With the whole world turning to sustainable practices in 2019, the F&B industry wasn’t far behind. Hotels and restaurants have started upcycling food and procuring ingredients from the local markets. Lawrence Amalraj, Executive Chef, InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram has been working on creating a menu that embraces global food trends while keeping an Indian and international guest palate in mind. He shares with us his predictions of what will work in 2020.
THE USE OF HYPER-LOCAL INGREDIENTS IN FOOD AS WELL AS COCKTAILS
The Indian gourmand has travelled the world and has tasted diverse flavours and textures. Their one takeaway has been the use of indigenous ingredients alongside the traditional cooking styles. Back home, they have begun a quest to find vegetables and fruits that were used by their grandmothers. They have rediscovered the joys of using tapioca, jack-fruit and sweet potato in its local styles of preparation. This trend has also started to creep into cocktails. It is common to find local ingredients like ginger, tamarind and curry leaves in delicious alcoholic concoctions. Some cocktails are also adding a tangy twist by infusing rasam into the drinks.
THE RISE OF HYPER-REGIONAL CUISINES SUCH AS CHETTINAD, RAYALASEEMA, ETC.
Indians have always been proud about their diversity; chefs are taking this a step further by researching about cuisines that are region-specific. For instance, South Indian food has gone beyond the generic South Indian meal from each state. The focus has shifted to region specific cuisines. Be it a meal from Rayalaseema that is marked by spiciness or the aromatic Chettinad cuisine — restaurants will serve and educate patrons about the uniqueness of different cuisines in 2020.
THE REVIVAL OF GLOBAL STREET FOOD
Street food has always been about quick and easy food that appeals to the taste-buds of the local population. It has been favoured for its taste and showcasing of flavours and ingredients that are easily available in the region. The past few years have seen a decline in interest due to growing concern about safety and hygiene. However, fine dine restaurants will open their doors to experimenting with street food — creating their own visions of popular items or setting up pop up kitchens to pay tribute to global street food, there by appealing to the palate of discerning travellers.
When it comes to desserts, the last few years have concentrated on savoury desserts such as pani-puri and chilly ice-cream. The trend this year is to experiment with tart flavours. With a population that is increasingly health conscious, sour desserts that comprise of citrus fruits attract gourmands for not being too sweet. The wave of including regional ingredients to dishes that bring in a sense of nostalgia and comfort is getting extended to desserts as well. Jamun, tamarind and lemon are slowly but surely making their way into the dessert section appealing to the palette of the well-traveled. The love for sweets in India will go nowhere, it’s only the avatar that will change.