So what can we expect on trendy plates this year? We take a look at some of the trends that are forecast for 2017 as predicted by Baum + Whiteman.
VEGETABLES FRONT AND CENTRE
People worldwide are reducing their meat consumption, and vegetables are coming to the fore as the star of the plate. Veg-centric restaurants are celebrating the vegetable with items such as vegetarian charcuterie platters (smoked carrots, mushroom pâté, cured beetroot and beetroot ‘chorizo’) and dishes that are so packed full of umami-flavour, that you’d never guess there’s no meat inside. The trick is to try and get as much savoury flavour into the vegetable as possible, but without destroying its integrity – so don’t just simply steam beans or carrots and leave it at that.
SEAWEED OVER KALE
On eco-conscious, waste-not menus, kale is being replaced by beetroot greens, chard, turnip greens, and carrot tops as sides, in pestos or pickled. Seaweed is also trumping kale because of its versatility and umami flavour-punch. Chefs are using it in emulsions, as a base for broth (such as ramen), pasta, and finishing oils.
ALL THINGS ICE CREAM
So freakshakes are apparently still going to be big in 2017, with decadent milkshakes piled high with toppings appearing on menus around the country. Two other ice cream trends that might make an appearance in South Africa are ice cream roll ups and savoury ice cream. Ice cream roll-ups hail from Thailand originally and are now cropping up in America. A simple ice cream base is quickly made on a flat plate that is frozen to -18°C, then smoothed out flat before being scraped up into a thin swiss-roll type shape. Multiples of this roll-up are then served either in a cone or a tub, with additional toppings. Savoury ice creams, such as avocado, gazpacho, corn, and roast beetroot goat’s cheese are also expected to be big in 2017, thanks to a health focus from consumers.
Consumers care more and more about where their ingredients are coming from, and they also want to try new and interesting meat cuts in the whole nose-to-tail vein. This seems to be taking the form of artisanal butchery based restaurants, which has a prominent display counter with cuts of meat which can either be bought to take home, or cooked up right then and there, to be enjoyed in the restaurant. This is a great way for butchers to showcase their meat, aging style, and the unusual cuts which aren’t often found on menus.
It started with ramen, but now everything’s being served in bowls. Chefs are enjoying it because it’s easier and faster to make a bowl look pretty, and diners are enjoying it because they tend to have less carbs, more grains and greens, and a wide range of flavours and textures, all in one bowl. So look out for smoothies in a bowl, poke (Hawaiian raw fish salad), bibimbap (Korean dish with egg, beef and vegetables), and just about any mix of ingredients you can think of. When you’re making your own, remember to keep it textural and deeply flavoured.