Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Evolution of Food

,KRelax. I don't plan here to bore you about molecular cuisine or a lot of statistics! Maybe my header is misleading. Maybe not.

Fact is, that mainstream trends become more and more extreme. Mainstream isn't the Skandinaviam (Nordic) cuisine of Noma - or molecular cuisine of Alinea (and El Bulli before) - [it is though funny, that the mass food industry is using exactly the same culinary additives than molecular restaurants- and e.g. French Fries from McDonalds could be served in a fine dining restaurant, due to its insane effort, to make achieve the perfect recipe].
What I mean are burgers, pork belly, bacon, ramen (yes the packages), and... vegan.

You might have already realized that these thinks are on an opposite spectrum. The extremes. And hence this is the world we are living in... we are wondering, why people are becoming violent due to their religion, but become ourself violent, if restaurateurs serving foie gras.

Well... I am part of the world- so are you! Hence I am not predicting the next trend (which will be definitely more extreme - maybe something like wagyu-pig bacon?) - no, I am looking for a,food trend, which would make things better!

Look- the issue is, that we are eating too much meat (as well as other animal protein). But the problem is, that vegans won't be able to convince a healthy thinking carnivore to stop eating animal products - this simply won't happen! The issue is, that cuisine and dietary requires compromise: there are several points which are standing kinda in opposite directions and one has to be very lucky (read rich) to be able to make the least compromises. These points are:

• Deliciousness
• Sustainability
• Healthiness
• Affordability
• Ethicality

Look, meat mass production - even fish farming (...) has a big impact into the environment- and really the animal wellbeing is always in jeopardy. Yes, not meat production at all is ethical in question- no, mass production does make the problems.
Well, in fact a problem is also, that even veganism and vegetarism is not necessary perfect for the environment. But I do agree, that animal farming is a big environmental problem!

The issue for me: vegan (and often vegetarian) food taste like a combination of bird-food and cardboard. I was one time so excited about a British "high quality" (at least it was a renowned brand) vega sausage... In fact it tasted like ground cardboard with spices. And I don't know your preferences... but in my vocabulary, cardboard isn't connected to tasty!!!

Organic and sustainable raised animals are another way. The issue is here, that the cost is dramatically higher. And besides, that you have to be definitely wealthy to change to this type of produce, the world simply doesn't have enough organic farms!

The way out of this riddle are responsible chefs, blogger, journalists... Which don't go the easy route of offering something delicious without thinking of the consequences.

Put it how you like it, but every person who is not a vegan (or maybe vegetarian) eats far, far, far (and in my case few more fars) too much meat! 
I like few Italian dishes, which are meatless, and I should eat them far more often: spaghetti aglio e olio, and pasta marinara. Honestly, I would not miss the meat in a mushroom sauce (in fact I just ate a couple of days ago a,stir fried dish in Blue Jade, which was so meaty and so flavorful, and was made entirely from mushrooms!). Pasta with pesto, is another dish, which is delicious without animal product. And Cacio e peppe a dish with pecorino and pepper is just another delicious Italian dish without meat (and no, I can't live without cheese).
These dishes are also relatively easy to produce. I never even attempted to make black pepper tofu, but when I ate it in a restaurant, I thought, that it is a perfect dish- no need for meat!

But more of these dishes would need to be endorsed by celebrity chefs! We should eat 1-2 times a week "proper meat" and the rest of the week, we should eat scraps (chicken gizzards someone?) or something which didn't died for us!

But to go this step, everyone has to promote good tasting food, which just happen to be meatless.
Vegan chefs, bogger and "foodies" (yeah, I am really questioning if there is something such like a vegan foodie) are not an option. They are living the compromise and their tastebuds are compromised! They have a different perspective about food! 
But real chefs and carnivore bloggers, have the tastebuds, which can detect a great dish- with or without meat! Just put the bacon aside (I am not joking- bacon was such a trend that in the US there was a bacon shortage last year, which resulted a national wide price increase!!!) - and become responsible! The Sunday roast can still be an animal... But let us do some delicious meatless weekday dishes!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dubai is a strange place for restaurants

My header says it all. Since almost 10 years, I still struggle to understand the owners and operators of Dubai's restaurant scene.

Maybe I see it clearer - maybe I am more innovative and inspired - maybe they are just not all of it!

At work, we just opened a beach restaurant featuring grilled seafood and meats and (my part) tiki cocktails. Yes - this is nice... and rather boring. Not the drinks... but the concept.

Now: beach, sand, a grill - my voices in my head are almost so loud, that I am sure, that everyone around me is hearing them! Two things you could do really well - guess - it isn't a grill with Tiki cocktails:

  • A Filipino restaurant
  • A Jamaican restaurant
How can you not choose this type of concepts???

Ok - you might want to know why?!

Take one: The Filipino restaurant.
  1. Everybody likes to have an as authentic as possible restaurant - guess what - we do have a lot of Filipinos here! 
    1. We have Filipino bands here, which are inexpensive [compared to e.g. European bands] - and they are really good.
    2. We have a lot of Filipino waitresses and waiters here
    3. We have a lot of Filipino chefs here.
  2. The food is simply delicious!
    1. Yes - Filipinos love pork - but there are also a lot of recipes featuring other stuff than pork.
    2. The food is simple and delicious.
  3. There is no competition around
    1. There are pinoy restaurants - but they are more cafeteria style
    2. You would need to pimp a bit the presentation and preparation - but this isn't a big challenge I guess.
    3. People would just love it.
  4. It is easy to design a Filipino restaurant at the beach!
And take two: The Jamaican restaurant.
  1. The food is so different and definitely made for a BBQ set up.
  2. It is delicous - maybe even more delicious than Filipino food.
  3. The music - just think about it and tell me, that you wouldn't come to a place which plays awesome Reggae and offer cool beers, some rum and some blackened jerk chicken!?
  4. There is also no competition around - not a bit!
  5. And yes - it is also quite straight forward to design a restaurant around Jamaica culture.
So instead of copying the 101st South American steak house or the 301st Japanese restaurant, somebody could do something unique!

Just saying...