Travel Trends 2012: Food
Four Seasons chefs from around the world dish their insights into the culinary future.
The culinary world is always changing. With 2012 unfolding before us, Four Seasons has peered into the future of all things delicious by tapping into the wealth of epicurean expertise at its fingertips. Here are key predictions for the gourmet realm in the year ahead from star chefs around the world.
• Emerging cuisines from emerging markets: The varied regions of China, Brazil and India are having an increasing influence over restaurant concepts and menus. —Executive Chef Thierry Papillier of Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
• Bites that transport: Street food is here to stay. The trend that started in 2011 will only further develop in 2012 as guests continue to crave authentic bites that transport them to the dish’s country of origin. Diners at Windows Lounge can peruse the StrEAT menu for a refined approach to this distinct cuisine, resulting in items such as chicken chipotle cilantro dog, brik a l’oeuf, and eggplant coconut curry. —Executive Chef Ashley James of Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
• “Dressed up” comfort food: That’s the “tuxedo version” of comfort food dishes, as I like to call it, which is taking classic dishes that we all love and adding adventure and exceptional quality to them with unique flavour profiles and local ingredients. —Executive Chef Brooke Vosika of Four Seasons Hotel Boston
• Back to roots: Distinctive ethnic dishes continue to grow in popularity. Dishes from different cultures have been mixed and matched for so long now that people are craving wholesome, soulful, robust food with definitive roots. —Chef Victor Casanova of Culina, Modern Italian at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
We cannot forget our roots. Food is culture, and traditional cuisine is the taste of the grandmas. —Executive Chef Alex Gares of Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand
• Farm to table: Here to stay, the importance of continuing the movement for fresh, local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. At Four Seasons, a worldwide emphasis for 2012 will be put on utilising produce, meats, fish and other items found in and around properties’ home destinations.
Edge, Steak & Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Miami, which opened this past November, has key relationships with local fishermen to ensure the steakhouse menu is also filled with the seasons’ best line-caught local snapper, cobia and, of course, stone crabs. —Executive Chef Aaron Brooks of Four Seasons Hotel Miami
• Artisanal canning on the rise: Chefs are making and canning their own signature olives, pickles, salsas, sauces and the list goes on. Chefs can put their own stamp on products while also guaranteeing quality ingredients. —Executive Chef Brooke Vosika of Four Seasons Hotel Boston
• Upscale bar snacks: Traditional bar fare will be adapted in favour of more adventurous recipes—think buffalo Brussels sprouts and avocado fries. —Executive Chef Brooke Vosika of Four Seasons Hotel Boston
• Expired: Out with molecular gastronomy, Sous Vide cooking, meatballs and the overuse of truffle oil. (We all love truffle oil but a little goes a long way!) I think we’ll see cupcakes fizzle, too, and be replaced by a new “it” dessert item. My daughter thinks it should be sticky buns . . . I agree! —Executive Chef Brooke Vosika of Four Seasons Hotel Boston
(Four Seasons Magazine Contributor John Mariani agrees regarding at least one fading trend: “So-called modernist or molecular cuisine—always more hype than actual influence—will fade or disappear as restaurateurs realise very few people want to spend four hours and US$250 eating 30 very strange and exotic, chemically induced dishes.”)
• In the end, it all comes back to travel: It is the well-travelled chefs who are leading the charge in food trends in general—the chefs who are arriving in the country’s top food cities after training around the globe. By introducing new methods into our kitchens, they help us take our cuisine to the next level. Four Seasons Hotel Miami is a great example of this, with Executive Chef Aaron Brooks recently opening Edge, Steak and Bar, with his breadth of experience from Australia, British Columbia and the Northeast. Those cultures harmonise and add to the richness and flavour of his dishes. —Executive Chef Brooke Vosika of Four Seasons Hotel Boston