It’s no secret that food trends come and go depending on the seasons, the availability of certain food groups and the imagination of new chefs.
Quinoa and kale were the superfoods last year: for the majority of us, this comprised learning how to pronounce the word quinoa (gratitude is given to the television advert that educated us).
But this year it seems that it is not just food that will be the attraction, it is also the way we order and eat. A huge trend at the moment is letting guests order food and drink from their tables or beforehand using their smart appliances: tablets or phones. You order a meal, go to the restaurant and there it is waiting for you. The benefit to the restaurant is less downtime.
Even more innovative is location-based technology or face-recognition software, which can tell a waiter exactly where you’re standing. This involves science such as wearables like Google Glass. With face-recognition software, a server can know them names of everyone at a table. A good thing? Maybe not if you genuinely don’t want to be recognised.
Let’s get back to real food trends: apparently, oysters are hot this year. From being the food of luxury, oysters are now significantly cheaper, thanks to bays, inlets and tidal basins being detoxed so oyster farmers are reseeding old oyster beds and discovering new ones.
I think we are now all tired of kale, but worry not, root vegetables are up and coming. Celery root, parsnips and kohlrabi (German turnip) are being put on the menu in various forms: fried, mashed, pureed, or even gratined!
And seaweed is becoming more popular, not the Chinese version from the local takeaway I hasten to add, but as a food group it is being seen particularly in America as a packaged snack.
My particular favourite, purely because I genuinely cannot see how it will catch on is vegetable yogurt, with flavours including butternut squash, beet, carrot, and tomato, garlic dip; and cucumber, olive oil and mint leaves.
Keep your eyes open for clean eating, food made with ingredients that are free of additives, antibiotics, and other artificial components.
“The trend is towards food and beverages that are considered wholesome and real,” says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant analyst for market research firm The NPD Group. This concept also includes adding authentic foods, such as ethnic, regional, and local ingredients.
The Return of Bread
Finally, it’s good news for bread. The gluten-free campaign has been hugely successful and popular, with bread the major food item to suffer from the trend. However, it appears that bread is about to get a big revival as authentic, ancient grain-containing loaves are suddenly in style again. Bread comes in many shapes and forms: artisan toasts, bagels and babka (sweet yeast cakey thing), and gourmet pizzas and flatbreads and these have also given the bread renaissance a boost.
Regardless of the food trends the secret to good cooking is a good oven. Here at AC Services (Southern) we encourage everyone who owns a Rational oven to get it regular serviced and maintained so that whatever the trend, you can produce contemporary food for all.