Fine dining takes a tech-licious leap

Welcome to the age of tech-powered luxury dining, where environment-conscious innovations aim to redefine your culinary experiences.

Sara Haque

The luxury food and beverage sector in India has witnessed significant growth, particularly in the post-COVID era. The industry has undergone positive transformations and advancements, thanks to the integration of global technologies and enhanced guest accessibility.

Haramohan Bora, Assistant Director, Food & Beverage, Aloft Outer Ring Road, Bengaluru, mentioned, “One of the biggest trends now is the adoption of technology in fine dining, where guests can order and view the food plating digitally before placing an order. Technology is playing a major role with AI, and it can assist guests with things such as 3D viewing for a particular dish, thus enhancing the ordering experience.”

The most emergent trend in the F&B industry across the country is the demand for farm-to-table menus with locally grown ingredients. There has been a growing insistence on sustainability and local sourcing for luxury dining post-COVID and is a possible long-term trend that the industry is taking seriously. Noel Mendes, Manager, Food & Beverage, Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai, said, “Sustainability and ethical sourcing are gaining importance in the luxury food sector. Fine dining restaurants are increasingly sourcing their ingredients locally and emphasising sustain- ability in their menus. This includes using organic and seasonal produce, reducing food waste and supporting local farmers and artisans. Chefs and restaurateurs are also exploring the diverse culinary traditions of the country, showcasing lesser- known regional dishes and ingredients in their menus. This trend aims to provide a more immersive and culturally rich dining experience for consumers.”

Chefs have also been focussing on regional cuisines and local flavours in luxury dining. It is increasingly being favoured by consumers across the country, with a heightened preference for menus that incorporate unique regional flavours and locally sourced ingredients. Amit Chawla, Director, Food & Beverage, Hyatt Regency Delhi, expressed, “Luxury restaurants and fine dining establishments have been increasingly collaborating with local farmers and artisans to provide fresher, more sustainable and unique ingredients. Chefs across the country in luxury dining are exploring innovative fusion cuisines that combine traditional Indian flavours with global culinary influences. This trend has gained momentum especially after COVID, when more and more travellers are experimenting with a lot of traditional flavours mixed with a touch of global cuisine.”

Similarly, in the beverage sector, locally sourced and crafted beverages are gaining popularity amongst consumers, along with an attraction towards specialty drinks with customisation, which include craft beers, wines and spirits. “Customers are moving towards innovative specialty cocktails. Creative and unique cocktails are becoming the focal point of hotel beverage menus. A lot of hotels have been employing the best mixologists to craft signature cocktails that reflect the hotel’s identity. We at Hyatt Regency Delhi have also been laying emphasis on weekly trainings and hiring the best talent, so we are able to offer our guests world- class cocktails,” Chawla added. Rahul Chaudhary, Director, Food & Beverage, Conrad Pune, added, “Sustainable and technique-forward cocktails supported by storytelling are gaining more interest. Zero-proof beverages are slowly gaining interest in India. Worldwide, the popularity of sour cocktails made with fermented, gut-healthy ingredients such as kombucha, miso and sake are also predicted to rise. Simultaneously, local spirit is gaining interest in India and will continue to develop.”

As mentioned, the creative reimagination within the F&B sector also seems to extend to building an experience that is both creative and experiential for the luxury F&B consumer. Guided tours which let the guest see every step in the spirit-making process, cooking sessions with chefs that give them an insight into the intricacies of food up to its plating, among others, are recent innovations adopted by hotels. “Today, people are open to experimental dining and love to try new innovations. Conceptual dinners in collaboration, food and wine pairing events, and beverage appreciation sessions will continue to engage patrons,” Chaudhary believed. Fine dining is now considered a serious affair, with focussed efforts from hotels towards curating a wholesome experience for their customers, which includes providing distinctive menus, a wide range of options to cater to different palates, and heeding sustain- ability along with nutrition.

According to Mendes, the most important thing for hotels right now is to encourage these trends and keep a regular tab on shifting consumer needs. “The emphasis on health and wellness is a global trend and consumers are seeking healthier and more sustainable dining options. We will also have to continue prioritising sustainable practices—from sourcing ingredients to waste reduction, as environmentally conscious practices are increasingly attractive to consumers. It is very important for us as hoteliers and chefs to stay attuned to evolving consumer preferences and adapt menus and offerings accordingly, so as to meet the demand for healthier, sustainable, and unique dining experiences,” he said.

“The adoption of technology in fine dining is transforming the ordering experience, allowing guests to view food plating digitally”
Haramohan Bora, Assistant Director, Food & Beverage, Aloft Outer Ring Road, Bengaluru

“Chefs across the country in luxury dining are exploring innovative fusion cuisines that combines traditional with global culinary influences”
Amit Chawla, Director, Food & Beverage, Hyatt Regency Delhi

“The luxury food sector is prioritizing sustainability and ethical sourcing, supporting local farmers and artisans, aiming for a culturally rich dining experience”
Noel Mendes, Manager, Food & Beverage, Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai