The Insta platter

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 28 December 2017

Instagram has become the most sought-after platform to share beautiful food posts, inspiring chefs to get better at their garnishing game

Food is not just a delight to your taste buds, it is about a complete sensory pleasure that involves making the food look presentable, artistic and colourful. As the popular adage goes - you eat first with your eyes, Instagram has taken this food creativity a few notches higher. The photo sharing application has become a beautiful place to post rainbow sandwiches, black icecreams and burgers, mermaid toast, and unicorn salads etc. It has also inspired foodies, food enthusiasts, restaurants and bloggers around the world to experiment with food and create ‘Instagrammable dishes’. Sushi Donuts, art on Latte, Charcoal Icecreams , Floral Cakes etc, 2017 has seen numerous food trends that took Instagram by storm.

WHY INSTAGRAM?
“Instagram has seen an uptrend of pictures from various corners of the world. Food pictures are being uploaded not by the second, but by the eye-blink, literally, resulting in a flood of pictures, sometimes of similar nature,” says Wrik Sen, a food blogger who writes at www.sensbucket.blogspot.in. According to Sen, with anyone on the lookout for food or anything new and experimental, Instagram has been a handy medium to source new information.

City-based blogger Megha Chhatbar ( www.fitfoodiemegha.com) feels that Instagram has taken food photography to another level, specially the hashtag #foodstagram. “Being a food blogger, the trends I see in #foodstagram are changing the way people see food. It has become a habit to click a picture before lunching, snacking or munching which might put people off the meal entirely. The way good food posts are flooding, it is impossible to ignore them,” says Chhatbar.

Chef Jeevan Singh Rawat, executive chef, Courtyard by Marriott, Hinjewadi says that in this technology-driven world, it is totally maddening to see how people eat less but never forget to post its pictures on social media forums. “In my opinion, Instagram has been widely used by every individual who is associated to food industry as well as by common men,” says chef Rawat.

However, Sen says that the food space is getting overcrowded.

THE IMPACT
While it is a visual treat to look at these pictures, the Instagram trend has been successful in inspiring the food industry to explore food in a new way and experiment with new ingredients and garnishing techniques, Sen says. Everyone now has a finger swipe method of sourcing information, and getting exposure to the entire world of food. “This means that new ideas are always turning up (courtesy small videos and snippets, pictures, and textual information), which has piqued people’s interest in experimenting with new items and styles of food. For instance, there are numerous health food accounts, which also dish out information on various new styles of cooking for gaining muscle, loosing weight, etc. So anyone looking for visual and textual information has all of this within reach. Or for that matter experimenting with different cuisine and style of cooking, the trend seems the same,” quips Sen.

Talking about some raging trends of the year, Chhatbar says, “Love it or hate it; they are here to stay. People today, just go to the restaurant to click a photo of the trending dish. There is a race for ‘likes’. Everyone wants to either set the trend or be the trend. From Freakshakes, to Bubble Waffles, Bubble Teas, Moosh, Sushi fusions, Charcoal-based dishes, your photo on the coffee, icecream rolls, Buddha Bowls, Molecular Gastronomy etc dominated 2017.

According to Rawat, when you post a picture of your food, it also reaches people who have not visited the restaurant and that’s the power of Instagram in today’s world. “Instagram is also now widely used for any and every kind of promotion,” he adds.

Further talking of the changing perception of people, Chhatbar says, “Creativity flows from the maker to the end customer. People have started looking food differently. It is not only limited to eating but snapping, knowing the ingredients, and spreading the word. Chefs also make sure that the dish looks like a piece of art. The plate is a canvas.”

FAVOURITE PICK
When asked about the food trend that won their hearts, Sen exclaims that anything which has desserts, single malts, and medical applications, tend to catch his eye the most. “There are several accounts related to these verticals which I keep going back to, and yes I do enjoy them the most,” he adds.

Chhatbar who has tried to recreate versions of these food trends in the city says that her favourite food trends this year were the Bubble Teas, Naanzas, Buddha Bowls, Charcoal Food and Molecular Gastronomy. “Bubble Teas have an addition of sweet, dark, fruity tapioca pearls to it which make them more appealing and substantial, and combining them with your tea is an amazing combo. Adding lychee, watermelon, blueberry pearls to the tea takes the beverage to another level. One the other hand, Naanza, a cross between Pizza and Naan is also doing rounds on Instagram. Pizza toppings on Indian flat bread or naan attract more crowds at restaurants. For some, it might be crazy but for me, Naanza is surely a brainwave moment,” says Chhatbar.

A famous blogger posted a picture of  a dessert called Chocolate Bomb created by Rawat and within a week’s time the dessert became a hot seller and many media persons started asking for recipes. The post received 5,000 likes within a few hours and that is Rawat’s favourite food trend of the year.

The year saw a great shift towards black-coloured food which resulted in invention some of unique black dishes. “Charcoal-based dishes came as an eye-popper to the world. The rich, dark, black colour of the sandwich or the dessert comes from the activated charcoal and it is intense but the flavour and texture are quite different,” says Chhatbar who also believes in eating healthy. The Smoothie Bowls, she says, are on the top of her trending food list. “This is one trend which won’t die and I am not complaining. Delicious, healthy and colourful ingredients make this bowl drool-worthy. Another favourite is the use of science in the kitchen — molecular gastronomy. It is said to be revolutionary cooking - combining regular food with science to create impressive culinary foam, gels, and granules. I am eagerly waiting for the food trends in 2018,” concludes Chhatbar.

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