A forecast for 2015

The beginning of a new year is always an interesting time. The months ahead hold endless possibilities and as a chef and restaurateur it’s exciting to predict what the trends will be in the realm of dining, restaurants, ingredients, cooking techniques – indeed, the very way in which we approach food and drink. Truffle Oil Centred Ravioli at Caperberry The restaurant business: My reading is that the F&B business is all set to see a further surge, with growth in all segments, from cafes and bistros to speciality restaurants, quick service outlets and microbreweries. The number of restaurants and bars will go up by atleast 15% to 20%. This sort of growth and a crowded space means chefs and restaurateurs will also be under pressure to create new concepts and innovate to stand out from the clutter. You can also expect more restaurants failing and closing down. It is a great time in India to be in the F&B business as the opportunities and growth potential are big. However one has to be careful because of increasing leasing and manpower costs and lack of trained manpower. Peru Cuisines & Ingredients: Aspects of Latin American, particularly Peruvian cuisine and unique ingredients from the Andean mountains and Amazon basin have been making their impact felt everywhere.  One of the original fusion cuisines, Peruvian has absorbed Spanish, African and Chinese and Japanese influences allowing chefs to draw inspiration from it now. Amaranth Grain Think ingredients like Quinoa, Amaranth, Tarwi beans, Purple corn, Oca (tuber) Yuca(Cassava), Aguaje (palm fruit), Cocona (Amazon tomatoes), Sweet Pepino Cactus fruit and many kinds of potatoes (apparently there are 3800 varieties found in Peru). Styles of dishes such as Causa Limeña, Ceviche, Tiradito, Taamales and Pachamanca (earthen oven) are also going to gain in popularity. Peruvian Potato Closer home, I believe regional Indian cuisines are going to become more popular, in a marked departure from the ubiquitous ‘North Indian’ that restaurants have typically served until now. Modern takes on classics from, say, Kerala, of the sort we showcase at Saha, Singapore, will also set the trend. As importing food gets more cumbersome and expensive, chefs now have a compulsion to work with fresh, local and seasonal produce. So, dishes that celebrate local ingredients are likely to make it to the menus this year. On the international restaurant circuit, trend-spotters believe bitter elements will find their way into food. So,  chocolate, cocoa and coffee are going to appear on savoury plates. Turkish coffee Style & Technique: Innovations will continue. I, for one, try to achieve this through understanding new international trends, using new cooking techniques and innovative menu and food presentation. With increasing availability of micro-greens and edible flowers, food presentations will see an increase use of these ingredients. At Fava, for instance, we’re already using homegrown micro-greens that are tossed into salads at the table. Smoking is another technique set to enjoy popularity. Live Micro Green Salad The bar: I see a definite spike in the number of wine drinkers, with more young people turning to it. Microbreweries will continue to keep their current popularity, especially in cities like Bangalore.  As for cocktails, again bold, bitter flavours are going to be in with bartenders experimenting more and more with bitters that go beyond angostura. Health-conscious drinkers are going to be demanding more natural cocktails that use fruit, plant and vegetable juices and extracts. Image Courtsey Mens Health So, let’s say cheers to that and here’s wishing

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