With Brighton and Sussex’s food scene growing at an exponential rate in recent years, Nick Mosley, managing director of Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival, investigates and speaks to local chefs and restaurateurs about their food trend predictions for 2016.
There’s two trends I think will be rocking our world in 2016. Firstly, herbs and spices – with chefs and home cooks becoming increasingly confident with big, bold and adventurous flavours, expect to see European heritage ingredients such as lavender and rosemary pop up as in dishes and cocktails, whilst spices from the Philippines, Indonesia and South America will be giving British-style curries and Caribbean jerk a real run for their money.
The second trend in food is just one that won’t go away; Scandinavian. It’s simple, fresh, seasonal, healthy and tastes heavenly. There are a couple of restaurants in our area – notably 64 Degrees, Jeremy’s and The Pass – who can deliver well-balanced and well-constructed dishes inspired by the Scandinavian culinary tradition which, at its base, is about simplicity and letting the ingredients sing. I also hear through the grapevine that a certain well-known celebrity chef is sniffing around Brighton for a new site for a Swedish-themed restaurant.
Matty Bowling, head chef at Terre à Terre: “In terms of international food trends, I would unquestionably say vegetables. Customers crave more and more of them, not purely in the context of vegetarianism but simply a longing for veg dishes, the uglier the veg the better! My personal trends would be fermentation, pickles and quirky condiments to accompany dishes.” www.terreaterre.co.uk
Michael Bremner, executive chef and co-proprietor at 64 Degrees: “I think for us we want to focus on taste. It sounds simple but we will get creative with it; we want to get a clean and fresh flavour into our dishes and having a cured or raw dish on every section. Also we’re working on more customer interaction style dishes. Trend wise, I think there will be a lot of inspiration from South America this year, and I hope more chefs and restaurants take a leaf out of Silo’s book and think about food waste.
Kanthi Kiran Thamma, executive chef and co-proprietor at Curry Leaf Café: “I would like to call 2016 the year of responsible dining. I think there will be more emphasis on local, organic, fair trade and food waste. Chefs and restaurateurs are becoming more responsible towards the community. Even the customers may choose the kind of restaurants that care for the environment and community, as this isn’t often their social priority at the moment.”
Andy Pollexfen, head chef and co-proprietor at The Manor: “I think 2016 will see more of the move back to simplicity well done; classic British dishes continue to go down well with both our regulars and weekend tourist trade. Sharing small tasty plates in a more continental style is also proving more and more popular as a way of getting the tastiest morsels for the hard earned pound in your pocket. I have a feeling South American food will go big soon too.”
Kieron James, Beach BBQ at The Windmill: “Familiarity is a food trend that will never go away. It will evolve gradually but never shock us. I expect to see a new push on creating the perfect chip, with lots of toppings. I also expect to see more focus on meat substitutes and vegan foods. There is a huge push for restaurants to have a decent vegan offering, as they can’t afford to miss out on the party of twenty deciding to go elsewhere as the one vegan in the group isn’t catered for.”
Tom Griffith, FLANK at The Royal Sovereign: “2016 is going to be a great year for gastronomy in Sussex. The standard of food is at its highest ever, and sustainably sourced produce is now more imperative than ever.”
Raz Helalat, proprietor, The Salt Room: “Healthy and nutritional food has been in the foreground for most gastro diners for some time now and I think this trend is here to stay but with it will come fresh introductions. Seaweed has been an unsung hero for years now – it’s great for digestive health, high in nutrients, low in calories and has heavy-duty detoxifying capabilities. In 2016 I feel there will a;so be much more of a buzz about the nutritional benefits of probiotic foods such as kimchi, kefir milk, miso, and kombucha.”
Semone Bonner, co-chef and co-proprietor, The Set: “As far as food trends go for 2016 I tip a rise in house pickles, ferments and vinegars as chefs are becoming more daring and understanding in-house preserving methods. Sea greens and vegetables have been on the radar for a while now and consumers know their samphire from their spinach. Look out for the rise of seaweeds like dulse and kombu as they creep more regularly onto menus, and whilst we’re talking creeping, I predict 2016 will see insects making appearances with some brave chefs!”
Jeremy Ashpool, executive chef and proprietor, Jeremy’s Restaurant: “Menus will still feature more nutritious carbohydrates such as quinoa, barley and chickpeas etc. We will experiment on creating new combinations of spice blends, powders and flavoured oils and continue to develop interesting new smoked flavours and drying of ingredients to enhance texture. Seeds and nuts will continue to play their part, with obvious awareness of allergens, and we’ll look to healthier purees using hummus and savoury yogurts.
Andrew Mackenzie, head chef, The Restaurant at Drakes: “I predict that a food trend for 2016 will be a return to real cooking, alongside good service and a high level of customer experience. I think we have been seeing chefs trying too hard to overcomplicate dishes. People want a bit of luxury and to feel spoiled when they go out and spend.”
Neil ‘Manni’ Mannifield, executive chef and co-proprietor at Market Restaurant & Bar: “There has been a definite move towards upmarket casual dining in recent years. This is just what we do at Market. Quality food for discerning diners that is all about big flavours and is quite simply ‘yummy’, yet retains that wow factor without the fuss of all the ponce and ceremony of the past. This has been gotten rid of in favour of a fun, exciting and relaxed dining experience both in the restaurant and on the plate.”