Top chefs tell you what they think are the likely trends on the menu in the coming year.
Chefs all over the country are gearing up to woo the palates of discerning diners. Sous vide, detox, Vedic, molecular are the new words doing the rounds. While Mughlai, fusion, Teppanyaki, barbeque continue to be popular, offerings from tandoor are outright winners.
So here's how they are going to dazzle the culinary world this New Year.
Chef Glenn B. Eastman, Executive Chef, The Leela Palace, New Delhi
Diner's Choice: The focus will be on healthier, cleaner and greener food. This doesn't mean health food, it means eating healthier options: less fat, wheat, sugar and salt; more clean carbs, more fish and chicken. People will be less concerned with calories, more concerned with GI (glycemic index). Diners will go for food prepared with less chemical additives and steroid-free meats and poultry.
What's out: Fried stuff.
What's in: Interactive guest experiences where guests are involved in the selection of ingredients and their preparation.
New Year Resolution: I intend to be as authentic with my food as possible. Any dish I prepare has to be true to its ethnic, cultural and geographical origin. I also want to serve dishes as aesthetically as possible without filling the plate with meaningless decoration. The food should decorate itself and its preparation should accentuate its beauty.
Chef Saby at Olive, New Delhi
Diner's Choice: Natural and organic produce; also fresh products sourced directly from the producer. Recipes will be simple, back-to-basics with more importance to quality. In a nutshell, more respect will be given to ingredients before and while cooking.
What's out: Pretension. Chefs and kitchens will pay more attention to guest satisfaction. More customised dishes and food options.
What's in: Japanese, Spanish and French cuisine looks set to come back in big way. An emerging trend ‘ Japanese-inspired French' will make its mark. Spanish tapas and Japanese kobachi will also make a mark.
New Year Resolution: Serve the best and only the best to the customer. Honest food with passion and creativity. No unnecessary frills or shortcuts when it comes to cooking. No cheap stunts.
Chef Tarun Kapoor, Executive Chef, Metropolitan Hotel, New Delhi
Diner’s Choice: The diners want something new; they are willing to try new cuisines and dishes. Contemporary cuisines are gaining popularity.
What's out: Set menus with no charm or chef's creativity will be out.
What's in: Newer dishes and plate presentations are in. Pre-plated food with individual portions will be in.
New Year Resolution: Increase food value and use locally available ingredients to make international dishes.
Chef Nimish Bhatia,Regional Executive Chef-South and Master of Trade, The Lalit Ashok, Bengaluru
Diners' Choice: Contemporised Indian Food, pre plated, course meals. Lesser ingredients but with more individual flavours. In Indian food, more concentration on grills than curries, that too made in olive oil, trimmed meat fat and a lot of salad.
What's out: Preserved or canned food, use of transfat; additives and artificial flavours replaced by natural bases like mushrooms, mirepoix, roast garlic... Simpler and singular ingredients are in and complex is out
What's in: Minor or lesser known cuisines. Fresh food, traceable origin, champagne wishes, food-wine pairing, alcohol blurs between kitchen and bar
New Year Resolution: To create razzmatazz, tickle the palate and have oomph value.
Chef Michael Saju, Executive Sous Chef, Zuri Hotels
Diners' Choice: More fusion cuisine and simple and fresh food.
What's out: Rich dishes and unnatural/processed food. Elaborate themes which are not innovative.
What's in: Organic food; more authentic, regional cuisine.
New Year Resolution: Eat healthy.
Deepak Mishra, Executive Chef, Swissotel Kolkata
Diner’s Choice: Food with fresh/local produce. The highlight will be a comparatively simpler composition of flavour.
What's Out: Heavy dishes, stew, braised dishes.
What's In: Extensive use of good olive oil and slow cooking/Sous vide cooking.
New Year Resolution: Try modern dishes and enjoy the flavour match. Think “out of the box” and be experimental with new cuisine.
Sharmila Chand is a Delhi-based lifestyle and travel writer.