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What is in store for diners in 2018

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We move forward by moving back! In my opinion, in 2018, diners will prefer classic dishes instead the more commercial one. I see a comeback of the classic dishes such as Shepherd’s pie. In my restaurants, the classic dishes are reinvented with a twist.

TO THRIVE in the industry, restaurants should be constantly updated with the latest food and dining trends, diner’s etiquette, as well as the tips and techniques. Certainly, that is the key learning from 2017. So, what are the food trends, habits and formats that are likely to influence diners’ preferences in 2018? Here is my take on what to expect from my restaurants.

This year was very much about ‘zero wastage’ and sea vegetables, I see this trend continuing into 2018. Zero wastage; root-to-stalk is focusing on sustainability and elimination of wastage of food. This has always been important for us and we will continue to pursue it aggressively. While preparing vegetables or meat, every part of is used. For example, if we are preparing a lamb’s leg we separate all the meat and use the same to prepare pepper lamb. We then use the bone by boiling it to prepare stock. Similarly, we use all parts of a vegetable, for example – a radish or broccoli leaves, cauliflower stems, which are usually disposed of as waste. Transforming these discards will test the creativity of a chef, serving up everything from fragile stems, cleaned up roots of vegetables and edible flowers. The coming year will see an increase in healthier options on the menu.

Sea vegetables that were usually dismissed as seaweed are now happily recognized as delicious nutrients. They are filled with anti-oxidants & minerals that are generally not found in any ground grown vegetables. Adding a small amount of sea vegetable enhances flavour of the dish for instance, ‘Dulse’ seaweed, which can be utilized as a salt substitute. There will be a series of additions to the existing menus, along with the new menus that will be diet-specific. Health-

conscious diners prefer a low carb diet/ ketogenic diet and we are seeing a growing demand for it. The trend of organic diets that have low carbs, high proteins, minerals and vitamins will see a surge in 2018. We will continue to bring the regional food of our country paired with the latest developments in terms of techniques and technologies starting from taking orders to billing, serving style and food trends like sea vegetable, pickling and fermentation, zero waste and tacos.

We move forward by moving back! In my opinion, in 2018, diners will prefer classic dishes instead the more commercial one. I see a comeback of the classic dishes such as Shepherd’s pie. In my restaurants, the classic dishes are reinvented with a twist. For instance, I see the humble ’Khichdi’ making a comeback adorned with various exotic vegetables. In our kitchens, we use more seasonal and locally produced vegetables. So, definitely more healthy options will be on menu in 2018.

Beyond just food trends, I think dessert parlours are slated to score big in 2018. They have already begun sprouting up everywhere. I foresee ice-cream parlours and waffle centres coming up in a big way. Keeping this in mind, I think that international dessert sections will come into play. For instance, dish-centric parlours, which serve a special ice cream with a special cone, could catch people’s fancy. I even see the entire menu revolving around such desserts. In my restaurants, we plan to introduce new flavours of ice creams and fresh fruit sorbets.

Despite new trends, some things do not change. Obviously, the most important defining characteristic of a good restaurant is the quality of food. Increasingly, as the competition hots up, the consistency and quality of food will make all the difference. Often, I am disappointed when I see restaurant owners and chefs treat their work as a purely commercial proposition – they conduct it as only a business. It should come from the heart. The true worth of a restaurant is the quality of its food and service. If you put your heart into it, you serve the most satisfying experience.

The basic principle on which we established Massive Restaurants was ‘Innovation’ and that has been the driving force behind every endeavour of ours. Our aim is to offer the finest cuisine and experience to our patrons. The restaurant sector in India, though at a nascent stage, is still among the major contributors to the country’s economy. Compared to businesses internationally, there are a lot of improvements required for seamless operations of restaurants in India. There is a need for the sector to be more organized, have effective cold chain and supply chains, which I feel we are in the process of achieving slowly. Over the years, our patrons have been extremely appreciative of our culinary innovations and we are truly overwhelmed with their response.

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