Dennis Cotter of Cafe Paradiso.

2022 is set to be a time of renewal

Food trends are carefully watched by food writers and chefs are eager to offer new ideas to their diners.

With the last two years having been so difficult for the food industry as a whole, I think we can expect a few changes in trends in 2022. Food & Wine US has interviewed a few chefs in the States on what they are expecting for the new year and the results are very interesting.

First off, life-work balance seems to be on the forefront, so they are expecting that restaurants will open for fewer days or shorter hours. The lockdown has brought home how little time chefs have for family life and how they are missing out.

That’s a good effect coming out of lockdown but the knock-on result will be higher menu prices.

On the food side, chefs are expecting more health focused meals – lighter and more in tune with trends on a more balanced lifestyle. Fermented food, Asian-inspired dishes and a more toned down menu are on the cards.

With a supply chains difficult at the moment, menus might shrink and force chefs to be even more creative when designing their offerings. Looking at how chefs adapted during lockdown – cooking restaurant style dishes at home – I think we can expect great food in the coming months.

I am also hopeful that chefs are working even closer with local suppliers and more chefs follow the example of Dennis Cotter of Cafe Paradiso who works very closely with his grower Ultan in Kinsale to guarantee the best produce for his recipes.

Initiatives like the Cork Rooftop Garden will hopefully make it easier for chefs to access locally grown food faster.

I think the pandemic has shown many challenges in our food supply as the focus has been global rather than local and seeing joint ventures with farmers and chefs is simply wonderful.

One issue chefs have to solve is the ‘no-show’ attitude of diners. With a limited capacity allowed in restaurants, having bookings not turning up is money down the drain for the business.

Cancellation policies have to be strictly implemented with credit card details obtained and charged when diners simply don’t show up.

Plans can change – absolutely but be courteous enough to call to cancel so that the restaurant has a chance to advertise the empty table.

Either way, I am looking forward to 2022 with all its promises, adventures and tastes to explore.

I also like to thank readers of this column for all their lovely messages on articles I wrote over the last number of years – it feels good.

Here’s to a wonderful Christmas and an amazing new year!