New year, new food. We spoke to Luis Pous of Asia de Cuba about his predictions for 2017.
- What ingredients do you think will be popular on restaurant menus in 2017?
I think fresh and locally grown produce will be popular on menus in 2017, as people are becoming even more conscious of the origins of the ingredients they are consuming.
- What cuisines do you expect to become more popular in 2017?
That’s a tough one, I would say simple Latin and Spanish cuisine will become more popular in 2017.
- What flavours have you seen being developed, that you envisage emerging on restaurant menus in 2017?
The flavours I keep on seeing crop up are natural flavours with less sugar, an increase in the use of herbs, citrus and olive oil. People are developing these flavours and using great produce to do so, with simple preparations.
- Have you seen a trend for locally sourced food amongst diners over the past year and do you expect this to continue in 2017?
I have definitely seen a trend for locally sourced food amongst diners, but it is not always easy to sustain for the majority of the restaurants. I hope that fresh vegetables and hormone-free meats and poultry, as well as wild caught fish, will be more accessible and readily available to more chefs and therefore we will see more of it on menus in 2017.
- If 2016 was the year of the Mexican mash-up, what will 2017 be the year off in terms of eating out?
2017 will be the year of Latin food, and also the year of food technology and delivery!
- What do you believe to be the next ‘courgetti’?
I don’t think it will be a specific ingredient, but we will see people using a wider variety of interesting vegetables to make comfort food – as opposed to eating carb-heavy treats.
- When it comes to vegetarian/vegan dining, have you seen an increase in this market? Do you suspect that this trend will continue?
Yes, there has been a big increase! Chefs are becoming more enthusiastic about this and consequently have made some really creative vegetarian dishes. This is making it more appealing for customers, fuelling the trend. For example, we have created a vegetarian a la carte menu, which includes dishes such as wok chilli-rubbed tofu served with black rice, black beans, roasted cauliflower and japanese aioli; and beet pica served with crispy wonton, Spanish olives, currants, toasted coconut, almond and avocado ceviche.
- When it comes to dining choices, have you found that there has been an increase in diners asking for ‘clean eating menus’? If so, what has driven this change and do you expect it to remain in the upcoming year?
People are looking at eating cleaner for health reasons. I think this will continually grow, as simple and clean cooking is better for everyone anyway and people now want to understand exactly what they are eating.
- 2016 was the year of the ‘sugar scare’. Since the sugar tax was announced in the March budget, have you seen an increase in diners who ask about sugar levels in meals and do you suspect this will continue?
Absolutely, that’s why I’m working with fresh sugar cane juice made from our own exclusive sugar cane press instead of pure white sugar. We use it in our mojitos and also in some of our desserts as well.
- What ingredients do you suspect we will see less of on restaurant menus in 2017?
I suspect that we will see a lot less of ingredients that aren’t associated with healthy eating such as butter, cream and white flour in 2017.
Will 2017 be the rise of ‘the savoury meal’ or the ‘sweet treats’?