John Gilchrist: Restaurant trends for 2009
- January 12, 2009 9:17 AM |
- By Michael Hlinka
Money Talks is a daily business column from CBC radio.
John Gilchrist is a Calgary-based food writer and restaurant critic.
(Listen to the original audio.)
Now that we’ve settled into the New Year, it’s time to look ahead and see what’s coming down the culinary road. The food and restaurant industries are always evolving as they look for new tastes and trends, and innovative ways to increase their market and satisfy the customer.
So what are the hot trends for 2009?
Here are a few that I think we’ll see across Canada this year.
Number 1: We probably have enough Irish pubs, Vietnamese noodle houses, and Sushi bars to satisfy us for a while. These have been the top three kinds of restaurants to open since the turn of the century. And we still love our Guinness, our big bowls of bun, and our fresh tuna on sushi rice. But the hot restaurant trend right now is the wine bar.
And what’s a wine bar? It’s a place where you can get a decent glass of wine and a good plate of food for a reasonable price in a casual setting at pretty much any time of day. (Well, perhaps not for breakfast.)
The keys are variety, quality, and price. Specifically price, with no plate of food or glass of wine over $15. Sure it can still add up, but you can also have an enjoyable social evening for a good price and still drive home. If you take it easy on the liquids that is.
Number 2: Environmental conscience. We want our restaurants and food outlets to be as green as possible, maybe even doing more than we do at home. Recyclables everywhere, windmill power, efficient ovens, compost heaps. And we’re increasingly demanding local, seasonal food products - better yet if the restaurant grows their own greens and herbs.
Number 3: Super Spices. Super foods such as pomegranates and blueberries were all the buzz a few years ago. And they’re still good for us. But look for restaurant to tout super spices, especially cinnamon and ginger, said to be packed with anti-oxidants.
By the way, the trendy flavour for 2009 is predicted to be tarragon.
Number 4: Rustic Cuisine. Combine the move to local and seasonal foods with some super spices at a good price and you have rustic cuisine. Perhaps another take on comfort foods, it’s where we turn in touchy economic times.
Which brings me to ...
Number 5: The Big One. Value. The big driver for the dining dollar in 2009 has to be value, receiving good quality and satisfaction for our time and money.
We’ve become used to going out and I don’t think most of us want to change that habit. But we do want to feel that we’re getting what we paid for. Look for more value-driven options on restaurant menus for the foreseeable future.
And a bonus, Number 6: Peruvian cuisine. We’ve plumbed the depths of global cultures and the food gurus tell us the hot new trend is Peruvian. It’s a delightful, full-flavoured, super-spiced, value-focused, rustic cuisine that goes well with wine.
Now all we need are a bunch of Peruvian chefs to come to Canada to prepare it for us. With a winter like we’ve been having, that might be a tough sell.
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