Executive Chef and owner of Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures, Melanie Townsend shares with us her foodie observations as a travelling chef. Supplied

Trends in the food industry keep changing almost every year. From restaurant menus, meal delivery menus and grocery store shelves, peeple are always looking to be ahead of the curve.

We spoke to executive chef and owner of Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures, Melanie Townsend about some of the latest cooking trends she has observed while travelling around the country and below is what she had to say.


Origin of food seems to be a proud statement boldly advertised on hero ingredients as if to prove where, why and how you should buy. I think this gives clarity and confidence when selecting and choosing the next family meal and creates excitement and authenticity in even the most basic dishes.

Local ingredients are packed at supermarket shelves.

Local ingredients

Global influences abound but ‘local is lekker’ resounds off the plates and supermarket shelves. I have noticed a global embrace but proudly local support in terms of ingredients. Think Brazilian Pincanha sourced from local beef on a lazy South African style braai… the very best of both worlds but with a global embrace on an African coal or gas braai.

Seasonal hunter-gatherer

This is where shelves are merchandised boldly with exciting seasonal produce, freshly packed shelves of delicacies and necessities, enticing buyers to make a meal of it.. literally.

Restaurants are presenting their meals on rustic plates. Picture by Guy Collier


Proud plates; rustic and earthy presentations with just a touch of class. I have found restaurants are paying particular attention to bespoke crockery and that point of difference when serving to create their masterpieces.

Colour and texture

Emphasis is not only on flavour, but colour and texture too. This is a very balanced experience to bring all the senses alive. I have been so impressed at the attention to detail and creativity of even the simplest of dishes I have come across with.