Feeding the modern consumer both metaphorically and physically is a challenging brief. In the last five to ten years the exposure to new food trends and the information age has evolved what we all eat.Simple deliverable pubs staples still hold a place in the all our hearts. National sausage week just proved that.However gastromes have new avenues to explore in the emerging seasonal menus. As food offers develop we all harbour an interest in where the next trends will come from. As the engaged customer their is a true inclination and curiosity to re-invented delicacies.Braised pig cheeks, bone marrow on toast and hand made terrines now sit centre stage on the menus of the most sucessful offers.
Provenance is now a central feature on any menu ,where does our food come from. Do you as the customer care? Research says that provenance is not a facet or a central decision in a menu choice.Some studies have said that it is less than 1% of the issue. However with the best operators listing provenance it is clear it is beginning to re-inforce the issues of quality within the offer. Will seasonality start to influence the purchases we make, are people aware of what is at it’s best, why it is cooked in a certain way,when cheaper air-freighted alternatives are everywhere? What is clear is that the Goal posts are moving and for any offer to be sucessful it must emphasise both where it comes from and also show a level of culinary inventiveness. Communicating and educating now forms an inherrent facet of any operators role, if something is great, in season or from the best producer how do you tell your consumer?
Winter is upon us and in season are of course many of the traditional flavours of the festive season. Venison , quince, squashes and the current trend item the humble beetroot. People are starting to appreciate its true sweetness and versatility. Pairing it with chocolate, using it alongside cured salmon and harnessing the multitude of “heritage colours” that are now available. A recently tried “textures of beetroot “plate highlights the willingness of both chefs and consumers to give things a go. Would you try it home, producing maybe a carpaccio, a puree and roasting off some baby beetroot as a dinner party starter?? Its really probably not worth your time so it makes perfect sense when someones doing it for you. Saying that people clearly are having a go!! In the same ways that the Paris fashion show acts as the drip feed of fashion so are Hestons ideas influencing our eating habits in a massive way. Restaurants such as Noma where chefs wait your table with some of the dishes only re-inforce the communiation and levels of complexity in the modern environment.
What’s next and how will it progress. Does the answer lie in the advanced western economies with Sriacha the next buzzword or has Noma shown the way. Not satisfied with introducing the worlds meat eaters to an almost vegtarian tasting menu( remember Worlds best restaurant 2013 again) they have now embarked on an alliance with the nordic food lab. Trying to find a “gastronomic argument” for introducing insects to the western world!! Feeling sqeamish, dont think it will catch on? Wouldn’t find my oldies eating beetroot and chocolate millefeuille!!