Thursday, January 27, 2011

Scandinavia Sweeps the 2011 Bocuse d'Or!

At the final in the 2011 Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, the Gold medal went to Denmark, the Silver was awarded to Sweden, and Norway took home the Bronze.  - Scandinavia sweeps the global gourmet event of 2011!   We see Nordic cuisine gaining popularity and were fascinated with these results. 

The event took place at the SIRHA International Hotel, Catering and Food Trade Exhibition and is considered one of the most important cooking competitions in the world. 

You can see the competition in action by following this link:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The CulinEssence 2011 Top Ten List

With the new year ringing in, we are all being bombarded with predictions of what 2011 will bring in terms of food trends. We have been reading many of these predictions and found some interesting ideas as well as some real duds.   For example, we've been trying to source many items that have shown up on a few top ten lists, and found many are just plain impossible to buy. If you can't get it, how is it going to gain popularity?

The North American team have our own ideas on this front, so here are our top ten trends for 2011 that make sense to us -- in no particular order:

1. Asian foods will continue to penetrate the mainstream, but move beyond Chinese food and Sushi. Thai, Vietnamese and Korean food items will continue to gain popularity.

2. Spicy Foods - More items made spicier, from beverages to pizza, with a view to the heat's origin.

3. Purees - Foods that have been pureed in high powered blenders and used as sauces, soups and even dressings will be gaining in popularity.  Expanding on this trend from the plate to the kitchen, we see movement to tools that make our lives easier, like blenders, microplanes, better knife choices, combi ovens, quality pots and pans, vacuum sealers, and quick chillers.

4. Healthier, but not healthy - Foods that are bad for you are getting...not as bad for you.

5. Simple - Foods that have a more rustic appeal that are either homemade or traditional with gain more appreciation. Greater appreciation for fewer ingredients and basic preparation.

6. Cheese - Definitely a good thing, we always need more.

7. Less Salt - Ever get about halfway through a meal and realize you've hit your salt intake threshold? Maybe chefs will start backing off on the stuff!

8. Crunchy - From Potato chips and bread crumbs to cheetos, chefs are looking beyond panko to bring crunch appeal to dishes.

9. Local foods and wild foraged foods - Direct from your back yard. People want to support their immediate area, the new feel good factor.

10. Heirloom - No longer just tomatoes, but apples, beans, watermelons, pears, and other fruit to follow suit.

What are your top food predictions for 2011?  We want to know!

*Note: this article was updated on January 27 to incorporate additional info on Purees, Simple, and Spicy trends.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

IFF Invests in Greater Asia

Yesterday, IFF announced an investment of over $100 MM in Greater Asia, allocated to two new purpose-built manufacturing plants.  You can read more about it here and here

The top two renderings are of the Guangzhou facility and the bottom is from the Singapore site.

The growth in the region is breathtaking, as are the opportunities!  Culinarily speaking, we couldn't be more thrilled!