After kale, the next big thing in the culinary world could be lavender ice-cream, sorghum, yakitori (things on sticks) or maybe the humble cauliflower will finally have its moment in the spotlight.
Kale will not be missed. The mindless, bland vegetable never deserved its rank as a superfood. The heady days of the curly-leafed salad green are over.
Recent food trends have included pork belly, pulled pork, sliders, brioche buns with everything, quinoa, flaxseed, goji berries, cupcakes, pretzel buns, superfoods, activated almonds, steel-cut oats and foam. Who could forget the cronut (combination of a croissant and doughnut) or the meaty turduken?
We asked the people who know about these things. Four chefs give their predictions for the next big taste in Byron Shire.
Fins chef Steven Snow serves The World’s Healthiest Dessert, using black sapote and strawberries, at his Kingscliff restaurant.
‘We have an accent on health and our whole menu is gluten free,’ Snow says. He finds it easy to substitute rice or almond flour in recipes requiring flour, and is a fan of the current trend of smoked cooking.
‘I also love cooking over wood because of my history of having a restaurant in Portugal. It is the best way to get flavours,’ Snow says. ‘Fish, free-range chicken, anything with a bone on an open grill or a closed wood oven fire.’
But flowers on food is a trend he can’t abide. ‘The only animals that should eat flowers are cows,’ he says. He predicts finger-limes and other Australian native produce will become more popular. Another of his desserts is finger-lime pannacotta with lemon-myrtle crumb.
Tucked away in Tintenbar is Che Bon, a simple, rustic restaurant where chef Rodolph Ferreo serves tasty French dishes at affordable prices. A three-course meal, including snails, costs $35.
Ferreo hails from Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France, and says,
‘We had more inventive food in Lyon, but it’s not what people are looking for here. I do my grandmother’s traditional food. I would like to do frogs’ legs but it is banned. No-one supplies them.’ Although frogs may be relieved to be off-trend, Ferreo believes authentic, earthy restaurants will flourish.
At the less earthy but bright Utopia Restaurant in Bangalow, chef Shane Olive’s menu features a serving of quinoa and coconut porridge with chia and flaxseed sprinkle.
‘The healthy gluten-free meals are still popular, and I believe the trend will continue. We’re all about giving customers what they want,’ he says, ‘although in Paris, if you asked for gluten-free, you’d be chucked out’.
Whilst molecular gastronomy (think Heston Blumenthal) is still trendy, the sweet cauli fritters that former Blue Mountains chef Bruce Gardner serves at a pot-luck supper in Federal are not. But, deep fried at an extreme temperature and coated in sesame seeds, honey and ketsap manis (a sweet Indonesian sauce), the cauliflower florets are wolfed down.
‘I’m an old-fashioned cook,’ Gardner says. ‘Fresh, seasonal, local ingredients are the most important, that will never change. Some people are into modern cooking more as an intellectual concept rather than as a celebration of food and life’.
Perhaps, cooked like this, cauliflower could be the next superfood.