It was an early start this morning with a drive through the darkness into Auckland’s CBD for the NZ Nutrition Foundation’s talk on ‘Future Trends in Food and Innovation’. We were treated to a delicious spread for breakfast while listening to the three guest speakers, who all gave their ideas on what’s trending on menus at the moment in the hospitality industry.
My take from the morning seminar and in the words of AUT Senior Lecturer, Lindsay Neill: “food is a reinvention of what’s already been invented”. The classic shrimp cocktail is a great example of this – it has been around for decades and is still featured on restaurant menus, albeit in quite a different form, is still popular as ever yet trendy and up-to-date with its flavours and presentation.
This got me thinking about classic beef and lamb meals we see our talented chefs presenting on their menus and how they are reintroducing some old fashioned cuts in a modern and innovative way. Experimenting with new flavour pairings and beautiful presentation techniques, secondary cuts such as beef brisket and ox cheek (now known as beef cheek) are impressing diners nationwide and bringing these cuts back to the fore. The flavours are second to none and using traditional cooking methods and modern equipment, chefs are including reinvigorated dish components. For example braised beef cheeks rolled in prosciutto, or beef brisket accompanied with pickled red cabbage, Russian dressing and dried rye bread crisps. This creates meals with an interesting variety of flavours and textures and brings the experience of dining out to a whole new level.
Left: Circa 1990's Braised Ox Cheek with fondant potatoes.
Right: `Reuben on rye` corned brisket, pickles, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese by Ben Batterbury from the Rees Hotel in Queenstown (2014).
Prime cuts of beef and lamb too are being reinvented by New Zealand’s up and coming chefs who are reintroducing dishes such as ‘Beef Wellington’ on to their menus. Diners just can’t get enough of this classic dish with its succulent and flavoursome centre, encased in a crisp pastry, but with added flavours such as Horopito mushrooms and Guinness Stout, turning a traditional dish into something more modern. The classic lamb rack or cutlets have always been a staple on restaurant menus, but now come delicately presented atop vibrant green pea purees showing off their perfectly pink interiors instead of swamped with heavy sauces and dark char grilled marks.
Left: Circa 1990's Grilled Lamb Cutlets.
Right: Herb & Caper Lamb Cutlets on Pea, Spinach & Lemon Crush (2014).
So here we are... well into the new millennium and still consuming traditional beef and lamb cuts but enjoying the anticipation of what our up and coming chefs and foodies will reinvent next to wow our tastebuds!