e all get the hype of trying something new, something fresh, original and yet familiar. But for many consumers, trying something out of their comfort zone can be unnerving. And that is where our foodservice operators shine.
Whether it’s being eaten from the plate or drunk from the glass, consumers are more willing to try out something new when it’s presented in a way they wouldn’t—or couldn’t—recreate on their own, especially if it’s from an established restaurant. And as consumers’ palates continue to seek exciting and different flavors, culinarians and foodservice professionals are taking greater liberties to make that offering shine. In doing so, they’re exploring new cuisines, sustainability measures, cooking formats, and tools to marry their artistic vision with the discerning diner palate, such as molecular gastronomy, a format we’re all already familiar with.
Now, I’m not talking about sci-fi capsules or gum that goes through a seven-course meal. Commonly known presentations such as sous-vide, vegetable noodles, and cocktails featuring fruit foam or smoke are all examples of molecular gastronomy, according to SciTech Connect. It focuses on the preparation and enjoyment of nutrition through a scientific lens outside of traditional cooking methods, allowing for minimal waste and optimum flavor to shine through.
This scientific approach to cooking brings a more refined and innovative twist to the table as it’s not mass-produced, rather, it’s for the specific individual. Pipettes are used to create faux caviar containing fruit juice or broth to complement the dish. Gelatin holds a garden terrine together to be sliced individually and plated with fresh flowers. Dehydrated bread crumbs like panko encase fresh and seasonal produce to bring that crunchy mouthfeel. Excessive amounts of food are traded for precise portions that give way to a myriad of flavors, and many diners seeking experience tend to opt for quality over quantity.
It’s a delicate balance between intrigue and aversion operators continually play. Sustainability and supply chain are always key factors weighing in when it comes to menu creation, but trends are there for a reason: Consumers get excited by something new or enlightening, which ignites the fire in other consumers to seek them out.
Now, who wouldn’t want a little spark on the taste bud?