Gastronomic predictions for 2014
A review of my predictions last year brought about some trends that I had predicted in 2013. Molecular cuisine and culinology had gone on the rise as evidenced by restaurants such as VASK etc., and the use of temperature settings such as sous vide for meats and even onsen eggs for Ramen. My hope is that the chefs veer away from “Magic Tricks” or “ Magical Food” and have a true understanding of molecular gastronomy or culinology as the science and its scientific chemical reactions, effects and benefits to “up” our state of cuisine.
A popularity in cocktails due to sin taxes did mark a rise as more pre-mixes are out now that are made locally. Mixology has become a career for several people in the hospitality industry.
Wine drinking is not a “snooty pursuit”; it has become a part of the working man’s health beverage as evidenced by inexpensive wines in the large supermarket chains such as Puregold, S&R, and SM. Argentina and Spain did rule the Philippine wine market and may continue to rule this year.
Pinoy bakery items and new books are coming out this year as a renewed interest in classic Filipino breads has started.
DENR and our nutrition programs are campaigning for Filipino fruits as Pinoys are discovering durian, regional pineapple differences and other fruits now deemed exotic by our Western neighbors. For restaurants, mega buffets have become very “in” as a vast selection gives one full tasting choices as people are entertained by trying wide selections of international dishes.
Mexican food, especially transcending the ever popular Tacos, Nachos and Burittos, did make its mark, while modern Ramen houses have mushroomed. Food trucks have their own parking spaces already and do not have to go through a “guerilla experience”.
So when asked: what will 2014 be like in terms of Gastronomy? Here are my answers:
1. Pinoy Artisanal Chocolate – Since we belong to the Cacao belt, it is only logical that we follow suit with the Malaysian and Indonesian experience and we process our own chocolate rather than sell it as raw beans. We are rediscovering treasured ancient varieties brought by the Spanish planting better tasting hybrid and shunning high production, low quality strains introduced two decades ago. First movers that are now in this field are Rex Puentespina (Malagos), Geronimo family (Magdalena’s Laguna) and Pam Lim (Manila). These chocolates are now world class but only those that invest in top machinery will put them on epicurean pedestals.
2. Organic and Natural Products will be on the rise as high production and manufactured items will be given “ordinary” status. Vegetables, poultry, meats with an organic or natural stamp shall go side by side with the consciousness of “wellness”. Farm to table trends will be mushrooming in their own vicinities as this has already started in urban areas with chefs encouraging growers to deliver and cut out the middle man.
3. As Food Trucks are already having a following, better quality street food for the masses will follow but our government must start with good sanitation requirements. This will boost a healthy underground economy and can be of great tourism potential such as our Asian neighbors.
4. Pinoy Food and Products on the Rise – as tourism development sets in, better packaging and local government consciousness of regional recipes have been taken for granted as “ordinary and everyday” will be the gems for gastronomic tourism.
5. Beer, especially locally artisanal brews, shall be part of an appreciative educated market. Though expensive due to low production, Filipino brewed beer will enjoy its limelight in the next two years.
6. Pinoy Spirits – With the giants buying and bottling imported brandy and distilleries in Spain, an export market as started by liqueur makers will be concentrating on a forgotten spirit – Philippine Rum – but in artisanal and limited bottling labels. Hopefully, lambanog which is theorized to be the ancestor of Tequila (as Filipino spirit making was brought to Mexico and applied to Pulque instead of Tuba…) will gain its rising stardom because of its innate purity.
7. Lifestyle Wines –low alcohol, less oaked, young and highly fruity wines will be “in” as beverages that will cover mass based and aspirational budgets. South and Central American wines will continue to enjoy dominance together with Spanish wines.
8. Growing interest will be on Eastern European and African cuisines that are cross overs from familiar European and accepted Middle Eastern recipes or dining methods.
9. Philippine artisanal cheese development with Olive Puentespina leading the pack will be more developed this year. Cheesemaking lessons are being offered by Chef Elen Rivera in the hope that new discoveries will deviate from Quesong Puti.
And if asked what is my gastronomic wish for 2014? A national political figure who will still spur the realization of the Filipino regional Food map. (I myself am still ignorant of so many traditional and everyday Filipino regional dishes that can be enjoyed.)
In addition to this is a government effort that would tap the latest Molecular Cuisine trends and set up or be a buyer for “Ready to eat” rations that could be used for emergencies such as natural disasters.
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