2021 was a year of farm-to-table concepts, sustainability and zero-waste cooking, and the rise of cloud kitchens. As we head into a year that brings us unprecedented times yet again, we wonder what’s next in the culinary space? We got in touch with 10 chefs to give you a lowdown on the food trends in 2022. Here they are.
1. Hussain Shahzad, Executive Chef, The Bombay Canteen And O Pedro
Indigenous Farmer Collaborations
“Along with leaning towards the farm to table concept, restaurants and chefs will now cautiously connect and source ingredients from urban Indian farmers growing quality produce instead of importing. These are informed farmers with enhanced agricultural practises, farming techniques and processes. We have actively commenced this practise with The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro. For example, sourcing ingredients like rhubarb, brussels sprout and avocados (that were traditionally imported), from indigenous farms across India or sourcing hydroponically grown tomatoes, mustard greens and lettuce, all grown by urban Indian farmers,” he shares.
Taking The Restaurant Experience Home
Given current food trends, he adds, “It’s going to be important to create and design menus not just from a dine-in but also a delivery perspective. It’s not just about creatively putting food on a plate but also how it can be put into a box and sent to guests for a fuss-free, yet ‘restaurant like experience’ in the safety and comfort of their homes.”
2. Pankil Shah, Director & Co-founder, Neighbourhood Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. – Woodside Inn
“With climate change at our doorstep, sustainable living and eating have become part of everyday parlance. This culture of thoughtful consumption is leading to people integrating more and more plant-based foods into their diets. This trend is surely going to carry on through this year,” Pankil says.
3. Urvika Kanoi, Chef & Owner Of Café Duco
“This trend is going to blow up this year. The focus is shifting from only alcoholic drinks and cocktails to crafted beverages with real ingredients and avant-garde flavour profiles. Gone are the days where the other drinks section of a menu was covered with drinks full of artificial syrups, commercial tonics and a lonely herb to spruce it up. Now it’s all about extracting flavours, using fresh produce and artisan tonics/toppers to give you an experience at par with the fancy cocktails. Sober curious is the new way of life for the new generation and they are lapping this trend up,” shares Urvika. Soul food won’t need alcohol to sip on.
4. Vidit Aren, Executive Chef at Soufflé S’il Vous Plaît
“Increasingly local brands are coming forward and creating some very interesting condiments which are extremely relevant to the Indian consumer such as Chutney Collective, Wood Street Sauce Co, etc. Condiment culture is very old in India’s food history in forms such as pickles and chutneys. I feel India doesn’t have condiments that appeal to the millennials and aping the west can only take you so far. Hence, in the coming years we might see condiments brands coming forward and making condiments true to India’s palette and heritage,” adds Vidit.
5. Chef Amninder Sandhu, Founder Of Ammu, Bliss Food Experiences, And Barfi & Sons
Evolved Catering Experiences
“With the current scenario, more people are looking at hosting events at their homes, and are moving away from the traditional caterers. They want live stations with chefs garnishing and plating delicious small plates. The entire game of catering is about to evolve. You will see more experience driven dining and personalised catering. Chef driven parties where the food stands out over all other elements is the direction that we are heading in,” says the chef.
Naturally Sweetened & Less Sweetened Indian Mithai
“As everyone gets health conscious but still craves a little sweet, people are going to look at naturally sweetened or less sweetened mithai options. Refined sugar alternatives like dates, honey, coconut sugar, fruit etc will be used extensively, and nutritious Indian sweets made from dry fruit and nuts will be flying off the shelves,” she adds.
6. Chef Aabhas Mehrotra, Executive Chef At Sorrentina
Pizza As Comfort Food & Rising Pizza Trends
“Comfort food has become everyone’s go-to and I believe people will continue to move towards what’s known to them and what evokes a sense of nostalgia. As we constantly strive to offer something new to our customers, we introduced thin crust sourdough pizzas along with personal pizzas, vegan pizzas and even folded pizzas to adapt to the customers desire for newness whilst retaining the feeling of familiarity. This year, concepts such as blonde pizzas, personalised pizzas (in the shape of your initials), frozen pizzas, and pizza cones are something to look out for,” the chef shares.
7. Zorawar Kalra, Founder & Managing Director, Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd.
“The menu sizes have become a lot smaller and I see this trend continuing in 2022. People are appreciating the same as a smaller menu means less food cost, less food wastage and higher quality ultimately, as chefs have to prepare fewer dishes. Indians like to see variety, but they order the same 10 percent of the menu. The dining has changed for the better and people have now started tipping larger as they understand the problems that the industry has been through so the tip to the staff has also increased,” says Mr. Karla.
8. Ranveer Brar
DIY Kits And Home-Cooked Meals
“The lockdown has made everyone capable of whipping up at least the basic dishes. As such, meal kits and ready to cook meals are here to stay. It will cut down the challenging or time-consuming parts of cooking, of procuring ingredients and in some cases, pre-cook prep and allow people to continue experimenting and perfecting their cooking. Indian home food, that everyone has made a beeline back to, will be trending as well for the foreseeable future,” shares the chef.
9. Chef Hanoze Shroff, Executive Chef (Mumbai), Passcode Hospitality (SAZ, Pings, PCO & Jamun)
Return of Indigenous Indian Ingredients In Contemporary Cuisines
“Several indigenous ingredients from various states have come into the limelight over the past few years, especially with home cooks becoming increasingly popular, curating fare with these seasonal wonders. As these ingredients are easy to access, healthy and promote sustainability, I feel that they will become a mainstay in our thinking this year, and beyond. One such example is our Chukandar Galouti Kebab served at Jamun in Assagao, Goa. We use Amaranth (Rajgira seeds) to coat the kebab and cook it slowly on a tawa without any fat, which makes for a delicious crispy coating. The kebab is then topped with a Kodaikanal avocado chutney and finished with crispy curry leaves,” he says.
Homemade Chilli Crunch As The Condiment Of Choice
“Chilli Crunch–an oily, spoonable chilli–is an amalgamation of Sichuan peppercorns, fiery hot chilli flakes, fried garlic, fermented soybeans, sesame seeds, a pinch of sugar and umami-heavy ingredients like wakame or shimeji mushroom. You might see it in restaurants soon – whether on mac-and-cheese, sprinkling it over pizzas, spooning it over dumplings, pastas, over ice creams, parathas, scrambled eggs and omelets – it works with everything! Regular hot sauce and chilli oil just can’t keep up with this stuff anymore,” he adds. We got to say–this one certainly seems quite interesting.
10. Sameer Sehgal, Director, Culinary and F&B service At The Leela Palace New Delhi
According to Sameer, plant-based proteins or mock/faux meat along with local ingredients will certainly be on the rise. He also adds, “While the take aways/home delivery segment will grow stronger, we may also see more dark kitchens opening up. Indian chefs will continue to dominate local market in terms of talent and innovation.”
Planning to switch to a plant-based or vegan diet? Check out these places that are serving it for you here.