We Chat Winter Food Trends With 2 of Joburg’s Biggest Chefs!

gourmet ramen

Trends can be so fickle, they come and go at the blink of an eye and most times can be so quick you miss the boat. The great thing about food trends is they seem to have a slightly longer shelf life, often sticking around long after a season or two has passed. Which is why we spoke to two of Joburg’s biggest chefs, James Diack of The National and Coobs fame as well as Marthinus Ferreira of DW-13 and The Grazing Room, to find out what food trends they were keeping an eye on this winter and beyond. Here are 10 foodie trends you can’t miss out on this winter!

Chef James Diack is no stranger to the food game, and as Chef Patron of two of Johannesburg’s best bistros; Coobs and The National, he has to keep a keen eye on the biggest food trends hitting the scene both nationally and around the world. James says he gets his inspiration from the seasonal ingredients supplied to his restaurants by the Diack’s family farm, Brightside in Magaliesburg, and guests to his eateries can always be assured that only the freshest ingredients make it on their plates. Let’s take a look at his picks for food trends this winter:

Coobs James Diack
Chef James Diack of Coobs and The National.

1. The pressure is on!

According to James Diack, pressure cooking is making a huge come back. Which is great news for meat lovers as it means that a whole lot of tougher cuts can now be used with much greater ease. Diners can expect all sorts of new meat cuts on the menu at their local restaurants and we say; the more meat the merrier!

2. Slow it down, Sally!

Slow cooking is still a huge trend and this winter it’s all about confit, the slow cooking of food in oil or fat. This cooking method ensures that the product remains juicy and succulent and also allows for long afternoons of cooking and relaxing … with a good glass of wine in hand, of course!

3. Soups up!

And, what would winter be without soup? This season however, it’s all about using different ingredients like Jerusalem artichokes or pear squash. James points out that diners can also look forward to discovering interesting flavoured breads paired with their soups. This adds to the interest of the meal and for all sorts of new flavour pairings.

Jerusalem artichoke soup
Jerusalem artichoke soup

4. Hola amigos!

Great news for fans of spicy foods, Mexican-styled food is exploding at the moment! This is in part due to the bold food flavours, but also because of the hands-on type of social eating. You may have noticed that a huge amount of Mexican restaurants have opened in Joburg recently, this is no coincidence!

5. All things warm and sticky

Of course, winer also calls for heartwarming desserts and this winter warm desserts like brownies, bread and butter pudding and fondants are in. Think anything hot, warm and rich, and you’ve got a winner.

Chef Marthinus Ferreira
Chef Marthinus Ferreira of DW-13 and The Grazing Room

Chef Marthinus Ferreira of famous Joburg eateriers, DW-13 and The Grazing Room is known for offering his diners nothing short of perfection on a plate. A visit to his restaurants is about so much more than just a meal, it’s an experience and we love him for bringing his amazing talent to South Africa. As a Chef he challenges the diner to step out of their comfort zone and to taste, feel, and understand the subtle pleasures of fine dining and what it really means to “eat out of the box”. Let’s take a look at his top food trend picks for winter:

6. Love, Peace, Ramen

This winter is all about the delicious Japanese import! Look out for bowls of piping-hot gourmet Ramen noodles at restaurants near you. Ramen can come in many different forms but the key components, noodles and broth, will always stay the same. The truth is the gourmet Ramen trend is about so much more than just noodles in broth – because the broth has been cooked for such a long time, the noodles aren’t starchy and often, in top establishments, there’s incredibly fresh ingredients garnishing the bowl and awakening your senses.

7. The roast is on!

According to Marthinus diners can also look forward to a rise in slow roasting this winter – anything slow roasted pork, beef, chicken, lamb; it’s all on trend! Think juicy, fall-off-the-bone treats that you just won’t be able to get enough of!

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Polenta Cakes with a Winter Vegetable Topping
Polenta Cakes with a Winter Vegetable Topping

8. Getting corny with Polenta

It’s time to get on-board the Polenta train this winter! Yes, yes, we know, Polenta is basically boiled porridge made from cornmeal. So what’s so great about that? The great thing about Polenta is it’s so versatile, you can serve it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as an appetizer and you’re bound to see it on the menu of trendy spots this season. Top polenta with your favorite pasta sauce, make it as a breakfast cereal; serve Polenta in place of potatoes or rice with lunch or dinner – the options are endless!

9. Let’s get cultured!

That’s right folks, fermenting is the new big thing in food. Think all sorts of Kimchi variations (cucumber, kale, cauliflower – you name they’re fermenting it!), miso, sauerkraut, and more! Pickling is one of the earliest food preservation and culinary techniques and involves naturally-occurring yeasts, bacteria and other microbes breaking down the vegetable, fruit or other food item. The method really transforms food and allows cabbage to become sauerkraut, grapes to become wine and soybeans to be transformed into miso.

10. It’s all savoury

Granola may seem likely an unlikely suspect for the big food trend but the savoury version of this breakfast treat is blowing up on the food scene. When you think about it, aside from the sweeter bits, like honey and berries, the things that usually get mixed into granola, are quite savory to begin with and now, the simple addition of a few extra savory elements, like fennel seed and cayenne pepper, are push it over the line to create a new item in our pantry. Look out for savoury granola with toppings from biltong to a Thai version with coconut milk and cashews, and embrace the crunch!


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