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Restaurant culture: a new idea?


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#31 ngatti

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:38 AM

Science ended? :lol:


I was referring to the subject as explored by John Horgan in this book.

I'm always reaching for an analogy. Science may not have ended, but perhaps cuisine is.

Ahh, here it is...
yer 'avin' a larf, mate

#32 Behemoth

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:43 AM

And here I was thinking I may as well chuck it all and go back to being a rocker. :lol:
Summarizing, then, we assume that relational information is not subject to a corpus of utterance tokens upon which conformity has been defined by the paired utterance test.
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#33 omnivorette

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:52 AM

http://www.amazon.co...5Fencoding=UTF8
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#34 Wilfrid1

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 02:09 PM

And here I was thinking I may as well chuck it all and go back to being a rocker. :lol:



You haven't heard about the legitimation crisis in the sciences? Oh, yes, it's all over. :lol:
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***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

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#35 Behemoth

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 02:41 PM

Hmm. Clearly I need a new career. Is punk rock dead yet? :lol:
Summarizing, then, we assume that relational information is not subject to a corpus of utterance tokens upon which conformity has been defined by the paired utterance test.
-Chomskybot

#36 Guglhupf

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:41 PM

Hmm. Clearly I need a new career. Is punk rock dead yet? :lol:


Only some of it.

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If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it.
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#37 Wilfrid1

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:50 PM

I am working on a response to Daisy's suggestion that this culture has been with us always. But it's too long... :lol:

Meanwhile, his Lordship made an interesting point on the Istanbul thread, to the effect that the attempt of restaurateurs to attract an international dining clientele by mimicking E Bulli and Arzak is a threat to traditional Spanish regional cuisine.

I wonder if people detect analogous threats in, say, New York or London. Is it remotely possible in Manhattan today for a restaurant to open - in the mid-to-high sector of comfort and expense - which features a chef serving good renditions of recognizable dishes over a conventional three or four course dinner? I can think of one or two contenders - Country, perhaps? But these are far outnumbered by new openings which feature telegenic young chefs who are compelled to offer something new, something which they have just "invented" - which usually turns out to be odd combinations of ingredients with attendant foams and mousses and capuccinos, or good old fusion (usually under a different name) or at the very least food served on "small plates". Even Telepan, which otherwise seems fairly conventional, has a small plate section injected into the menu.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#38 Rose

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:56 PM

I am working on a response to Daisy's suggestion that this culture has been with us always. But it's too long... :lol:

Meanwhile, his Lordship made an interesting point on the Istanbul thread, to the effect that the attempt of restaurateurs to attract an international dining clientele by mimicking E Bulli and Arzak is a threat to traditional Spanish regional cuisine.

I wonder if people detect analogous threats in, say, New York or London. Is it remotely possible in Manhattan today for a restaurant to open - in the mid-to-high sector of comfort and expense - which features a chef serving good renditions of recognizable dishes over a conventional three or four course dinner? I can think of one or two contenders - Country, perhaps? But these are far outnumbered by new openings which feature telegenic young chefs who are compelled to offer something new, something which they have just "invented" - which usually turns out to be odd combinations of ingredients with attendant foams and mousses and capuccinos, or good old fusion (usually under a different name) or at the very least food served on "small plates". Even Telepan, which otherwise seems fairly conventional, has a small plate section injected into the menu.


NY is different with regard to threats to our cuisine. Our cuisine is a blend of cultural influences. Spain on the other hand has a much more monolithic gastronomic history (if that's the right way to put it).
curb your god

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One is often told that it is very wrong to attack religion because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it. (Bertrand Russell)

Believing there is no god gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O, and all things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have. (Penn Jillette)

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#39 Wilfrid1

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:57 PM

I agree. There's a disanalogy. If anything is threatened in New York, it's a western mainstream dining tradition which is a hybrid of French and/or Italian and American elements. But I do think that this tradition is being impetuously abandoned. The other side of the coin is the argument that restaurants associated with that tradition just aren't that good any more. That argument has some merit. But many of the restaurants which bring with them the shock of the new are...well...worse.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#40 Stone

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:07 PM

Science ended? :lol:

History too.

Flotaing signifiers include both:

Cuisine which breaks with tradition (often a specific tradition) and authentic.

discuss?

A Hudson Valley Home.  Kichels --  A Recipe from the Old Country.

Just take those old records off the shelf.


#41 Wilfrid1

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:27 PM

A doddle. This field of signifiers is by no means governed by binary logic.

Oh - you want examples?

Barca 18: " It turns out that Ripert was raised in Andorra and even speaks the official language like a Catalonian carnival barker" (New York magazine) = authentic! But:

"(T)the menu is cluttered with lots of paellas and tapas dishes, and it's interspersed with improvised seafood fusion specialties (New York–style seared tuna in sherry vinegar, very un-Mediterranean swordfish layered with chorizo and tomato) that prompted one of my Spain-obsessed foodie friends to let out a sigh. 'Of course, there's nothing remotely Spanish about any of this, he said" (ibid) = out with the old tapas, in with the new!

You garb the restaurant with "authenticity" then bombard the diners with "novelty food".

Similarly, if more subtly, at craftsteak Collichio "elevates the concept of the steakhouse". Yes, it's a good ol' steakhouse, you'll recognize the food, don't panic! But hey, it's a new concept of a steakhouse, you aren't eating the same dinner as your daddy, don't panic!
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#42 ngatti

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:35 PM



Similarly, if more subtly, at craftsteak Collichio "elevates the concept of the steakhouse". Yes, it's a good ol' steakhouse, you'll recognize the food, don't panic! But hey, it's a new concept of a steakhouse, you aren't eating the same dinner as your daddy, don't panic!


Although in this particular case, in the attempt to gild a liliy TC has perhaps kilt it.
yer 'avin' a larf, mate

#43 cabrales

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:58 PM

Many of the themes of the restaurant culture suggested by Wilfrid relate to a concept of a personalized (in the sense of distinctive, non-fungible) cuisine being provided by a chef (personalized by the chef, not in the sense of dishes specific to a diner). I do not believe that is anything new, as there were known chefs in France coming up with their own distinctive cuisine, even from the days of the Nouvelle Cuisine (if not earlier).

This notion of individualistic cusine was expressed, at one time before the dissipation of the group, by the Groupe de Huits (Group of Eight; not, obviously the G8, which is also called the "Groupe de Huits" in French). They emphasized "une cuisine d'auteurs", or a cuisine of authorship/personality. The eight were: M Troisgros, Passard, Gagnaire, O Roellinger (then **), Veyrat, Chibois (still **), Bras and J-M Lorain. Formed in the early 2000s/late 1990s, this group quickly disintegrated. But their idea included a notion of cuisines that were open to the world (i.e., not French traditionalists or proponents of insularity).

I also question the assertion that there is a socio-economic (arguably socio-cultural) delineation of the diners who are able to access high-end restaurants and/or restaurants with distinctive cuisines. As with everything in life, it is a question of one's choices. If a person has less funds to allocate to dining, they can go to a restaurant for lunch (e.g., a Grand Vefour lunch, with water, can be well under 100 euros a person) and/or not order wine (or order less expensive wine). They can choose to have more inexpensive meals at home in exchange for saving money for a better meal, albeit less frequently.

Somebody can even spend $40 US on a *** lunch by picking the City Harvest meal at Le Bernardin. Surely anybody can afford that.

#44 Wilfrid1

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 07:36 PM

That's very useful, Cabby, and I think it fits with my very, very rough notion that there was a move in France, which began, at least, some time around the late 1970s away from a standard canon of cuisine - essentially the one established by Escoffier - toward a concept that chefs themselves were expected to innovate rather than merely improve or perfect. Cuisine des auteurs is a neat way of looking at. Young chefs in New York today, are expected to be auteurs as soon as they take the helm.

On the latter point, true, but I was thinking of the target market from the viewpoint of the restaurants.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#45 LML

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 09:13 PM

I was thinking of the target market from the viewpoint of the restaurants.


The target market seems to me to be the key aspect to the present situation. Like politicians, chefs have stopped directing their efforts towards the relatively few individuals who had some 'understanding' of their craft, and have turned their attention to a vast ocean of 'consumers', who respond to a quite different set of stimuli. Given that the marketing of chefs is now so superficial, it's unsurprising that those who respond to that marketing demand an equally superficial experience for their money. Indeed, most new food seems designed not just to be eaten, but to have an independent life as a sound-bite. For this reason, many of the highest profile restaurants offer one-off experiences, in which the idea of a meal so delicious that one would wish to return is usurped by an experience that can be dropped into conversation and thus transcend the restaurant context to serve as valuable social currency in terms of building one's status.
A dress is neither a tragedy nor a painting it is a charming and ephemeral creation, not an everlasting work of art. Fashion should die and die quickly in order that commerce may survive.


Food or frock?