The food and beverage segment of the hospitality industry is constantly evolving and coming up with new and unique ideas. Chefs are constantly experimenting and creating dishes that seem to be popular among guests and try to come up with something that matches with the ongoing trends but their own unique twist. The point to note is that if customers have evolved so have hotels and their restaurants. The following food trends seem to be emerging in 2016:
1. Use of local produce
One of the key focuses of 2016 will be the use of local ingredients and produce. Chefs personally go and choose the ingredients they want to cook with and that is something they can only do with what it available to them locally and preferably within proximity. However, the concept of personally going and choosing the ingredients to cook with, seem to be a growing trend among chefs.
2. Small plates
Most cuisines have adapted to flatter modern-day diners appetites for an assorted and shared style of eating. The small plate’s concept has been a remarkable development in casual dining and has gained popularity due to many reasons. This trend provides the diners with an opportunity to savour a dozen of different taste sensations fused in one meal.
3. Healthy food
The trend of eating healthy has been budding for a few years, however, 2016 will focus on certain health foods that seem to be becoming popular among certain demographics. Super foods such as quinoa, chia seeds chickpeas, and nut milk to name a few are predicted to be trending this year. For instance, quinoa nowadays has become a core component in many salads. Even in menus and buffet spreads, there is a healthy section where there are options with chickpeas as the main ingredient and used mostly in hummus, curries, soups and salads. Furthermore, to keep up with the current trend of gluten-free produce, chickpea is being used as a substitute for flour that is not only gluten-free but also high in protein.
Small-sized desserts are emerging as a popular choice among consumers along with samples and customization. Parfaits in shot glasses, tiny cakes, and the concept of multiple components – like the sampling of several treats on one plate with varied textures, are a lot in demand. People prefer their dessert treat to possess a visual appeal, non-traditional flavours, and unusual yet fresh ingredients as it adds an element of excitement thus, gaining immense popularity among the crowd. The presentation of the dessert also plays a crucial role in the process, as diners are more likely to order a great-tasting dessert that offers indulgence and presented in a unique yet inviting way.
The food trends emerging in 2016 will feature a focus on authenticity in the cuisine served along with theatrical cooking like cooking with fire. Chefs are also experimenting a lot with cooking with traditional fats like rendered chicken fat, tenderloin fat, etc and are also constantly reinventing old dishes and creating a new concept while still maintaining the authenticity in flavours. Keeping food simple and real is definitely the way to go in 2016.
6. Chef-oriented restaurants
Many restaurants and chefs are slowly exploring the idea of opening restaurants named after the head chef. It’s more about making your mark and creating your own identity. The concept in India is currently at its nascent stage but still is a budding concept.
Technology has recently been making sturdy inroads in almost every industry; the Indian hospitality sector is also set to grow leaps and bounds especially in the food and beverage segment using technology as a springboard. Advanced machinery and latest tools for measuring ratios and portions make working in the kitchen easier and exciting. It helps chefs to experiment further with their cooking thus presenting new and innovative dishes to our guests.
With such exciting and innovative food trends emerging, 2016 is definitely going to be an exciting year. Since food and beverage play an imperative role in generating hotel revenue, the majority of these trends will definitely be steered by hotels, keeping in mind the availability of various ingredients and produce.
Text by Neeraj Tyagi
Neeraj Tyagi is currently the Executive Chef at the Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi. He has currently revamped the entire food and beverage section of the hotel.