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Culinary trends for 2012

Food trends in 2012 will witness the return of classic and traditional dishes, along with a definite focus on healthy food.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2012 01:44 IST
Shara Ashraf

While 2011 was a year of gastronomic adventure, 2012 will see minimalism and simplicity become trendy. Heirloom food that serves you a hefty dollop of nostalgia will be popular.

We will see chefs shun commercial recipes and explore home- cooked food. Health will remain a prime concern, as people will battle out the bulges. Natural alternatives to flavouring agents, and least processed food will be sought after; and portions will be cut down.

FoodHere’s what’s going to rule the culinary sphere this year

Asian ingredients
Ingredients such as Thai spices, tamarind and yuzu (a citrus Asian fruit) will gain popularity globally. Asian cuisine will also have a worldwide popularity. Korean dishes such as bulgogi and bibimbap will increasingly feature on restaurant menus.

The fragrant flavours of Thai and Vietnamese food will also get a thumbs-up from international chefs, who will leverage the cuisine to fine dining. And, we will see more international eateries adopt Indian cuisine in its haute mode.

Artisan bakeries
There will be a large number of artisan bakeries. The demand for quality boulangeries will make it a big trend. No-frills desserts will become trendy, as we will move from chocolate wrapped and nuts studded stuff to plain pastries.

“Simple, uncomplicated desserts, such as carrot cake or banana pie, will make a comeback. The focus will remain on low-fat and sugar-free desserts. A lot more fresh and unprocessed products will be used,” says chef Mayank Tiwari, Mobius.

High-tech eateries
We will see a growing number of restaurants going high-tech, with electronic tables. (We already have waiters armed with iPads to take your orders at some city eateries, such as Setz at Emporio, Vasant Kunj).

Electronic tables will allow you to check out menus, play games, doodle, change table cloths virtually, make payment and even order a taxi back home. There’s an eatery called Touche (pronounced ‘too shay’) in Bengaluru that has electronic tables, and the concept will hit the Capital soon.

Local food
The 50 mile concept will gain popularity. Chefs will increasingly use locally sourced food that will help bring down carbon footprint, boost local economy and cut down on food miles. National Restaurant Association’s annual chef survey reveals that chefs will seek locally sourced meats, seafood and even locally produced wine and beer.

Many city chefs are already sourcing ingredients locally chef Saby, Olive Bar & Kitchen, gets fish from Gujarat, mushrooms from North East; chef Fernandes uses organic herbs and lettuce that come from the hills twice every week, and fish from Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Delis & cafés
We will see a growing number of restaurants moving into the café and deli setup. Restaurants will increasingly start making their own off-the-shelf products like jams, jellies, marinades, and spice rubs. (Diva, for instance already expanded with a café format recently, and Mobius is soon launching a deli where it will retail sauces, desserts and meat products).

“Restaurants will also collaborate with individual growers, and organic farms to source products such as honey, spices and fruits, which will be sold off the counters,” says chef Gresham Fernandes of Smoke House Room.

Healthy vending
Candy, ice cream and soda vending machines will be replaced by machines that would pop out healthy options. “With the growing number of obese people, it’s a trend that’s catching up abroad as countries are focusing on healthy and nutritious eating.

The concept would soon reach India,” says chef Mahinder Kharia, Kothi Mem. So, you will get to munch on fruit snacks and yogurt smoothies rather than fries and colas when you go shopping to a mall.

Less is more
Portions will get smaller as people will look for affordable indulgences. Mini bites and tapas-ish food will be more popular. The 30-course meals and highly priced wines will give way to smaller plates and value for money wines.

“Customers now want to eat less and spend less. The trend will be fun food, sharing and experiencing with a meal, while having conversation. We will see smaller versions of local food,” says chef Willy Hauter, The Imperial. Foodies will walk away feeling elevated with a lighter meal; not stuffed and tired as with over loaded commercial meals that come in structured and traditional ways.

What’s going to be hot in 2012

Chefalainpassard, L'Arpège, Paris
“More people will adopt vegetarianism. Chefs will be more imaginative and will see more vegetarian dishes being showcased in restaurant menus.”

Chefhemantoberoi, Taj Group
“Asia, including India, will strongly influence the world culinary culture. The diversity of Indian flavours, and spices, will woo foodies worldwide.”

Chefritubhatia, Diva
“Most big restaurant chains will rope in chefs to helm their ventures, and handle the business aspect of food ventures, making them chef-driven.”

Chefwillyhauter, The Imperial
“As plates will get smaller worldwide, and people will look for experience more than quantity, chefs will also come up with mini version of local food.”