7 Right-Brain Tips: How to be a Truly Trendy Cook
Be bang on trend with these Trend Tips. We’re not interested in fads, but in reflecting an ever-evolving culinary culture around us. These trends are about so much more than just food and new ways of cooking. They are about community, our environment and the part cooks play in it.
Tip 1. Forage for edibles in Nature
Picking berries from hedges and collecting cockles on the beach make good memories, and some excellent dishes. If you know your mushrooms, you can add some lovely wild fungi to your repertoire. Dandelion works well in a salad, and I recently had a wild garlic soup that I won’t forget in a hurry. Take a walk on the wild side and sniff out some new ingredients straight from nature. It’s an age-old art, and one that brings us closer to the source of what sustain us. We appreciate what we eat so much more if we have to hunt for it! Anything becomes a possible source of food: weeds and flowers, wild herbs, pollen and seaweed. When foraging, we’re in tune with the change of seasons and climate, which make us more sensitive cooks, I believe.
It’s also a hot, hot trend. Meet Award-winning Chef Kobus Van der Merwe from Wolfgat restaurant in Paternoster, South Africa. He serves what he calls ‘hyper-local, considered, heritage, slow, seasonal Strandveld food’. He forages each morning in the Strandveld surrounding his cottage and the beach. From there he brings some exciting new or old, forgotten ingredients into his kitchen to create stunning dishes. On the menu you can find things like abalone and split-fin kelp, oysters with young soutslaai, Cape gooseberries and wild cucumbers, and it’s constantly changing according to the seasons.
A caution is necessary here. Be sensitive to the eco-system; don’t do harm. Source sustainably. Educate yourself on what is edible and what not! We don’t want you poisoning yourself, or even worse, your guests…
Tip 2. Grow your own, buy Local
A trendy cook is closely acquainted with his local farmers’ market, fishmonger and butcher. A VERY trendy cook grows her own vegetables, fruit and possibly keep some chickens. By supporting your local suppliers your cooking will also be unique to your part of the world, and that is fashionable in the BEST way. Think organic, free-range and heritage varieties that might have disappeared forever in a profit-driven industry. It’s a move away from mass-produced, hormone-injected, chemically preserved, processed ingredients.
Tip 3. Know how to cook Vegan!
Savvy cooks are aware of the big move towards healthy eating. Cooking VEGAN is not just ‘in’, it can be delicious and really inventive. A cook that can turn out lovely dishes for vegetarians, gluten-intolerants and diabetics alike, is worth her weight in truffles.
Tip 4. Minimise Waste – use it ALL
In our throw-away society it has become necessary to re-visit our attitudes towards what might be considered waste. Global hunger at an unprecedented scale forces us to evaluate our priorities. We’re not talking about left-overs here, although that’s obviously relevant too. Pressure is on supermarkets and restaurants to be creative with slightly over use-by dates, bruised apples, spotted bananas and wilted greens. Up-and-coming chefs today are considering every food ingredient in its totality: snout-to-tail, skins and peels, bones and offal, stems and seeds.
Tip 5. Rediscover Heritage Dishes & Food
If you have been left your great-granny’s hand-written recipe book, consider yourself blessed. Keeping our cultural heritage alive… ancient methods of cooking and preserving… fusion…
Fatima Sydow Cape Malay Cooking https://www.foodformzansi.co.za/mzansi-flavour-keeping-a-communitys-traditions-alive-through-cooking/
Tip 6. Ferment, brew and infuse Goodness
The days of being offered soft drinks as an alternative to alcohol with your restaurant food is OVER. Pro-biotics, virgin drinks, mocktails, fermented foods such as kimchi, boutique fruit wines… Capturing pure goodness through the process of fermentation is once more trendy.
Tip 7. Spread the LOVE – give something back
The kitchen has always been the heart of the home. Cooks are the heartbeat of our communities. What is a wedding feast without food? The British Empire didn’t conquer the world on empty stomachs! Behind every soldier was a cook with a big heart and a deft hand. Our young men went to war with tins of Cornish pasties and strawberry cordial to give them strength. Travellers who’ve been away from home for too long are welcomed back with open arms and their favourite meals.
Throughout history, cooks have been the ones who brought people together. They nurture; they nourish; they delight.
Many trendy cooks and chefs are reclaiming that heritage by giving back to their communities in a big way.
In conclusion, here are the seven Trend Tips in bullet points for you:
- Become a FORAGER – find nature’s edibles
- Grow your own & support LOCAL
- Know how to cook VEGAN!
- Minimise Waste – use it ALL
- Rediscover HERITAGE dishes & food
- Ferment, brew and infuse GOODNESS
- Spread the LOVE, give something back