Culinary Trend Report 2015


By Ritwika Gupta

Satiating the palate with some delectable food is what many a people live for! The world is a food paradise and every season, we look forward to new dishes that could tingle our taste buds! India is a volatile market and the way we bring food to our plates is constantly evolving every year. Thanks to rapid globalization, we are now aware of new food ideas and our expectations are higher than ever before. Chefs have a daunting task of keeping up with customers? changing tastes and today?s top culinary leaders gave me a lowdown on the food trends and cuisines that will gain momentum in 2015.

Local Sourcing of Ingredients & Quality, Organic Food

With an increasing demand for healthier and a variety of food options, the rules of how food is being sourced and marketed in the menus are changing.

?In 2015, organic brown rice, multi-grain roti, laccha paratha and healthy items are on the rise. We are sourcing a lot of local ingredients. We have started growing our own vegetables in local farms and use them in the dishes. Similarly for meat, instead of using imported lamb chops, we will be using everything that is available in India,? says Four Seasons Hotel head chef - Indian cuisine Vikram Arora.

Elaborating on local sourcing of ingredients, Four Seasons Hotel executive sous chef Anshuman Bali informs, ?Chefs nowadays are foraging; we are looking for locally available organic ingredients. More and more people are asking for organic dishes and menus are being planned according to that. Organic food is a trend to look out for in 2015.?

Quality ingredients are also gaining popularity fast alongside healthy food recipes this year. Grand Hyatt Mumbai executive chef Hermann Grossbichler emphasizes that quality fruits, vegetables, green leaves, grains and freshly prepared food with quality ingredients will succeed this year.

He adds, ?I love when a chef wants to be creative and prepares something new but creativity must never be second to our constant aim to serve the highest quality food to guests. True quality in terms of ingredients right down to the freshness of the finished product will be a top priority in 2015.?

Small Sized Portions

According to Chef Bali, small sized portions of food will be the rage in 2015. Eating smaller portions of food is one of the easiest ways to cut down on calories in order to maintain a healthy consumption pattern. It keeps a tab on our diet and helps us to lose weight. Bali says, ?Portions are getting smaller as people are becoming more calorie conscious. We are even using small cutlery and utensils to serve the guests as well.? Chef Arora also feels that small portion food is an emerging trend amongst both consumers and restaurateurs. He says, ?Gone are the days of eating three full heavy meals a day. Practising to eat small portions will help you lose weight. Eat only when you are hungry. There is no point of over eating."

Fusion Trends

In 2015, one will also get to witness a mix and match of different cuisines and ingredients in order to create fusion recipes. Chef Arora adds, ?There is a rising trend of ?desi international cuisines?. A lot of international food restaurants have opened in the past few years. Owners know that there is a market and that is why you can find different joints of cuisines everywhere.?

Agreeing with the same, Waters Beach Lounge director Aziz Lalani says, ?A fusion of Indian and international cuisine is something we are looking forward to in 2015. Chicken wings are equally popular as chicken tikkas.? Water Beach Lounge is situated in Goa and offers grilled Italian food. Lalani elaborates, ?We have guests from all over the world visiting our restaurant and I can tell you that foreigners love Indian food. As a result, fusion cuisine will be a fascinating trend in India this year.?

Asserting that Indians are foodies by nature, Chef Bali feels that the current local cuisine in India has gone into a bit of a fusion state, which will continue in 2015. He cites the example of the restaurant ?Masala Library,? which offers a fusion of Indian and western food, served in an unconventional style.

Chef Arora feels that people also want a novel touch to existing dishes. He states, ?People are experimenting with ethnic sweet dishes. Rather than having plain ice-creams, people are having shrikhand but made with different flavours like chocolate and butter scotch.?

International Cuisines in India

Grossbichler feels that Mexican and Moroccan food have been underrated for sure in the last couple of years but sure to pick up on popularity in 2015. He also adds that international cuisines like Italian, Chinese, Javanese and Thai will continue to remain popular in 2015 but they have becomes far too expensive. Grossbichler expresses, ?We need a higher variety of imported food at a lower cost if we want to say serve good international food in this country. Our imports have become way too costly for the restaurant to re-sell for the local audiences.?

Presenting a different perspective on international cuisines, Thai Sous Chef of San Qi, Seefah Ketchaiyo feels that this year could open doors to experimenting with authentic international cuisines. She explains, ?I think bringing authentic dishes to the plates could be a promising trend for this year. For instance, Thai dishes are often adapted to the Indian taste here. People still do not really know what authentic Thai food is. My attempt this year would be to use authentic ingredients to make people aware of the real taste of Thai cuisine.?

Low Fat Diet

People are cutting down on junk and fast food these days. As such, low fat meals are certainly going to trend this year. Chef Ketchaiyo opines, ?Although junk food is popular and cheaper, people are thinking about their health first.? She adds that people will prefer veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and lean protein.

Lalani speaks about today?s youngsters who have become cautious of the health properties of a dish. ?The youth today measure each and every calorie in the meals. As such, we are going to incorporate nutritional values and indicate how healthy each dish listed in a menu is, without sacrificing the taste and quality,? he says.

Chef Bali says that people are going to large extents in order to sustain healthy eating. ?The trend this year is to alternate certain ingredients. For example, replacing ghee with olive oil or replacing normal rice with brown rice. Eating clean would also involve the consumption of more vegetables and less sodium,? he says.

Artistic Presentations

Chef Ketchaiyo explains that artistic presentation of food will be a priority this year. She candidly confesses, ?We are also focusing on new presentation so that people will not get bored when they come to San Qi.?

According to Chef Grossbichler, minimalistic and contemporary look of cuisines will be important in 2015. He feels that less is more and that should be kept in mind during the presentation of dishes. However, he is also quick to add that a strong focus should be put on quality and great artistic presentations must be secondary to the true taste of the product.

On a similar note, Chef Bali feels that novelty in presentation catches attention but one should not deviate from the flavor and authenticity of the food. He says, ?Most of the time, the essence of the food changes when experimenting with presentations in attempt to do something new. The concept of the restaurant also matters when considering the presentation of the dishes.?

Declining Trends

While fat free cuisine is rising fast along with fusion and organic food, there are some culinary trends and dishes that will see a decline in 2015.

Chef Grossbichler feels that Bruschettas, the Italian dish consisting of grilled bread topped with tomatoes, will become less popular this year. He explains, ?The problem with Bruschettas is that they are done with the wrong bread and with a topping that?s been sitting for eight hours in a fridge. Customers are becoming more discerning and they want to spend their money well. Everything mediocre will be on a decline this year.?

Chef Bali believes that there is a certain decline in the processed food category this year. He shares, ?Few years back, there was an upsurge of ready-to-cook meals which you could just warm up in your microwave and eat instantly. However, people are getting more health-conscious and they are aware of the amount of preservatives in it. As such, these ready-to-cook meals will see a drop in popularity.?

Elaborating on Bali?s stance, Chef Arora reasons that people prefer natural items and ingredients that can be made at home. He says, ?Thanks to the cookery shows on television and internet, people are getting ideas on how to make products organically. For example, black pepper sauce that is available in the market can actually be made at home and people prefer that.?

Eating Healthy Is the Way Forward in 2015

Well, the Indian food scene is an ever evolving palette and looks like healthy food trends are sure to be winners this year. ?People who eat healthy food look better, have more energy and are generally more positive, it just shows!? exclaims Chef Grossbichler.

According to Chef Arora, dishes, which are low on carbohydrates, high in protein and involve the usage of less oil, will be the most sought after this year. While he agrees that eating healthy is the way forward in 2015, Chef Bali informs us that while swapping ingredients could give us healthier alternatives, the dish will not taste the same once we change an ingredient.

?The choice is ours to prioritize what we want more in the New Year ? taste or health?? he concludes with a smile.

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