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Top Dining Trends

4 min read
Important F&B developments that were on the menu in 2022, and developments that are likely to be served in 2023 — we spoke to some leading chefs for their opinions.

Both the local and global restaurant scene saw some shifts last year, with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic having sparked a burst of creativity among chefs and restaurateurs. We asked a few of them what they thought of the dining trends that dominated 2022, and their predictions for this year.

Following the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the restaurant scene picked up in 2022. After two years of having to cater to smaller crowds due to social distancing and having to suspend buffets, restaurants were finally able to operate normally. As a consequence, buffet-style dining returned.

All-day dining restaurant Estate, Hilton Singapore Orchard

Confirms Director of Culinary, Hilton Singapore Orchard, Chef Vijayakant Shanmugam: “A trend that I think dominated 2022 is the triumphant return of buffet-style dining, and the increasing demand for elevated buffet experiences. This is what I have personally observed at our all-day dining restaurant, Estate, where we offer a sophisticated buffet dining experience that places emphasis not only on the range of the buffet spread, but also on presentation, ambience, quality of ingredients, and culinary techniques we apply. Buffet dining was mostly at a standstill during the pandemic, but we’ve seen this come back bigger than ever since the lifting of restrictions. Since our opening in 2022 as one of the newest buffet restaurants in town, we’ve seen demand grow steadily throughout the year, and understand from conversations with our guests that buffets are here to stay.”

Chef Vijayakant Shanmugam

Customers have also become more discerning. Many were cooking and baking a lot more during the pandemic (you couldn’t have missed the numerous Facebook posts of home-baked sourdough bread!) and have come to value quality over quantity. Affirms Chef Markus Neff, Gütsch Andermatt, Switzerland: “People were willing again to pay more to eat well. Maybe they were not going out as much anymore, but when they did, the food had to be of excellent quality that was worth the price.”

Chef Markus Neff

The pandemic also forced restaurants to move to more local ingredients. Using locally sourced ingredients helps reduce reliablity on food imports – an issue that was brought to the fore with supply chain disruptions during the pandemic – and also the carbon footprint of restaurant dishes. Reveals Chef Henrik Jyrk, a prominent figure in Copenhagen’s culinary scene who was in Singapore in December 2022 for a collaboration with Dusk Restaurant & Bar, “In Denmark, we have been focusing on eating more vegetables and produce that are grown and harvested sustainably. It’s about being aware of where your produce is from, how it’s raised, and making a conscious decision when it comes to produce in general.” This is also true of restaurants in Singapore such as Labyrinth, where about 60 per cent of the ingredients are sourced locally.

Chef Henrik Jyrk

With many seeking order and comfort in what we eat, the trend for the taste of home is still going strong. That said, customers also want these dishes reinterpreted and presented in a new guise. Predicts Chef Vijayakant, “I believe we can expect to see more dining establishments taking the concept of everyday comfort food and elevating them in creative and modern ways. It’ll definitely be exciting to watch what unfolds.”

Chef Dietmar Sawyere

While restaurants no longer depend solely on delivery and takeaway to survive, off-premises ordering still isn’t going anywhere. Consumers visit restaurants more often, but online delivery and takeout platforms still attract vast audiences looking to enjoy restaurant quality from their homes and workplaces. Attests Chef Dietmar Sawyere of The Japanese, Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland: “Home delivery became popular during the COVID pandemic. As restaurants continue to recover from the pandemic, reliance on food delivery is set to continue. In 2023, virtual restaurants will be a far more commonplace concept. These are the natural progression of ghost kitchens [A ghost kitchen is a restaurant that operates out of a kitchen with no dining space].”