Food innovators need to be daring, creative and quite thoughtful. Why thoughtful you may ask?
What considerations do you make when you feed someone? Their background, their home of origin, their culture and their age to name a few. We must develop our understanding of the complex society around us, in order to understand its needs.
And today, a food product must appeal to different ethnicity.
It would be fair to say that Australia is globally accepted as being one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. The 2016 Census shows that 49% of the Australian population were either born overseas or have one or both parents born overseas. Of this 49%, more than 80% live in a capital city.
Australia was colonised in the 18th century by British and European migrants and now in the 20th century we have seen a wave of Asian and African migrants calling Australia their home. Over the last 100 years, there have been some interesting developments in the Australian cuisine which was once predominantly English. Some are new and others are Aussiefied (oops- modified!) and some have been adopted to become a part of the mainstream Australian way of life.
These iconic foods were created for different reasons- some out of practical necessity (like the Anzac bikki) and others were created with a flair to impress, like the Pavlova. Here are a few examples of foods that remind us of the creative talents of food innovation and how these came into being:
The simple and practical Anzac biscuit was made by wives during the war and sent to their soldiers, because the basic ingredients (rolled oats, flour, sugar, etc) were able to be kept in a dry store for a long time and once baked, could keep on long boat journeys.
The Pavlova was created for the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, when she was touring in the 1920’s. It is a meringue-based dessert with a soft filling served with fruit and cream. It’s an easy-to-make, playful dessert that has found its way into the home of many Australians.
And what about the Lamington? Some say that this was created by accident! A maid servant was working at Government house in Brisbane when she accidentally dropped the Governors favorite sponge cake into some melted chocolate. Lord Lamington didn’t want to waste it, so he suggested that it be dipped in coconut to cover the chocolate to avoid messy fingers. And so, the Lamington was born!
The Chiko Roll is a savoury snack invented by Frank McEncroe in the 1950’s. It was inspired by the Chinese Spring Roll and made to be easily eaten on the move without a plate or cutlery. It’s a common sight at football games and sporting events. The Dim Sim also has a similar back story.
The Tim Tam biscuit was created in the 1950’s by the Australian company Arnott’s. It was inspired by the British “Penguin Biscuit”. Tim Tam went on the market in 1964 and has been selling strong ever since.
The good ol’ Fish & Chips, Hawaian Pizza, Meat Pie and Chicken Parmigiana are adopted favourites from other countries but nevertheless are an Australian staple.
There is such a diversity of people, lifestyle and cuisine in Australia and their influences are at our doorstep. The exciting thing about this melting pot of cultures is that there is an abundance of opportunity to be found to broaden our experiences and appreciate the connection to people through food.
After all, coming together and sharing a meal is the most communal and binding thing in almost every place in the world. Food is a global language that unites us all and it is up to food innovators like us to bring people together.
Come and speak to us about your ideas and let’s see what we can create.