We have seen a lot of new products in the market to enhance taste and giving us the options for global ingredients and experience. Here are a few food trends for you to develop menu.
Alternative Pasta - Whilst India just started accepting the transition of shifting from hakka noodles to spaghetti, the next thing on the menus is Vegetable Spaghetti. Healthy vegetables like zucchini, carrot and even edamame are being used to make a nice colourful spaghetti bowl which is healthy and can be seasoned with the same sauces or condiments.
Artisanal Butchery - As some chefs are exploring vegetables to make spaghetti, there are a set of chefs glorifying meat from nose-to- tail and developing their artisanal ways of using the newfangled cuts of meat either in artisanal cooking, or for charcuterie. The trend of cheaper and supreme cuts has faded away making way for the whole carcass being used to the advantage.
Authentic Ethnic Cuisine - Chefs and millennial consumers today are hunting down authentic ethnic dishes from different regions, like Gyozas from Japan, Baos from China or a Khasta Kachoris on the restaurant menus which are not only printed but hot-selling.
Buddha Bowls - These bowls are a melting pot of flavours and textures, with a mix of noodles or rice, stir fries, crunchy vegetables and crispy nuts. Individual meals are phasing out now, with wholesome meals smartly walking in with healthier options from Don Bouri to Buddha Bowls.
Charcoal - Charcoal is not only being used as a cooking method but also as a cooking ingredient to make charcoal spaghetti to charcoal buns and even ice-creams. There are a world of possibilities and one just needs to innovate with the play of ingredients.
Coconut - Coconut and more coconut are emerging to be the next rave, with an array of derivatives from it like edible charcoal, organic coconut oil, coconut ghee, coconut milk, coconut sugar to even coconut flour. One of the biggest reason which brings about the demand is because of the gaining popularity of Asian food comprising of Indian, Far Eastern and even Philipino food.
Creative House-Made Condiments - Wastes have now been recycled to make chutneys and pickles and is very much part of the dining table. Simple coriander roots are used to make stocks for soups and chutneys, cauliflower and broccoli trimmings in kebabs, and not sure if many people knew this- the dry chutney served with a vada pav is actually the besan crumbs, garlic and red chillies blended together.
Healthy Chips - A plethora of choices are available in chips, ranging from kale to root vegetable to plantain, and not deep fried but baked or dehydrated. These chips have the same texture and flavours, yet healthy and can be eaten in any amount without being guilty. As Indians, we are so used to crunch with our dal chawal, that we relish a nicely fried papad or chips and then feel guilty. Here is a better option for the millennials.
Home-Based Chefs - (Wooh! Now this is a big one!) Traditionally, chefs were what got certified and worked in plush hotels and were assumed to be doing some magic in those kitchens. However, looking at the work culture today, homes have become offices and people are earning their bread, being at home. Very often, we read and see articles on the way women should be empowered rather than being suppressed in household chores, but we don't see how so many men and women are cooking homely meals and supplying to the big corporate parks in the cities. Homechefs today have their competence in food and presentation, they can easily hire a food stylist and photographer. These pictures can go on social media platforms and create a brand for themselves. Similarly, the “unorganized food and delivery market” can gradually be organized by professionals doing cooking classes, pop up restaurants to actually being MasterChef India winners. Opportunities are many, just the execution should be Right.
Street-Food Inspired Dishes - Local food going global has now formulated a new term in the dictionary called “Glocal” in which local tastes were innovated to the suit the palates of the people. From generation where we enjoyed hot samosas on the street, now is the time for deconstructed samosas, vada paos have become Vada Baos and Pav bhaji has been gone on a fondue pot. Whilst doing this, one has to keep in mind that street food is all about a great taste and the right texture.
Paleo Diet - As the name suggests, the diet has revived from the ancient eating patterns of our ancestors or rather early humans. Paleo diet is a new fad or a movement which excludes dairy products like the vegans but does allow to consume lean meats and seafood. The whole idea is to promote grass fed meats and wholesome foods. This is a great diet for people suffering from diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
Marbling Desserts - Super beautiful confectionary, hand crafted to look like smooth designs are pretty much irresistible and hard to be ignored. Fine pastry chefs are not only looking at the taste, but also their finish to make them look photogenic as well as delightful. Artisan chefs are also learning filigree to apply in the science of food, just proving the irony of the statement made by Chef Edward Lee - “Dessert is a feel good song, and the best ones should make you dance”.
By Chef Ajay Chopra