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F&B trends and hot ho­tel open­ings for 2020

With the new year come new ex­pec­ta­tions of how the F&B in­dus­try will con­tinue to grow and evolve. Will trends from 2019 show their stay­ing power, or the next big thing tak­ing the world by storm? Chefs and restau­ra­teurs weigh in with their thoughts.

“Be­sides the mon­u­men­tal launch of cer­tain pro­tein al­ter­na­tives, I be­lieve we will see more recog­ni­tion to­wards veg­eta­bles and they will in­creas­ingly be­come the fo­cus of restau­rant menus. For the past few years in Esquina, we’ve made it a point to fea­ture five dishes where veg­eta­bles are the key in­gre­di­ent and we plan to in­crease this ra­tio even fur­ther this year. This doesn’t mean that the dish is ve­gan or veg­e­tar­ian, al­though some are, but the vegetable is the high­light. Apart from this trend, I think value-for-money din­ing will be an in­creas­ing de­mand among din­ers; with the amount of fan­tas­tic restau­rants that are cur­rently op­er­at­ing in Sin­ga­pore, and the fact that din­ers are get­ting more dis­cern­ing, com­pe­ti­tion will be tough.” Car­los Mon­to­b­bio, ex­ec­u­tive chef of Esquina

“We see fine din­ing chefs around the world veer­ing to­wards more whole­some cui­sine, due to the in­creased de­mand in health­ier life­style choices from their clien­tele. Many are open­ing Mediter­ranean restau­rants as it opens up a whole sea of pos­si­bil­i­ties for food choices. There are so many beau­ti­ful cuisines that line the coast of the Mediter­ranean, in­clud­ing Italy and Spain, which cel­e­brate the nat­u­ral, ro­bust flavours of qual­ity in­gre­di­ents.” Olivier Ben­del, CEO of Deli­ciae Hos­pi­tal­ity Man­age­ment

“Fer­men­ta­tion is def­i­nitely here to stay for 2020. With the rise of many ar­ti­sanal bake­houses, sour­dough breads have been more pop­u­lar than it ever has been. Granted, that may mean there are some bak­eries that are adding sour­dough flavour rather than cul­ti­vat­ing their own starters to cap­i­talise on the hype, but in gen­eral most bak­eries are pro­duc­ing fan­tas­tic loaves. The other fer­men­ta­tion tech­nique that is re­ally pick­ing up is kom­bucha brew­ing; many es­tab­lish­ments are start­ing their own pro­grammes. The rise in health-con­scious din­ers also means that al­ter­na­tive grains like sprouted grains and whole wheat are get­ting more pop­u­lar. Handcrafte­d bagels are an­other up and com­ing al­ter­na­tive to sand­wich bread.” Dean Brettschne­i­der, founder of Baker and Cook

Ai­tor Orive, head chef of Basque Kitchen by Ai­tor “The rise of sim­plic­ity. There’s been a great push in the in­dus­try to­wards the re­vival of clas­sic cui­sine; dishes with an em­pha­sis on pro­duce and sus­tain­abil­ity driven by a mod­ern sen­si­bil­ity. Din­ers as a whole, I be­lieve, are start­ing to stray away from gim­micks and overly con­vo­luted sto­ries with their food. This kind of food is en­ter­tain­ing and bound­ary push­ing, for sure, but I’ve no­ticed more din­ers who want sim­ply well-ex­e­cuted food. It’s the flavours that should im­press.”

“I reckon plant-based din­ing will con­tinue to take flight in Sin­ga­pore. The sus­tain­able push will get stronger with more peo­ple on board and it will ex­tend to plant-based pro­duce, i.e. root-to-stem con­cepts and ze­rowaste restau­rants. There is also more read­ily avail­able in­for­ma­tion on sus­tain­able din­ing, hence the trend will con­tinue to grow. Many restau­rants are adopt­ing th­ese con­cepts and prac­tices. For ex­am­ple, take a look at Kausmo; their en­tire con­cept is based on re­pur­pos­ing un­wanted pro­duce. At Salted & Hung, how­ever, I get in­spired by the flavours, ori­gins and tex­tures of the main pro­duce. After the dish is cre­ated, I look at what is left over ― shells, skins. From there, I work out how we can use the by-prod­ucts, whether it’s for an­other dish or to en­hance the main dish I’ve cre­ated. After we’ve elim­i­nated at least 95% of wastage, the dish goes onto the menu.” Drew No­cente, chef-founder of Salted & Hung

Fo­tis Kokoshi, head chef of Sum­mer­long “Food con­scious­ness has been on the rise for the past few years, and I be­lieve this shift in con­sumer be­hav­iour is here to stay in 2020. In my restau­rant, I’m get­ting in­creas­ingly more re­quests for veg­e­tar­ian, ve­gan and gluten­free al­ter­na­tives. Be­sides this trend, qual­ity-in­gre­di­ent-driven cui­sine as well as per­son­able and in­tu­itive ser­vice are get­ting more pop­u­lar.”

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