Yes, it’s what you think! Foodie! That’s what you were thinking, right?
“Foodie” is a phenomenon of the 21st century. The United States, specifically big foodie cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles, have developed a new trend of eating, talking, publicizing, glamorizing, and exploiting food. Now, that certainly isn’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. Being an avid food fanatic and chef myself, I totally dig the idea that people are gaining an interest in the culinary arts. More than anything, I want people dining out, promoting smaller restaurants, and buying from local markets, but at what cost?
Over the last decade, it has gotten to the point where dining out simply frustrates me. Allow me to preface, I adore eating out at restaurants; dropping some serious cash on a dynamite dinner is worth every penny to me. It’s a wonderful experience, not only for the inventive and delicious food, but as a source for my own culinary inspiration. It’s what I do. I love food.
Now, do I tweet every eight minutes about every tiny detail of my dining experience? Do I take a new Instagram picture at every available moment, stopping servers to snap pics, rearranging the dinner table, or making my guests wait to eat? No. Stop it right now. Just stop.
This is the current state of dining out in LA. People have become so overly concerned with making sure they document and report everything they put in their mouths that they forget why they’re at the restaurant in the first place. In fact, these would-be foodies aren’t really there for the food at all. Sure, I have no doubt that they enjoy the food, but do the truly appreciate what it is they’re Instagramming to death?
Now, I fully understand that as a chef and as a restaurant owner, you must be willing to accept business from anyone. Whatever folks want to do with the food once it hits their table is their business—they’re paying for it after all. However, as someone who adores the culinary arts and who gets called a foodie on a regular basis, I somewhat take offense. I don’t want to be grouped anywhere near these delusional “foodies” that have infiltrated the LA dining scene. I eat dinner, and I chat with my fellow diners. I eat the food and relish it. I joke with the server, talk whiskey with the bartender, and enjoy the moment. How do these “foodies” do that with their smartphones glued to their hands the whole time?
The real question lies in, “What is to come?” My thoughts? I think this foodie trend will fizzle slightly, as I already see the Yelp relevance faltering. However, I will say that food is getting more and more inventive, creative, and remarkable every day. Big-hitter chefs are pulling out all the stops and are really pushing the envelope. This increased awareness of fine dining and upscale, casual dining will only continue to grow. Seems like a win-win to me, so long as we leave our social media away from the dining table.