Recent snippets of significance from the Press
For over a century the calorie has been the best benchmark indicator of how healthy food is for us, but now this is being challenged by scientists as reported in this very interesting article in The Economist. Although calories are still a good scientific measurement and as a general rule if you eat vastly fewer calories than you burn, you’ll get slimmer (and vice versa), it’s also been found that everyone processes calories in different ways. As such there’s now a growing school of thought that the believes simply relying on calorie counts (which are ubiquitous on modern food labelling) is dangerously flawed and does little to help us control our weight or even maintain a healthy diet.
Waste Not Want Not
A great kitchen tip form chef Tom Hunt in The Guardian – save up all your old Parmesan rinds and use them as s makeshift stockcube to bring a umami-rich depth of flavour to soups, stews and risottos. He suggests making them into a Parmesan rind broth with olive oil and white wine that would make a great cooking liquor for filled pasta such as tortelloni or ravioli.
The Lone Diner
The way in which we both eat and interact with our fellow humans is rapidly changing and recent research has shown that a staggering third of Britons now regularly eat alone either most or all the time. Amy Fletcher has written this insightful article in The Guardian that takes a look at how this dining sea change is affecting our diets and subsequently our health. It’s little surprise that it seems to be leading to a decline in people eating healthy meals – with lone diners more likely to choose convenience options such as takeaways and fridge left-overs, over lovingly home-cooked meals.
On the streets of Taipei and Shanghai, fan tuan, or rolled chewy, sticky rice filled with a selection of ingredients is a common breakfast dish. Now this traditional rice snack, which is not unlike a sushi roll, is being re-imagined and elevated by Western chefs reports The New York Times – with fillings such as bacon and iceberg lettuce, roast duck and long-braised pork turning it into an all-day dining option.
Delivering the Future
There’s been plenty written about the rise and rise of food home delivery and the impact this is potentially having on the restaurant sector as a whole. Now, with news that Amazon has invested in delivery giant Deliveroo – Michael Moritz, writing in The FT, predicts that in the future we’re going to see the proliferation of large ‘cloud kitchens’. That is, industrial production kitchens set-up with the sole purpose of preparing restaurant-style food without the cost of an actual restaurant (Deliveroo already has its Editions kitchens which fulfil this role). Mortiz suggests that this is a development that will almost certainly lead to troubling times for many high-street restaurants and snack bars.
The Secret to Success
Restaurateur Jeremy King (half of the successful Corbin & King Restaurant Group) is interviewed in The FT, in which he gives his opinion as to why the high street retail and restaurant sectors are currently in such trouble. He acknowledges the role that both soaring business rates and rents and Brexit are having, but most interestingly he also cites the short-term outlook of private equity funds (that are behind many well-known high street chains) that are often aimed at quick profits rather than real long-term investment. Meanwhile, despite 117 restaurant closures in London last year, before tax earnings for the Corbin & King group is actually up – something King puts down to its private ownership and willingness to invest in staff alongside offering classic food that doesn’t pander to current trends.
Long Live Little Italy
I Camisa & Sons and Lina Stores in Soho are two of my favourite grocery stores in Soho, a go-to for top quality Italian produce and friendly service. The Telegraph has a great article documenting the history of the neighbourhood Italian deli in the UK and how they continue to be the heartbeat of the country’s large Angol-Italian community, from Glasgow to Manchester through Bedford to London. As the article says ‘the good thing about the deli is you can buy your fresh items, have a sandwich, and have a nice chat. It’s the full experience.’ True words indeed.
Off to Market
The New York Times reports on the opening of the Time Out Market – a 21,000 square feet space spread over two floors with over 500 seats both indoors and outdoors alongside a curated mix of 21 food offerings and three bars. Following on from the success of its first Market in Lisbon which opened in 2014, this new venue in New York is but one of a number of planned future openings that include Miami, Boston, Chicago, Montreal, Dubai, London and Prague. This style of eating hall or modern food court is becoming increasingly popular in cities around the globe – in London alone Market Halls already has three sites and KERB is soon to open a similar street food market in Covent Garden. It’s an appealing setup for both vendors and diners – with fewer overheads vendors can keep quality high and prices low, and diners, eating in a slickly designed dining space can pick and choose from any number of global cuisines as they please. This is all about elevating street food, and it’s already disrupting high street eating by providing a fast and affordable alternative to the more traditional offerings to be found there.