Sipping Violets – 2019 Canadian Restaurant Trends
At the start of 2018, Restaurants Canada – a national, not for profit association – asked 430 chefs about the menu items and cooking techniques that were gaining popularity in their professional kitchens.
Now, as Restaurants Canada prepares for their huge 2019 Trade Show, they report out on the strongest food trends they are seeing for the next year.
RC – What’s On The Table for 2019
i. Root-to-Stem Cooking
Less waste, more experimentation with the entirety of the vegetable. Chefs are trying new recipes with beet greens and jackfruit cores, for instance.
ii. Restaurant Robotics
eg: robot-crafted salads and sushi.
iii. Clean, Motherless Meat
Make way for more lab-grown meats.
iv. Incredible Edibles
Now that it’s legalized, RC is predicting that cannabis will find its way into more dishes.
v. We Sea Greens
Expect to see more vitamin-rich marine greens like kelp noodles and algae jerky.
vi. The Plant-Based Movement
Plant-based proteins and milks – eg: barley or pea – are growing in popularity.
vii. Pretty Please, Without Sugar
Chefs are also looking for new ways to replace sugar with sweet, healthier alternatives like sweet potato or corn.
viii. Culinary Cocktails
Restaurants Canada predicts we’ll see more edible flowers, juiced herbs, savoury cocktails.
ix. Less Kale
‘Kale has officially outstayed its welcome,’ they say. Look for more alternatives, such as dandelion greens and amaranth.
While chef robots and lab-grown meats are decidedly 21st Century, some of these 2019 restaurant trends were pre-dated by centuries-old health practices – culinary cocktails, for instance.
Take edible flowers, such as violets. In his Natural History, Pliny the Elder tasked violets with curing a long list of ailments. ‘Placed on the head in chaplets, or even smelt, they disperse the after-effects of drinking and its headaches, as well as quinsies when taken in water….’
12th-century Benedictine Abbess Hildegard of Bingen suggested brewing a Violet Elixir with fresh or dried violets, wine, galingale and powdered licorice. ‘Whoever loses their appetite due to melancholy and worry and also has soreness of the lungs,’ she wrote, ‘may be helped by drinking this clear beverage. It may help to reduce the melancholy, making them happy and may help heal the lungs.’
Back in 21st Century Vancouver, Kaitlyn Stewart – Bar Manager at Royal Dinette and 2017 World Class Bartender of the Year – is well into the violet game with her TNT. It’s crafted from Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Violette Liqueur, Sweet Tea, Pressed Lemon and Bitters.
Stewart has long been a believer in root-to-stem. “If you want to squeeze every drop out of your fruit,” she said in a post-win interview, “there’s a simple way to reuse leftover peels – make oleo saccharum (oil sugar). Just place the peel in an airtight jar, cover with sugar and let it sit until the sugar has dissolved. You’ll have a delicious flavoured syrup to add to something like my Garden Party cocktail. Afterwards you can put the peels in the oven at a low temperature and you’ll be left with candied citrus peels, great for garnishing.”
Here’s to another interesting year of Canadian cocktails, mocktails and meals.
Written by Elizabeth Newton
Header – Jan van Os. Flowers. ~1780
#2 – James Peale. Still Life: Balsam Apple and Vegetables
#3 – Johannes Bosschaert. Still Life with an overturned basket of flowers. 1627