Food For Thought: The Future of Commercial Cookery and Hospitality

Trends, tech and more in commercial cookery and hospitality are creating new styles, roles, techniques to explore.

28 Oct 2016

Hospitality and commercial cookery remain at the top of the national Skills Need List, reinforcing their importance to both our economy and our social lives. This means we need talent in this space, and forgoing the dizzying heights of reality show stardom, what does it take to rise to the top of such a highly competitive industry?

To save you the time, we’ve broken down what’s coming in the food scene, both in the kitchen and when facing the public for those seeking to a flavoursome future.

Commercial Cookery

Fast(er) Food

Have you ever thought about how quality food could be cooked up at a faster pace? A recent panel hosted by Unilever Food Solutions stated that kitchen workers need to adapt to shifting turnaround times and customer demands in the most surprising of ways i.e. convenience products (prepared stocks, boosters and ready-made condiments).

This goes beyond the growing love of glamourised guilt foods (see gourmet mac and cheese). This is about serving foods that are both fresh and fad-centric to people who are poor in time, but rich in standards. For the commercial cookery student, this may be a matter of blending classroom learning with the oft-underrated in-home inventiveness that is common among students living on their own.

Mobile Munching

If you’ve seen the movie Chef, any of the recent seasons of Master Chef Australia, or simply checked out a food blog or two, you’ve more than likely heard about the food truck trend. A long-time norm in the US, this new way of sharing the food love is taking over one Australian capital after another.

The focus of this trend is very much adaptability in terms of what is delivered and convenience in how it is served. This is creative simplicity at some of its most fun – it also allows you to be where the action is, with many food trucks aligning themselves with sporting events and festivals.

Farm, Bush, Beach to Plate

We’ve all heard of farm to plate, but how many of you have heard of the Noma Effect? The food revolution started by much-lauded chef Rene Redzepi hit our shores in its entirety courtesy of a pop up in early 2016 and the impact has been felt. His focus on 100% local, organic and unique flavours is considered game-changing and is fast becoming the new go to ideology for any food scene looking to become more sustainable and engaging.

Your meats, vegetables, spices and herbs are no longer defined by an old standard of ‘beauty’ and ‘crispness’. And while a number of the more distinctly Australian flavours sought by Redzepi himself are currently in limited supply, an increased demand could see whole new industries crop up (pardon the pun) around the farming of such produce. Simply put, take the right approach in this space and you could very well be on your way to redefining Australian food for the better.

Commercial cookery is redefining itself by going back to basics.
Commercial cookery is redefining itself by going back to basics.

Back to Basics

In stark contrast to the convenience food logic mentioned earlier, there is an increased focus on back to basics food for the sake of health – something that goes beyond Paleo (by a few million years). People are getting back into the slow fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough, kombucha) that were the norm in decades and centuries past.

From a training perspective, this requires the learning of ‘artisanal’ techniques and a greater understanding of fermentation.

Hospitality

Service

As stated by Hospitality Magazine, technology is shifting the industry into interesting new directions. Social media, marketing automation, EPOS, online booking systems and digital menus are just some of the newer technologies creeping their way into an increasing number of eateries – this makes tech familiarity a must for all members of staff.

There are also new home delivery services connecting time poor customers with the restaurants they love – this includes Delivery Hero and Dineroo. This all equates to varied service expectations, which are still very much focused on comfort, convenience and class regardless of the technology or level of human interaction involved.

Selling a degustation in 140 characters or less is becoming a norm.
Selling a degustation in 140 characters or less is becoming a norm.

Promotion

“Our mission is to ensure nobody has a bad meal” is the selling premise of leading restaurant rating app Zomato (replacement for Urbanspoon). This app allows people to discover restaurants, write reviews, share photos and more – all for the sake of sharing their love of food with the world. Combine this with the food sharing habits on longstanding apps such as Instagram, and the booming trade of blogs like Urban List, spreading the word about your eatery has changed from the old days.

Be aware of social and learn to play the game or your customers will more than happily bite the hand that feeds them. When embraced and used well, this can the most cost-effective and potent way to get people through the door, once, twice and maybe even a dozen times.

TAFE Queensland Brisbane is more than prepared to help you meet the challenges of tomorrow’s food industry. Our Short Courses, Certificates, and Diplomas have incorporated the latest industry shifts to ensure that you acquire the skills you need to deliver top tier service and tantalising treats time and time again.

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