Vegetables are 'entering their glory days'

January 23 2014

Vegetables are set to play an increasingly large role on Canadian restaurant menus in 2014. 

This is according to chef and restaurant owner Kevin Bird who has discussed the trends that will hit the foodservice industry with the Vancouver Sun. 

Mr Bird, who runs Vancouver-based Fable Kitchen, told the news provider vegetables are set to enter their "glory days" as diners become more concerned with health and less meat focused. 

"We no longer have to be protein-centric like when I went to cooking school. The onset of new vegetarian restaurants will push chefs more," he stated. 

Mr Bird said there is also "rampaging demand" for vegan and gluten free dishes due to the growing "food sensitivities" of Canadians.

There is certainly evidence to support the chef's view, as earlier this year leading dietitian Andrea Holwegner told the Calgary Herald vegetarian options are becoming the "star of the show" on Canadian restaurant menus.

Meanwhile, a report from Packaged Facts revealed the nation's gluten-free market is growing at an annual rate of more than 26 per cent and was worth $450 million in 2012.

Mr Bird told the Vancouver Sun he would like to source more of his restaurant's ingredients directly from farmers and this view was echoed by another leading chef - David Gunawan, owner of the Farmer's Apprentice. 

Mr Gunawan said he aims to build better relationships with local farmers and also wants to see more leading restaurants become health-focused.

"I'd like to see more health-focused high-end dining … Well prepared high-end food doesn't need foie gras, duck fat and cream to be delicious," he stated.

The issue was also discussed by Tanis Ling of the Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie in Vancouver. She said she hopes "farm to table" menus will stop being a trend and become a normal part of the city's restaurant industry.

Ms Ling conceded this is probably "more wishful thinking than prediction", but claimed there are far more local resources open to operators now than there were a few years ago.