As a chef, I get continually asked, “What’s on trend for next year?” or “What will be big in 20-something?” We always strive in the cut-throat culinary industry to be ahead of trends or more preferably, to set them. We often find ourselves in front of a pile of books, magazines, a computer, or late nights (often early mornings) in the kitchen, trying tirelessly to figure out how to evolve flavours, dishes and techniques. We try to be ahead of the restaurant down the street, the café on the corner and the hotel across the way. And hopefully, after hours, days, or weeks of hard work, some r&d, and a beer or three, we come up with what will hopefully and inevitably end up on your dinner plate.
I can outline some food, beverage and visual trends foreseeable for 2017 and give you some examples of what the B Hospitality crew has been up to in those areas.
On the culinary side of things African styles, influences and flavours are going to make an appearance (or re-appearance if you ask some) and, in my less than humble opinion, explode onto the scene in 2017/18. North African influences in salads and proteins are coming with cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, sultanas, turmeric, and ginger being at the forefront of dishes. East African dishes coming out of Ethiopia are going to come on strong,as well with curried dishes like Berbere or the Sudanese cousin Zighny. Both are rich and complex with subtle curry and spice notes and aromatics that go very well with a diverse amount of meats and seafood, with the tradition being chicken. The B Hospitality team’s restaurant, The Bruce, recently won a local soup competition by making an Ethiopian chicken Berbere soup that had crowds asking for more. These styles of curries go very well with pulses – dried beans, lentils, peas or other legumes, and are another food trend for this upcoming year.
With the ceaseless surge in meat prices and no end in sight, restaurants and customers alike are seeking flavourful, cost-effective substitutions to ensure their guests can get nutritious fulfillment without needing a second mortgage or having to sell a kidney. Pulses are a great filler that may not necessarily need to be the focal point of a dish but can definitely help in reducing the necessity or requirement of a large piece of expensive protein to fill bellies. For example, a flavourful amount of lentils only requires a small amount of pork to make it a great dish.
On to beverages, which I will sarcastically tell you I know little about. I chuckled writing that sentence as for the majority of my life, beverages have almost always accompanied the food and dishes that I love and hold so dear. A quick survey of a few of my fellow colleagues and peers here at B Hospitality had a good amount of them feeling as if Craft beer will still maintain its immense climb in popularity, it’s appeal, and continue to chip away at the large industrial beer complex. Classic cocktails with a twist are in (or back!) – simplification of the crazy, smoke-infused, on fire, eccentrically garnished foamed cocktails will take precedent as we’ve seen in fashion trends – throwbacks and minimalistic simplistic style will transcend through the beverage scene as well.
As for weddings, unique venue selection and venues with memorable scenery seem to continue to be on the rise. For those of us that aren’t interested in giant venue and a cookie cutter wedding (I mean nothing says family like six hundred people in a room at one time but…), smaller weddings with a lot of DIY items continue to be what people are looking for, with hosts making everything from centrepieces to decorations to party favours. I feel as if this will transcend through 2017and beyond. At B Hospitality, our team is hard at work forging relationships with unique venues like rustic barns and museums to give you that one of a kind space to make your event as awesome as you.
The list of trends, foods, beverages and how to enjoy them is evolutionary and ever-changing. Continually striving to be unique and generate one’s own different path is really the only trend we can bank on. Food will change. Tastes will change. Skylines will change. But as my wife told me when I tried to fix the washing machine – leave it to the professionals and you’ll be fine. Leave the trends to the professionals and it will all come out ok. Except for man buns, they can go anytime.