Sodexo chefs took in a taste of this summer’s World Cup in a food trend tour of London’s chicest restaurants to discover more about the latest dining out trends.

Brazilian barbecue themed restaurant Cabana was one of seven eateries on the tour, organised in conjunction with Steelite International, along with Peyote – a unique interpretation of Mexican cuisine, Ember Yard – refined Spanish and Italian flavours, and Jackson & Rye – an East Coast US-style café bar.

Three other West End restaurants completed the tour: Barnyard – an American, hip joint from celebrated chef Ollie Dabbous, Whyte & Brown – a celebration of free range chicken, and House of Ho – casual Vietnamese dining run by famous chef Bobby Chinn.

Craft and food development director David Mulcahy was joined on the tour by members of Sodexo’s National Craft Forum, the primary network for chefs across all its business segments. Sodexo has a strong commitment to culinary excellence, to which the National Craft Forum is testament.

David Mulcahy, craft and food development director at Sodexo, said: “This is a great way to show our chefs the different food styles which are becoming more and more popular, especially in London. On the restaurant scene we have seen a new type of diner emerge, one who seeks a lively atmosphere as well as good food and value for money. The London scene for casual dining has never been more active and I am amazed at how much development and movement there has been since our last tour 12 months ago.

“We want our chefs to be inspired by what is happening in the restaurant industry and take that away to their own site, whether their client is a large pharmaceutical company, financial institution, independent school, university, the Ministry of Defence or even the NHS. The day gave everyone a chance to try some great examples of the latest food trends which use different flavours, unique presentation of dishes and indeed the dining environment itself.”

David Hussey, executive head chef for Sodexo’s independent schools business, said: “It was interesting to see current food trends in concentration and I will take several ideas back to my site. Young people would love the home-style cooking of the US and that would be easily transferable to pupil feeding. Also, the Latin American flavours and style of Peyote would go down well and look great on the counter with all the interesting and fresh colours and flavours.”

Greg Fowke, national account manager at Steelite International, said: “Our second trends tour with Sodexo was a great success, highlighting the importance of research and gaining greater insight into the up and coming restaurant trends in London, and eventually rolling out throughout the UK. Having a better perception of restaurant and food trends gives Steelite International a better understanding of what chefs and end users like, helping us to introduce new product ranges that are suitable and in-keeping with what’s hot, and what will be.”

Further themed tours planned for this year will focus on two dynamic and growing trend areas of interest in Sodexo’s business: Café Culture and Fine Dining. These tours form part of Sodexo’s training academy.

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