A common thread running through the predictions of all chefs we spoke to is that the nation’s cuisine will take a distinct turn back to basics this year. This means local ingredients, simple combinations and more natural preparations.
That said there is still much room for innovation and quirky pairings, both in terms of the foods and the different flavours being used together.
Here are some of the popular flavours and food pairings you can expect to see this year:
“Anchovies with meat” - Ashley Palmer-Watts, executive chef of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
“Sherry paired with fatty meats or asparagus, which is notoriously difficult to match with wine” - Santiago Guerrero, head chef of Iberica Food and Culture.
“Pomegranate and blueberry molasses for meat glazes, as well as dried fruits, toasted pine nuts and pistachios in salads with pomegranate and cumin vinaigrette” - Silvena Rowe, chef patron of the upcoming Quince at The May Fair Hotel.
“The move back to traditional pairings will become stronger this year, for example coupling meats and vegetables with foraged ingredients or with produce from local suppliers” - Shane Osborn, chef patron of Pied a Terre.
“High acidity flavour pairings will be a key in tasting menus as this is an important element to keeping the palate vitalized throughout the meal” - Sat Bains, chef patron of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms.
“Coffee and black sesame crumble with Suntory whisky will be popular at Roka this year” – Nic Watt, group executive chef.
“Beer – particularly from microbreweries or brewed in-house. Beers or ales served with a good solid burger or with a modern take on old-school English recipes will be popular” – Tom Byng, Byron.
“The pairing of sweet and savoury is also something to keep your eye on this year. I predict more use of vegetables in desserts, for example tomatoes or carrots” - Michael Wignall, executive chef of Latymer at Pennyhill Park
Next week, we’ll be giving you an exclusive insight into which ingredients the UK’s top chefs will be using in 2011.