By Neeta Lal
Award-winning Chef Diwas Wadhera, Executive Chef, Eros Hotel Nehru Place, who has earlier had successful stints across The Oberoi, the Taj and Radisson hotels says that an accent on sustainability and respect for the environment will be the defining trends in the food and beverage space in 2024.
A skilled and respected culinary professional, recognized for his comprehensive knowledge of international and national cuisine, Diwas’ innovative approach to cuisine offers a delightful dining experience to guests. Over his two-decade long culinary journey he has also helped redefine the art of cooking while developing impressive menus and dishes that showcase culturally diverse regions around the globe.
What in your view will be the prominent food trends for 2024?
Plant-based food or simple indigenously-sourced ingredients that respect vegetarian and vegan diets and promote Indian culture will be a big draw for chefs across the country. Demand for organic food and ingredients (cacao seeds, buckwheat etc) which bestow numerous health benefits will be also be high. Millets are already a popular item in commercial kitchens. The grain started its journey once it was declared the food for 2023, but the peak is yet to come and in 2024 I foresee chefs finding more inventive uses of the grain in a variety of forms and dishes.
Instant noodles will be another popular trend among millennials. This is because several varieties of ramen are evolving around the world and the scope for cold ramen is also big. Healthy mushrooms will dominate the beverage market including mushroom coffee. Probiotic green teas will also be a popular beverage.
Will sustainability be a big factor next year too?
I think, sustainability and respect for the Earth are the need of the hour and we all must collectively show moral responsibility towards this cause. Both aspects should remain foundational to transform the food industry and environmental, economic and social factors must be considered, evaluated and implemented throughout the supply chain like never before. This has been the biggest lesson from the pandemic.
What will be the beverage trends for the coming year?
Well, the beverage trends keep evolving and are also influenced by international trends but classical is always in demand in the market. Even so, I foresee a surge of low alcohol beverages; Elderflower based Hugo spirits; coffee cocktails including mushroom coffee; probiotic green teas and exotic fruit and veggie smoothies.
What will be your focus at Eros F&B for 2024?
Well, at Eros we’re planning to turn around the F&B experience to delight our guests with unique offerings and experiences. We will focus on incorporating the latest international trends infused with local Indian culture and locally sourced foods.
We’re also focusing on water conserving products. Hence from Basmati rice to olive oil, organic soaps and other eco-friendly cleaning chemicals which consume less water are being used across our kitchens.
What are the challenges you foresee in 2024 in the hotel industry?
I see skilled and dedicated manpower as one of the foremost challenges for commercial kitchens in the coming year. Also environmental concerns will be weighing on the minds of professionals like me who can do a lot to either save or jeopardise the environment depending on how we run our operations. However, I’m optimistic that a top down approach keeping sustainability in mind while leveraging local resources should help see us through.
(Neeta Lal is an international awards-nominated Editor & senior journalist who writes on art. culture, and lifestyle for leading national & international publications.)