Another year is drawing to a close, so it’s time to look ahead to what 2022 might have in store.
In the world of food, 2021 has seen all kinds of weird and wonderful things emerge – from umami gin to the Greggs vegan festive bake.
And of course, let’s not forget about Salt Bae and his controversial London restaurant.
We’ve also been turning to TikTok more and more for recipe inspiration (we’re looking at you Boursin and vodka pastas).
But what trends are on the horizon?
Top chefs and foodies have shared their thoughts on what we are likely to see over the months to come.
The rise of paneer
Cheese is always a crowd-pleaser, but experts think paneer could be one of the top varieties of 2022 – even becoming as popular as halloumi.
Morrison’s is currently selling sticks of the stuff and paneer-related searches are even up on Google Trends.
Chet Sharma, the chef patron of newly-opened restaurant BiBi in London, serves a buffalo milk paneer lightly seasoned with a Lahori style kebab masala.
He says: ‘Our paneer is from The New Forest and it is simply the best I’ve ever tried.
‘The buffalo graze on the wild terrain and eat different grasses and herbs as the seasons progress. Every time they’re milked, there are different nuances of flavour, and then in the dairy they use a low temperature pasteurisation which helps retain this complexity.’
Merging of the food and art worlds
Angelos Bafas, bar manager at the new Soho bar SOMA, thinks that ‘the connection between food, drinks and art will grow even more in the next year as bartenders continue to incorporate art and colours into their drinks.’
He adds: ‘There has been a surge of art-inspired dining rooms, hotels and bars. Peckham’s Kudu Collective recently launched Curious Kudu, a space that works as a gallery during the day and a private dining room in the evening.
‘The Red Room bar at The Connaught showcases a collection of works created in collaboration with female artists and, lastly, at Durslade Farmhouse the interiors are completed by Hauser & Wirth artists.’
Mad for mushrooms
As the demand for meat-free alternatives grows, mushrooms are becoming more and more popular – and we’re constantly hearing about their health benefits, too.
Plant-based Chef Bettina Campolucici Bordi says, ‘Following the hype of the Fantastic Fungi documentary, mushrooms are definitely enjoying a moment, having doubled their online value year on year to April 2021.
‘Packed with umami flavours and B vitamins you can now buy many more exciting varieties.
‘You can even buy mushroom powders that make hot drinks and some restaurants make their own, for example, Fallow in St James’s uses it in a moreish mushroom parfait.’
It seems the pandemic has made us nostalgic for the foods of the past (and the memories that come with them) – and experts think this is something we’ll continue to see more of in 2022.
Chef Richard Corrigan says: ‘I am enjoying the renewed interest in the classics. Ingredients like kippers are popping up across menus and this year’s Great Taste Awards crowned the Oak-smoked Mallaig Kippers from J Lawrie & Sons as champions.
‘Anchovies are back too with Brutto’s dish of anchovies with cold butter and St John sourdough taking over Instagram, as well as Blacklock’s egg and anchovy pre-chop bites.’
At Bentley’s, the 105-year-old seafood restaurant in London, the English Shellfish Cocktail is back as one of the most popular dishes on the menu.
Branching out to lesser-known wine regions
David Moore, owner of Michelin-starred restaurant Pied à Terre, expects wines from Eastern European countries to grow in popularity.
He says ‘Diners are exploring wines from lesser-known countries such as Hungary and Slovakia.
‘The best labels from these countries are worth seeking out and savouring. We have eight wines from Hungary on our list which gives our guests a taste of more than just tokaji.’
While Chanel Owen, head sommelier at Pied à Terre, predicts a 90s wine resurgence with Cava, Off Dry Riesling and Australian Chardonnay making a comeback.
More carbon-neutral restaurants
Following COP26, the environment is at the forefront of our minds – and this is something the food and restaurant industry is picking up on.
In fact, many food businesses, chefs and restaurateurs are doing their bit to improve their carbon footprint – and this is something expected to continue.
This year, Jikoni in London was the first independent restaurant to become carbon-neutral – following the path of bigger restaurant chains such as Wahaca and Nandos.
And Gordon Ker of London steak and chophouse group, Blacklock, has recently announced he has started the brand’s journey towards B Corp status (a certification of ‘social and environmental performance’).
Better meat, but less often
People are thinking more and more about where their food comes from – with many turning to vegetarian and vegan options. And the current climate crisis has also made those who still do consume meat question their eating habits.
As a result, experts think we’ll turn to better quality meat, less often.
Ian Warren, managing director of Cornish butcher Philip Warren says: ‘There’s real merit to the message “eat less meat but choose quality when you do.” We’re generally thankful for vegans, they make people think about where food actually comes from.’
Similarly, Will Bowlby, chef patron of modern Indian restaurant group Kricket, adds: ‘Veganism will continue to rise as people become more aware of their diets, and hopefully the attitude towards “eating better quality meat less often” continues to spread.’
Many restaurants are already starting to focus on nose-to-tail and whole animal butchery – and this is something on the rise.
Move over oat, potato milk is coming
We’ve been seeing a lot about potato milk over the past few months – what with the annual Waitrose Food and Drink report predicting that it’s set to be one of the most popular plant-based milks of next year.
It also has great sustainability credentials.
‘The newest trend in terms of non-dairy milk is potato milk,’ says plant-based Chef Bettina Campolucci Bordi.
‘This new milk alternative is low in sugar and saturated fats, and is one of the most sustainable options as potatoes use about half the land it takes to grow the equivalent amount of oats’
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