For many reluctant home cooks, the pandemic transformed meal-making from an uninspiring chore to a creative and comforting outlet. It also challenged people to discover new foods and to experiment outside their basic repertoire of recipes.
If you want to know what Canadian home cooks will be trying, eating and craving more of in 2022, just ask Jordana Rebner. The vice president of culinary development at Goodfood is constantly tracking the latest food trends and innovating fresh twists on favourite dishes for Goodfood’s customers—some of whom are so motivated by their newfound cooking chops, they don’t want to make the same dinner twice.
From starting as culinary development manager at Goodfood to overseeing a team of talented chefs, Rebner has grown with the company from its startup days to one of the country’s most popular meal-kit and grocery delivery services. A culinary school grad, Rebner worked at a trendy Montreal restaurant before joining Goodfood. “High-end restaurants are similar to start-ups in the way you need to be prepared for unexpected changes and challenges,” she says. Her restaurant experience also taught her how to cook ingredients in the right order—something that’s a key focus at Goodfood. “While our recipes are much easier to prepare than restaurant meals, we always focus on proper sequencing, but simplify the process for our customers,” she says.
Rebner and her team also scour social media, cookbooks and the best restaurants for recipes inspiration. “Canadian families want innovation as well as the tried, tested and true. We are ever focused on providing a taste of the exotic and adventure but balancing it well with the flavours we know and love,” she says. Here are four foodie developments that Rebner sees catching on in the new year:
Fast Food Redefined
“The pandemic has forced us to face facts when it comes to the foods we love,” Rebner says. “We all churn out the same 10 recipes when eating at home but have lost a sense of discovery for new foods unless it’s brought to our door from a restaurant—which at the start of all stay-at-home orders, was the fastest gourmet food available to us.” While the restaurant industry was hit hard by the pandemic, meal kits have thrived. And it makes sense: meal kits allow home cooks to create the kind of exciting foods they only experienced when they went out to eat.
Goodfood recently launched their 30-minute on-demand grocery delivery service in Toronto and Montreal and plans to roll out to more cities in the coming months. Customers can order any combination of meal kits, ready-made meals or an extensive collection of quality groceries in as little as 30 minutes.
Think about condiments and sauces like the fashion accessories of the food world. This year, no meal is complete without them, Rebner says. “Aioli used to be a side star that was used sparingly but now it’s showing up almost everywhere.” Whether it’s drizzled on grilled meat, spread thick across a sandwich or served in a pretty bowl as a dip, it’s gone from a simple sauce to a hero ingredient.
Other trending condiments? Salsa Macha from Veracruz, Mexico, a heady and complex chili oil with peanuts and garlic. Or furikake, a dry Japanese condiment made of seaweed, dried fish, sesame seeds, sugar and salt.
Italian but Make It Gen Z
Across the internet and social media, classic Italian cooking has been heavily tweaked for today’s generation of young-adulting home cooks. Some of the most viral recipes on Tiktok include baked feta pasta and air fryer pasta chips. It’s also a welcome trend for Canadians of all ages just looking for crowd-pleasing carbs and easier ways of cooking them, like one-pot recipes and old favourites like rosé and vodka sauces.
With the growing awareness that food can have more benefits beyond simply providing daily fuel, Canadians are increasingly interested in nutritionally dense, plant-based superfoods. Take hibiscus, high in vitamin C and antioxidants, and a natural immunity booster. “It’s been around for centuries but we are seeing it used in foods from smoothies to desserts and drinks,” Rebner says. “It can cut through the fattiness of meat with its vibrant flavour or be used as a zesty addition to seared fish.”