January 20, 2017

Stephen Billingham talks about the food trends of 2017

by Lynn.Hitchcock - orginal article here


Expect a year of purple food - think cauliflower, sweet potatoes, asparagus, elderberries and corn.

This year is being called the year of the egg yolk, while Spanish spices are the next big thing, as is the Middle Eastern spice mix, baharat.

Food trend analysts are predicting growing sales of “ugly” food (misshapen fruit and vegetables) as well as a growing interest in vegetable bowls and smoothie bowls.

The Food People, a UK-based company of food trend-spotting experts, have placed their bet on a return of carbs, a growth in non-alcoholic drinks, faux food, vegans coming into vogue, and gut health.


Gut health struck a chord with Stephen Billingham, president of the SA Chefs Association and director of HTA School of Culinary Arts.

“It’s quite the buzzword locally with its focus on probiotic foods. I used to think pickling was about preservation - apparently not. Anything fermented is, we are told, good for the gut.”

Billingham warns that trends take a while to reach South Africa.

“If it’s hot here then it probably trended internationally in 2015.”

What is becoming popular at home, mostly due to a weakened economy, he says, are cheaper cuts of meat, tapas-style eating, and a celebration of vegetables.

“If you think lamb and beef are expensive now, wait until April. The prices will skyrocket as a result of the drought when even breeding stock had to be slaughtered. That will have a knock-on effect on the price of chicken and fish.”

He predicts a focus on secondary cuts of meat as well as organs.

“The stuff our grandparents would eat - not so much tripe, but liver, kidneys and beef cheeks.”

He also expects a growth in “conscientious cooking”, with chefs making a conscious attempt to minimise waste, and a growing call from consumers for organic, ethically produced food.

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