Momofuku empire builder David Chang thinks a lot about what we eat, how we eat, and what and how we might eat in the future. After being prompted by GQ, Chang brought together what he considers to be three of the most innotive chefs in America to discuss the present and future of food. The panelists were none other than Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen, Superiority Burger founder Brooks Headley, and Jessica Koslow of Sqirl in L.A.

The whole roundtable is most definitely worth a read. But if you want a snapshot of the topics discussed, we’ve highlight the five most compelling predictions from the “Future of Food” panel below.

1. Middle Eastern food will be the next big thing.

“What everyone is looking for right now is freshness, lightness,” says Koslow. “I think right now [the food movement is] meze. Israeli, Mediterranean food. Those familiar flavors: roasted vegetables, lots of lemon and garlic.”

2. Protein will be looked at as a flavoring agent and a side.

Chang explains, “That’s how eating is around the world: Protein is the flavoring agent for a vegetable. I used to think that Ferran Adrià was the most important chef ever. Now I think it’s Alain Passard [of Paris’s L’Arpège]. He’s had such an impact on how food is vegetable-focused. I mean, people eat kale. That’s the most insane shit…”

3. Water and crops will become scarce.

“In ten years, you’ll have to reserve your water for the year,” cautions Brooks Headley. “With so much of our produce coming from California, the types of products we use have to be ones that can scale and are drought-conscious. We’re already feeling it. Apple crops are three weeks shorter,” says Koslow.

4. New York will no longer be considered one of America’s great food towns.

Koslow explains, “L.A. is good right now. The thing about L.A. is, it’s a challenge to open a restaurant, dealing with building codes and bureaucracy, but if you’re hungry enough there’s more opportunity to find spots at a price per square foot where you can take a risk.”

5. Food media won’t die down anytime soon.

“I think it’s only the beginning,” says Chang. Buckle your seat belt.

[via GQ]