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Food trends for 2014

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Adelaide blogger The Foodologist shares his predictions for the top food trends of 2014 – from “fancy” ready meals and unconventional fusion foods, to Vietnamese and Lebanese cuisine.

“Whilst somewhat light-hearted, these predictions are based on my observations of food over the past 12 months, not just as ‘someone who eats’ but also as a participant in the Australian food industry,” he says.

1. Local

Forget organic! Local is where it is at. The major retail chains have appointed local sourcing managers and their buyers are scouring their local regions for suppliers who can demonstrate to the public that the retailers are supporting local food producers. This is most prevalent in SA and WA but the other states are catching on. If you think your local supermarket can do better, this is the time to tell them.

2. Ready Meals

Ready meals have been around for ages and microwave lasagne has been a mainstay of “non-chefs” for many years. Be on the lookout now for “fancy” dishes that can either be steamed or grilled or roasted but which are ready made from high-quality ingredients. The microwave versions will still be there but they will all get makeovers, too.

3. Almond and other ‘nut milks’

Almond milk, peanut milk, macadamia milk … nut milks will make a resurgence, not just for those who are lactose intolerant, but also as a healthy alternative to normal milk. Soy milk has been around for some time now. I tried it, but in my opinion there is nothing like high-quality full-fat milk!

4. Pancakes/crepes

Some of the most searched recipes on Google in 2013 were for pancakes and crepes. With the current obsession for salty and sweet combinations sweeping hipster plates across the globe, I see gargantuan combinations of Elvis-style food involving pancakes, peanut butter, bacon, maple syrup and bananas, etc.

5. Healthier kids’ meals

In contrast to the “young adult” craze for salty sweet gourmet junk food, parents are demanding that children’s food be actually made from recognisable ingredients and to a standard that would make parents happy to eat it. Is this to do with Jamie? Maybe … maybe not. Either way, the youngsters are going to be better off.

6. Regional Chinese

Long gone are the days where steak and blackbean sauce, sweet and sour pork, and honey chicken with “special” fried rice were all that was on offer. Think of restaurants specialising in the bold, flavourful food reminiscent of Yunanese cuisine. It will be like trying Chinese food for the first time … all over again!

7. ‘Unconventional’ fusion

Think of the kind of weird, confused but undeniably awesome cuisine of people like [Korean American chef] Roy Choi with such creations as “kimchi tacos”, Chinese steamed buns with Texas BBQ, and all sorts of play on salty/sweet which make “salted caramel” look like “cucumber sandwich”.

8. Vietnamese cuisine

Last year, I said that Vietnamese cuisine would make a bold statement, and the crowd at [Sydney restaurant] Red Lantern have certainly played their part in this phenomenon. I have started seeing nuoc cham served in “Modern Australian” diners all over Adelaide (sometimes to great effect). However, I see it happening in a more widespread manner in 2014 in that Vietnamese restaurants will become more ubiquitous among all of Australian suburbia and nuoc cham will be served in households across the country and among a great demographic of people.

9. ‘Smoked’

Any food considered cool will be “smoked”.

10. Lebanese cuisine

“Lebanese” was one of the most searched-for words in Google, alongside “cuisine”, in 2013. Since eating it regularly as a student in the UK for many years, I have been a big fan of Lebanese cuisine for many years. Their pastries are an art-form and I’ve noticed they’re available in abundance throughout Sydney. Be on the lookout for their ascendance everywhere!

Foodologist author George R Ujvary is MD of the family business Olga’s Fine Foods. He has a Le Cordon Bleu MA in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide and is a former winner of the South Australian Premier’s Food Awards Young Leader Award. Read more blog entries at: www.foodologist.com

 

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