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Wine & Dine
January 20, 2017

Two Chefs on 2017’s Biggest Health Food Trends

Text by Tina Dastur

In conversation with chefs Bakul Kodikal, of Jamie’s Pizzeria, and Paul Kinny of 212 All Good

With the turn of every year, eating healthy and staying fit tops the lists of resolutions. For many, this means a shift in lifestyle preferences. Additionally, the focus of dieting has shifted from a size-zero figure to overall well-being.

Chef Bakul Kodikal of Jamie’s Pizzeria  and Chef Paul Kinny of 212 All Good forecasts the trends that the culinary world will embrace this year, dismissing the misconception that healthy food is all leaves and no flavour.

JAMIE’S PIZZERIA
For many weight-watchers, pizzas are forbidden fruit. Refined flour, processed cheese and fructose-laden sauces don’t exactly spell health- friendly food — but that’s only if you’re not Jamie Oliver. Committed to promoting healthier eating practices, Oliver is known for his ability to find healthy solutions for almost any kind of food — pizzas included. Substituting synthetic flavours for in-house ones, Chef Kodikal tells us what trends are going to lead the way this year.

In the limelight
Echoing Chef Kinny’s sentiments, Chef Kodikal says, “I feel wholesome vegetarian and comfort food will be the trends for the year. A lot of superfoods have come up in the market, and grains will be used extensively. We also see wellness drinks and fresh pressed juices gaining in popularity. Seasonal ingredients too will dominate.”

Menu picks
Rocket And Parmesan Salad: stuffed with all the right veggies, this salad is rich in fibre and nutrient. Funghi Pizza: fresh button mushrooms and shiitake supply the right vitamins while the small batches of cheese add to the taste. Ask for their preservative- free home-made tomato ketchup, which is made using fresh tomatoes and natural vinegar.Seasonal Almond Tart: indulge your sweet tooth with this delicacy made using almond flour and topped with the freshest fruits.

Foods to avoid
Chef Kodikal advises complete abstinence from addictive sugary drinks and foods that contain trans fats.

Do healthy pizzas exist?
“Absolutely! The issue with most commercially prepared pizzas is that they are packed with a host of unhealthy ingredients. Using good-quality seasonal ingredients and applying the correct cooking techniques ensure that the ingredients retain their flavours and vitamins. At Jamie’s, we make fresh dough in-house daily, using wholewheat flour without any sugar, and fresh yeast. In fact, a lot of alternative grains, lentil seeds and vegetables (quinoa, chickpea and cauliflower) are now being used to make healthier pizza bases.”

An easy way to be on the right track?
“Balance is key. If you balance your plate well and keep your portions in check, you can be certain that you will be on the right path to good health,” insists Chef Kodikal.

212 ALL GOOD
With even the basics — like ketchup, soda and tonic water — being made in- house, and options for dairy-free milk and home-made cola on their menu, 212 All Good is one of the best retreats for the health-conscious. Chef Kinny shares what’s on offer. In the limelight “Indian cuisine will see its popularity rise,” says Kinny, who has big hopes for vegetarian food in particular. “I want 2017 to be the year when vegetarians enjoy the attention! I’ve been experimenting with jackfruit, kantola and betel leaves, which will offer vegetarians dynamic choices beyond ‘paneer, mushroom, baby corn’”. He also sees international cuisine gaining traction. “This year will see a focus on Nikkei cuisine, Mexican food and maybe even Ethiopian fare.”

Menu picks
Tender Coconut Pad Thai: the chef’s ingenious version of this Thai staple substitutes the regular starch-rich noodles with coconut strips.
Goji Berry Chicken Curry With Black Rice: flavour-rich and wholesome, this is a well-balanced, nutritious bowl meal. Adzuki Bean And Millet Salad: rich in potassium and fibre, it is ideal for when you want to fill your stomach without overeating.

Foods to avoid
Chef Kinny recommends ditching non-seasonal produce, packaged foods and a diet rich in artificial flavours.

Choosing between tasty and healthy
“Both factors are meant to coexist. At 212 All Good, we have a full-fledged spirit and dessert bar — both of which one wouldn’t often associate with staying healthy. But nothing is out of a bottle and it’s all free of preservatives and artificial flavours,” swears Kinny.

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