How 2021 is shaping the way we eat

Published February 19, 2021, 9:52 AM

by Jules Vivas

The direction of the culinary industry according to renowned Filipino chefs

Late January, one of the country’s most diversified food company, San Miguel Purefoods Culinary Center (SMPCC) held an online seminar detailing the predictions for this year’s “what’s in and what’s hot” in the local culinary scene. Part of the program was famous chefs giving their opinion on the upcoming food trends based on their personal observations.  

Chef Gene Gonzales

Chef Gene Gonzales

The president of the culinary school, Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS), Chef Gene emphasizes that the number of pandemic food entrepreneurs are growing. This means ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook food will become more prevalent. For the owner of successful restaurants Café Ysabel and Gino’s Fine Dining, homecooked and homebaked meals with luxurious and creative improvements will take center stage. Rice will be innovated and incorporated into recipes, while alternative grains will also be explored. With regards to drinks, coffee and tea consumption will increase, and there will be an expansion of alcoholic and non-alcoholic selections. 

Chef Reggie Aspiras

Chef Reggie Aspiras

“With the pandemic still in our midst, allowing many the luxury of time to spend in the kitchen—to learn, relearn, and explore—we can expect a lot of homegrown specialties such as family and heirloom dishes, cooked with much love and care,” says the author of food books Notes from My Kitchen, and K-Drama Cookbook. Food this year will be about coming home to one’s roots. It is food from one’s home, meant to be shared, hoping that whoever partakes of it, will feel as though they’ve been invited to a meal by its creator.

“It is a tribute to one’s familial tastes and flavors. Cooking will then be all about bringing one’s personal light to the table,” the culinary mom furthers. There will be inventions as well as renditions to old-time favorites. On the other hand, artisanal and unique food products are delights to anticipate.

Chef Reggie also perceives the rise of healthy food options, aimed to cater to a niche such as diet food, low carb, healthy meals, and the like. “It will be a sweet year where new and freshly baked cake, pastry, bar, and cookie creations will be abundant,” she says. Breads will see a boom and each unique from the other, being a personal expression of its baker.

On a bit of feng shui, the lucky dish of the year is roast chicken or litsong manok, not your ordinary roast chicken but, the entire poultry—head and feet included. In feng shui this symbolizes family, unity, and harmony.

Food this year will be about coming home to one’s roots. It is food from one’s home, meant to be shared, hoping that whoever partakes of it, will feel as though they’ve been invited to a meal by its creator.

Chef Sylvia Reynoso-Gala

Chef Sylvia Reynoso-Gala 

Frozen ready-to-eat viands are in, and one of the kings in this food category is San Miguel Foods. Some of the ready-to-eat frozen meals are the paksiw na lechon, dinuguan, as well as rarely cooked ulam because of the tedious process of cooking them, namely the kare-kare, humba, and binagoongang baboy. Consumers should also try comfort food such the Chef Selection Angus Burger Patty, Monterey Meatshops’ Beef Tapa and Longganiza, and Magnolia’s Ready-to-Cook Fried Chicken. “These are food items we’ve been yearning for since the lockdown, which generally restaurants or really seasoned homegrown cooks could provide,” says Chef Sylvia, one of the Philippines’ greatest culinary icons. Ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products make the best and most practical food trend. As baking interest has been getting more popular, San Miguel Foods’ Mix ‘n Bake and Magnolia Premixes also carry products to make homemade cookies, cakes, and much more.

Chef Ernest Reynoso-Gala II

Chef Ernest Reynoso-Gala II

The son of Sylvia, sees three trends this year. Homegrown herbs and spices will gain more popularity with indoor gardening as a trend, mode of relaxation, and safe hobby during the pandemic. “Health is wealth and with people more conscious about staying healthy, cooking using air fryer, juicer or blender, small oven, and new cuisines will emerge using these items and as Mediterranean cooking is one of the healthiest cuisines, good for the heart and brain, this will be a popular choice in home kitchens and restaurants,” explains Chef Ernest, one of the proponents of Galastars Culinary school. Meat alternatives come into play for environmental and health reasons. More and more are looking at plant-based meat to reduce carbon footprints. With new studies indicating positive effects of plant-based diets, veggie burgers are gaining traction.

Chef Emelita Galang

Chef Emelita Galang

“Like in 2020, this year will be influenced by the lifestyle changes we need to adapt to because of the pandemic,” says Chef Emelita, an established name in the local food scene, and head of the Emelita Wong-Galang Culinary Studio. Until the pandemic blows away—which, as everything stands now is in the unforeseeable future—food delivery and takeout will be ideal. Bringing restaurant dining to homes as meal kits will be in through more creative menus and packaging, an upgrade to the old to-go bag so we do not feel deprived. Since parties are on hold, it will be conducted online, and people will stick to party food delivery utilizing personalized boxes for would-be guests. It will be something families with seniors will enjoy, until people start going back to life as everyone knew it. And because of the work from home and distance learning setups, it follows that more home cooking will be done—classic dishes and comfort food for that total at-home feel. “It was interesting to see how a lot of people tried to learn how to cook and bake during the lockdown last year. Proof that if people had the time, they still would choose to prepare their own food. Also, since almost everyone spends more time at home now and mornings aren’t rushed, breakfast food is receiving more attention,” she adds. Chef Emelita also saw variations of the charcuterie board coming. A homestyle breakfast board or a snack board, something mommy can leave on the table so everyone can grab something to munch on in between classes and online meetings, would also possibly trend. 

 
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