How fine dining in Europe and the US came to exclude immigrant cuisine and how social media is pushing back. The history of restaurants, food, and, especially, fine dining, is deeply tied to the history of immigration to the U.S. and French cultural power in the early 20th century. Not surprisingly, the story that leads to Yelp and Anthony Bourdain is not without its share of racism that the modern food world. Its tastemakers are still grappling with it today.
In this episode of The Conversation Weekly, we speak to three experts who study food culture. Also fine dining about the perceptions and definitions of “good food.” We explore how food trends are deeply tied to immigration. How the history of Western culinary techniques limits the creativity and authenticity of modern restaurants. Also how social media compares with the Michelin Guide as a tool in the quest for good food.
The definition of ‘good food’
Between ever-increasing culinary skill and creativity, the boom in organic and seasonal ingredients. A growing interest in ethnic food and flavors, and a glut of food media. Also from the Michelin Guide and Zagat to Instagram and TikTok. There has arguably never been a better time to eat, drink and appreciate a truly good meal.
What defines “good food”? It’s a subjective question in many ways, but a chef’s career can be made or broken with just a review in the precious pages of the Michelin Guide or the culinary section of The New York Times. Even in the social media world, some restaurants consistently rise to the top on Yelp and Instagram. So there’s a consensus on what “good food” is.
Even today, techniques and even languages developed by Escoffier are still taught in culinary schools worldwide. As the world became more urbanized, more and more people started eating out and the concept of food critic emerged. Critics hold power. When Gualtieri asked 120 New York chefs whose opinions mattered most, they valued the opinions of their colleagues — and the Michelin Guide — most.
Immigration and ethnic cuisine
The Michelin Guide and many of its peers in the mainstream culinary media have always been the gatekeepers of fine dining. Also focusing on white and European restaurants and in many ways controlling the type of cuisine, which is worth paying more for. But national cuisine – whether Mexican, Japanese, or formerly Italian – is an integral part of American cuisine.
As Krishnendu Ray, a professor of food studies at New York University, US, explains, immigrants’ perceptions of food are closely linked with the perceptions of immigrants themselves.
“What you see is that immigrant foods were very popular early on, first in the community and then gradually spreading. Other people started eating it, journalists eating it and writing about it, but it didn’t build credibility,” Ray said. “That changes over time, depending on which immigrant group is coming into the U.S. in the largest numbers and which cohort is slowly moving up in terms of upward mobility.”
After looking at the prices of various types of cuisine over the decades. And also comparing them with immigration trends, Ray found a consistent pattern. Immigrant foods are first considered cheap and not prestigious when lots of immigrants move to the U.S. but slowly gain clout as the people themselves become more culturally established.
Social media influencers as food critics
In an era of social media, many people are now turning to Yelp, TikTok, or Instagram to figure out where they want to get a meal. Zeena Feldman is a professor of digital culture at King’s College in London, in the U.K. She was interested in seeing whether Instagram viewed good food in the same Eurocentric ways as the Michelin Guide. Whether, as she explains it, “because anyone can have a voice on Instagram, underrepresented cuisines from different parts of the world and from less expensive price points might be getting more of the attention there.”
To answer this question, Feldman looked at the reviews of Instagram food influencers in London and New York and then compared them with the Michelin Guide.
“Culturally and economically, Instagram food criticism is a lot more inclusive than Michelin,” says Feldman. “So you have more cuisines, and especially cuisines outside of the Northern Hemisphere, represented.”
But Instagram is not entirely without its flaws. “I’m starting to think that food culture on Instagram was created by amateurs, by food-obsessed people like me,” Feldman said. “I found out that these are really professionals, be they content ad monetizers or content ad monetization aspirants. So that means having a standard. certain standards for how to present food on Instagram.
Most people see what Feldman calls the “Instagram stare.” Feldman notes that these are lighted-up shots of food almost never seen by anyone.
Feldman thinks that with so much food media, there are more opportunities to find good food 카지노사이트. But the definition of that, as she says, is “food that you actually enjoy eating. ”