s girlfriend and fellow chef Colette even called it a peasant dish. But why was such a significant moment in the movie to even become the title of the movie?

Unlike the scenes in which Remy is cooking in a kitchen — through his human avatar, Linguini, or by running up spoons and asking his rat brethren to skate across pans with butter shoes — the drive in this moment is his own thirst to experiment and create new, delicious flavors. There is no menu or pantry to pull from, just his excitement at the random ingredients he’s found and how they might taste.

It’s the type of cooking any passionate home cook aspires to — the ability to throw things together without a recipe, sensing the flavors without worrying you’re about to ruin all of your ingredients. Or knowing the risk, but taking it anyway, just to see what you can do. In 2024, the do-it-yourself (DIY) culinary culture will reach its new heights, fueled by social media platforms that empower individuals to become amateur chefs in their kitchens. Individuals can leverage this virality by adopting a self-made food corner in your restaurant, allowing your diners to re-create a specific dish, like the ratatouille, for example.

As much as its notoriety, Ratatouille has greatly influenced the food industry. So, why don’t you go ahead and cook these ‘trendy’ meals with your favorite rat?

In 2024, we find ourselves caught in a food trend deeply influenced by the themes and ideas that were presented in Ratatouille.

About the Contributor
Jinha Yoo, Staff Reporter
Jinha Yoo is a Staff Reporter for ‘The Science Survey.’ She utilizes the power of storytelling not only to inform people about the topics she deeply cares about but also to provoke interest and curiosity among readers. Jinha believes that the allure of journalistic photography lies in its ability to capture the raw, unfiltered moments of reality. She appreciates the beauty of photography as it freezes emotions, expressions, and events in time, conveying powerful stories without the need for words. Outside of school Jinha enjoys listening to music, coding, and taking photos. Jinha is also a part of Key Club and the Model UN team. In college, Jinha plans to pursue a career in the medical field.