It’s been a rocky road for any foodie obsessed with following the latest trend.
We’ve seen it all, from kale, cauliflower and palaeolithic dishes to food trucks and Heston Blumenthal granting our food wishes… And that’s just the first six months of the year.
Although the latter two are still gaining their popularity, we’ve already witnessed the arrival and mass growth in popularity of kale, the excitement of which, I’m sure most of you got swept up in given it was one of the most popular trends from the 2015 predictions. However, kale’s no new kid on the kitchen block, its popularity having been growing for years. But why? Why is kale so popular when it’s a bland, solid leafy green that has a bitter taste that’s been described as “Earthy”.
Despite its bitter taste and flaky texture, this earth grown delight is actually packed full of benefits, which goes nicely with the current ‘wellness’ boom. Kale is not only high in magnesium, which is good for your blood circulation and bones, it also contains five times more calcium than sprouts. But it doesn’t stop there, the veggie that keeps on giving is also packed full of antioxidants, vitamins such as A, C and K, and so much iron that it is practically beef.
It’s no wonder we fell in love with kale.
Another power-filled veggie that has taken centre stage on our plates this year is cauliflower. Packed with dietary fibre, vitamins such as C, K and B6, and magnesium, cauliflower has also been creeping its way up the popularity charts, along with kale. Although it supposedly doesn’t have as many health benefits as kale, cauliflower still seemed to only gain popularity in our meal choices this year.
According to Google Trends, both kale and cauliflower have been on a constant rise since 2008, with kale higher in popularity.
But culinary trendologist Christine Couvelier has predicted cauliflower will be the new kale.
Couvelier is an executive chef, a culinary executive and owner of the website Culinary Concierge. She has her own trend watch report on her website, as well as all the latest and greatest information – as determined by her – on food around the globe.
Couvelier believes it is the consumers’ new-found awareness of nutrition that has helped bring kale and cauliflower out of the dark and into the healthy spotlight. “Consumers know more about food than ever before. They read more food magazines, watch more food on TV and travel for food. Vegetables being the centre of the plate relates to consumer awareness about healthy eating,” she told the Newsroom.
With our desire to eat more healthily, it’s no surprise that the palaeolithic (or paleo) diet took off, thanks also in part to spruiking by celebrity chef Pete Evans.
The paleo diet recommends consuming foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans. The diet sticks to the very basic staples, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. This also means no dairy, cereal products or processed food. Sticking to this diet would result in no coffee, no chips, no chocolate… Oh, how could one do it?
While the the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre found the diet does have benefits – like an increased iron intake, it is a clean diet rich in nutrients, it’s rich in healthy fats and it helps reduce bloating – not all nutritionists agree. Some point to the diet’s downside, including a lack of dairy (not good for your bones) and a lack of grains (not good for your health and can reduce energy), not to mention it can be pricey…
Pete Evans, judge of My Kitchen Rules, came under fire in March for producing a paleo diet book for kids with baby recipe blogger Charlotte Carr and naturopath Helen Padarin. Evans had already released two Paleo books, Paleo Every Day and Going Paleo, both of which helped bring the diet out into the spotlight. Third time wasn’t the charm for Evans. The book ended up being dumped by publishers after an outcry deeming it irresponsible.
Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, and Tamarah Katz, a paediatric dietitian at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick, both slammed the book as dangerous. “In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead,” Yeatman told the Women’s Weekly.
Given we’re only halfway through the year, what trend will hit our mouths and fridges next?
Couvelier says the things to watch include, “Healthy choices, flavours with sweet and heat, and a continued awareness of where our food comes from.”
Plus, look out for more and more food trucks on our streets. The City Of Sydney Food Trucks Trial Report for 2014 noted that street food is consumed by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide each day. So food trucks may soon come to a corner near you!
Not to mention, we’ve only just had a Heston Blumenthal pop-up restaurant in Melbourne. Before we know it, all foodies will be flocking to book a table at his Sydney restaurant. I can’t wait! – Report and photo by Isabel Williams