WTL2022-top

The ultimate guide to what’s hot in the culinary scene.

GOING REGIONAL

Across the nation, we’re seeing top chefs packing up their knives, turning their back on the big smoke and heading out bush. It’s a move that has seen a rise in regional fine dining. With lower overheads than running a restaurant in the city and more work-life balance, it’s a welcome change for many. The trend of setting up destination dining allows chefs access to their favourite local produce, or even grow their own, to create a menu that highlights the best the region has to offer. If you’re not up for making the move to the bush, we have noticed inner-city restaurants popping up out in the burbs – either in the way of a smaller scale sister venues or a completely new concept run by the same owners.

going regional
smaller menus

SMALLER MENUS

From staff shortages to supply issues caused by the pandemic and natural disasters, expect to see more pared back menus in 2022. With less choices, a smaller menu allows chefs to focus on producing quality eats using local produce and really hone in on their culinary skills to create a delectable dish one is sure to remember.

CHINESE CUISINE

Australian’s have a long-standing love for Chinese food. But most of the food we’re familiar with is inspired by Cantonese China and has been adapted to suit local tastebuds. However, 2022 is the year we will see a demand for new traditions from other parts of China. Think Chairman Mao’s red braised pork from Hunan or Hainanese chicken popularised in Singapore and Malaysia.

chinese cuisine
jalapeno

INGREDIENT TO WATCH…

JALAPEÑO

rosella

FLAVOUR TO WATCH…

ROSELLA

CRUNCHY RICE

Gone are the days of worrying about burning rice sticking to the bottom of the pot. Well that’s not entirely true. However, a little crisp is perfectly acceptable and expect to see more crunchy rice on menus. From the Persian tahdig to the Loatian nam khao, crispy rice is a cheap and resourceful way to add a little crunch to your menu.

crunchy rice
indian ingredients

INDIAN INGREDIENTS

Expect to see a rise in chefs turning to Indian ingredients in 2022. Think ghee for buttering and frying, while Indian cheeses will finally have their moment and Indian millet flour will become the next new superfood.

URBAN GARDENS

Researchers estimate that urban food gardens feed 800 million people globally, and they are rising in Australia. From communal to rooftop gardens, we’re seeing more and more greenery gracing our cityscapes. Having a rooftop garden is great for sustainability and creativity and allows chefs to use the freshest produce – talk about farm to table in no time. While not all things can be grown in a rooftop garden, there has been a great deal of success with crops such as tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, chillies, radishes and a variety of native foods from saltbush and warrigal greens to finger limes and karkalla.

urban gardens e1654148195799
pepperberry

FLAVOUR TO WATCH…

PEPPER BERRY

sunflower seeds

INGREDIENT TO WATCH…

SUNFLOWER SEEDS

new vinegars

NEW VINEGARS

Chefs are adding excitement to dishes by using a splash of new vinegars such as pandan, kombucha and expensive Japanese rice wine vinegars. We’re even seeing vinegars flavoured with Indigenous ingredients such as native thyme or bush tomato. 

GETTING DOWN TO THE ROOTS

It’s no secret that Australia is rich in cultural diversity. It’s one of our country’s greatest strengths and also gives us an enormous culinary advantage. Because of this, we’re seeing new generation, young gun chefs opening venues that pay homage to their roots while including a modern-Australian flair thanks to the use of local produce. Expect to see more of this in 2022 and beyond.

roots
mushrooms

MUSHROOMS

On the back of the plant-based and urban garden trends, expect to see more mushrooms in 2022. From blue oysters to king brown and lion’s mane, chefs are expanding their culinary interest in seasonal mushroom varieties and using them as a hearty meat replacement on menus.

COUNTER TREND: PLANT BASED EVERYTHING VS. FLEXING FLEXITARIAN

Plant-based has graced every trend prediction list across the world since 2019, and it’s not budging anytime soon. What we’re seeing is more demand for plant-based meat and milk alternatives as consumers become more health and environmentally conscious. Expect to see a rise in mock meats and seafood in 2022, while potato milk is set to be the next big thing!

On the flip side, the move towards flexitarianism is going strong. A flexitarian diet focuses on whole plant-based foods, with the occasional inclusion of meat and other animal products. What we are seeing is a rise in demand for high quality meats, eggs and dairy as consumers become increasingly aware of animal wellness and the carbon footprint of their food. It’s quality over quantity.

 

counter trend 1
yuzu

FLAVOUR TO WATCH…

YUZU

tik tok

THE TIKTOK TIMES

As the third-largest social media network, expect to see more recipe trends, restaurant reviews, cooking channels and more coming from TikTok in 2022.

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