“We care about the food we serve and we want to know where it comes from ”
The trend, as they say, is your friend.
And for New Zealand aquaculture products, the dining trends of 2011 are looking very chummy.
The ‘What’s Hot in 2011’ chef survey by America’s National Restaurant Association serves up New Zealand’s King Salmon, Greenshell Mussels and Pacific Oysters on top of the menu for local diners.
Of the top 10 ‘Hottest’ trends, five will put our products on plates in the coolest kitchens with locally sourced seafood (1), sustainability(3), sustainable seafood (7), back to basics (9) and farm branded ingredients (10) nominated by the 1500 chefs surveyed.
For Christchurch chef Jonny Schwass, proprietor of renowned Restaurant Schwass, it all comes back to a greater desire to know where our food comes from.
“It makes sense for it to be an ‘in’ thing,” he said.
“For some reason everyone’s starting to care about where their food comes from.
“For such a long time they didn’t care – they only cared what it cost.
“Now they’ve started to care which town it comes from, who grew it, what it ate, what it’s parents ate – they want to know everything about it.
“It’s a very current topic with all this stuff coming out about battery hens and pigs raised in sow crates.”
Suddenly the source of a meal, has become the story behind it.
“Any story that’s a true story, a genuine story that involves sustainability or integrity is agood story to tell,” he said.
“Imagine a waiter serving cheap Canadian bacon to your table and telling you this pig suffered all its life, had welts all over its body until it died and that’s the reason it’s cheap on your plate tonight.
“Compare that with if you tell them that we went out to the farm where these lambs grew, tasted the grass, went to the processing plants … that’s a good story to tell– it’s almost old fashioned.
“Any good food culture revolves around buying good food from people you trust, it’s not always about convenience. We’d rather spend all day finding really good stuff and do bugger all to it.
“I buy pigs from a pig farmer that we trust, we buy oysters from the Marlborough Sounds and we buy salmon from King Salmon because we know they look after them – they don’t add growth hormones or add anything to make it more than asalmon,” he said.
While Restaurant Schwass has become known for it’s sustainable approach, Jonny is quick to point out that it’s more of a philosophy than a theme.
“We care about the food we serve and we want to know where it comes from,” he said.
“We want to know it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides.
“We want food to taste like what it should – we want a carrot to taste like a carrot and a salmon to taste like salmon.”
Click here for full list of: What’s Hot in 2011 dining trends