How are the 2017 food trend predictions coming along? We see which of the much-vaunted trends have made it
Food trends that are hot, or not.
At the start of each year, columnists around the world try to predict the next big food crazes. As we pass the halfway mark of 2017, let’s see how those predictions are going, as well as what hasn’t made it.
Luxe chawanmushi: Crystal balls told us this steamed Japanese custard would have a posh makeover this year, and that’s exactly what’s happened. In Melbourne, Minamishima tops it with everything from spanner crab to foie gras and truffle. In Sydney, Lumi gives it an Italian spin with parmesan, while Chaco Bar tops it with paradise prawns or sea urchin. In Brisbane, Sono adds chicken, scallops, eel and vegetables.
Kombucha out, Koji in: Cool chefs are all about koji, the fungus of choice these days. A mould that forms on steamed rice, koji has been used for centuries to make dishes ranging from miso to saké, giving them an umami hit. Meanwhile kombucha is so common now, it’s almost unremarkable.
Whey: This cheesemaking byproduct used to be sent to the local pig farm as feed, but now it’s popping up on hot menus everywhere. Some protein powders are whey-based, there’s Whey Whip ice cream and even Tasmanian distillery Hartshorn is producing vodka and gin made from sheep’s whey.
Navajo fry bread: This bread recipe was created by Native Americans based on the rations that were given to them by the US government. It uses few ingredients and has baking powder as its raising agent. The simple bread is also fried, not baked. I haven’t seen it around, but the political angle (and cool name) would see it fit well on any hipster cafe menu. This is one trend that could still take off.
Vegan food: Obviously this is a hot trend right now – I wrote a column on it in these pages just a few weeks ago.
Liquid puff pastry: When is puff pastry not puff pastry? When it has been caramelised down to liquid form. It sounds silly, but I’ve seen it at Athelo in Brisbane, The Point in Ballina, Racine in Orange and Miss Fitzy’s in St Kilda. Pastry chef Terri Mercieca, at the Happy Endings pop-up in London, makes apple tarte Tatin with bay leaf ice cream, poached apples and liquid puff. Enough already!
Savoury yoghurt: With Chobani doing a chipotle pineapple and a sriracha mango yoghurt and Dan Barber’s Blue Hills in New York regularly selling out of its beet, parsnip and butternut yoghurts, it’s safe to say savoury yoghurt is a hit. Yotam Ottolenghi uses yoghurt to dress his vegie dishes and Nigella Lawson has it in her recipe for beetroot dip. The surprise is how long it’s taken the world to catch up with Australia where we’ve been using yoghurt in savoury dishes for years. Dips anyone?
Temperance cocktails: Cocktail bars have been a thing here for a while but a trend for non-alcoholic cocktails has seen a host of interesting drinks being mixed at venues like Melbourne’s Lume, which has a “temperance” menu, Blackbird in Brisbane, and the Bentley Bar in Sydney. (I refuse to call them “mocktails” as it is a repellent word.) At PS40 in Sydney it’s all about the mixers – think smoked lemonade and a bush tonic with native lemongrass and lemon myrtle.
Chilling red wines: We already do it with sparkling shiraz, and quite a lot of cheap red wine is far nicer served on ice with a strip of orange zest, but it’s hardly a thing. Freezing it and making a wine slushie on the other hand was massive last summer – although that was usually rosé.
Flexitarian dieting: In a nutshell, this is vegetarian with a little bit of meat on the side. With vegan eating gaining popularity, it’s a way to be on trend without forever saying goodbye to bacon, so it’s rather perfect.
Food waste gets serious: What we don’t eat has never been more discussed. The ABC’S War On Waste series has made it a hot topic, and it isn’t confined to this country. In the United States, culinary giants Tom Colicchio and Anthony Bourdain joined with The Rockefeller Foundation to make Wasted! The Story Of Food Waste, a documentary that premiered last month. Meanwhile, in London, Jamie Oliver has set up Ukharvest, a British branch of Australia’s Ozharvest. And I will declare a personal interest here – the food reclamation charity I support, Secondbite, redistributed more than 10 million kilos of fresh food in 2016.