IHG Hotels & Resorts’ chefs talk 2022 food & travel trends

“If you want to get to know a country – learn about its food.”

Global truth from Chef Josefina Lopez Mendes of El Chapulin, the Mexican restaurant located in the InterContinental Presidente Mexico City.

Getting back to basics of why we all love to gather around food is a priority for chefs at IHG hotels and resorts around the world, ready to welcome hungry travelers for an unforgettable meal.

Bigger tables, smaller plates

“Eating out means a lot after all we’ve been through,” says Archna Baker, chef and owner of Bhojanic in Atlanta. She’s also the culinary mind behind a new rooftop restaurant, Spice & Sky, at the Holiday Inn & Suites at Chamblee Dunwoody, which opened in the fall of 2021, in Metro Atlanta.

“People are excited to be together again, and they are eating out in groups – with friends and family,” Baker says. “You’ll see more family meals and shareable items, as well as convenience foods.”

At Spice & Sky, the menu features a mix of staples like burgers and pizza with less-standard hotel fare like bulgogi platters and katy rolls. “It offers the things that guests are used to seeing, but it also gives them a chance to try new flavors and dishes,” Baker says.

Baker also says, expect to see simpler, more refined slates into 2022 and beyond. “Diners are more aware and more educated about the food they are eating. It’s all about lighter, cleaner foods – I don’t use allergens or gluten in my cooking.”

More than 7,000 miles away in Dubai, Chef Julie Liwa, consulting pastry chef for InterContinental Durrat Resort & Spa Riyadh, and Executive Chef, Sidney De Hart of Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, echo similar predictions.

“2022 will be all about simplicity. No big menu with too many lines for the server to explain the dish. The music isn’t too loud and the dining area is uncomplicated – space is as important as the food.” As a pastry chef, Liwa says that even sweets are trending in the light. “People don’t want sweets that are buttery or overly sweet,” she says.

“More chefs will return to the ‘less is better’ mentality and the simple approach to cooking and painting,” Hart says, adding that focusing on group dining and vegetarian dishes will gain steam in a big way.

greener tastes

Health and wellness are things diners around the world care about, and Executive Chef Eric New of InterContinental Singapore says anticipate healthier, more veggie menus in 2022.

“The food and beverage industry is always changing, and that’s what makes it so exciting,” New says. “Next year, watch for more plant-based movement as protein substitutes are used, and pressure will increase on locally sourced produce and seafood.”

According to Chef Hart, eating habits are also influenced by online communities.

“The trend towards adopting plant-based foods has grown thanks to social media. People have access to resources and inspiration and can easily find a tribe of like-minded people on these platforms.”

All of these chefs make it important to note that simplicity and clean foods won’t diminish taste and flavour.

“We’ll have bold foods with ingredients that pop,” Baker says. “Food that doesn’t taste very rich but will still be delicious.”

local cravings

Executive Chef Pedro Lopez of InterContinental Cascais Estoril on the coast of Portugal says that presenting seasonal produce and traditional cuisine in modern ways is the most important factor for him as the hotel welcomes guests back.

“The advantage of hotel guest service is the opportunity to showcase our local products and dishes to international visitors – to immerse them in Portuguese culture through our food,” Lopez says.

Back in Mexico, Chef Mendes has been doing the same, creating menus that convey the diversity of Mexican food.

“Due to the wild diversity of Mexico’s climate, ingredients vary greatly between regions. Mexican cuisine is a mixture of everything under the sun. The flavors are intense, the colors are vivid, and the combinations are endless,” she says.

Transporting themselves through food was the way a lot of people traveled in 2020 and the first half of 2021 — and now they can experience the real deal, and IHG chefs incredibly know it.

“When we couldn’t travel, people would watch food and travel shows and recreate recipes at home in search of this universal dish,” Baker says. “It definitely helped create the desire for authentic, good food as we see people traveling and eating out again.”

About IHG®

IHG . Hotels & Resorts [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global hospitality company, aiming to provide true hospitality for the best.

With a family of 17 hotel brands and IHG Rewards, one of the world’s largest hotel loyalty programs, IHG has more than 6000 hotels open in more than 100 countries, and 1,800 in development.

  • Luxury and lifestyle: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Vignette Collection, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo
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  • wings: Atwell Suites, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Candlewood Suites

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the holding company of the group and is registered in England and Wales, and around 350,000 people work in the hotels and corporate offices of IHG globally.

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