EATING IS A POWERFULLY COMPLEX ACTIVITY
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ating is a powerfully complex activity. If you think food is merely for nourishment, or a basis of pleasure, a trip to a superfood market will open your eyes. A woman in a business suit, Mallika, says she tries to avoid white flour as it makes her feel bloated. Having educated herself about food, another woman, Kanika Katyal, favours Amaranthus and millet!
As for me, the more food I try, the more my palate seems to become broad, except that I am less eager to stand ordinary food. I see no point in eating cheese slices, for instance. Lately, I have been opting for Japanese over Chinese. ‘I don’t enjoy pastries any more as they have moved from dairy to a non-dairy base. Apples were a part of my growing up as we had them seasonally, but today, they are from the cold stock so the taste and texture is compromised’, shares chéf Bakshish Dean, culinary consultant.
“The change is mainly due to the availability of multiple and easy delivery options, besides social media stories on changing food trends, And, of course, health and healthy lifestyle. I have seen a hardcore non-vegetarian turning into vegetarian, or even vegan, owing to health benefits and many options of gourmet ingredients like black radish, seaweed, different types of mushrooms, purple pok choy and choices of cuisine like Mediterranean to Middle East and Southeast Asian to regional Indian”, shares chéf Vikram Khatri, brand head & executive chéf, Guppy & Hello Guppy.
WHAT IS THE FOOD TREND MOVING TOWARDS?
“I strongly feel root-to-stem cooking, collaborations, regional cooking, local produce, etc are catching up. However, if I see the world at large and the changes in the food trends, I feel the trend is moving towards family-style eating, local ingredients within reach, organic is better, non-alcoholic beverages, vegetarianism, superfoods, fermented products, and experimental dining,” says chéf Abhishek Gupta, executive sous chéf, the Leela Ambience, Gurgaon. We certainly have changed the way we cook, owing to the change in who we are, how we think, which has opened up a world of options.
“With disposable income and exposure comes opportunity and good businessmen take advantage of that and they establish concepts that would make you visit them for the sake of nostalgia and, if delivered well, you make sure you get that experience regularly. All of this clubbed with getting the cuisine experience in the comfort of your house at affordable rates is really pushing the change in food preferences irrespective of age group”, adds Bakshish.
CHANGE IN THE FAMILY STRUCTURE
Taste can be malleable. At times, you have to condition yourself to like things. “More and more couples (usually both working) I see are from different communities, and hire a cook who could be from a different cultural background all together. So, the family is eating food that is entirely different and preferences change over a period of time”, says Bakshish.
“Secondly, increase in disposable income has led to a complete change in lifestyle. Travel has increased and, therefore, your exposure to the cuisines has increased. Who could say that sushi one day would be so popular in India (metro cities),” adds Bakshish. “Moreover, the decent income bracket of today’s millennials encourages them not to shy away from changing their food preferences compared to their elders,” says Khatri.
Food has come a long way
Food fads adapted by the West, which had actually evolved in India, have come back in vogue, for example cold pressed coconut oil, direct buying from the farmers etc. Today, clean healthy food, regional food, platforms for chéf collaborations, pop-up restaurants, eating out are getting popular,” says celebrity chéf Vicky Ratnani.
(by Rupali Dean)