If you’re producing fine cuisine for a living it can be frustrating when the whole world goes crazy for a certain type of food or drink. From cabbage soup diets to salted caramel cupcakes, the gastronomic world seems to always be getting excited about one thing or another.
For many of us though, this can be a distraction from what we really care about: good quality, timeless recipes. To help you navigate the world of food fads we’ve put together some top tips, so that your menu will stand out regardless.
Don’t be embarrassed to say no
First things first, any chef worth her or his (table) salt is going to have the confidence to say no when a food fad comes around that just doesn’t fit with their style. As a chef, you develop your own personal flare with food and sometimes what everyone else is going mad about just doesn’t suit your repertoire. Push back gently against colleagues wanting to include unnecessary produce or techniques in your menu. By creating your own style of good quality food you’re doing enough.
Prioritise sensible health over high-fashion
The second important thing when it comes to food fashions is to look at them in the context of health and nutrition. This can go in two ways – either food fads can be highly health-conscious and all about unsaturated fat, omega-3 oils and antitoxins or it can go the other direction and ignore sensible eating advice, encouraging consumers to eat indulgent treats like deep-fried mars bars and ‘cronuts’ more regularly than is advisable.
Most chefs are aware of the nutritional content of their food and like to strike a balance; incorporating healthy foods that contain “good” unsaturated fat where possible, but including a tasty treat now and then. This is a great approach that will earn you respect among consumers and food commentators alike.
Be a food fashion leader, not a follower
That all being said, if there are times when you can actually see a food fashion-wave coming and you think it is something you can do well, one way to deal with food fads is just to stay ahead of the curve.
Seeing the big new thing before everyone else does and putting your own personal twist on the subject can put you in great stead for getting much deserved attention not only for that new invention, but also by drawing critics and foodies to your already established range of dishes and menus.
The key here is to make savvy decisions about whether the new trend is something that fits in well with your established food oeuvre and if it does, incorporate it into your personal repertoire quickly.
Just remember, good quality wholesome food always wins in the end. Cook foods that contain unsaturated fats, protein and vegetables, but don’t worry about fashion and gastro-fads. At the end of the day, you are going to be a chef for many years and good food will ultimately stand the test of time.