The culinary sphere has never been so exciting before. And thanks to globalisation, new ingredients, superfoods, dishes, cooking techniques and cuisines, etc, are taking the world by storm every now and then. The world over, chefs are constantly pushing the envelope and taking food to new heights. After Hrs asked well-known chefs to share their insights as to what trends they have observed this year, so far…
Cultural Identities Have Been Established Through Cuisine
“This was the year of the grain, for a couple of reasons. One being, gluten-intolerance was not just a fad. Indians realised that even after eating so much of wheat, we can be gluten-intolerant and started looking for alternatives. The grain movement started with people incorporating quinoa in their diet. And in a way, it also prompted us to look at our own homegrown stuff such as ragi and amaranth. It awakened us to the fact that we are also very rich in grains and we don’t have to depend on South America for nutrition. The world, and our nation, has looked beyond wheat and rice in 2018. That, for me, is really significant. The other big trend is that we have established cultural identity through food. You don’t see political identities anymore. It’s no longer Maharashtrian cuisine — there’s Konkani, Malvani, Kolhapuri, etc. The evolution of chefs continued in 2018. They had become larger than life earlier but now you can see the more human side to them — traveller, adventurous and passionate. People want to know where they get their inspiration from,” opines Chef Ranveer Brar, anchor and host, The Station Master’s Tiffin, Living Foodz.
Israeli, Yemeni, Jewish And Traditional Indian Cuisines Find Favour
“Overall, sensible and responsible eating is the trend. People are worried about the quality of food, be it Indian or other international cuisines. The quantum of plant-based stuff and protein quotient has gone up. Also, more people are turning vegetarian as well as vegan and consuming less meat. Dishes using ancient grains, like buckwheat and a variety of millets, have become more popular. Besides shopping often at various farmer’s markets in the city on Sundays, people are also interested in urban farming; they want artisanal, customised food and eat clean. Newer varieties of cuisines like Israeli, Yemeni, Jewish and the food of the hinterland are finding favour,” says Chef Vicky Ratnani, Culinary Director, Hello Green & GPIL.
Activated Charcoal Finds Its Way Into Baos, Dimsums, Burgers And Sliders
“Moringa gained popularity this year and has also proved to be a rich source of minerals, amino acids and vitamins. Avocado toast has been featured on our menu at Luna and has been our signature dish this year. Activated Charcoal has found its place on our menus and has been featured in baos, dimsums, burgers and sliders,” states Chef Paul Kinny, director of culinary, The St Regis Mumbai.
Dishes That Are Social Media-Friendly And Evoke A Sense Of Drama Gain Popularity
Few of the food trends were big on raw fish, protein-based nosh for fitness reasons, one-bowl meals, nut butter, fermentation, pickling, seasonal and vegetable-centric dishes and zero-waste cooking. Indian local cuisine, in particular, has become popular with lots of millet-based dishes. “Platters need to be social media-friendly and this might be one of the reasons people are looking for great-looking ones that evoke a sense of drama in their presentation,” Chef Prashanth, Executive Chef, The Fatty Bao says.
Vegans Are The New Consumer Segment
“Healthy eating has been at the forefront for the last couple of years and it did influence the trends this year, too. There was a lot of talk about superfoods, healthy powders like matcha and flaxseed. Regional cuisines were also popular. Quinoa and matcha have had a fair share of the limelight in the superfood domain. The new entrants are plant seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.) and wild berries (Himalayan seabuckthorn, Goji berries). Regional, deep-rooted, unexplored was given its due importance and it was appreciated by both chefs and customers. The consumer is always looking for something new, whether it’s a cuisine, a novel take on an already featured one or an ingredient. That is what has driven the F&B industry for some years now. Another trend, is that more and more people are turning towards vegetarianism and veganism. This has given birth to a newer segment of consumers to satisfy,” says chef Anshuman Bali, executive chef, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar.