With the start of a new year comes the inevitable search for the best flavors in the culinary world. And as in every part of life, fads fade and new and exciting concepts appear in the food scene.
To start out 2018 deliciously, the San Miguel Pure Foods Culinary Center (SMPFCC) enlisted the help of some of the country’s most renowned chefs—Heny Sison, Emelita Galang, Rosemarie Lim, Sylvia and Ernest Reynoso-Gala, and Gene Gonzalez—to break down the emerging food trends for the year.
“Since we’re very much present throughout different segments of the food service industry, we’re always trying to stay ahead,” explained San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc. Culinary Services manager Llena Tan-Arcenas at the beginning of the forecast gathering.
“For this year, we’re seeing five major trends that we know will make for a very appetizing and appealing 2018 for food lovers,” she added.
“This trend has been present as early as 2016 but has since evolved. Now, there’s even more extravagance and at times, outrageousness, when it comes to food items, flavor and taste combinations,” explained Arcenas.
To demonstrate, they prepared a 12-inch burger and sliders adorned with a vibrant array of vegetables using Angus burger, cheese, nuggets, mayonnaise, and honey-cured thick cut bacon for tasting.
To introduce bold and unique flavor combinations, chili-infused honey glaze chicken lollipops, served with sweet potato and peas tater tots, was further served, whose mix of flavors—earthy green peas, a tinge of sweetness from the potatoes, sweet, spicy and savory zest of chicken lollipops—blending wonderfully.
Dishes that are easily consumed on-the-go have been a steady hit since and will continue to be a trend through 2018.
Chef Heny Sison pointed out, “Traffic conditions in the metro will lead to ready-to-eat food being patronized more. As more time is being spent on the road, there’s less time for food preparation.”
At the event, “grab-and- go” convenience was best exemplified in dishes such as the grilled cheese and truffled caramel bacon in charcoal foccacia, spicy Korean pulled pork noodles, and roasted pimiento mac and cheese with truffle butter and candied bacon.
The dishes were served in convenient containers as per Chef Emelita Galang’s prediction of a rise in popularity for meal plans and meal kits. Savory with a bite, Honey Chili Habanero Chicken in cones was also served as the culinary partners also predicted a higher appetite for spicy food on-the-go.
Meanwhile, three varieties of salads were also prepared: Indian Curry, Asian Chicken, and Mediterranean, which were all stored in mason jars and take-out cups. Salads, as the chefs explained, are a perfect convenience food item as they can be prepared the night before, stored in the refrigerator, and ready for grabbing the following morning.
With more people traveling to various parts of the globe, authentic ethnic flavors will continue to grow this year. A traveler himself, Chef Gene Gonzales predicted the popularity of exotic fruits and vegetables. Global cooking techniques will also become influential, as more methods that heighten the dining experience are crossing over from one culture to another.
One example is the process of sous vide, which involves low-temperature cooking in water in order to preserve more flavor. At the exhibit, chicken rubbed in African spice, and Morrocan pork belly using pork liempo, were both cooked sous vide. Infused oils were also presented, as these are typically used for short cooking or to finish fried and roasted dishes. Said Gonzales, these add flavor and aromas that enhance the overall experience of a dish.
Heritage Filipino cuisine
Meanwhile, mother and son chefs Sylvia and Ernest Reynoso-Gala predicted that Filipino cuisine would gain further prominence this year. More restaurants will offer their own renditions of traditional Filipino cuisine and combine these with modern techniques.
To illustrate, they prepared traditional recipes with innovative twists, among them lechon kawali paella, boneless crispy pata, and, to celebrate heritage, three sauces that represented Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao: kare-kare, humba, and piyanggang.
Artisanal breads and hybrid desserts
The final food station featured modernized artisanal breads and colorful desserts, as foreseen by Chef Rosemarie Lim. The spread included matcha croissants, conchas and Hokkaido bread. Modern variations of the doughnut were also served.
“Smoothie bowls are also predicted to become more popular. These are famous in beach destinations as the perfect start and end to an adventure-filled day,” Lim said.
Gin cocktails, DIY and local ingredients
Cocktail trends were also tackled at the forecast, and as GSM Premium Gin brand manager Giselle Villanueva cited, “This year we’re seeing two main trends. First is the use of locally sourced ingredients, which add new flavor and dimension to juniper-based alcohol.
“Secondly, as cocktails keep getting more interesting because of a wider range of possible flavors and ingredients, we see more drinkers experimenting and creating their own simple cocktails at home.”
To explain the first trend, GSM with the help of Enzo Lim—who is involved with two successful Filipino restaurants in New York, Maharlika and Jeepney—concocted the Pinoy Para-sol cocktail using gin mixed with lemongrass-pandan concentrate, lemon juice, mango nectar and guyabano juice.
For the second trend, he mixed the Samal Beach cocktail using gin, dalandan or orange liquor, lemon juice, and pomelo juice.
For the recipes of the dishes above, log on to www.homefoodie.com.ph