There were some obvious trends in food and hospitality throughout 2013, a year where the going got tougher for some and the tough opened new ventures.
There was a strong move to less expensive dining with more restaurants opening in the lower end and closures at the top.
Menus also moved to offer less expensive meals with change from tapas to share plates which allow interesting flavour bursts and also cheaper dining options.
Flavours?Salt is the new black. Personally, I love flavoured salts as an instant ingredient changer. My new favourite secret ingredient is smoked salt.
Caramel, particularly salted caramel is everywhere. I've just seen a jar of salted caramel sauce at Woolies and, according to the gurus, this means its about to go out of fashion.
Ribs and rubs were the other food fashion stars of 2013.
New diets?When it comes to diets Paelo and raw food are leading the pack with new cafes opening just to serve this type of food.
Vegan is verging on mainstream today and vegetarian and gluten free are mainstream. Nearly every menu will offer vegetarian and gluten free options. Unfortunately, my gluten intolerant friends tell me that what's on the menu does not always match with what's in the dish, and their stomachs do know the difference.
Cultural cuisines and influences?
Going into 2014 American food is still very popular but predictions are strong for Croatian, Korean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Tip - practice pronouncing Shakshouka.
Food trends for 2014
• Purity in food – freshly produced juices in cocktails, organic, locally-grown – organic lunches delivered to your office via bicycles
• Bespoke butters – I am already seeing these on menus and in recipes
• Tea – coffee has been pushed to the max which leaves plenty of room for tea to shine. Dilmah have been working on this for a while
• Mutant foods- moving on from the cronut we will see more combinations such as ramen burgers, more dessert pizzas, Italian burritos, sushi tacos
• Desserts – love the idea of ice cream sandwiches, old favourites like apple crumble with a modern twist
• Tableside service – adds drama to the meal – bring back crepe suzettes cooked tableside or carving a peking duck.
• Artisan Food courts – shopping centre dining. Developers using restaurants to attract shoppers.
• More pop-ups, markets and flexible dining options. Brisbane’s new Eat Street at Hamilton.
• More handcrafted/low impact serving styles using paper straws and old jars as glasses (I'm already a bit over this one.)
Which food trends do you think will make a difference in 2014?