ANNIV SPL: Kolkata’s finest chefs decode culinary trends for 2024

From revival of homely recipes to expansion of new cuisines, here’s a prediction for the years ahead.
(L-R) Shaun Kenworthy, Doma Wang, Sharad Dewan, Preetanjali Pasari, Shashvat Dhandhania
(L-R) Shaun Kenworthy, Doma Wang, Sharad Dewan, Preetanjali Pasari, Shashvat Dhandhania

Every conscious gastronome loves to find out the latest trends and the ones that are picking up in
2024. From veganism emerging as a third parallel, to making use of our grandma’s cookbooks, the
city has tremendously up-skilled itself when it comes to scaling newer culinary heights. As we
enter 2024, Indulge speaks with five city chefs to decode trends that are here to stay.

Shaun Kenworthy, Chef and food/ concept consultant and strategist
Trends: Casual dining, jazz clubs, Korean food

Casual social dining will continue around alcohol. I’d like to see some softer places in the city like bars where one can hang out with friends. Every place seems to be quite loud in tempo. A couple of jazz clubs will be coming up next year and I’d like to see that trend continue. Also Korean food should be a part of the food landscape and that’s just started in Kolkata which is great. I’m waiting for someone to take over Latin American or East African cuisine as well.

Doma Wang, Chef and owner of The Blue Poppy restaurants and Boma Asian Bakery
Trend: Introducing family recipes in restaurants

I have always served food that my father cooked for me in Kalimpong when I was a child. Having said that, I didn’t serve the dishes that I thought were too simple, I didn’t think it was worthy of being served at a restaurant. It was my elder one, chef Sachiko Seth, who added a few of her favourites from her grandfather’s dishes, like the cold noodles, shrimp and egg fried rice and they soon became hot favourites. I see it becoming a trend now. For example, chef Prateek Sadhu has opened his new restaurant which focuses on food from his region, Kashmir. Recreating his memories, New York chef Eric Valdez is serving food inspired by his heritage, like the dishes he grew up cooking with his family, and those that he tried during his travels across the Philippines.

Sharad Dewan, Director, Gourmet Design Company
Trends: Ingredients, narrative, pop-ups, home kitchens, experiential deliveries

Forgotten ingredients, exclusive and scarce, plant-based dishes will play a pivotal role in menu planning. The story behind the dish and the drama created by the chef while cooking the dish will create unforgettable experiences. With a raging number of pop-ups coming up in the city already, the craze for unique events will increase. Also, food and bar collaboration will become a rage in 2024. This is where
bartenders and chefs will take centre stage inside a bar and create snacks and drinks in a jugalbandi. With
a growing footprint of home kitchens, I see them becoming more modern and better equipped with gadgets enabling restaurant-type food at home. But in contrast, I see a trend of hotels and restaurants having dishes or festivals revolving around ancient cookware. Takeaways and deliveries will continue to thrive. But, I foresee better packaging. I feel some players will bring in experiential dining in deliveries as well.

Preetanjali Pasari, Chef and owner of Butterfingers by Preetanjali
Trends: Conscious eating, bite-sized desserts, AI-driven food

This year, we have seen a massive shift in the way people consume desserts and food in general. I think 2024 is going to be a year of conscious eating. Vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free are some practices, which will be in the forefront with bite-sized desserts coming into play. There will be a serious focus on the quality of produce and AI/ data-driven food will be taking centre stage. We see so many consumers reading the packaging labels of food products and asking questions on alternative clean ingredients, which is always a delight. Classic comfort desserts, clean healthy produce, allergen-friendly desserts are something I’m personally looking forward to. The trends have already started showing in India, especially in families where moms are choosing healthier and cleaner alternatives for their kids. Consumers here are now also very open to trying and experimenting with new flavour combinations and rare mashups.

Shashvat Dhandhania Owner, To Die For
Trend: Conscious eaters

Diners are more aware of what they are eating, both in terms of the quality of the ingredients and how
healthy their food is. It might not be the year of the millets, but I see diners becoming more conscious
eaters. I’m hoping to make our diners go through an even more holistic experience, where we pay more
attention to the details of the food, its plating, and everything around it. Food is about taste, memory and
nostalgia, and I’m hoping to build on it further in the coming year.

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