Food industry world over continue to be challenged with a growing demand for food & beverages accompanied by a ‘Story with a twist.’
Chef thinkers, curators and innovators are pursuing new flavours or ingredients in line with the trend even as they endeavour to discover new frontiers. For the most part, in the past, where the diners once had reluctance to experiment new dishes, today’s information, knowledge and exposure have them on a perpetual quest for what’s new and what’s next. Apart from the traditional baby boomer generation who have seen, been there, done and tried it all, the emerging millennial, notorious for jumping from one ethnic culinary trend to another are also are pushing the envelope for new and fresh concepts from the culinary scientists and artists.
In the context of Indian culinary trends, given the economic, societal and life style transformation in progress, the race to innovate, experiment new flavours and experiences through new ingredients, new procurement and production techniques, regional ethnic influences have translated itself into a repertoire of F&B dining experiences. The domestic consumer in line with the eclectic nature of choice in Indian cuisine is demanding newer, better and more innovative F&B options. Menu trends feature brief, bold variety yet select signature dishes brilliant sensorial in presentation, delicious in taste while the new X factor is organic and health value. Whoever
"A new genre of creative, talented chef entrepreneurs
collaborates with like-minded foodies & business promoters to bring alive India’s regional ethnic favourites in a wave of Indian fusion cuisine"
Increasingly, diners desire for ‘a delicious twist in the story’– mixing marinades and grill table side, blending a broth with choice of steamed sea food, chicken or meat or vegetables, cooked and eaten from the same pot.
Street food finding its way on to these hygienic and sterilised worlds of high street restaurant tables through innovative presentation retaining the original ingredients while delivering the authentic taste, freshness and look that grandmas had perfected.
A new genre of young, creative, talented chef entrepreneurs are collaborating with like-minded foodies and business promoters to bring alive India’s age old regional ethnic favourites in a brave wave of Indian fusion cuisine. The traditional Mughlai, Punjabi repertoire is now challenged by the regional cuisines of Gujarati, Rajasthani, South West coastal cuisine comprising Konkan Malwani, Gomantak, Mangalorian Bund, Travancore Cochin Malabar, Karaikudi Chettinad, complimented with hinterland food from the southern vegetarian fair are the emerging regional populist food sweeping the hearts and minds of a new generation of diners accustomed to eating out most of two main meals of the day at least five times a week.
The white coated culinary artists hitherto nurtured within the eco system of luxury hotels are migrating on to the competitive new world of high street standalone eateries which are now part of the landscape of metros and cities in contemporary India. “Dare to Dream”, the once servile back of the house, unseen work horses are riding on their enormous new found popularity wave among the new generation housewives, foodies and causal diners through the TV channels and internet and going full thrust to actualise their potential as successful celebrity chefs and business role models.
The ‘glamour quotient’ fits in perfectly to this new breed of entrepreneur chefs with their foray into TV food shows, write ups and close association with the world of entertainment and celebrations. The raison de etre for dining out to destination restaurants is all about ‘Experiencing the Experience’.
Future consumer trends will be driven by aspirational social climbs looking at aspects of art, history, skill, aromas, flavours, visual appeal, memories, etc. Therefore the transformational turnaround for established F&B businesses in premium hotels, resorts and standalone restaurants would be to recalibrate and bring ‘DESIGN ‘on to the centre stage be it interiors, trendy table set ups, uniforms and grooming, etc.
Infuse dynamism, agility and obsessive passion as these are the defining elements that would drive future F&B business success. It is so critical to stay relevant to the ever changing consumer taste, needs and aspirations.
(PK Mohankumar is a hotel industry veteran with over four decades of experience with Taj Group in senior leadership positions and hardcore operations.)