Trends come and go—and the ones with great impact eventually come around again. While many trends are, in fact, fleeting in nature, that’s precisely why they are special and significant. These movements and nuances help define and shape society as well as provide a valuable glimpse into what makes it tick. They serve as a fun way for people to connect with each other and to experiment with new things and ideas. From the economic side of things, trends enable businesses to stay viable as they cater to the needs and wants of their respective market sectors.
The bottom line? Trends, no matter how quickly they come and go (or how long they stay) bear impact upon all aspects of society—the culinary world most definitely included. With over a century of bringing flavors to the forefront of the food scene, McCormick is an undeniable trendsetter and literal tastemaker in the industry of all things delicious.
McCormick Philippines recently held “Together, We Flavor” alongside its 23rd installment of the McCormick Flavor Forecast, an engaging epicurean event held at the Grand Hyatt Manila on May 18, 2023. It was an exciting evening of informative insights and tasteful trendspotting graced by food aficionados and professional palate pleasers alike.
Forecast: full fats and no-fuss French, with a chance of heat
With the aims of bringing together the food industry’s movers and innovators to share the future of flavor and to spark new ideas in food preparation and foodservice operations, “Together, We Flavor” was indeed a smorgasbord of information. After a long and involved process of meticulously studying trends and analyzing consumer data—some steps of which included hours and hours of workshops, dissecting over 1,000 trend signals, a number of food safaris across the globe, and sampling hundreds of inspirational flavors—the McCormick Culinary team of experts pinpointed three main flavor trends for 2023.
The Flavor Forecast is as follows:
This involves the use of an array of fats, from animal and plant sources alike, to impart scrumptious flavor to food and even drinks. Fats come from diverse sources, in a variety of textures and consistencies, but they share a commonality: They all impart a richness and depth to food—even more so when using compound butters (mixed with herbs and spices to impart flavor dimensions, whether savory or sweet, to the dish) like Vietnamese Cajun butter and Old Bay butter.
At its core, this forecast is a more approachable version of the classic, time-honored concepts of French cuisine; techniques that have become foundational to cooking. This puts forth that French cuisine does not have to be intimidating. In fact, the basic skills and ingredients of French-style cooking are easy enough to include in everyday meals through user-friendly recipes and applications.
A taste journey into the many facets and levels of spicy heat, this forecast explores the different ways to incorporate chili and spices in cooking. Traditionally, most people recognize active heat, the immediate mouthfeel that comes from capsaicin found in chili peppers. But there are also other sources and ingredients, such as certain herbs and spices or yellow mustard, to create a more gradient heat sensation. Known as passive heat, this type of subtler, more nuanced sensation of spice elevates the overall flavor experience of savory dishes, desserts, and even of drinks.
This year, the brand also introduced its first-ever Flavor of the Year, Vietnamese x Cajun Style Seasoning, a palate-pleasing blend of key ingredients from Cajun and Vietnamese cuisines, that works especially well with each forecasted trend.
A delicious exposition of good-for-you gastronomy
To expound on the Flavor Forecast, McCormick Culinary’s chef Michelle Zammit, who hails from Australia and is with culinary product development for McCormick, flew in to share her valuable expertise as the point person and lead for this year’s Flavor Forecast. She was joined by chef Tenten Casasola, McCormick Philippines’ dynamic innovations and culinary team manager, and chef Mark Hagan, The Grand Hyatt Manila’s executive chef who was at the helm of whipping up the dishes specially created for the event.
As chefs Zammit and Casasola pointed out throughout their talks, each trend offers a unique culinary experience that pushes boundaries and ignites the senses. Chef Hagan likewise noted that “spice is the bedrock of cooking,” driving the point home that “without spice, a chef is nothing.”
A lively dance number signaled the opening of the Manila Ballroom’s show kitchen, where chef Hagan and his team prepared each sumptuous dish with skill and culinary flair. As the aromas wafted through the elegant space, diffusing myriad mouthwatering spices in their path, guests became all the more eager to sample each flavorful dish.
Appetizing interpretations of each flavor-rich forecast
Delivering the umami goodness of the “Full-flavored Fats” forecast were the Loup De Mer à la Meuiniere, brown butter pan-seared sea bass with lemon caper butter sauce and McCormick’s star anise, cracked pepper, cilantro leaves, and parsley leaves; Foie Gras Mousse with butter brioche, fig jam, and McCormick whole mustard seed; De Canard traditional duck confit, puy lentils, fondant potatoes cooked in butter and seasoned with McCormick’s parsley flakes and rosemary; and the Mayahuel Spritz, a tequila and coconut milk-based drink.
“Everyday French” was exemplified by the super simple yet satisfying Camembert Au Four, oven-baked camembert served with homemade fig jam, toasted walnuts, and McCormick’s parsley flakes and rosemary; Steak Tartare Végétalien, plant-based tartare served with vegan tofu mayo, pickled gherkins, onion, capers, grain mustard, and McCormick regular Worcestershire; Blackberry Tart, fresh blackberry pickles, dill cream, marjoram shortbread made with McCormick marjoram leaves; and the Reveillez-Moi, an espresso coffee-based cocktail.
As chefs Michelle Zammit and Tenten Casasola pointed out throughout their talks, each trend offers a unique culinary experience that pushes boundaries and ignites the senses. Chef Mark Hagan likewise noted that “spice is the bedrock of cooking,” driving the point home that “without spice, a chef is nothing.”
Blazing a bold flavor trail in the “Beyond Heat” category were the Indonesian Char-Grilled Rendang Burger, slow-cooked smoked beef brisket, ginger, garlic, Asian slaw, pickled cucumber, tomato sambal dip, and Mc Cormick’s turmeric, chili, and chili powder; the Wok-Fried Beef Cube Casserole, McCormick black pepper steamed bun, XO sauce, dried shrimp and scallops, salty Jinhua ham, shallots, garlic, chili oil; and Aji’s Sour, a bourbon, tamarind, and McCormick cayenne pepper-based cocktail.
Come for the flavor, stay for the data
Of course, anyone who is actively involved in the food industry—from fine dining and slow food establishments to quick service restaurants and everything else in between—will know that, while flavor is the foundation, there is more to the business than pleases the palate. There’s a whole menu of logistics and market data to consider as well.
McCormick invited Greg Camacho (director for deliveries at Grab), Eric Dee (COO, Foodee Global Concepts and co-founder of Kraver’s Canteen), and Miko David (president, David & Golyat), each of whom imparted a wealth of knowledge in e-commerce in the food industry, food technology, and the data that drives the dining scene.
All three, experts in their respective fields, agreed that the omni-channel experience—a hybrid of online and offline options for customers to order, pay for, and pick up their meals—is defining the foodservice landscape, post-pandemic. The facts, figures, and from-experience nuggets imparted by Camacho, Dee, and David framed the Flavor Forecast’s fulfilling finish.
From chefs and F&B teams to restaurateurs and food merchants, everyone came away satiated and equipped with juicy morsels of insider knowledge by evening’s end. After all, it is among McCormick’s main initiatives to be of assistance to entrepreneurs and establishments in the foodservice industry throughout the various stages of their business cycles. And there are few things more tasteful than that.
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