By Madhulika Dash
True, this year had little of the stand out features of the past times (molecular gastronomy in 2013 and 2014, and red velvet cake in 2012), but there is no denying that in a lot of ways 2015 was the summary of where Indian food space is headed to. A few like these
A YEAR OF FOOD START UPS… but not all for food delivery
TinyOwl, Food Panda, Yumist and Spoonjoy. Last year had us believe that food start ups could only be platforms of order, not this year.
Among the 22 new Food Start Ups debuted this year the services ranged from marketing and automation platform to grocery shopping, and even platforms that got foodies, chefs, housewives and networkers together.
Not to mention that one single element that ensured you get food to cook or ready to eat in a box curated by the likes of Chef Ajay Chopra and Chef Ranveer Brar.
THE YEAR TO COOK FRESH… but from a box
Facebook-ing what you cooked – from scratch – has been the strongest trend for the last five years. And this year, chefs have ensured that you do it more often. Closer on the heels of the classic you can do’ or 'how to do' YouTube free lessons and masterclasses, comes the Food Box.
Now do not mistake it for the 'put in rush prep box' but a carefully thought, tested and measured box that claims to help you cook the way the masters do, right down to the 'salt to taste'. What's the guarantee? Most are done by the likes of Chef Ajay Chopra and Chef Ranveer Brar. How effective it is? That trend 2016.
THE YEAR OF HANDPICKED GROCERY… but outsourced
Okay, we confess it isn't new. The Local Baniya is a success story. But we aren't talking just about platforms that could get your washing powder and toothpaste, but more food produce like potatoes, masalas, coffees and teas from places that sell the best.
Platforms like Place Of Origin and Big Basket, which even pick good potatoes for you, and other organic platforms that deliver claimed organic products' on order. How good they turn out to be? 2016 will be a testing year!
THE YEAR OF SMALLER PORTIONS… but with more wonder
2014 ended with the change of the way food was had. From seemingly large portions, diners were trained to see individual portions and then servings that were meant to personify "less is more and flavoursome".
On the helm of such a trend were restaurants like Masala Library, Farzi Cafe, Indian Accent, The Table Indigo, Olive, Smoke House Deli, Bombay Canteen and such.
But in 2015, every restaurant began plating small portions that packed more punch for your buck, and diners accepting it - much the way we did the biryani served in brass handis.
THE YEAR OF THE CHOPSTICKS… but with more Sushi
Truth: The only food other than Indian we love is Chinese (including the Punjabi style Chinese). Aspiration: The food we would like to wax eloquence is Japanese, by which we mean all kinds of sushi, sashmi and everything else.
The Fact: The food we can really enjoy is Khao Suey, Khimchi, crisp potatoes, Tom Yum Soup and Sushi with that hint of Wasabi. In other words, Pan Asian!
Now that should explain why 2014 belonged to Chef Vikramjit Roy's Tian and Gung and Guppy By Ai. But of the sheer number of restaurant flaunting their Pan Asian and Japanese menu in 2015 is any indication than it was the year of the Samurai with good company from the Silk Route.
Some of the front players of the game were Koi in Goa, Pa Pa Ya, Ruka and Yukka in Mumbai or Megu, Akira Back and En in Delhi among others.
THE YEAR OF THE "F" WORD… but with more M
Pasta in Dal Makhani is clearly not the best examples of Fusion Food, and we agree. Little wonder the F word is bad (and banned) in most kitchens.
But if one has to look at the sheer foreplay of food this year - Chef Sabysachi Gorai's Devil's Egg that takes inspiration from Nargisi Kebab and represents that iconic dish with desi tadka or Riyaaz Amlani's Social's Peanutbutter Frappe that weds food with a drink - then clearly this has been the year of presenting fantastic food, built from inspiration.