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Local food and vegetables to rule cooking trends, say chefs and critics

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Vegetables as the star ingredient in dishes are making a comeback amongst top tier chefs.Vegetables as the star ingredient in dishes are making a comeback amongst top tier chefs.Pop-up restaurants like the Electrolux Cube are another dining trend. The Cube is currently overlooking the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.

Luxury dining has taken a backseat to health and local delights, according to top chefs and food critics. In a survey conducted by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, a focus on local food topped the list of trends experts thought would dominate top tier cooking in the next two years.

Almost 60 percent of respondents placed their votes on local food, followed by bistro-styled restaurants and slow food. Slow food is food that preserves traditional and regional cuisine, using ingredients from produce farmed in ways characteristic to the local ecosystem; the results being high quality and flavourful food.

Perhaps in a sign of the times, luxury dining was only seen as the fifth most important trend overall. While chefs and restaurant owners understandably ranked luxury dining as the third most important trend, the critics disagreed, with luxury dining not even making it to the top five in their books.

The local food trend is not so surprising when one considers that simplicity and fidelity to ingredients appear to be the trend’s guiding principle. Respondents pointed to Scandinavia, an early adopter and shaper of food movements like organic food, fair trade and slow food, as the region currently most influential in cooking trends. Further reinforcing Scandinavia as the place where the coolest dishes are being created today, Danish restaurant Noma was voted the top restaurant in the world for two years running.

Coming in second in culinary influence were the Japanese, whose cuisine shares similar principles to the Scandinavian approach to cooking. Traditionalists can, however, take comfort in the fact that the French – the culture most associated with the culinary arts – still ranked a respectable third place as a trendsetter.

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Vegetables as the star ingredient in dishes are making a comeback amongst top tier chefs.

The shifting of trends also extends to ingredients. Where meat was once in focus, Noma co-owner René Redzepi believes vegetables will be taking the top spot in ingredients going forward.

Said Redzepi: “For me I think we are going in to a period where people are going to eat much more plants and vegetables and they are going to discover that those types of ingredients again and not be dependent on animal protein constantly to feel fulfilled and happy.”

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Pop-up restaurants like the Electrolux Cube are another dining trend. The Cube is currently overlooking the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.

The two dominant trends is reflected in Michelin star chef Sanghoon Degeimbre’s use of vegetables grown in local gardens as the star ingredient in many of his dishes. A resident chef at the Electrolux Cube pop-up restaurant, Sanghoon has a local garden which produces vegetables, cared for by a team member. What is yielded daily dictated what was served at the Cube when he was in residence.

The Electrolux Cube is a temporary restaurant that will be making its way through several iconic European locations. Seating only 18 at a time, it is currently overlooking the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.

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