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In order to establish a comprehensive understanding of how culinary and gastronomic philosophy affects modern restaurants globally, the concept needs to be broken down and examined not only in the restaurant context but also in places where it is practiced, e.g. homes – by individuals who claim themselves as food lovers, or foodies.
“Gastronomy is the study of food and culture, with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine.” (wiseGEEK, 2019). It is not only art, but also science that analyses cooking methods, food science, nutritional facts, how to apply taste and knowledge about colours, flavours into presentation, and health, etc.
whereas culinary means relating to cooking or kitchens. According to the Cambridge dictionary, “the philosophy of something” is defined as “a group of theories and ideas related to the understanding of a particular subject”, which in this case is the subject of gastronomy.
The variation in geography, culture and climate also plays a big part in different cooking techniques, styles and ingredients.
Cooking is the process of being creative. Different chefs come from different backgrounds, have different beliefs and therefore different gastronomic philosophies. Each of their dish has a name and tells a different story.
An example of a culinary and gastronomic philosophy (or gastrosophy) is locavorism. Locavorism is “the process of making an effort to eat food that is grown, raised, or produced locally, usually within 100 miles of home”. (Lundin, 2018). Chefs or restaurateurs who care about delivering food that is nutritious and good for health, will only choose fresh and local ingredients, as the food does not have to travel more miles when after being greenly picked (that is within 24 hours).
This practice can also help support the local producers and hence the domestic economy.
There are number of chefs that support locavorism, examples can be Chris Kiyuna of The Perennial (USA), Gert Jan Hageman of De Kas (Netherlands), Andrea Carlson of Burdock & Co (Canada), and Shaun Schoeman of Fyndraai at Solms Delta (South Africa), (Amex Essentials, 2019). To them, there is a lot more to consider when delivering their service to customers. It is not presentation and flavor of the food on the menu. It is about how ingredients are grown, sources, transportes, processed, etc. and what that does to the environment. Because by buying and consuming local, people will pollute less, use less fuel, cooling systems, packaging, etc. However, it is not easy being a locavore. Since it takes time to grow and harvest fresh ingredients, depending on seasons and also anticipating unexpected changes. To some people, those can be seen as disadvantages (because of smaller production of products equals to being more nimble with menu changes, but some will accept the challenge and opportunity to feed their creativity.
Some restaurants or places adopt more than one philosophy, such as Epicurean Feast Cafes. They support locavorism by partnering with local growers, in which they prepare food from scratch with natural ingredients, and they are also in favour of epicureanism.
“Epicurean is defined as one who is devoted to the pursuit and appreciation of great food and comfort.” (epicureanfeast, 2019).
Other philosophical areas that underpin gastrosophy can be sustainability. A good example of this is Epicurean Feast Cafes, who are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. They are also involved in ethical eating, which “refers to moral consequences of food choices. Common concerns are damage to the environment, exploitive labour practice, food shortages for others, inhumane treatment of food animals, and the unintended effects of food policy.” (En.wikipedia.org, 2019). The caf? chain is committed to animal welfare.
Food is a gate that leads to culture, so it should be treated in a special and respectful way that it is treated by the people who created the dishes.
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