Strug­gling to stay one step ahead as din­ers be­come more in­formed, chefs are search­ing high and low for new ideas

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY -

LIKE it or not kale is here to stay.

That’s the opin­ion of some of our lo­cal chefs and they know what we are or­der­ing in res­tau­rants and buy­ing at the farm­ers’ mar­kets.

Food trends have come and gone ever since man dis­cov­ered how to roast over a fire.

There was a time not long ago when we couldn’t get enough pesto. It ap­peared con­sis­tently on menus all over the western world. Pesto has en­dured – and now comes in many forms other than the tra­di­tional basil (even kale pesto) but it doesn’t en­joy the pop­u­lar­ity it did a decade ago.

And re­mem­ber just a short time ago when only a few peo­ple had heard of quinoa? And even fewer knew how to pro­nounce it? Now it is part of our culi­nary ver­biage.

How about co­conut wa­ter? Who would have thought we’d be buy­ing it so read­ily in cans on our su­per­mar­ket shelves?

Ve­gan food was once some­thing mys­te­ri­ous to us, and as for Pa­leo, and raw food…who knew? Now we are com­fort­able with all three.

Sun­shine Coast chefs tend to make their own trends with so much beau­ti­ful pro­duce avail­able from the land and sea.

How­ever, look­ing at this year’s pre­dic­tions we see that food “bowls’’ will be seen ev­ery­where, sea­weed will ap­pear in dishes as a veg­etable as well as a gar­nish, the heat will be turned up as more chilli is used, for­ag­ing is all the go, fat is back (mostly but­ter and av­o­cado) and soup will be the new juice.

Chef Matt Golin­ski has never fol­lowed trends, but he knows what is go­ing on in ev­ery culi­nary cor­ner of the coun­try.

“Peo­ple are want­ing more in­for­ma­tion about where their food comes from, where the pro­duce is grown and who pro­duced it,” he said. “Farm­ers’ mar­kets are pop­ping up ev­ery­where, peo­ple’s in­ter­est is in­creas­ing,”

Food wastage and the preven­tion of it is go­ing to be a big trend this year, ac­cord­ing to Matt.

“Chefs are be­com­ing more aware and want­ing to be more in­volved in (stop­ping) food waste. Peo­ple like Oz-Har­vest are do­ing an amaz­ing job at col­lect­ing food at dif­fer­ent sources and dis­tribut­ing it to peo­ple who need it.”

Aqua­cul­ture or farm­ing fish will also be a growth in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Matt.

“Big (fish) farms are all over the place now,” he said. “Hiro­masa king fish is be­ing farmed in South Aus­tralia, bar­ra­mundi is be­ing farmed ev­ery­where as wild stock be­comes scarcer and more ex­pen­sive.”

Spicers Group ex­ec­u­tive chef Cameron Matthews is a man way ahead of any trends, hav­ing ex­per­i­mented with tech­niques and un­usual pro­duce in his kitchen at The Long Apron at Montville for many years.

“Prove­nance is go­ing to be huge,” he said. “Peo­ple want to know the story be­hind, say, the sweet potato, know about the lady who grew it in (say) her back­yard in Palm­woods.”

Cameron says he is mov­ing to­wards more veg­etable-based dishes on all Spicers menus, mak­ing veg­eta­bles the hero rather than the pro­tein.

“We are us­ing smaller amounts of pro­tein, mak­ing it an ac­com­pa­ni­ment rather than the other way around,” he said. “It is bet­ter from a health point of view and an ex­cit­ing point of view. It makes you cre­ative work­ing with veg­eta­bles. We did a dish of braised heir­loom car­rots with cured and dried grated ox heart over the top and with a bay leaf cream. If you closed your eyes you would have thought you were eat­ing meat.”

Ben Walsh, the owner-op­er­a­tor of Miss Moneypenny, agrees that din­ers are be­com­ing more and more food savvy and restau­ra­teurs have to keep up with and re­spect that.

“With all the tele­vi­sion shows peo­ple are more and more in­formed,” he said. “Seventy per­cent of peo­ple who walk in the door are highly ed­u­cated on food. You can tell they know what they are talk­ing about. They want to eat health­ier as well. For­ag­ing is be­com­ing very big.”

For­ag­ing in­volves just that…pok­ing and for­ag­ing about in lo­cal parks and sea shores search­ing for any­thing that might be ed­i­ble.

“We’ve been us­ing suc­cu­lents,” Ben said. “They are found around the coast­line. It’s a veg­e­ta­tion that grows around rock pools, green with a lot of mois­ture in­side. They add a lot of flavour to the dish. We serve them with fish.”

Even cock­tails now have ingredients that most of us have not heard of be­fore.

“We are us­ing Ja­panese fruits, yuzo and ume­boshi plums in cock­tails, the flavours work re­ally well,” Ben said. “Ume­boshi plums are pick­led, very sour and a lit­tle bit salty. The best way to en­joy them is in a straight-up mar­tini in­stead of olives.”

This thirst for prove­nance is re­flected all over the Coast, none more so than at the Spirit House Cook­ing Classes in Yan­d­ina.

Guests book out the classes many months ahead, anx­ious to ob­tain a place and keen to spend an en­tire morn­ing learn­ing by cook­ing hands-on.

Guests also quickly book out the many food tours Spirit

House chefs take to Asia.

When Spirit House owner He­len Brierty put the word out that they had char­tered a ketch to visit the spice is­lands fre­quented by yes­ter­year’s traders in Asia, it was booked out within hours.

Food trends will al­ways come and go – and that can only be a good thing.

We are us­ing smaller amounts of pro­tein, mak­ing it an ac­com­pa­ni­ment rather than the other way around

Seventy per­cent of peo­ple who walk in the door are highly ed­u­cated on food. You can tell they know what they are talk­ing about.


Food bowls are the big trend for 2017.

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