A blog for written by the chefs who run the Hospitality Mentor Program. A chefs views on current food trends, the work environment, food community and all other aspects of food culture and the industry.
Friday, 26 April 2013
The Rise and Rise of Street Food (Holy Truck and Taco batman)
Food trends are funny things, they grow and evolve at a staggering rate, throwing kitchens and menus around the country into a frenzy to try and keep up with the new emerging trend. These trends usually start in the upper echelon of world or Australian dining culture, white tablecloths, haught prices and a feel of exclusivity. Whether it is the rebirth of French cuisine and cookery, the fusion of Asian and European cuisine into modern Australian cuisine, the snout to tail revolution or the birth of molecular gastronomy, these trends appear and then slowly filter down from the top through to the restaurants and hotels and finally into the café’s, pubs and catering companies.
3 years ago this evolutionary path of food was turned on its head with the rise of Street Food, it has risen from the bottom and now effects the trends of the nations finest and most cutting edge establishments. It is a cuisine forged from pure necessity, born in the ramshackle carts of South America and the market kitchens of Asia. Gritty, smoky, cheap dining that promises so little and delivers so much.
Adelaide is embracing this trend more and more each day. The imposing line up of office workers and locals infront of the Burger Theory Truck or La Cantina every lunch time is a true testament to the food that they prepare. Restaurants can boast all they want of modern decor and funky art work, but can they truly compete with scoffing a blue cheese, pancetta and Angus beef burger while sitting on the grass in the sun? But as we watch the pubs and restaurants begin to embrace this style of food, we have to wonder, is the point of street food lost when we sit in a leather dining chair surrounded by Italian designer lighting. In these establishments, street food is being chained to all the constraints of other restaurant cuisine that should have never be applied to such a free spirited genre. The soul and theatricality of the food is being lost while it is put in the wrong environment
Finally, I could not write this without failing to mention one of my favourites, Lucky Lupitas. They are one of the restaurants promoting street food in Adelaide who is getting it all so right. From the mismatched glasses and crockery to the rickety tables and casual staff in jeans and non matching T-shirts, everything is perfect. There is no overstated pomp or intricate plating and you won't walk out with an empty bank account, it is a constant buzz of chatter and laughter and the smells that waft from the open kitchen send a promising hint of what is to come. Smoked corn cobs that are chargrilled, spread with chipotle mayonnaise and sprinkled with parmesan, this is what I dream of and Lucky Lupitas delivers. They harness exactly what makes street food great, they embrace the noise, the smoke and the grit and with that acceptance comes the soul of street food. They pay homage to the roots of their food and remain a shining example of the unstructured love, chaos and passion that is at the very heart of this cuisine.