The Future of Food – top trend in food looks set to remain firmly focused on sustainability with Russells on the Port chef, Charl Coetzee
Hyper-local sourcing of produce, meat and seafood, a focus on sustainable ingredients, and a minimisation of food waste are among the top restaurant trends that are not going anywhere anytime soon. This is according to Charl Coetzee, chef at Russells On The Port restaurant, an upmarket 90 seater restaurant situated in a luxurious boutique hotel overlooking the Berg River on the Cape West Coast.
“Organic foods, heirloom and farm origin produce, natural ingredients and minimally processed foods, artisanal foods – such as cured meats, pickles, preserves, handmade ice creams – and authentic cultural and ethnic cuisines are also set to remain on trend for South African restaurants.”
“Diners want to know as much as they can about what they’re eating, especially when they’re at restaurants,” says Coetzee. “They want to understand everything – from the way a certain food tastes to how the farmer grew it to how far it travelled to get to the plate. Chefs and operators know this and are more engaged in telling their stories and acting in environmentally friendly ways. The industry and its customers are seeking out foods that are not only flavourful but also minimally impact the environment.”
“I would say that local sourcing is the food trend that grew the most in the last decade and that environmental sustainability is the food trend that will continue to grow most over the next 10 years. We’ve been seeing strong trends toward sustainability in the food space for several years now, and it’s clear that’s going to continue to grow.”
“Many South Africans want their food choices to fit in with the way they live their lives these days, being mindful of the environmental impact of everything from transportation to home appliances to household cleaning products.”
Starters are out, a focus on food waste and bespoke creations for diners are in
According to Coetzee food waste is also very much on people’s minds with more and more customers and restaurants becoming increasingly aware of the problem. “Chefs and restaurateurs are really starting to change their thinking around food recovery and reducing waste.”
“It is about not overusing ingredients, cutting out waste by having clean plates come back to the kitchen, the use of less animal-based proteins, and even a reduction in the number of courses being ordered – with starters being less common than in the past.”
Coetzee goes on to advise that in addition to these latest trends which have influenced the contents of the plates, there is also a growing focus on customer satisfaction – to the point that more and more chefs are open to creating bespoke dishes that are tailored according to customer demands and food choices (eg: vegan, paleo, gluten-free etc.)
“It is about honing the dining experience to the pinnacle of enjoyment and food happiness – not only through the dish placed in front of a diner but in the experience as a whole. Long-term happiness of customers is in itself a form of sustainability as it ensures the success of the restaurant as a business, allowing for a long-term presence in the market.”
Russells on the Port Restaurant
Russells on the Port Restaurant is now open 7 Days a Week; Monday – Saturday from 8h00 to 21h30 and Sundays from 8h00 to 19h00.
Recipes follow trends
In line with the trend of authentic cultural dishes receiving focus Coetzee has created several signature dishes which are fitting to his role as the chef of Russells on The Port restaurant which enjoys a beautiful location on the Cape West Coast.
Amongst these is his take on the traditional Cape Malay dish Smoorsnoek, which is conventionally made with smoked or fresh snoek, potatoes, onions and spices. That is traditionally served on rice with a slice of wholegrain farm bread and jam. The fish is smoked and then flaked and de-boned before being added to a pot of sauteed onions, potatoes and stock, with parsley and lemon and seasoning to taste.
Having left school at the age of 16 to start working in the restaurant industry, Coetzee has 22 years of hands-on experience. His first job was at The Dunes Beach Restaurant in Camps Bay in the kitchen and over the years he has worked at the Cape Grace Hotel, the Caveau Restaurant, the Alphen Boutique Hotel, La Belle Bistro, the Bay Hotel and Spier Eight Restaurant, as well as several years working in Tanzaneer at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Restaurant.
Many years of hands-on experience in the industry has allowed Coetzee to watch many food trends come and go and he says he notes with interest what the latest restaurant craze or trends may be, but adds that the “trend” of customer happiness is one that for him will always remain the primary focus.
COETZEE’S TOP FOOD TRENDS SUMMARISED
- Locally sourced meats and seafood
- Organic foods
- Heirloom produce
- Hyper-local sourcing
- Natural ingredients and minimally processed food
- Environmentally sustainable
- Healthy kids meals
- New cuts of meats used to create exciting new dishes
- Sustainable seafood
- Artisinal foods – such as meats, pickles, preserves and ice creams
- Authentic cultural and ethnic cuisines
- Farm-origin/produced ancient grains
- Food Waste reduction
Facilities available at Russells on the Port:
• Accommodation • Child-Friendly • Pool • Complimentary Tea/Coffee • Wheelchair Accessibility (Some Rooms, Bedrooms & Bathrooms) • Restaurant • Conferences • Bar • Small Functions • Weddings
Find Russells on the Port on the West Coast Way Foodie Route and Berg Route
Opening hours and to book your table for Upmarket Dining at Russells on the Port
Tuesday to Saturday: 08:00 until 21:30
Sundays: 08:00 until 19:00
Opening hours of the Guest House
7 Days a week
Where: 1 Bronwen Avenue, Port Owen, Velddrif
West Coast Way is South Africa’s road trip with the most twists. South Africans and visitors can explore a unique collection of themed routes to do adventure-filled Cape West Coast self-drive trips or a West Coast Holiday. The new West Coast Way “basket” of free routes on offer include the West Coast Way Tractor Route, the West Coast Way Berg Route, the West Coast Way Foodie Route, the West Coast Way Cultural Route – as well as the newly launched West Coast Way Wild Route, all of which are designed to showcase the many attractions and activities that are already on offer on the Cape West Coast and inland areas – but may be unknown to many. For more information on West Coast Way’s #WestCoastTwist and the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit www.westcoastway.co.za or call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.