When it comes to current food trends, people are quick to talk about chaos cooking. The focus is on the spontaneous cooking experience in which selected ingredients are randomly combined – regardless of whether they are considered to belong together or conform to trained cooking skills. And the young generation loves it. They enjoy experimental cooking nights with friends, random combinations of ingredients found in the fridge, or trying to recreate grandma’s traditional dish without sticking to the exact recipe. The TikTok videos are sometimes simply entertaining. Some of them invite you to try your hand at recreating the recipe. Chaos cooking breaks with learned patterns, reinvents cooking in a disorderly and chaotic way and stands out with innovative culinary creations. This begs the question: doesn’t chaos cooking describe a new or evolved type of fusion cuisine?
So, what exactly is ‘chaos cooking’?
Let’s say a group gets together to cook. Everyone brings the ingredients of their choice and then they chop, puree, cook and stew together: people with different cooking techniques, with different tastes, perhaps also with different backgrounds and national cuisines, meet and jointly create a dish that may not yet exist. Chaos cooking can take place as a social event, but everyone can also cook chaotically on their own. In both cases, ingredients that don’t seem to go together at first glance often blend well. This is how you end up with spring rolls filled with Brussels sprouts and chocolate, noodles with peanut butter or cheesecake with capers. With the ultimate goal, that the new creation tastes amazing.
Is chaos cooking the evolution of fusion cuisine?
Then how does chaos cooking differ from fusion cuisine? After all, both cooking concepts focus on experimenting with ingredients and creating new combinations. In fusion cuisine, chefs mix typical national cooking styles and dishes by integrating regional ingredients into traditional dishes from other cultures. Chaos cooking, on the other hand, also combines genres and flavours that are not considered compatible at first glance. Chaos cooking thus goes one step further than fusion cuisine. It breaks even more boundaries and is even bolder.
Does the food trend have hospitality potential?
Even Albert Einstein knew: ‘Order is for idiots, genius can handle chaos.’ If geniuses master chaos, doesn’t chaos cooking represent culinary perfection? Aren’t professional chefs already masters of Chaos Cooking? Many chefs say that they travel the globe, immerse themselves in foreign culinary worlds, familiarise themselves with typical national cuisines and carry these inspirations and impressions back to their own kitchens. And this is where the creative process begins. They experiment with newly discovered ingredients, spices and preparation methods to create a very unique culinary experience. And they do so without following any rules or recipes. One thing is clear: chaos cooking takes the joy of cooking experimentation to a whole new level. The trend is going viral, especially on TikTok. The yearning for unconstrained, chaotic cooking is everywhere. There is a target group that is open to new taste experiences and curious about exciting dish compositions. The German saying ‘The farmer doesn’t eat what he doesn’t know!’ does not apply here. In this respect, chaos cooking has potential for the hospitality industry as the next evolutionary step of fusion cuisine, but of course on a different level than on TikTok. For example, the restaurant Steirasia in Vienna features an impressive blend of Chinese, Japanese, European and Styrian cuisine. This results in dishes like ‘Steir rolls’ that mix traditional sushi ingredients like rice and avocado with kernel oil, horseradish and cranberries.
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