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The new catering rules

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Laissez-faire catering chef Clinton Brown shares the modern rules of foodservice.

1. Environmental sustainability
Organic just isn’t good enough. Food has to be locally grown, meat and seafood locally sourced. And at Laissez-faire, we have started to adapt our recipes to ‘nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking’. This has reduced our food waste by using the entire animal or plant. Today’s consumers want to know where their food comes from, and they are willing to pay a little more if the food has been sustainably sourced.

2. Health and nutrition
This has been a trend over the last five years but it is here to stay. With smartphones within arm’s reach, consumers know more about nutrition than ever before. Using Smart Phone apps for tracking nutritional intake not only accommodates the busy lifestyles of consumers but will continue to be popular in 2014. People can use their smartphones to download applications that perform all of the dietary monitoring that is necessary for good health. These applications include the ability to track and record the number of calories, sugar, carbohydrates, sodium and grams of fat consumed. Some of our clients are wanting this information on our menus too.

3. Nostalgic nosh
As life speeds up and becomes even busier, people are yearning for the simplicity, warmth and certainty of bygone eras. Hence the growth in comfort food eating and retro recipes. You will start to see back on the menus prawn cocktail, moussaka, chicken Kiev and Black Forest gateau.

4. Cognac
There are certain timeless classics that retain their allure in part because of their superior quality and corresponding prestige. Cognac is one of these things so look out for the new chocolate and cognac bars

5. Gluten-free
We have started to use super-nutritious grains such as quinoa and amaranth in dishes that might once have used wheat flour. Here’s a recipe for you to try for comparison’s sake:

Banana bread with amaranth flour

Ingredients

200 gr (2.1 oz) amaranth flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

201 gr (7 oz) sugar

2 eggs

½ cup canola oil

340 gr (12 oz) very ripe bananas (around 3 bananas)

2 Tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

75 gr (2.6 oz) pecans, toasted and chopped.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Grease loaf pan 23 × 13 × 7.5 cm (9 x 5.1 x 3 inches)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the amaranth flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the chopped pecans, with a rubber spatula mix only to incorporate. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas using a fork. Stir the sour cream and the vanilla. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy. On low speed, very slowly add the canola oil. Add the banana mixture and mix well. Finally add the flour mixture and mix until all the ingredients are well combined. The batter is smooth and fluffy.

Spread the batter into prepared pan. Smooth surface with a straight spatula. Bake for 1 -1 ¼ hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.

Enjoy!

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