Merrill King - Navigating The Mind Field Of Changing Food Trends
Merrill King - Navigating The Mind Field Of Changing Food Trends

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Merrill King - Navigating The Mind Field Of Changing Food Trends


Merrill King, Managing Director, Capitol Caterers

With the global food trends swiftly moving consumers towards greater intrigue and interest in top quality, eco-friendly and organic food products, caterers on every level are having to adjust their thinking in order to satisfy their customers discerning and ever-changing tastes.

Add to that the almost cultlike following of Master Chef and similar TV shows, the customer now also has a superior knowledge of foams, sous-vide, hot immersions and all manner of molecular gastronomy.

Obviously including the latest food trends such as oat milk, waterlily seeds or kelp biltong into everyday budgeted meals proves a little taxing on the cost implications for catering companies, but we at Capitol Caterers include new ideas wherever budgets allow.

So instead of the very 80s style canapes and crudité, our cocktail menus include ‘Poke / Buddha Bowl’ or ‘Mash Bar’ offerings, giving our customers new taste and sight sensations as well as a healthier, more mindful product.

Whereas in the past brisket and chuck cuts of meat were considered ‘low cost’ and comprised our budget offering, now following the trend of ‘nose to tail’ consumption, these poor cousins have been elevated to the superior plates of top Michelin Star Chefs worldwide. ‘Lip Meat’ (the whole beef head), is now considered a delicacy which plays havoc with the classification of meals.

One must wonder, do we offer ‘Braised Beef Cheeks and Wasabi on a Beetroot Rosti’ as our finedining
meal and ‘Grilled Fillet with Pap and Chakalaka’ as our budget meal?

But not only are we having to keep up with the mind field of shifting food trends, the drinks offering has also become a gastronomic encounter. Our discerning consumer is no longer satisfied with a “Tea, Coffee and Juice” experience. Trends now dictate that what should be on offer is ‘Cold-brewed Coffee, a Tea Bar and Cold Pressed Vegetable and Fruit Juices’ (all organic, obviously!).

Bars cannot just offer beer, wine and soft drinks. Now one must include all manner of craft beers, a collection of organic wines with descriptive empathy to the soils PH levels and a range of trendy Millennial CBD infused soft drinks.

Rum Bars are fast replacing Gin Bars and Negroni’s and Aperol Spritz are the new cocktails (for now!) Of course, these bars all come with a host of ‘bespoke glasses’ and vegetable and fruit garnishes for each offering. And not to be left out water must have ‘gut-friendly’ fresh ginger pieces added to the jug.

Good news for the budgetminded catering companies is that perfectly formed, shiny, exact sized vegetables are out! Trends now shout, ‘The Uglier the Better’. So all those misshapen, knobbly, too big carrots will now be saved from the compost heap and can at last revel in the glory of being served au natural.

And if you thought navigating the morning traffic to work everyday was bad, try being a caterer having to dodge vegans, paleos, pegans, gluten/dairy/nut intolerants, gastronomic wannabes, as well as ensuring our carbon footprint and eco-green practices are in place â€" all on a seriously eroded budget?

Maybe your morning traffic doesn’t look so bad after all! 

T: 033 394 0310

Merrill King - Navigating The Mind Field Of Changing Food Trends

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