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Culinary soothsayers had predicted that this year's top food trends would include miniature whoopie pies, potlucks and homemade beer. Now, they foresee sweet and savoury pies taking off in the near future - although, really, has pie ever gone out of style?

Pies, ranging from whisky-buttermilk to traditional banana cream, are expected to be the number one restaurant trend in 2011, the U.S. industry web site Nation's Restaurant News reports.

According to San Francisco-based restaurant and hotel marketing consultant Andrew Freeman, pie shops will rival the popularity of cupcake bakeries.

The principal of Andrew Freeman & Co. consulting firm also revealed his other top trend-predictions for 2011, including the "new mom and pop" self-financed restaurants built on shoestring budgets that are typically small and have extremely involved owners, and one-item restaurants similar to the current wave of gourmet burger joints, like a peanut butter restaurant or a "big biscuit" restaurant.

Multi-purpose spaces, fashioned after New York's Eataly, will have markets opening up within restaurants, and popsicles will be the new medium of experimentation, with inventive flavours like sugar-snap pea, Mr. Freeman says.

Perhaps his boldest forecast, however, is that chefs will abandon sauces in favour of "dirt," or rather crumbled, powdered and dried ingredients to flavour dishes, like chef René Redzepi is known to do at Copenhagen's Noma restaurant. In the capable hands of Mr. Redzepi, anything called "dirt" is likely to taste amazing, but attempts to replicate it might be risky.

What are your food trend predictions for 2011?