Tasteful presentations

Tasteful presentations


HN talks to representatives of two international tableware brands, as well as the founder of Adara Holding Group, about the crockery and cutlery trends shaping and dominating the eating-out experience


What has been behind the move toward different-looking tableware?
The most obvious and important trend in recent years has been the emergence of a new catering segment known as, ‘Bistronomie’, which is a cross between fine and casual dining. This brought about unprecedented focus in terms of attention to the right ingredients, originality and creativity in the presentation and composition of every offering. As a result, a careful reevaluation of tableware styles has seen the plain classic choices used to serve most dishes replaced with plates that are more fitting and diverse depending on the individual menu items requested. Such cutlery comes in various shapes, sizes, materials, colors and is usually chosen by the chefs themselves as they are intimately familiar with the menu and by reciprocity, what food works best.

What impact does such tableware have?
The dishes used add value to the culinary marvels on offer and have become synonymous with both taste and presentation. The interplay of form (dishes) and content (food) is intended to highlight or even downplay certain elements to give rise to others and it is that choice of vessel that allows for such creative flexibility. One other aspect that has become common practice is centered on the menu items offered. Every new dish is accompanied by new cutlery to maintain and lend it the most effective element of novelty possible and in turn ensure the growth of the item.

What other elements are further driving this trend?
A noteworthy facet to novelty referred to as flexitarianism, relates to fusing or making available different cuisines within a menu, then adapting the offerings to the best possible fit. However, a clear distinction that should be addressed is the approach, which previously saw cutlery introduced to lend the served food a different look and feel. To that end, the Degrenne brand, which Inthra is the exclusive distributor, has multiple product ranges best-suited to deliver impecable results on all levels. These are: Gourmet, Mondo and L’ collections.


Damien Leruste
VP Sales and Marketing
Middle East and Asia

Adam Dennis
MEA Sales Manager


What are the current global trends in dining and how are these affecting the regional tableware market?
At Churchill, a brand distributed in the region by MG Hotel Supplies, we conduct intensive and thorough industry research on a global basis. The biggest food trends we are seeing in the international marketplace are Asian fusions and the trend for clean, sustainable eating. In this global community, consumers are better traveled and more adventuros than ever before. They are seeking out authenticity and the flavors they tried while travelling is fueling the growth of Asian cuisines. At the forefront of consumer buying decisions, is sustainability and the environment. This is where we see a shift towards plant-based dining, waste reduction and local produce that has less food miles.

What is in demand for local/regional buyers and what, compared to last year, has changed?
Innovation is in demand driving customers to look for something new based on shape, color, texture and pattern. We continue to see the demand for innovation rising, with no sign of colored tableware going anywhere. In line with the trend for more sustainable food choices, we are seeing a rise in sales driven by a desire to buy a tableware product that is made to last.

What are the top selling brands and what’s behind their popularity?
Our colored portfolio continues to grow, with studio prints and stonecast collections being hugely popular. Chefs and GM’s are looking for something unique that will suit their restaurant interior and overall food style, but that still performs to the rigors of a hospitality kitchen. Both stonecast and studio prints are extensive ranges with a wealth of color variety. This means individual vendors can mix and match the colors, shapes and textures to create individual tableware combinations. Tableware becomes an element of the overall design of the interior, a part of the customer experience and is essential to enhance the style of food presentation.

What are this year’s trendiest colors, shapes and materials?
While variety is the most popular request from customers, there is still large demand for neutral tones and textures. Neutrals become the base to which more vibrant accent colors can be added. We continue to hear that the best colors and textures for food presentation come from nature and this principle has formed the inspiration for many of our most successful ranges including Studio Prints Stone, Bamboo and Isla.



As a buyer and supplier of tableware, what trends have you noticed that are currently in vogue?
At present, the overridingly dominant regional tableware market trend is for very simple designs that have a flat trim. You have to consider that when restaurants create dishes, the priority on the list is how instagrammable it is going to be. This has also become one of the chef’s prerequisites for success. In other words, the appeal of the food now needs to be in sync with the dish it is served in. It is a complementary relationship, combining taste with esthetics. In other words, the dishes have become the chef’s blank canvas and the food the artwork.

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Do brands still play a central role?
Ironically, today, even when it comes to restaurants and hotels, owners and operators no longer lay emphasis on brand, shifting their focus instead to optimal visual appeal. In this context, stoneware is quite popular and is cheaper than porcelain. Another major consideration is the shapes of the vessels and here, Portugal is a country worth serious consideration as new companies are emerging and offering unique shapes that previously did not exist. Vista Alegre is a perfect example of this trend. Also, while company size used to play a major role in setting yourself apart from the competition, today, much smaller firms are emerging as driving forces and making significant waves.

Does the F&B director still choose the tableware?
In the past, prior to selecting new tableware, the F&B director would list a number of suppliers and the chef would add his specifications related to size, weight, texture and the like. This role has now almost shifted entirely to the chef, which makes sense given that he knows the menu better than anyone. The novelty has extended to using three or four different types of dishes for a single menu, which was previously unheard of. White is back in a big way as it really brings out the colors of the ingredients on that dish.

What elements do you look for when choosing tableware?
When it comes to making something stand -out, novelty related to shape, color and texture goes a long way toward achieving such an effect. In that regard, cast iron is making a major comeback and is being used for meats, various kinds of stews and grilled dishes. For salads, extra-large bowls are all the rage, while darker-colored dishes are proving popular for desserts, marking a shift from glassware, which was traditionally the ideal serving vessel.


Mohammad Alayan
Owner and Managing Director
Adara Group


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