Fermentation is a very old process that has been gaining in popularity over the past few years, especially among the health conscious. Now, chefs and restaurateurs are ushering this process into their business for a variety of additional reasons.
Bold Flavour, Little Cost
From the perspective of a business owner, fermentation makes sense on many different levels. It adds a great flavor element to a dish, there is very little waist, and fermented foods are very low cost to produce. One of the reasons for the little waste is that every part of the fermentation product is used. Once the vegetables have been used, the bases that remain in the jar are used for sauces and marinades, adding flavour to many dishes.
Fermentation tells Part of a Story
Certain businesses and chefs have adopted fermentation as a way to reflect their unique flavour profiles. Additionally, fermentation says a lot about a restaurant’s focus on things like traditional food preparations, preservations, and presentations. In these establishments, fermentation joins classic food prep like fresh jams and chutneys, pickling, and smoking. It all comes together to make a complete picture that tells a cohesive story of a restaurants style.
On the Menu
In restaurants, flavour is the driving factor behind adding fermentation to menus. Chefs choose items that will be enhanced by the fermentation process and compliment other menu items. Many restaurants have in-house picklers and fermenters who specialise in the area. Many chefs choose to begin adding fermentation to their menu by way of traditional items, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, then branch out into creating their own unique flavours.
Of course the dinner plate isn’t the only thing getting punched up with flavours of fermentation. Many establishments are offering a taste of the technique in their drinks. Bartenders are adding yeast to mixed cocktails, bottling them and letting them sit on the shelf for a bit. Many drinkers consider it to be the perfect beverage giving the best aspects of champagne, beer, and wine.
While the flavours produced are quite complex, the fermentation process is quite simple. Vegetables are sliced, packed into sterile jars with salt, and left to ferment for between one and two weeks out of the fridge. Finally, refrigerate for another two weeks. The longer the vegetables are left to ferment the stronger the flavour will become.
Traditionally fermented foods have been a large part of Japanese and Korean style cuisine. Now, and in the future, expect to see the hippest restaurants offering fermented condiments, side dishes, and cocktails to bring amazingly complex flavours to your table.
What food trends have you spotted recently? Let us know