A year for gastronomes

WHAT'S ON YOUR PLATE? Good health  

Last year may have been the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar, but in the Indian context, it was surely the Year of Food. Food has always been a dominant part of the Indian consciousness, but the rise of social media led to everyone and their mother Instagramming their meals, reviewing the restaurants they ate at and blogging about the meals they cooked.

A lot of food trends popped up in the past year and some of them are bound to continue this. Desserts were hot in 2014, with patisseries sprouting up at every street corner. While New York and Dominique Ansel moved on from cupcakes to cronuts to chocolate chip cookie shots, cupcakes became a fixture at Indian social gatherings, with people trying out new flavours, including coconut and paan. At the opposite end of the sweet craze was the burgeoning interest in healthy food, with people learning how to pronounce quinoa and kale and looking for them in their neighborhood department stores. The humble gobi took some of the sheen off its foreign cousin, broccoli, as cauliflower found its way into steaks and casseroles as a potato substitute. Wine grew to be an integral part of the fine-dining experience, as people developed an interest in understanding food-wine pairings.

Healthy eating is a food trend most predict will continue into the New Year. Says Nandita Iyer of popular food blog Saffron Trails, “2014 saw the use of a lot of traditional grains such as millets, due to them being nutritious and gluten-free, along with micro-greens, cold-pressed juices, herbal teas and air-fryer cooking, all healthy eating trends that I’m sure will carry on in 2015.”

Chefs believe that a focus on local cuisines and ingredients will be a hallmark of 2015. Says Manu Chandra, Executive Chef, Olive Beach, Bangalore and Executive Chef and Partner Monkey Bar and The Fatty Bao, “I would like to inculcate within my brands a strong foundation of embracing biodiversity and a focus on locally sourced ingredients. I strongly feel that it is the direction restaurants should actively pursue. Innovation is what sets them apart, so an overwhelming reliance on materials sourced from far away isn't the smartest move, it does come with several caveats and limitations.”

Iyer agrees. “I did love that a lot of native Indian ingredients and produce was getting more attention by food magazines, chefs etc. I try and do the same, preparing global dishes I love using easily available local ingredients.”

Immersion in the food experience is a trend many believe will take off in 2015. Says restaurant blogger Ruth DSouza Prabhu, “It is no longer about just trying a new restaurant, but rather experiencing food in what is perhaps an original/close to original setting. Food walks are gaining traction and I think they will really take off in 2015. Thanks to social media, lovers of food are getting together in smaller groups for an experience – from a Kashmiri Wazwan to an Andhra seafood special, a lot of experiences are being curated for groups. This trend is paves the way for customized menus in restaurants.”

Gastropubs and microbreweries will probably continue in Bangalore’s food sphere, but Asian food has also seen a surprising rise in popularity.

Says Chandra, “Contemporary Indian is big, but Asian food is seeing a bit of a renaissance too, and the ubiquitous Chindian (Chinese cuisine with an Indian twist) restaurants are being fast replaced by specialized products that focus on particular regions or cuisines. With products like Tian, The Fatty Bao and Mamagoto, one also sees a spin being added to the Asian space.”

Foodies have a wishlist too “I would like to see restaurants do something innovative with children’s menus,” opines Ruth. “A large number of restaurant goers in the city are families and it would be nice to have something apart from mac n cheese for kids. A sushi train would also be great experience to have in the city. Pop-ups by popular restaurants from other cities would be great too.

Seems like 2015 will be a cracker of a year for foodies.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:38:30 AM |

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