Being a chef is so much more than just cooking; the creativity and unbridled curiosity that characterizes most chefs often means their finger is on the pulse of the next big thing. Pushing boundaries and exploring beyond what’s current, we tapped five Toronto chefs to see what food trend they want to see happen next in Toronto.
Known for his fusion style Indian cuisine, Hemant has been a cooking up more than just curries since the dawn of Amaya over a decade ago.
“I think there is definitely a shift to raw food and vegetarian diets. Plant based cuisines will be the next big food trend in Toronto. More vegetarian restaurants will open, with a focus on coffee and cocktails together. People are becoming more casual, they want to meet, have a coffee or wine; they’re not exclusive of one another. The food will be more like what you see at Aroma Espresso Bar, similarly, there are more cafes opening in the city with that approach. I would love to open something called Coffee & Tonic.”
Chae’s love for combining different ingredients from varying cultures and ethnicities makes her North York restaurants popular with those looking for a twist on well-known Korean delicacies, pushing boundaries and exploring the marriage of food and culture.
“As a main ingredient, I’m interested in Gochujang (sweet hot chilli paste) as an upcoming trend, and would love to explore using it with cheese. A lot of Korean dishes use Gochujang. I think it will even be popular for a Western Chef to apply it to North American food. It goes especially well with Western (American sliced) melted cheese.
One of my favourite dishes that I find inspiring is the Cheese Spicy Chicken at KOBI on Steeles West. It’s a Korean take on KFC chicken with cheese. “
Francesco Venditti, Ufficio
Francesco’s loyalty for local and seasonal ingredients makes the spotlight on his fish forward menu so much more than just Italian. Because of his dedication, Ufficio is a trailblazer for its inventive take on Italian cuisine making this Dundas West restaurant sought after among in-the-know diners.
“I for one would like to see more households and restaurants cutting down on food waste and cooking smarter with leftover ingredients. Even small things like making sure you buy in season can have a huge impact. Pushing for sustainability, we definitely need it more in restaurants and in our own homes. We don’t have enough to go around, with so many people going hungry, I would love to see sustainability at the forefront in Toronto, yes, but globally too.”
Luke Hayes-Alexander, L.U.S.T Supper Club
Luke’s rabid curiosity for ingredients driven and location specific dishes has earned him accolades for his L.U.S.T – or Luke’s Underground Supper Table – which sells out almost as soon as it’s announced. Celebrating his third anniversary later this month, Chef Luke is on a mission to elevate the dining experience in the city- his meals are truly like nothing else in the city.
“What I’d like to see more of in Toronto is the hyper-regional South East Asian flavours that I’ve experienced in other markets, but haven’t seen explode yet it TO. Keeping it intense and flavourful, and not dumbing it down. Similarly, to see more street-level stalls preparing these flavours right before your eyes… as an example, at Dundas and Spadina there’s a stall serving jianbing (SO DELISH). Would love to see more of that.”
Shahir Massoud, Levetto
Shahir is the co-founder and chef of Levetto, a roman-style fast casual concept that started in September 2013, and quickly expanded to 7 Ontario locations. With his stream rolling of success and clear vision on how to achieve that, Shahir is sought after for more than just his tasty pizzas. As the ‘Food Guru’ for The Goods on CBC and a brand ambassador for Butterball, his opinion and techniques are putting him, and his restaurants in a well-deserved spotlight.
“In general I think the overwhelming food trend we see in our industry, and I’m not just saying this because I’m bias, but less and less fine dining and more and more fast casual, scalable concepts. Concepts that are quite frankly easier for the restaurateurs to make money. No one is saying that Splendido wasn’t a great restaurant, but it’s really hard to make money with that concept. The quality and expectations of consumers across the board is just going higher and higher. It’s fascinating to see how we (as restaurateurs) all have to innovate and create concepts that will make money and gainfully employ a lot of people, but also provide a high quality fare at a price people find reasonable.
I would also like to see somewhat of a return to service. It’s always nice to get good service, whether you’re at a fast casual place or a traditional restaurant. I don’t know if or when we are going to go back to see an influx of Splendido style restaurants.”
What food trends would you like to see pop up in the city? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.
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