Singapore — Along with everything else in our lives, the way we eat has been disrupted by the pandemic. We’ve seen food establishments open, close and open again, some with fresh menu redesigns and new perspectives. We’ve seen people take baking into their own hands, adeptly churning out a variety of homemade breads and pastries, and we’ve seen the rise of ordering in and takeaways.
But what’s next for this year? Chefs and experts predict that specific food trends will make an impact on 2021’s gastro scene. Read on to find out.
Even finer dining
If we’ve missed simply going out for meals, then we’ve missed fine dining even more. Experts told Food & Wine that when people dine out in 2021, they will expect a more memorable and indulgent experience.
Executive Chef JoJo Ruiz at Serea Coastal Cuisine and Lionfish in San Diego noted that we can expect “more exclusive types of dining experiences” such as “tasting menus and private dining experiences that go above and beyond with ingredients and access”.
Meanwhile, Chef Gemma Kamin-Korn of Bar Beau in New York believes that 2021 will bring “two polarising approaches” to dining — one that embraces the need for “comforting and soul-nourishing cuisine” and the other that functions “as an escape and embraces frivolousness—allowing patrons to be both fancy and indulgent”.
Processes like pickling and canning
With the pandemic raging on, most of us wondered when we’d ever leave our homes in 2020. This, coupled with the unreliability of supply in grocery stores (thanks to a lot of panic-buying), has led people to explore how to extend certain foods’ shelf life.
Experts note that the trend will continue strongly into 2021, as people discover the benefits of processes like pickling, fermenting, and canning foods, with the goal of having a growing emergency food stash at home.
With people spending more time cooking at home, there has been a rise in heritage cooking; that is, cooking food that reflects personal heritage and cultural background. The same trend is being showcased in new restaurants and other food establishments. In 2021, people will start seeing cultures more holistically through food, beyond the “usual” dishes that cultures are normally known for.
According to Chef Kevin Tien of Moon Rabbit in Washington, DC, for chefs “to be able to cook their families’ food and to be showcased properly for it” is something to celebrate. “It’s high time these talented cooks get the spotlight they deserve and the spotlight on their cultures those vibrant cultures deserve,” Chef Tien noted.
Experimenting with other cultures’ cuisines
While we will be reaching for our roots and doing a lot more heritage cooking in 2021, experts also predict the rise of experimenting in the kitchen. After cooking the usual suspects, people will be wont to explore new recipes and dishes they’ve never before tried, and experimenting with cuisines from other cultures will open the door to a vast array of food possibilities.
Expanding one’s cooking palate to include dishes from other cultures means that home-cooking will get way more exciting this year.
Rise of the condiments
Are you a ketchup fiend? Mad about chilli oil? Relying on your soy sauce or spicy vinegar to make your meal extra delicious? The right condiment can make or break a meal, and some of us have our favourite condiment go-to’s for different dishes and flavour combinations. In 2021, experts agree that condiments are making a huge comeback to the frontlines of cooking.
“With so many more people preparing more meals … than they have in decades, I think cooking with condiments and sauces will be a big trend,” said Chef Vivian Howard of Handy & Hot in Charleston, South Carolina. Chef Howard also noted that it’s not just store-bought condiments that will be popular in 2021. This year, people will be experimenting a lot more with their own condiment concoctions, and this is what makes eating food more exciting.
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