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Food trends – Are we more interested in a screenful of food rather than a plateful, wonders Anjan Chatterjee

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Minuscule air pockets trapped thick over cream and steam is not just a coffee machine feat. It is also a canvas. Thumb-sized ferns, hearts and baby pandas etched in ephemeral foam have even got a name – Latte Art. Food and drinks have taken off laterally since the generation of no particular alphabet that I belong to used to hang out at The Coffee House. Now I break into a sweat just trying to decode the choice of beans. 

Food and beverage look more appetising than they ever did, more scrumptious, pre-plated, carefully cluttered, art you can eat. But can you? It is all on the other side of the screen. #justoggle and #justdrool are some of the unjust ways that food blogs, food posts and food accounts tease someone who has already seen their salad days. With so much mouth-watering food on my device, why is there so little on my plate? 

Thumb-sized ferns, hearts and baby pandas etched in ephemeral foam have even got a name – Latte Art

Thumb-sized ferns, hearts and baby pandas etched in ephemeral foam have even got a name – Latte Art

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‘Don’t just eat food for flavour’s sake. Experience it.’ It is like telling the walrus in Lewis Carroll’s poem to watch, and not eat, the oysters from the sea. I feel entitled to chomp dreamily, not caring for the name of the goat who gave the milk that’s in the cheese. But then, I would have to go hungry, it seems.  

Food used to be only flavours, followed by more food, more flavours. Delicious food was made from love. Lots of love and no crumbs left behind. That was the thumb rule which overfed my generation and all the ones before. But today, it looks puritanical. Food is not much good if it is not vegan, organic, ethically sourced, urban farmed, foraged, glocal, sustainable, Keto, climate-conscious, mindful food. While the focus has shifted for the better, I may agree, to the wellbeing of the planet, its plants and animal populations and diverse peoples, along with the health and enjoyment of the guest, can I have a menu of sinful flavours, with a drink to wash my sins, pretty please. 

Nowadays, food is not much good if it is not vegan, organic, ethically sourced, urban farmed, foraged, glocal, sustainable, Keto, climate-conscious, mindful food

Nowadays, food is not much good if it is not vegan, organic, ethically sourced, urban farmed, foraged, glocal, sustainable, Keto, climate-conscious, mindful food

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You will get fine finger food called casual gourmet in this Gastro Pub, (or is it Gastro bar, or Resto Bar, or Resto Pub — why the heck can’t they decide what they are) which is another way of saying, plenty of camera-friendly, and beer-friendly food to choose from, but belly-friendly? That’s food for thought.

Savouring food for its flavours is not the priority, it seems, or is it only me who holds a gripe? My family is busy clicking and posting portraits of the very photogenic food. I am photobombing, mostly. And don’t even think of eating that ‘oozyliscious’-looking dessert. It melts my heart to watch the only real treat on the table — or is it tablescape, as it melts into a dreamless sleep.

‘My family is busy clicking and posting portraits of the very photogenic food. I am photobombing, mostly’

‘My family is busy clicking and posting portraits of the very photogenic food. I am photobombing, mostly’

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Music by the in-house DJ, craft brew, creatively mixed drinks, interesting ambience, hangout vibes and then, finally, the curated food that has a huge hashtag following. Often, it is a theatre – chefs make speciality pizza before your eyes and mixologists juggle exotic juices. This comprises today’s elevated dining experience. I must eventually be a puritan because I don’t feel very elevated until I am rather full on delicious flavours. So where does one like me go for a tranquil table for two – me and the food I savour. Barring a few places, I know where flavours still hold the court, we can always head to our own castle. There we can dine on simply delicious food, but dine like a king.

Anjan Chatterjee is the chief of Speciality Restaurants, which owns Mainland China, Asia Kitchen by Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta,Sigree Global Grill, Café Mezzuna, Hoppipola, Barissh and many more. And yes, he is a foodie! He is at acgenx@gmail.com



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