January 2, 2019 |
The food industry has seen a huge boom in ‘experts’ over the last two decades, or ‘foodies’ as they like to be known. With more people sharing their every meal to Instagram, many professional chefs have to go to extraordinary lengths to create meals that garner the double-tap likes, get them noticed, and convert to dollars. But is the current culture putting an emphasis on style over substance, and the importance of taste being lost
in the process?
The advent of TV chefs first ignited many people’s interests in cookery, which was followed by wildly popular book sales from big-hitting heavyweights like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, with recipes entering the homes of millions, and sowing the seeds for a multitude of budding foodies to learn from their expertise and concoct their own creations. Then the internet expanded on this, providing everyone with more free online guidance and tutorials than we’ve ever had in human history, with a huge number of people learning new skills, proclaiming themselves experts, and then monetising them. As food has always been popular – what with us needing it to remain alive and everything- it’s no surprise that the industry has become saturated with foodies looking to make bank from their creations.
A ‘foodie’ is defined as someone with a particular interest in food, but when you look on Instagram, that seems to be at least 50% of people. The term doesn’t even seem to really mean much anymore, not in any particular sense of profession anyway. It’s more akin to a common noun: dog, cat, man, woman, foodie.
With the abundance of foodies taking up more and more space on social media, it’s much harder for professional chefs to grab attention. Their mac and cheese may taste divine, but it’s unlikely to get noticed in the social stratosphere unless it’s garnished with poached oysters and licorice root, and sculpted into a edible statue of Michelangelo’s David.
It currently seems that the recipe for success is wildly imaginative food, or an equally well-crafted persona coupled with an attractive face, and bonus points if you manage to convince people you’re carving out a whole lifestyle for them to follow.
But if you’re a chef that makes humble-looking food that tastes delicious, and you’re face doesn’t look like it could grace the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, is there still a chance for your restaurant to be a success without visual social traction?
What the world needs is a chef who’s the antithesis of haute cuisine to be propelled to stardom. Someone who makes the best damn tasting gruel you’ve ever had in your life, that still looks like gruel. Slovakia has a traditional dish called Bryndzove Halusky, one of the most satisfying and scrumptious meals you’re ever likely to taste, that looks like a potato salad minus the greenery. You’d struggle to find any well-known foodie gracing their instagram posts with this unassuming dish, but its taste could win over the most die-hard gourmet guru.
Your move Slovakian chefs. Give our taste buds a treat and our eyes a rest.
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