Make mine a steak and chips, thanks. Sauce on the side.
When it comes to eating out, most people can be divided into two distinct groups.Those who’ll willingly pay out their eyeballs for an artfully arranged plate of offal and spring vegetables. And those who’d consider paying good money to leave a restaurant hungry - akin to a nightmare.
OK, so maybe the gastronomic lines are not quite so tightly divided, but you get the picture. One man’s langoustine and veal in daisy gravy is another’s steak and chips with sauce on the side.
That’s because when it comes to food our preferences are as individual as we are, marked as much by mood and what we feel like drinking that day as the people we’re eating with.
As it turns out, these patterns of distinction have also begun to emerge amongst Aussie chefs. Sydney’s Sean Connolly has swapped Star City’s glitzy $1000 menu “Astral” for an oyster bar and brasserie (that also serves hamburgers). And Melbourne chef Paul Wilson, previously awarded three chefs hats at the Park Hyatt, has just opened a gastropub.
As Connolly told The Australian yesterday, “It’s much more fulfilling cooking for 500 people a night than 80 people a night. It’s a nurturing thing, I guess. I’m loving the switch.”
Even homecooks, people who coined the terms nurturing and comforting food, are jumping on the “real casual and shareable food bandwagon.”
That’s according to Syrie Wongkaew, the editor of taste.com.au, who said the past two years have seen a real return to a back to basics trend. Basic scones, basic pancakes, pizza dough, lasagne and Carbonara sauce among the websites’ top five most clicked recipes.
“While people are more budget-conscious, this doesn’t mean that they won’t spend money, but they need to feel as if they are getting good value – so they may spend a bit more on a special cheese or some good quality dark chocolate as a treat, “Wongkaew said.
You can’t ignore the place of economics in these emerging food trends, but they don’t explain everything. Simple stuff just tastes better.
Think about how many people you know rearing chickens and growing veggies in the backyard these days. Even the most determined of inner city dwellers will admit to having a pot of parsley growing on the balcony. Real, good, satisfying food is hard to beat.
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