Healthy eating has been an ever increasing feature on our menus this year, and that will certainly continue to grow in 2017 as guests and clients accommodate the growing demand for cleaner and fresh eating options.
Pulses for instance are seeing a resurgence; packed full of B-vitamins and high in fibre, grains like bulgur, buckwheat and quinoa are as popular as ever, particularly as a substitute for carb loaded potato and meat heavy dishes.
Fads such as the pop-up crisp and cereal restaurants will come and go, but in the long term we need to continue to see sustainable catering make its mark; especially with rising meat, fish and confectionary prices making everyday foods more expensive. 2017 will be about developing alternative cooking styles and utilising affordable ingredients that go further; from Coley fish and beef brisket to adapting recipes with everyday store cupboard components such as polenta for savoury cakes.
Additionally we’ll see more faux-meat products on menus – jackfruit, chickpeas and mushrooms are standing in for steaks, which means we’re seeing an increasing number of producers creating our favourite carnivorous dishes without meat. This is set to revolutionise eating, especially for the growing number of veggies and vegans, but also consumers who don’t want to eliminate meat from their diet completely. We’re even infusing veggie ‘meat’ dishes with beetroot juice, to give the food a classic bloody appearance!
We’re a growing nation of clean eaters and bakers who want to know where our food comes from and what’s going into it. With the buzz around health and wellness it’s no surprise that this is extending to beverages too. Mocktails are getting a revamp, to the point where they’re rivalling their boozy counterparts. Mixologists understand the need to offer guests a unique dining experience, great for non-drinkers who want more than a club soda or ginger ale. Freshly-pressed juices, muddled herbs and aromatic infusions offer all the intrigue of a cocktail with none of the morning after headache.
A current food development I’m definitely behind is repurposing the use of rinds, stems and skins that typically end up in the bin. Restaurants are making a conscious effort with only using off cuts and leftovers; it’s now about pickling watermelon rinds, spiralizing vegetable stalks and making rice from cauliflower stems, all in the name of sustainability!
I’ve always been a fan of the social eating styles of the Basque region, the pintxos and tapas sharing plates will continue to gain pace into 2017 and beyond. It’s become the ideal dining experience to enjoy any time of day and is especially popular for those of us who are time poor.
It promises an exciting new frontier for the food industry as a surplus of new food tastes, textures and concepts start asserting themselves on British menus.
As we become more concerned with what we’re putting into our bodies, expect to see more locally grown produce and sustainable alternatives on menus as well as an abundance of these exciting new culinary combinations set to take 2017 by storm.
Written by Tom Gore
Heavily influenced by his global culinary experiences, from working in kitchens all over the world, Tom’s ethos is to keep the basis of his dishes simple and use classic flavours, to create recipes with unusual combinations to a fine-dining standard.Bringing his vitality and passion to the kitchen, Tom has pushed the boundaries of clients’ expectations for conferences and events, and working with his brigade of chefs, cater for all in-house events from private parties to award ceremonies and conferences for up to 1,000.