As a Chef, keeping up or even creating a trend is important, because it keeps guests coming back for more.
Your taste buds tend to adapt quite quickly to certain foods and to a certain degree your willingness as a guest to try something new. Keeping a menu seasonal in my experience has brought higher quality food to the menu as the vegetables and fruit tend to taste that little bit better, sweeter and healthier when you harvest the foods that are in season. Even though with the demand for food all year round, fruit and vegetables are still better in every way when harvested and eaten when in season. It's better for both the environment and your health.
As one of 3 senior chefs at the current property I work, we change the menu every day - trying to stay innovative and classic at all times. As the property is in Zanzibar, every day is basically summer, and it only rains during the rainy season which is usually from April to May.
This confused me at first because it's very hard to notice the seasons changing and trends on an island don't really change - its more the way the menu reads and how you plate. We rely greatly on the farmers and the properties gardens, to yield us the freshest in-season ingredients so that we can create menu's that are perfect for the day, depending on the ingredients we get in for that day.
We stay seasonal with seafood as well. At certain times of the year, there is no Octopus because of the breeding season and the only time we order meat from the mainland is when our guests request something like impala or zebra. That we only allow in the hunting season.
Staying seasonal makes our menu's also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Our struggle is staying creative while keeping to our rules of being innovative and traditional because the menus are not always the same. We do have certain dishes that will repeat, but not more than twice per month. Certain local dishes we rotate a little more, as it's an experience you are getting more than just the food. And because of all of this, we use the trends sometimes only as guidelines, and then we work either from there or use some of it as inspiration to our dishes.
The goal is to entice guests taste buds and give them an experience, that in turn will create a memory that will draw them back to a particular property just to relive or have that experience again. As a Chef, it is my everyday journey to make that happen.
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