It’s that time of year when foodies from all walkd of life are placing their bets on what we will see on our shelves, restaurant menus, magazines and blogs in the coming year. One food guru who is reknowned for picking these trends is MasterChef judge and taste.com.au columnist, Matt Preston.
“I remember a famous piece picking Korean as the trend cuisine. That was six years ago and it still hasn’t happened but maybe this year,” he said. “Australia’s growing obsession with eating better looks bound to continue – health and diet books are now selling through the year, rather than just in summer or post Christmas”
MATT’S TOP PICKS FOR 2014
Single origin milk: With the $1 a litre milk wars over, dairy farmers are opting out of the co-op and producing boutique milk products from single breed cows, such as Holstein, pasteurising but not homogenising milk so it has an old-fashioned creamy feel. Look out for value-added milk products such as organic and single origin gelato, yoghurt and cheese.
Bold burgers: Choose wagyu, grilled organic chicken or vegetarian, served with skin-on chips and pickled gherkin, as top chefs (including Sydney’s Sean Connolly, Justin North and Warren Turnbull) turn their hand to flipping patties. In Melbourne, Mr Burger food vans deliver goods streetside and the Lord Of The Fries chain is invading meat-free territory.
Vegan and vegetarianism: Lord Of The Fries co-founder and vegan Mark Koronczyk, who operates in Sydney and Melbourne, said more customers are switching to veganism for health and ethical reasons as there are now better and wider options available.
Freekeh: Is the name given to any grain, usually wheat, which is harvested while green then roasted. Freekeh has a low GI and is higher in protein, vitamins and minerals. It is emerging on restaurant menus in LA and New York and is praised by Jamie Oliver. Some nutritionists say its better than quinoa, which is the oh-so-last-year superfood of 2013. Also look out for amaranth, buckwheat, farro and millet.
Pub revival:Lookout for themed public houses, be it Irish, French, Japanese or America’s Deep South, with makeovers such as bare-brick walls and furniture, or old-time quirky or slick fit-outs with dude food-inspired menu items, such as corned beef, karaage chicken, pulled pork sliders and boiled crab accompanying boutique beers on tap..
Pickling: While it has been around for centuries, pickling is a way to take produce beyond its natural season. Matt Moran has been pickling on his Paddock To Plate TV show, Neil Perry is pickling at his relocated Rockpool restaurant in Sydney and various Spice Temples. Expect to find amateur pickling at your BFM’s (best foodie mate’s) place.
Sustainable fish: As prices for wild-caught fish start to rise, expect to see more sustainable varieties on the menu, such as the white tuna or bonito, and more varied aquaculture species. As Australia is a 70 per cent net importer of fish, expect to see debate over the pros and cons of imports, including species indigenous to Australia, such as barramundi, now being farmed in Vietnam. by an Australian company
Gluten-free pasta production: Italy’s Barilla, the world’s biggest pasta maker, released a gluten-free pasta earlier this year. In February, local pasta maker Vetta launches two “Smart Pastas” one high protein, low carb, the other a “cholesterol lowering” pasta in the form of “active beta glucan from the addition of oat fibre”.
Boutique spirits: Consumers are embracing small-batch spirits from craft distilleries. Four Pillars gin, made in Victoria’s Yarra Valley is made in a German-built still using traditional juniper berry, orange peel and cardamom combined with native ingredients including Tasmanian pepper berry leaf and lemon myrtle. Tasmania’s booming whisky industry is receiving high praise around the globe.
So there we have it, 2014 is looking mighty delicious (well according to Matt anyway!)