In the days of UberEATS and Netflix, enticing people out from under their doona on a chilly evening is harder than ever before. While in summer Australians love dining al fresco, in winter restaurants need to work harder to keep customer numbers healthy. As well as changing their menu to offer heartier dishes, many are coming up with innovative ideas and promotional offers to get diners through their doors.
It’s often the most anticipated course on the menu, so creating desserts that really ‘wow’ diners is a must. And while in the days of Instagram coming up with delicious aesthetically pleasing offerings to satisfy sweet-tooths may be a constant challenge for pastry chefs, it’s one which they relish.
Gels, powders and foams are increasingly making their way onto the tables of fine dining restaurants around the world. And French food scientist Christophe Lavelle believes there is huge potential for Australian chefs to innovate by experimenting more with molecular cooking.
“Molecular cooking brings new ideas, it brings new techniques, it brings huge potential,” he says.
There is little doubt that the restaurant industry can be a tough game. At times the challenges can seem insurmountable. But Australian chefs plan to stay positive and adapt to overcome the challenges they face and continue to prosper in 2017.
Ian Royle, who is head chef at Flying Fish Restaurant and Bar at Pyrmont in Sydney, says there was a boom in the industry in 2016, with many new restaurants opening their doors.
With increasing competition in the restaurant industry and customers who are more conscious of what they are putting in their bellies than ever before, it’s important to keep on top of the latest food trends.
We spoke to a selection of Australian chefs to find out what will be hot in 2017.
Healthier options such as salads and dishes that require less fat and oil are in demand, says Damien Pignolet, who is executive chef at harbourside Sydney eatery REGATTA Restaurant and Bar at Rose Bay. Pignolet says he has seen Asian cuisines flourish over the past 30 odd years, and says Australia can be proud of the marriage between established and modern cuisines, as well as European to Asian. “The latter has the advantage of seeming healthier, since whilst there is a lot of stir-frying there is much less fat and oil employed,” he says.