Okay, since we can remember, health food’s been predicted as the mantra each new year, but it had a hard time making place on our plates midst meals with cheese, dollops of ghee, and desserts with grand helpings of cream. But to be fair, it has over the years, managed to make some space. It only gets bigger this year.
Chef Mitesh Rangras of Lemon Grass says we will start gravitating towards single-origin, preservative and chemical-free foods. “It may be more expensive but we’ll have more takers. A case in point is the five-ingredient ice cream range that Häagen-Dazs’ came up with in 2013. We may start going back to food the way it was supposed to be made without stabilisers, emulsifiers and preservatives.” He feels organic is definitely the way 2014 will move. Chef Pai thinks so too. “Locally grown ingredients, organic fruits and vegetables, amaranth, quinoa, black rice, coconut and truffle oil will be the ‘hero’ ingredients this year.” Gluten-free foods will also get more space on the shelves,” feels chef Pai.
In fact desserts get healthier too. “More fruit base ones are likely to be in vogue,” says chef Palav.
Sudhir Pai, Executive Chef, Holiday Inn, votes for Japanese cuisine, Pan Indian cuisine and Asian street fare in the New Year. D’Bell’s chef Vikrant Palav also joins him, predicting more of pan Asian restaurants this year along with Indian and Italian cuisines. Chef Vinod Garde of Aoi tells us to expect more of local ingredient-bred international cuisines like Japanese and Spanish. “And joining them will be Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese and Thai cuisines in their basic avatars that are essentially healthy.”
The last year we saw some chefs experimenting with the idea of smoking foods with tea, but these were few and far between. This year, chef Pai says, will see more experiments with tea flavours in food. “Aji Amarillo, a hot Peruvian yellow chilli with bold, fruity flavour will also make its debut,” he adds.
Though molecular gastronomy didn’t catch fancy of the patrons at Indian restaurants, seeing it being done on TV shows, foodies, especially food bloggers, are trying it in their home kitchens and impressing their guests. And perhaps, this will also cause its revival at restaurants. “Su vide technique and various cooking styles from molecular gastronomy like spherification, powders, dehydrating will be seen more,” says chef Pai.
Conversely, we also expect simplicity. Chef Palav sees more chefs adapting an innovative approach towards preparation of traditional foods to make it simpler and add freshness to it. “Steaming and wok will gain more prominence,” he tells us.
Chef Rangras says that one trend he strongly feels should come to India is food trucks. “It’s great quality food, on the go, which is brilliant as the owner can experiment and serve food that they would like to serve rather than get swayed by the commercials of it all. I hope someday the umpteen laws restricting food places can let this trend come to India.”
Green’s on everyone’s mind. Chef Palav predicts that the trend of turning vegetarian will accelerate in 2014. “Hence, we will be seeing a lot vegetables, salads and starters being served in restaurants,” he says. And chefs Pai and Garde more than agree with him. Microgreens, celeriac, fennel will be found on more grocery lists this year, says chef Pai.
No, these aren’t your fast food combos the chefs are talking about. It’s mixing and matching two dishes or even cuisines. Chefs predict fusion of two cuisines. “Expect new age dishes influenced by more than one cuisine.” These will be dishes that retain the authentic flavours and form of a global society, says chef Pai.
Chef Rangras puts his money on “fusing or combining foods”. He says we’ll have more fusions like the cronut. “Be prepared to try things like Thai spiced popcorn, sriracha flavoured candy, red velvet latte and bacon donuts,” he says.