The Week in Food [1-23-17]
Questioning our existence, questioning what we compete for, and questioning the future.
January 27, 2017 ● 3 min read
And just like that, January came to an end. Pass the bourbon, won't you?
What Is Reality Anyway?Kicking off this week on a surreal note, in parallel with the surreal nature of our "alternative" world: over in the little pocket of the Internet belonging to Nation's Restaurant News, writer Jim Sullivan imagines a universe where restaurants never existed. An unlikely scenario, sure, but why not read about Sullivan's culinary wasteland with the rest of your news? It starts out cute enough — "Without restaurants, you wouldn’t be able to pronounce chipotle, shiitake, charcuterie, quinoa, souvlaki, half-caf, barista or venti, much less use them in a sentence." — then spirals into notably scarier territory. Sound familiar?
Bocuse D'OrThis one makes us a little tired. Things you must know in order to proceed: the US just made history by winning its first gold at the Bocuse D'Or, a global culinary competition held in Lyon, France. If people who loved Tinker Toys growing up also maybe like cooking a little and also really love polished shoes and militaristic neatness, the Bocuse D'Or might be for them. It's fantastical and brutally strict, and its competitors don't take very nicely to anyone who doesn't "get it."
See, the Bocuse D'or tends to be very white, very male, and comically serious. American competitors typically come from the kitchens of chefs like Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud, who both help to train the team for squeaky clean structural greatness. Last time around, the US took silver, so it must have felt damn good to be there this year — except most people maybe don't care in the current world climate, as Eater pointed out earlier this week and consequently caught shit for from a host of Bocuse bros. Reactions tended to be like if you trained forever for a competition, waking up at shitty hours and killing yourself learning how to make meat origami, and all along the way your friends asked what the hell was wrong with you and what's with all the folded meat anyway, isn't cooking supposed to be fun or something...they eventually drop out of your life, and then you go and WIN the meat origami and sugar skyscraper and air quenelle competition and you come back into the real world, Vitamin D deficient but triumphant, and everyone on the street just yells NOBODY CARES, YOU WASTED YOUR LIFE. You might flip out, too.
Just be nice to each other, you guys.
The Future Is Now
And the future means blowing into a Tostitos bag to test for drunkness. Via The Verge, the bags released for the Super Bowl work like this: "If you’re in the clear, the bag turns green and you’re free to go about your night. If alcohol is detected, the bag turns red with the message, 'Don’t drink and drive,' and offers a $10 Uber credit for a discounted ride home."
Assuming your drunk ass doesn't destroy the bag in search of the $10 it just said was in there, this is probably a good idea. Also, since it's not a breathalyzer and detects any traces of alcohol on your breath — even though we weren't planning on driving, we'd cough on a bag or two and snag that Uber credit either way. Thanks, Tostitos.
Is This How We Fix It, Though?If you believe in the power of snappy monikers to reinvigorate an industry, maybe the arrival of "fast fine" is the salvation we've been seeking. Food Republic made the case for this "bold new concept built on the back of one of the restaurant industry’s most pressing problems: the crippling cost of labor," centering its thesis around San Francisco, ground zero for food hypotheses. According to FR, the success of this model hinges on both the lack of certain positions (like servers) and the same touchpoints found in fine dining: namely, design. We here at ChefsFeed HQ crush Souvla (the piece's main subject) lunches on the reg — it's the best of its kind — but the implications of fast fine mass-adoption will be something to watch.
Until next week!