This was the first in a series of H+J’s Trend Talks, a quarterly snapshot to clients on what is emerging, not just with food but with lifestyle in general.
The inaugural talk was given the added twist of food for thought when top chef Ben Spalding provided a taste of the future.
On arrival, guests who thought they were sipping on pre-talk cocktails, were given Seedlip non-alcoholic gin to reflect the key emerging trend of cutting down on alcoholic drinks.
The evening, attended by more than 50 of H+J’s clients in the Haslett, Flowers and Marconi rooms, kicked off with a talk by international Retail Futurist, Howard Saunders entitled ‘The Future Is…?.’ This explored a number of topics from the impact technology will have on us in the coming years to the latest street food trends. Howard’s lively and thought-provoking talk challenged assumptions and encouraged questions around the future of our high streets, shops and restaurants and how they will function in ten years’ time.
Howard, who joined the event hot from the streets of New York and who has worked in retail design for over 25 years, comments: “My theory is that we are all Millennials now and actively seek out the authentic and the new. We are more open to new experiences than ever before but our immense expectations mean food producers and restaurateurs have an awful lot to live up to. 'Photogenia' is the problem chefs already face: every meal must be photogenic and 'Instagrammable' even to register on our finely-tuned Millennial radar.”
Top Chef Ben Spalding brought Howard’s talk to life further with an innovative and forward-thinking menu.
Guests sampled mushroom and mealworm risotto, savoury fudge and praline chocolates with insects, half chilled and half hot tom yum and parsnip soup, roast dinner in a pot and chicken on a brick. As an added touch of drama, guests were treated to canapes including icicle radish smeared with umami cream cheese, wrapped in lardo di collonata and dusted with sweetcorn powder and apricot puree.
Ben, who has been working with H+J since the summer as part of its Inspirational Chefs line-up comments: “I was really proud to play a part in this event and give guests some thought-provoking food of the future. As a chef, I am always keen to push the boundaries and come up with innovative ideas that are about more than the food, so this event provided the ideal environment to express my creativity. I love working with the H+J family, and look forward to developing this exciting working relationship, they think outside the norm and are curious to question food and dining experiences/events which fits in exactly with what I am about.”
Company director and Co-Founder Nathan Jones comments: “At H+J we are independent, intrepid and original; we are also forward-thinking and committed to our future. Providing for our future is a challenge that both the events world and food industry needs to address and H+J are determined and proud to be at the forefront of raising awareness."