you low-carb conscious?
Consumption of processed carbohydrates
is down in the US, a fact that is having a dramatic impact
on the food industry. Just recently, New World Pasta, America’s
largest pasta manufacturer and maker of San Giorgio, Creamette
and Ronzoni dry pastas, filed for bankruptcy. Many other food
companies are also fighting to stay afloat, rolling out reduced
carbohydrate products in order to increase sales.
Chefs, the low-carb revolution
is here, and if you’re not evaluating your menus and
thinking like your Atkins- and South-Beach-Diet-obsessed patrons,
this is your wake up call. More and more, diners are opting
for light meals consisting primarily of lean protein and vegetables
that are low in starch. When the craving for carbohydrates
inevitably kicks in, they are choosing whole grain products
over highly processed breads and pastas.
While diet fads tend to
swing like a pendulum, the low-carb diet has gained significant
sustained momentum in our culture and cannot be ignored. So
what does the low-carb craze mean for chefs? Should you throw
traditional pasta by the wayside and switch to things like
whole wheat spaghetti? Should you stop serving breadbaskets?
Not necessarily. Balance is important for chefs and consumers
alike. Your menu doesn’t have to be totally carb-free,
but could feature a variety of low-carb options, say by offering
artisanal multi-grain or sourdough breads? The key point is
to organize your menu in a way that makes it easy for low-carb
diners to order a meal and feel confident that they can follow
the guidelines of their diet without sacrificing taste.
Chef Kris Wessel in South
Florida (home of the South Beach Diet) has created a menu
packed with low-carb offerings. Wessel favors simple grilling
techniques to showcase the bold, citrusy flavors of his Mediterranean
dishes. Consider taking your cue from this chef, who doesn’t
turn his back on his staunch carb-lovers by offering à
la carte starch dishes plus a variety of homemade pastas.