Liam’s Top 9 Food Trends for 2019

Food Trends

So on to a new year and we’re already looking to food trends on 2019. I find that “new trends” are often dictated by a combination of the weather and what was popular during the latter part of the previous year. Increasingly, it’s heavily influenced by what’s in the public domain from television, cookery programs and health advice from the NHS.

Healthy eating at all ages is always high on the agenda. With the NHS looking to tackle child obesity and the implementation of sugar taxes, there will be another major push on healthy eating next year and beyond. Most supermarket chains are increasing their healthy eating alternatives on “fast food” and they are also including Vegan/Vegetarian sections.

Fermented Foods– Scandinavian food has been influencing professional kitchens for the last 4-6 years. With winter months getting colder, we will have to preserve and cure a lot more in our larder. Late summer/autumn harvest will and should be used more carefully– so you can keep the nutritional benefits of your produce and enhance the flavour. Things that have been around and that will become more readily available will be kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh and kefir grains. Processed food is slightly frowned upon as the health benefits are not fantastic. If they’re substituted with fermented foods, you have added benefits with increased probiotics which will not only be good to the palette but will more importantly improve the immune systemI will look to write about basic preserving and curing later in the year.

Naked Foods – I always had the perception that ‘naked foods’ was a bit of a trend and it would come and go. For our Feast Festival this year, we had Phil Howard of Elystan Street in the kitchen for a night. His starter was “Cashew nut hummus with roasted vegetables, light curry sauce dressing, nut milk and lime”. It’s gluten free / vegan and could be adapted to be “naked”. Phil is one of the country’s top chefs and for him focusing on this was an eye opener for me. The lack of cooking helps to preserve nutrients and vitamins which has massive health benefits. This trend started in California/America for “healthy eating and wellbeing” and will be even bigger next year. A lot of chefs will frown on this, as some will see it as being “lazy”. But with minor adjustments and smart planning, it can be amazing – like Phil’s dish for Feast – it was the dish of the year for me.

Food allergy and transparency – Food allergies have become a major concern within the country. And with some recent fatalities, it is a major concern for retailers. All food operators should wake up and take note, there has been ever increasing pressure to provide clearer information on packaging and training for all food sector workers. I personally think that within the next 6 months all menus should clearly highlight “the big 14”. Though this will be a lot of work for small operators who change menus daily. More training and information should also be available to food providers on substitutes. With the horse meat scandal still resonant with most people, we are ever careful of the provenance of our products. This, for me, will be another hot topic on the agenda and is worrying with Brexit.

Organic Meat –There was a warning from the N.H.S in November concerning antibiotic usage in agriculture, saying that it ‘threatens human health’. I really think that the need/demand for organic meats will increase and in the coming years there will be more of a shift to eating fish and vegetarian dishes. Overuse of antibiotics in our food chain is contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance bacteria. Some types of bacteria that cause serious infections in humans have already developed resistance to most or all of the available treatments, and there are very few promising options in the research pipeline.

Ice Cream – I know it seems bizarre to talk about Ice cream in the middle of winter. For me sitting in front of a warm fire with a movie on and having a pot of ice cream whilst it’s cold outside is so beautiful. I was at an awards ceremony in September and was seated next to the amazing Amanda Stansfield of Granny Gothard’s. She spoke about the nutritional aspects of using unpasteurised milk in their ice cream, which is a major unique selling point, and has amazing health benefits. She also placed a bet with me to try their “free from” ice cream to see if I could spot the difference blind folded – it’s a bet I’m taking up in January as we intend to call down to the farm and see the operation – I’ll keep you posted! In my home town in Ireland and across the UK, ice cream shops are popping up with frozen yoghurts, free from and sugar alternatives which is changing the perception of ice cream being unhealthy and something you have by the sea side.

Bitter Food – The popularity of Gin has not stopped or slowed down. With the ease of distilling and instant return, it is ever popular with micro-breweries. This in turn has had an influence on drinks and food that are popular and trendy. When I was on holiday in France this year, the 2 aperitifs were aperol spritz or gin and tonic. This in turn has an influence on autumn / winter foods and next year’s trends – it’s almost like bringing the good memories of the previous year back! Think of chicory, Kohlrabi, citrus fruits / peel, chocolate, coffee, cabbage, mustard, Romanesco and Green tea – a personal favourite! We recently did our cocktail menu in Brazz and bitter was a main talking point with Adam and Yanni putting on a classic coffee martini and many others – reluctantly I was forced to sample them all!

African Food

African Food – African food has been on the rise for many years, it’s natural and so diverse depending on the area. With our palates adapted to appreciate spice / heat and in search of new cuisines West African, Brazilian and South African are my top tips. Depending on the area, African cuisine like so many use local grains, meat, vegetables and fruit in their cooking. I love the simplicity and hearty clean flavours. The cuisine doesn’t rely on flavour additives or thickening agents it’s true to the produce and area. We have a chef who’s been working in the Castle for 10 years Sal Fonseca he’s Portuguese / Angolan and brings a lot of excitement to staff tea time in the kitchen. Look up feijoada, tangy chicken yassa, moambe chicken and seafood orka soup. The food is based on one pan wonders and uses most things with little food waste and if there are leftovers, tub it and put it in the fridge for next day’s lunch.

Feel good food – This is a bit of a broad one but in the media this year there has been a lot of focus on the damage we do to our environment and waters with plastic and non-renewable energy. I think fast foods and supermarkets will be put under ever more pressure regarding food packaging. There’s a ban on plastic straws in the middle of next year. A lot of suppliers to restaurants are cutting down on their packaging and re using plastic crates. Arthur David our fruit and veg supplier use recycled paper bags for all our loose fruit and this is gaining momentum. Feel good food I base on a great group Friska started in Bristol they focus a lot on current issues. Healthy nutritional “fast food” alternatives, recyclable goods, animal welfare, dietary awareness and a lot of charity partnerships in the coffee trade in Africa. There’s no food waste with nothing going to landfill. It’s a place you go and eat and feel good about the food and footprint the restaurant is leaving in the local area and on the planet.

Healthy Snacks – Last year, I watched an episode of Dragons’ Den on my day off where a family was looking for an investment in seaweed snacks. They didn’t receive investment but a few weeks ago I noticed that the ideas are being slowly added to the supermarket shelves. Packaging will be key for children but, in other areas, the snacks I see will be puffed rice, organic sweets, fruit crisps and yoghurt snacks.

Most of this is a gamble but fun to predict.

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