The 10-point baking barometer
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Baguettes and foccacia have been standard fare for a while, but hotel chefs are now seeing demand for strong-flavoured baked products, such as manakish, fatayer, ciabatta, pretzels, wholewheat bagels, sweet corn breads and pita from around the world.
“People are travelling more and have greater spending power, especially in big cities. They are now consuming more bakery products than ever before. There is a definite increase in the demand, especially in the gourmet segment,” says chef Vikas Kumar, executive chef of Park Hotels’s Flurys in Kolkata.
It is not unusual for a guest to walk in and ask for pumpernickel (very heavy, slightly sweet, German rye bread) or develop a taste for wortelbrood (spicy carrot bread) after a trip to Amsterdam. Indians have started experimenting with healthy food from around the world, thanks to their growing propensity to travel. Food festivals held regularly by hotels and tourism boards help further this cause.
The world comes to you in desserts as well — Mexican galleta and polvorones (cookies), Parisian macaroons and Asian tea cookies, all find their way into specialised cuisines, making room for baked products. Health-conscious guests opt for mousse-based and baked cheese cakes, as well as fresh fruits and wild berry-based desserts.
Health consciousness and associating baking with all things good is ensuring that hotels, big and small, make investments in such equipment. “Definitely, health-consciousness is ensuring that our combi-oven is a hot-seller. Smaller properties may even opt for Merrychef, which is microwave convection oven. For five-stars there are no limits: products such as deck ovens and Lilcoln Impingers are all a part of a well-equipped kitchen,” says Rakesh Tiwariof Manitowoc Foodservice Asia-Pacific.