business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Axios reports that "dishes that are an aggressive mash-up of global flavors — like sashimi tostadas and tandoori spaghetti — will hit restaurant menus in 2023, a style that's been dubbed 'chaos cooking' … With dining out almost back to pre-pandemic levels, people continue to crave novelty in their meals."

According to the story, " A review of year-end restaurant prediction reports reveals many common themes, such as the rise of 'eatertainment,' new interest in Latin American cuisine and nonalcoholic booze, and the emergence of a jumbled culinary genre called chaos cooking.

"Eater describes chaos cooking as 'a new, brash food style' that's 'part neo-fusion, part middle finger.'

"Examples include pork keema papadi nachos from Nashville's Chauhan Ale & Masala House and pastrami tacos from Delirama in Berkeley, California … Colombian restaurants are having a moment, as is other Latin and South American fare, as well as Hawaiian cuisine."

Fascinating stuff … and I, for one, am all in for sashimi tostadas and tandoori spaghetti.  Plus, I have a hankering to travel to Nashville so I can visit the Chauhan Ale & Masala House.  (Not the kind of stuff we tend to get in suburban Connecticut … which may explain why I still love traveling.)

I've always believed that this kind of stuff should not just be the province of restaurants.  It wouldn't be right for every food store in every place, but more than ever, people in all corners of the country have access to information about exotic foods and innovative meals via the internet and television programs that feature what sometimes is referred to as "food porn."

Stores have the opportunity to provide Eye-Opening food experiences for their shoppers.  If I were a retailer, one of the things I would do is make sure that near the front of my store there would be a small display kitchen, and I'd be hiring chefs to come in on a rotating basis to make exciting, challenging, provocative foods that would appeal to people's imaginations.  Lots of aromas, lots of sampling … and in some cases, these chefs might be able to use their rotations to launch their own businesses.

This is a moment to be bold, to be innovative.  It is a remarkable time in the world of food, and supermarkets should not let is pass by.