2 weeks ago

March 2018 Digital Issue


FOOD FILE BY JANINE KENNEDY It’s official: nose-to-tail cooking is passé. You might be wondering where things could possibly go from there — how does one top such charcuterie and “nasty-bits”-driven, meat-heavy, overthe-top cuisine? The current rhetoric seems to be, you don’t. There’s been a steady decline in Canadians’ meat consumption over the past several years, opening the door for vegetarian ethnic cuisines, vegan restaurants, raw-food cafés and an increase in healthier options on some of the country’s most beloved quick-service and fast-casual restaurant menus. For example, Swiss Chalet’s “Healthier- Alternatives” menu — featuring vegetablebased sides with a skin-free quarter-chicken meal ($12.79) and larger main-course salads, such as Spinach Chicken Salad with fat-free raspberry vinaigrette ($13.99) — allows diners to mix and match sides and exclude unhealthy components of existing menu options. In addition, many menus across the restaurant spectrum now provide caloric information for all listed meals. Why the shift in consumers’ eating habits? The environment is an important factor as scientists tell us the way we eat has to change if we want to reverse the effects of global warm- 14 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2018 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

BEET THIS A selection of beets feature prominently on the menu at The Acorn restaurant in Vancouver SEAN DAVID [ACORN RESTAURANT BEETS] ing. Many Canadians are concerned about the sustainability of meat-based food products and increased awareness of over-fishing, animal welfare and the use of genetically modified ingredients have made many wary of ready-made, frozen or mass-produced food products. Personal health is also a growing concern — we now know a poor diet can lead to an increased risk for certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Sugar and sodium levels have been dangerously high in Canadian diets over the past several decades and, now, consumers are taking a closer look at what goes into their food. Over the past 10 years, it has become commonplace for chefs and restaurateurs to include vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free options on their menus. Now, with the opening of many all-day cafés and restaurants specializing solely in healthful cuisine, the trends are going a step further. Artisanal sourdough breads, smoothie bowls, single-origin coffee and fermented vegetables are quickly taking over from the meat-heavy-menus of yesteryear — and consumers not only feel good about the food choices they’re making, they’re enjoying the flavour profiles of the food itself. In St. John’s, The Sprout Café has been a staple in the vegetarian community for 13 years. In 2015, changes made by new owners Elizabeth Mysyk and her chef-partner Greg Dunne (The Sprout is now known as Poyo and The Sprout Takeout), the café’s menu is now more accessible to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. “Before, [The Sprout] was a sit-down-only restaurant, the price point was higher and there was no take-out option,” Mysyk explains. “We were running a late-night take-out vegetarian taco business (Poyo) and were doing really well — our food is made quickly and it’s tasty and filling, so we would get a lot of late-night bar crowds for tacos after the pubs closed. When we took over The Sprout, we couldn’t convince our