CHENNAI: What will India eat next year? Standing on the door step of 2015, it’s a question that all chefs ponder over. What next should I plate for my society to eat and enjoy? When the word ‘society’ comes to mind, the first thought that hits me is ‘healthy society’ and that’s only possible when there is a healthy environment. The demand of society today is healthy food served in a healthy environment. These days, eating healthy isn’t just something that people in the hospitality industry are trying to persuade people to adopt, but it’s a trend that a lot of people have caught on to. Eating food that’s low-cal but still gourmet is going to be a big puller this New year.
‘Environment Sustainability’ will be one of the major culinary trends which will hit the market in 2015. Based on this trend, we should offer our guests a menu, which will give them an informed choice to place an order, keeping in mind the ‘super ingredients’ that will be healthy for them and sustainable for the environment.
The parameters for healthy food depend on two things — the ingredients that have been used and the way the ingredients reach the kitchen. Mother nature has blessed us with a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits which are an important source to good health. So ‘colour your plate’ and make your diet in such a way that it consists of colourful vegetables.
Our new menu will highlight the ‘colour your plate’ concept, where all the ‘super Ingredients’ will be used and cooked in a distinct way to retain its nutritive values. It’s very important to know how these colour pigments help our body.
The veggies which are red and orange are the biggest source of Vitamin C, such as red peppers. Green veggies contain chlorophyll, which is a great source of Vitamin A and K, calcium, potassium and iron. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of iron as well. Blue and purple coloured veggies have additional food values. Like blue berries are enriched with a powerful antioxidant called Anthocyanin, which helps to prevent cancer and heart diseases.
Broccoli and cabbage contain a photochemical called Isothiocyanate that helps fight cancer. Lycopene, a carotenoid present in red veggies, such as tomatoes, keep our cardiovascular system healthy.
Cooking in a desiring method is another important aspect. Slow cooking, confit, compote, sous-vide and just tossed with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) are the key techniques. In this commercial world, where the nature is in threat, it’s very necessary to choose your ingredients in such a manner that environment does not get affected. Environment sustainability is very important and will reflect in the menu in the forthcoming days.
Color code of seafood should also be implemented in the menu. The seafood items that will be used in the menu will be marked with the ‘color code’, which will inform guests about the availability of the species. It is the responsibility of society to know and understand which species are endangered, and not consume them.
The species which are available in plenty will be marked ‘Green’ and rare ones will be marked ‘Red’. The other essential aspect of crafting a menu is the source of ingredients and how it reaches the kitchen. Is it really necessary to import raw fish and meat in India — a place which is blessed with three oceans surrounding the land? The fresh catch from the nearest sea is far healthier and delicious than the frozen international delicacy. The new menu will highlight ‘Fresh Catch of the Day’ concept, based on the availability in the local market.
The writer is a chef at Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers.