Thursday, 17 April, 2014

 
Published December 28, 2013
Dining
What's cooking in 2014
Local F&B personalities weigh in on their favourite food fads and pet peeves for 2013, and share their 2014 forecasts. By Debbie Yong
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Favourite food trend in 2013
'Food courts have become beautiful and hip dining spaces with well thought through design concepts... but I do wish that food court operators will pay attention to the food as well so that it can reflect the high standards of interior design.'
Willin Low, The Wild Rocket Group

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Andre Chiang

Restaurant Andre

Favourite food trend in 2013: Speciality coffee

Most irked by: Tapas and cupcakes

Food trend forecast for 2014: I think what Singapore has been missing is a decent Thai food place.

New projects for 2014: I have been working on our own farm, Racines, in Taiwan since 2013 and the farm will soon provide all sorts of vegetables, flowers and herbs for Restaurant Andre. I think this highlights the strong desire of restaurants to stay closer to the produce and establish a privileged relationship with their suppliers.

Janice Wong

2:am Dessert Bar

Favourite food trend in 2013: Australian coffee concepts and health food eateries

Most irked by: Copycat ramen noodle shops

Food trend forecast for 2014: Delicious and creative small-plate options that use quality ingredients and served at affordable prices.

New projects for 2014: I will still be continuing my work on my sweets project and will be returning to the Chicago Sweets Fair, which we participated in this year in May 2013.

Yuan Oeij

The Prive Group

Favourite food trend in 2013: Young people starting food stalls and cooking with passion and quality; second- generation hawkers taking over the business from their parents

Most irked by: Celebrity chef restaurants that don't quite deliver because the chef only visits a few times a year and relies on someone else to head the kitchen. Small bakeries and coffee joints that do not offer anything compelling, particularly when they start displacing traditional shops in established neighbourhoods such as Tiong Bahru, and famous food stalls that try to sell off their business and recipes for high prices. The success of a place depends on so many factors other than just a secret recipe.

Food trend forecast for 2014: Nose-to-tail dining and the use of offal, and a gradual shift towards non-pretentious hearty food served in more rustic ways, because people have had their fair share of complex food presented daintily over the last few years.

New projects for 2014: The Prive Group will be opening a new outlet in the middle of 2014 in the soon-to-be-revamped CHIJMES. The al fresco dining space will serve all-day hearty food in the day and become a drinking spot serving hearty bites later in the night.

Willin Low

The Wild Rocket Group

Favourite food trend in 2013: Food courts have become beautiful and hip dining spaces with well thought through design concepts and awesome furniture, but I do wish that food court operators will pay attention to the food as well so that it can reflect the high standards of interior design.

Most irked by: Increasing rental rates and the decreasing labour pool are not exactly food trends but they have been on every restaurateur or chef's mind in 2013. It has become difficult for creative individuals to start quirky restaurants and ultimately only the big groups with economies of scale can survive. A vibrant food scene can only be sustainable if restaurants at every level, from hawkers to standalone restaurants to celebrity chef-backed Michelin star restaurants all have room to grow.

Food trend forecast for 2014: I prefer to stick to things that are tried and tested, and with staying power. If it's a trend today it will probably be gone tomorrow.

New projects for 2014: Wild rocket will reopen in its current location in mid-2014 after both the hotel and restaurant go through major renovations. I have decided to stay put on Mount Emily given my good relationship with the landlord. Relish @ Cluny Court unfortunately has to relocate at the end of March as the landlord there has decided to raise rents to a level that's not financially viable for us.

Eldwin Chua

Paradise Group

Favourite food trend in 2013: Noodle bars and bakery-cafes

Most irked by: None, as different dining concepts will liven up the food industry

Food trend forecast for 2014: Restaurants serving traditional Japanese, Chinese or Thai cuisine in a modern setting

New projects for 2014: We are still growing our casual brands such as Canton Paradise, Paradise Dynasty, Paradise Inn, LeNu and My Nasi and will be tweaking our current menus and ambience. They will hopefully set a new benchmark in Chinese cuisine.

Crystal Chua

My Private Pantry and My Private Chef

Favourite food trend in 2013: Restaurateurs and hawkers anchoring their food with a specific personality, be it based on a cooking method, dish or cuisine, and the move away from fine-dining to hearty and less pretentious food

Most irked by: Cupcakes. They're basically a sponge cake with a different topping, but still a sponge cake at its core!

Food trend forecast for 2014: Gourmet food halls such as PasarBella; boutique eateries selling artisan creations; pop-up food fairs and themed dinners; restaurants offering cuisine from countries outside Europe and Asia.

New projects for 2014: As one of the winners of the Kickstart Fund in September 2013, we will be planning pop-up dining events around the idea of telling stories of selected monuments though good food with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board in 2014.

Maria Kuvshinova

Clubvivre

Favourite food trend in 2013: Intimate dining concepts and private chef outfits

Most irked by: Calling everything a pop-up, even if it's just an ice-cream sale on the street. We hope that genuine pop-up creations will be appreciated for what they are: limited time-only creative experiences set in original locations.

Food trend forecast for 2014: Trends come and go, but the demand for personalised services in the F&B and hospitality industry will only grow.

New projects for 2014: We are developing an online chef-for-hire platform that will make organising private dinner parties a breeze.  

debyong@sph.com.sg