If the 1980s were the pinnacle of fussy food preparation and eating, with the nouvelle cuisine revolution of the early 21st century, now we're seeing the extreme opposite. Not only are chefs now putting far more emphasis on provenance and seasonality, it's also a time when much of what we eat is being stripped right back to the basics.
And it's not just basics in ingredient; it applies to the preparation methods, too. This has reached its logical conclusion in the raw food phenomenon. All across Sydney, raw and vegan restaurants are springing up alongside juice bars. It seems that the new kitchen essentials for chefs aren't sous-vide cookers and steam ovens, they're a sharp set of knives and an inventive imagination.
Why raw eating?
For thousands of years, the basic human diet revolved around fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It was only with increasing industrialisation that our food started to be prepared in ever more complicated ways and processing also started to be part of the equation.
But what was gained in convenience was at the expense of nutritional value. Heating inevitably destroys nutrients, vitamins and enzymes that occur naturally in all kinds of raw foods. So if you really want to maximise goodness and nutritional value then raw is definitely the way to go.
Fans of raw eating make big claims for its benefits, including a clearer skin, more mental alertness and generally better health. If this sounds good to you, here's where can you get in on the trend in Sydney.
1. Health Nuts
For 11 years, Health Nuts have been keeping the inhabitants of the Eastern Suburbs in great shape – from long before the raw food craze took hold. They're a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner with a menu that's 100% gluten-free. Their range of fresh, raw salads change every day and their Super Salad Sandwich combines charcoal bread with crunchy sprouts, salad leaves, cucumber, tomatoes and beetroot hummus.
2. Pressed Juices
With four outlets in Sydney, Pressed Juices have made quite a name for themselves in offering a range of drinks made only from raw and natural ingredients – with no pasteurisation, no chemicals and no refined sugars. To accompany their health-giving drinks they also offer a small range of salads including kale and red quinoa and, a big favourite, broccoli and turmeric dukkah.
3. Ungaro Raw
Ungaro Raw in Rozelle is a great choice if you just want to dip your foot into the world of raw food. They offer a choice of seasonal raw tasting plates, as well as a wide range of dishes including vegetarian burgers, curries and pizzas for if you're not quite ready to go 100% raw. There are also cakes and brownies to die for.
Of course, we've only talked about Sydney here but specialist raw food restaurants are popping up all over Australia and even longer established ones like Nosh in Melbourne are also starting to include more and more uncooked dishes on the menu.
So it may be that the culinary nature of the whole country may well be on the turn and one day soon raw food could be replacing the barbie as Australia's most famous cuisine.
So isn't it time you got into the raw revolution? Let Deliveroo show you how.