Restaurants in the U.S. have always been referred to as a ‘melting pot’ for various cultures and cuisines—which is a huge part of what our taste buds love about residing in the states. We pride ourselves on diversity, especially when it comes to dining among our major metropolitan areas. However, when most of us think about classic ‘Americana’, it traditionally falls under the bar food category—BBQ, burgers & fries, wings, etc. Most of us can’t wait to indulge in these types of favorites. Although there seems to be a new wave of flavors infusing into our nationwide dishes and going International.
Beachy Breakfast’s from Aussie
A few of Australia’s culinary delights have infiltrated our ‘diner-style’ breakfasts- more often known to their natives as ‘ brekkie’. Top-notch authentic food and robust roasts, strong coffees/espressos has always helped the folks down under standout in the kitchen. Did you know the essential avocado toast was not only invented in Australia, but also made its way crossing seas to our hemisphere well before the trend made it popular in the last decade? From their own Aussie spin on bacon-and-egg starters to pastries or ricotta hotcakes, across the globe we can all agree, this is the most important meal of the day! Capturing the essence in the city-streets of Sydney or a Melbourne suburb, cafes have popped up all over the charming corners and avenues of Manhattan to provide our citizens with the influence of Oz.
Whether you are looking for a boozy brunch or a savory nighttime-oriented menu, expect to hear the sounds of accents as the perfect side to your vegetable-heavy, hearty grain entrées with hints of macadamia—a staple to know you are in an Australian-inspired cafe.
Next Stop: Western Africa Enhancing Fine Dining
That’s not the only stop on the map. American chefs have also been spotlighting another major heritage on their tasting menus across the country—the next era of West African cuisine is giving fine dining a twist and catapulting it onto a new platform for restaurants to gain attention and deliver a new, modern culinary experience.
Senegal-born chef and author Pierre Thiam is one of the pioneers of global West African fine dining. West African cuisine, even though it’s various and rich, there’s a cultural unity that transcends borders, noting that these borders have been the result of imposition and not defined by the African people themselves which explains the fusion. Thiam suggests (re)introduction of both the historical and contemporary contributions of the region specifically, and the continent at large, to the world is now being discussed in a different light. “The way Africa was being talked about was always negative,” says Thiam. “[W]hat has changed is that there is an audience that is very, very curious about foods from everywhere,” he says, pointing out the influence of the Food Network and the late Anthony Bourdain in having raised audience awareness of West African food.
Although this interest from American diners still feels new to Thiam, and it’s not without limits. As quoted in The Eater, “The stubborn belief that African food may not be sophisticated enough to qualify as fine dining is something Thiam sees as persisting from his days working in Italian and French restaurants in the late ’80s. It’s a laughable perception to the Senegalese chef, who readily points out that, in the history of fine dining as a European construct, it’s easy to forget that many white-tablecloth spots today are serving, essentially, “evolved peasant food.” Chefs bringing West African cuisine into the American fine dining space have inevitably had to educate even the most interested customers.”
One Influence to Another
Tory Aunspach, Chef & Co-Owner of Cafe Alyce, a local Jersey City restaurant has introduced a new American cuisine in McGinley Square. His idea of having a menu span across cultures has been a proven success to show that this concept of the rise of global cuisine is what allows many restaurants to transition and begin to thrive.
While jump starting your excursion, you can kick off your trip in South Asia with Acorn Squash Samosas, stuffed with spiced acorn squash, peas, onions, carrots and a cream cheese served with house-made garlic chutney, this appetizer will guarantee a sweet and savory send-off without needing to renew your passport. The hardest decision will be where to go for the main course—Morocco or India! Their Chermoula Tuna (harissa marinated pan seared tuna over chickpea purée topped with a warm tomato salad and a drizzle of chermoula—slight zesty, Moroccan spice,) and the Indian Chicken Makhani Tagliatelle (roasted chicken thigh over tagliatelle pasta topped with fresh mozzarella and a creamy butter tomato sauce) will have you lost in your travels of where to land next!
Travel Right Into Your Restaurant
While chefs are finally incorporating more cultural dishes and flavors on their menu, it is bringing new business right through the doors. Restaurants are encouraged to expand their palate and get creative in their kitchens. Using the best ingredients found in those regions, cooking techniques, styles and recipes from all over the world will be just the ticket to get patrons to travel right into your establishments and bite into your new-age menu, filled with variety! No passport required.