Friday, March 07, 2008

Techno-emocionale and global food trends

Out of the Frying Pan, a segment of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, brought together many chefs, restaurateurs, writers, bloggers and reviewers from around the world.
The first session dealt with the subject of global trends.
William Sitwell began with a view from Britain which was largely endorsed by speakers from France (Benedict Beague) Spain (Oriole Belaguer) and USA (Gabrielle Hamilton)
There is an immense and increasing interest in food which is now being strongly influenced by ethical considerations. At the same time there is ever more fast food being sold.
Despite the barrage of cooking programmes surveys show only 4% of viewers are tempted to actually cook the dishes. It is pleasing to know that the trend is to real time cooking using readily available ingredients and the photography, in food mag’s too, are the genuine item- not faked with things like creamed potato presented as ice cream.
So what’s happening at the restaurants and in the supermarkets.
It seems that there is a strong movement toward more traditional cooking, whilst Techno-emocionale, the name adopted in Spain to both describe molecular gastronomy and demonstrate their independence from the English speaking world, is becoming less popular as copycat chefs are not able to maintain the standards of the best proponents of this art. Furthermore there are criticisms of the inability to savour the tastes in the tiny serves, further depreciated by matched wines which , if offered in reasonable amounts, soon blunt the palate, and the difficulties of maintaining convivial conversation with constant interruptions from helpful waiters constantly barraging guests with information about what they are being served.
Indeed many restaurants are going ‘down market’ tablecloths are being replaced with place mats, stem glasses are disappearing and waiters are becoming ever more casual, not only in appearance but also in manner.
The eco movement is gathering pace with questions about bottled water, imported products organic foods, out of season foods and so on. The ’Fair Trade’ symbol is disadvantageous to small traders because of the associated costs and may be failing to achieve its purpose and decreasing small business returns as shoppers may not buy their excellent products
There is increasing emphasis on fresh and local everywhere and farmers markets are everywhere.
In France, perhaps partly because of the depressed economy, home cooking is becoming more popular. Interestingly small bistro eateries are the most awarded by the French Le Guide to food which give marks solely for the food
In New York the trends are towards small plates, belly of something, home cured hams, oozy eggs, grass fed beef, Greek food and Greek wines and African food. Bottled water is out and raw food is in
In Spain
Techno-emocionale is popular, product driven tapas but also trends to local and traditional.
Another theme is food as entertainment
There were many other minor points made but bloggers will be pleased to know that food blogging, almost non existent a few years ago, is taking off!

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