Amber Dias gears up for new food experiences and culinary treats that promise to rock 2023!
It might be detox time, but our love affair with food isn’t going anywhere. And the New Year brings with it so many opportunities to try new foods, cuisines, cooking techniques and dining experiences. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what chefs and food business experts are forecasting will be talk of the menu this year.
Food On Trend
There’s a lot of buzz about different food trends making the rounds. And with so much innovation and so many influences driving the food business, it’s to be expected. Here are some of the hottest eats forecasted to tempt every taste bud.
Increased focus on sustainability
As Celebrity Chef Oliver Jackson told an online portal: “2023 will have a real focus on zero food waste and sustainability in the hospitality sector, especially in the UAE. A big focus on domestic produce, reducing carbon footprint, UAE agricultural structures, fresher and more informative supply chains.” Chef Jamie Oliver, a long-time advocate of sustainability in the food business, encourages eco-eating with recipes that help reduce food wastage and has been inspiring chefs across the board to do the same.
The taste of purple
Ube, a purple yam that originates in the Philippines, is set to add bold hues to plates globally. Vanilla-esque in flavour, it finds its way into sweet and savoury dishes, lending them a distinct natural hue – purple cupcakes, anyone? Chips, fries, other sides or even just boiled and salted, this root is poised to be a hit in gastropubs too.
Swicy & swalty
Bold flavour combinations are always a hit and combinations of sweet ‘n’ spicy and sweet ‘n’ salty are set to be all the rage! Chilli dark chocolate, hot honey chicken, spicy baked goodies, the always popular salted caramel, and sweet and salty popcorn are but a few examples of two flavour profiles that will dominate menus and food products. Celebrity Chef Carla Hall knows all about this and has an array of sweet ‘n’ spicy recipes in her arsenal, including how to add habeneros to iced tea to bring out the flavours
With home chefs staking their space in the food realm, the focus has shifted to meat cuts that have been ignored for a while now. Beef shin, ox cheek and lamb neck are a few that come to mind. And if the experts are to be believed, it is not just home kitchens that will be dusting off old recipes.
Comfort food rules
In an interview, Chef Anastasia Koutsioukis said that, “We’ll see a major pendulum swing towards intimate, unpretentious dining experiences. Expensive, over-designed, mega-brand restaurants will take a backseat to a genuine hospitality approach. People are more nostalgic for authentic experiences and timeless design. We’ll also see a shift towards uncomplicated food and classic dishes.”
The queen of comfort food, Nigella Lawson, stands by this – though she will be the first to claim that all food is comfort food. “I feel that so much of what seems like the ideal food depends on our mood. Whether they’re gentle flavors or bold flavors, they’re flavors that absolutely absorb my attention while I eat. Food connects us to everything else in the world, so it’s not in isolation, but rather a moment of calm and appreciation and gratitude, and that, for me, is as well as I ever need to eat,” she told a publication.
These are but a few trends you can sink your teeth into this year. You can try ‘em all or pick the ones that speak to you. Whichever way you decide to go, know that you’re in for a delicious culinary experience. Bon appétit!
To trend or not to trend
While talking about food trends, it’s important to take note that not everyone is on the same page. Where once it was only the top-ranking chefs of the most respected restaurants that set the trends, today, influences come from so many different places – social media, food businesses and health awareness to name a few. And that leaves the door open to so many more opinions and ideas, albeit most world-renowned chefs lean away from commenting on “food trends” or shut them down à la globally renowned Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey. But there are also those who embrace them, have fun with them, and plate up something spectacular!
World class Celebrity Chef Gary Mehigan explains it quite nicely. “I think 10 years ago, chefs were setting food trends. I think now because the social media food trends are being set by millions of people around the world, you know? So when people ask what are the food trends? I say, jump on social media, and you’ll get a much better answer than I will give because it’s there for everybody to see. From a cook’s perspective or a chef’s perspective, regardless of the trend, sometimes it’s healthier not to be tied up in what everybody else is doing and actually cook what you love. So, you know, you may be setting a new trend, let’s put it that way.”
This certainly gives us plenty to chew on, but the lesson is that there’s always going to be someone setting trends, but it is up to us to choose what we treat our taste buds to.
Dining trends ruling the table
- Private dining clubs: One of the dining trends highlighted by ‘Forbes’ is the surge of member-only dining clubs where membership comes with a hefty monthly price tag.
- Pickup over delivery: With delivery fees on the rise and inflationary fears weighing heavy, people across the globe will be leaning further into picking up their food orders on their own.
- Family-style dining: Chef Emmett Burke told a publication that dining styles will gravitate toward shared plates and larger dishes as people crave shared experiences.
- Going solo: Dining at a restaurant solo is no longer something done out of necessity but choice, what with diners choosing to savour full sensory indulgences that can’t be achieved with someone else at the table.
- At the table: A return to tableside experiences is definitely on the menu according to Chef Tyson Peterson. “Diners are intrigued by ‘experiences,’ such as a chef entering the dining room and cooking wagyu tableside on a sizzling stone,” he told an online portal.
- Mocktails and low alcohol drinks: Not new by any means, but all signs point to people leaning away from high spirited beverages, especially when dining out.
- Dirty sodas: #dirtysodas became quite the trend on TikTok and by all reports, mixing sodas and cream is set to be a staple this year too.
- Dressy ice cubes: It’s all in the ice. Fun shapes, frozen fruit, frozen fruit tea, and colour-changing cubes are the way to jazz up your beverages this year.
- Savoury ‘n’ spicy: Drinks with hot, salty and punchy flavour profiles will be the toast of the town.
- Coffee cocktails: Hot or cold brews as the base of cocktails or mocktails aren’t just a coffee lover’s dream, but the drink of choice.