Earlier this year, we highlighted trends that will rule the future of the food delivery industry.
Now it is time for food to take centre stage as chef and restaurateur Matt Manning shares some insight into the food trends we can expect to see over the next few months.
Less fine dining, more refined dining
Three years may have passed since the Covid-19pandemic, but some of the behaviours it catalysed have far-reaching tentacles, and one of these is a move away from fine dining.
Following the pandemic, fine dining establishments were hardest hit, for two main reasons: tourism took a knock and people were more cash-conscious and preferred reconnecting in a more relaxed setting.
They did not need an 18-course menu to feel the experience was special – simply being able to hang out with a loved one was enough of a novelty, after months in lockdown.
Fast-forward three years, and we have seen some of South Africa’s most popular fine dining establishments shut, while at the same time there has been a rise in the number of relaxed dining eateries, such as bistros and brasseries, which have opened.
This does not mean people do not want beautiful, well-sourced quality ingredients and seasonal menus, or incredible dining experiences – they absolutely do. But there is less fanfare and pretentiousness, and more emphasis on good, honest cooking and understated elegance in their dining.
While fine dining might be dying, dining “experiences” are booming in popularity! Think themed dinners, cooking lesson-and-dinner hybrid events, private kitchens, table-side theatre and chef’s tables, and more.
We all want to get up close and personal with our food – and each other – in an interactive, fun, and memorable setting.
There is a global movement towards sustainability, and food is no different. Expect regenerative agriculture, waterless cooking methods, organic, and sustainability to become big buzzwords in 2023.
Menus will include the weird and wonderful – from organ meats and other cuts that were typically overlooked (and many of which are now gaining popularity as awareness grows around these being nutritional powerhouses), to insects – while cooking methods will shift to accommodate a new awareness around energy consumption (especially as load shedding doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon).
Elevation of the wine list
Food and wine have always been a match made in heaven, which is why so many establishments offer paired menus.
But in a restaurant environment, wine has typically come second to the food, and mass wine producers (that can afford the steep listing fees) dominate the wine lists. This has left patrons (particularly international diners) with a limited view of what South Africa – one of the world’s heavyweight wine regions – has to offer. But this is changing.
Restaurant owners are waking up to the importance of partnering beautiful food with beautiful wine as consumer demand grows, and we expect to see far more representation in wine style, variety and region in our restaurant lists, as well as more fantastical pairing options – made possible by the power of the Coravin.
Besides the four mentioned above, these other predictions for 2023 are coming in hot.
A clean plate
Calls for clean label claims in plant-based foods are becoming louder. Concerns over ultra-processing and long lists of ingredients have resulted in ingredient supplier innovation of clean label, plant-based functional ingredient replacers for texture, flavour and appearance of label-unfriendly ingredients.
Cold brew coffee is here to stay
Even though cold brew coffee has been around for a while, it still has not lost its flare. Cold brew is one of the most delicious, flavoursome and richest types of coffee in the market.
Experts reveal that it is a trend that will endure for years to come because of its simple brewing method and superb flavour.
Mushrooms are one of those foods that, when cooked and prepared properly, are delicious. They are also rich and savoury, with a hearty texture that can make meals more substantial. Versatile mushrooms are not new to the superfood category, but their cult-like status is reaching the masses today.
Not only is the consumption of ordinary mushrooms on the rise, but they are being found in more and more unexpected places, from mushroom powder to adding punchy flavour to alternative meats.
Deep “fake” meat is here to stay
Plant-based eating has seen radical growth this year, and it is set to maintain that trajectory for next year. That is right, according to reports, 2023 will welcome further plant-based eating spearheaded by an increase in deep “fake” meat.
Every grain of bread’s comeback
According to chef Slobodan Stefanovic, as the costs of basic ingredients like flour and bread go up, people are looking at whichever grains are in the cupboard to use for everyday staples.
Stefanovic said the trick is to experiment with the same bread recipes over and over again, using different variations of South Africa’s local grains like sorghum, mealie meal, or mabele meal.
“Sorghum, mealie meal, and mabele meal are gluten-free and therefore a great choice to be enjoyed by everyone. Others try to include barley, sorghum, whole wheat or any flour or meal to create bread loaves, dombolo or pap,” he said.